After a living nightmare, Martin Rike was finally rescued after 12 hours
This Washington Post column was difficult for me to read because it involves a 39-year old Minnesota man who weighs 500 pounds and the great lengths it took for medical personnel to help him when he thought he was having a heart attack earlier this week while tubing on the river.
In case you missed this story, here's what happened:
Martin Rike, a 500-pound truck driver, was inner tubing for the first time ever on the St. Croix River with some friends on Monday when he started having chest pains. His buddies called for paramedics who were dispatched to the scene and stabilized him around 8pm.
The problem was the medical crew couldn't hoist this morbidly obese man into the helicopter to get him to the nearest hospital. In other words, he was too fat for the equipment and much too heavy.
Upwards of 50 rescue team members assisted the medical crew with "creative" means for getting Rike to a place where he could be transported for medical attention. They used boats and canoes to float him down the river, but the water was too shallow and they couldn't move him.
They then put Rike inside of an aluminum boat to try to carry him to safety. But, again, his body weight was too much for the desperate rescuers to handle. Someone came up with the idea to tie three canoe together and place boards on top of them to use as a raft. Even this got stuck often, but worked well enough to reach an ambulance that was waiting for them downstream.
In all, it took 12 hours for Rike to reach the ambulance--at 8:00am the next morning!
Holy cow, can you believe this story?! It's a good thing he wasn't in real danger or this man may have died with rescuers at the cruel and helpless mercy of gravity. What a tragedy this story would have been had that happened.
Thank God Rike is doing okay now and only suffered from a few cold chills being in the water all night, a bit hungry, and very sleepy. He did have a bruised leg from all the moving around they did with his body. But the medical crew on the scene did not want him to move any more than he had to since they were treating him for a heart attack.
This illustrates another reason why obesity needs to be taken seriously in this country and around the world. We don't need oversized ambulances as they are proposing in Australia. And we certainly shouldn't join the "fat acceptance" movement refusing to do ANYTHING about our weight.
That's where Rike seems to be at the moment and it nearly killed him. As if this harrowing experience wasn't awful enough already, check out what his mother had to say about her son's current state of health.
He's "really pretty healthy," she said.
She is such an enabler for her son to REMAIN obese! UGH! On what planet is 500 pounds considered "healthy?" Can someone who is THAT morbidly obese even claim to be healthy with a straight face?
Rike and his mother are both in deep denial about his weight and there are millions more just like them. If we are gonna break this cycle of obesity, then we need more tough love truth to be shared by doctors and even family members of people carrying around 100+ extra pounds. Confronting the obese is not judging them, but rather helping them before it is too late.
As a former 400-pounder, it gives me no great pleasure in saying these things. But the longer I have been involved in the diet and health arena, the more convinced I have become that we need substantive action to start NOW even if a few feelings get hurt along the way. In the end, they'll thank you for helping them get their life back.
Perhaps Rike might join his fellow Minnesota native Darrell Nelson and the "lawnmower diet" he started last year to shed the pounds. It certainly couldn't hurt as a great starting point!
If you are reading this right now and are overweight or obese, then I want you to put yourself in the same position that Martin Rike was in this week. Is that how you want to live your life? I applaud him for try to get out in public and spending time with his friends. But he put himself in harm's way. Would you handle the stress of not being able to get to the hospital because you weighed too much? I couldn't!
Why not let this story be the impetus and motivation for FINALLY getting serious about your weight problem? It's not going away anytime soon without some effort on your part. But it can be managed and overcome in a variety of ways. Might I suggest livin' la vida low-carb? :)
Find the plan that is right for you, follow that plan until you reach your goal, and then KEEP doing that plan for the rest of your life. That's your equation for success that will ease your worries of ever having to deal with a predicament like Martin experienced EVER in your life. YOU CAN DO IT!
Please feel free to e-mail me anytime if you need encouragement in your weight loss efforts at firstname.lastname@example.org.