- Username: ericklein
- Location: Mission Viejo, CA, USA
- Member Since: 3/30/1999
- BMI: 21.7
- Learning about surgery
- Website: http://www.obesityhelp.com
Before & After
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- Computers & Internet - I became addicted to web programming in about 1994
- Dogs - Good natural dish washers.
- Hiking - I need more hills around my home.
- Public Advocacy - Spent the summer of '93 in DC at a heath policy think tank
- Soccer - Good to play
- Road Trips - My third cousin took a road trip and hasn't been seen since 1973
RV Checklist (note to self) ... on April 27, 2011 11:47 am
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+ Leave explosives at home.
+ Bring a tent, after having trained at home on how to set it up. Kids would have fun setting it up (with or without any full night use) on site.
+ Reduce speed below 48 mph while driving through the only partially open community access gate.
+ Load up with plenty of maps beforehand of any possible intended routes; drill down via on-line maps beforehand, making printouts at different magnifications.
+ Make full reservations for all places in advance; a clear itinerary.
+ Involve kids fully in the route planning process. Map familiarity -- at different scale sizes. Involve them in navigation situational awareness during the trip.
+ Achieve work slow down days before departure date. Plan ahead to have full closure of outstanding work issues prior to departure.
+ Feel good about getting full value : pick up RV as early as available and leave as soon as possible.
+ Bring more warm blankets than we're likely to ever need.
+ Leave with good music CDs.
+ Leave with more good (newly rented & unviewed) DVDs than we are likely to ever watch.
+ Bring the other DVD player -- and extra batteries for it. (Does it run off batteries?)
+ Bring more/better firewood.
+ Bring a gallon-size container that could hold stove-heated water to give anyone taking a shower in order to have more on-hand.
+ Bring (buy if needed) binoculars.
+ Pack better -- putting things in cabinates, without anything ever having to roll around or constitute clutter on the floor.
Ok, there had been a nice blog here. on November 2, 2006 9:04 am
I was posting a nice big blog here the other day when after hitting save button I was taken to a nice little 404 Error Page Not Found message because my wireless connection had died and I just couldn't get anything useful to return after hitting back, and forward, and back, and back, and forward, and forward over and over and over again for about 4 minutes before I finally kicked a pillow into the vase above the fireplace.
Time management is becoming and remaining a very important skill -- one I might want to consider dabbling with actually using some day. As long as I don't interact with any people all day long, I'm _usually_ fine. Throw in some people, relatives, kids (hmm... those last two qualify as people?) and, well, it's a bit of a different story. The human story, I suppose, to be exact.
Anyway, I felt embarassed about my profile so decided to come here and at least do _something_.
Oh -- I posted a dysfunctional video at the bottom of my profile at the very bottom; I'm almost proud of myself.
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Surgeon on October 22, 2006 7:25 pm
Well, this was interesting. Somewhere amidst some manner or another of testing, I wound up with JC's surgeon listed as my surgeon. I wonder how long that has been up. I got that blanked out now. (Might have been a practical joke by someone? :) :) ) Looks like I've got a lot of profile updating to do. Nice to see that I have at least a couple of friends. Lots of work to do there as well!
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I'm the creator of ObesityHelp.com and this community.
Thank you for finding it!
I have recorded a message just for you! Click on your prefered format to hear my message. MP3 file Real Media
I founded ObesityHelp.com and the Association for Morbid Obesity Support in 1998 in order to help reach the 5 million plus people (there are this many in just the United States alone!) who suffer from morbid obesity. If you are looking for information on treatment of this condition, looking for fun and companionship with peers with similar experiences, looking for ways to help fight discrimination against obesity, or (hopefully) looking for all three, then you've come to the right place.
You'll notice that this web site is different from others in its highly interactive focus. We want you to find resources and peers able to help you as quickly and as easily as possible. If you have any suggestions about how this site could be improved, just let me know. We've got a team of staff and volunteers who are dedicated to improving the quality of our success here with helping people. If you are interested in helping us, please click on the "help us" link appearing at the top of most of the pages here. Every person counts.
Over the years I've been asked over and over again to update my profile to say more about myself. Well, ok, I finally did (It's August, 2001 as I write this). The stuff below is about ˝ related to health and this site and maybe ˝ a collection of miscellaneous ramblings about my personal life and past. If you have any interest in both, then good, otherwise I suppose some scanning and skipping may be in order. Hope this helps those who were interested.
Warning : non-chronological rambling zone below:
I started this web site in 1998 after leaving a health marketing company. At that job I learned about bariatric surgery and the huge need for helping educate the public about it. Many of the educational resources out there on the topic were center-specific, so I created a central community resource forum on the topic. That took a huge chunk of guilt off my shoulders. Before then I'd spent hours every day trying to match people around the country with resources near them and could never seem to keep up with the emails. There was such a huge need. When I created this web site, I knew it might not be the most pretty, but it was set up to collect and store data provided by the general public, so that it could do good work even when I wasn't able to spend time on it.
Before that I was a pre-med student for about 8 years. I got a degree in mechanical engineering at UCLA in 1993. As part of that program I lead a team to design and build a prototype for a robotic wheel chair that quadriplegics could control via electrodes on their scalp. It was tested at Loma Linda hospital here in California. I live in Irvine, California, which is about an hour south of Los Angeles.
I was also very active with medical research. I helped author a number of papers on brain metabolism working out of the University of California at Irvine between 1993 and 1997. These included addition, depression and bulimia. From '93 to '95 I had the greatest time as a graduate student and teaching assistant. I like teaching. Tricky to know how to meet the academic needs of both interested learners and simultaneously overworked students who just need to get a good grade. I need to get back into that somehow. Before this, I spent some time on the East Coast working as a policy analyst at the FDA where I studied communications between that agency and drug companies. I worked closely with a drug called losartan, which was a bran new class of hypertension medication. It had about 800 pounds (not an exaggeration) of paperwork associated with it.
Before that I worked as a policy analyst for a think tank in Washington DC. I was really active with health policy, studying the economics behind different proposals for health reform. One of my projects involved researching the Medical Savings Account which were written into law just about 2 years ago. (You can see them listed, I believe, as a deduction item on the standard 1040 IRS form). I was very politically active at the grass roots level in organizing people (via email & fax) to help strengthen the power of patients and physicians in the health care decision making process (as opposed to employers, utilization review boards, managed care organizations and government).
Before that (and after also, actually) I logged about 2000 hours as an emergency medical technician (EMT) volunteer at County USC. This was from about 1989 to 1996. That hospital is in Los Angeles and was built around 1930 and whose outside appearance was used, I hear, in a few soap operas like "General Hospital". It has the busiest emergency room in the country. The Army sends its medics to train there. I spent a lot of time tagging along with physicians doing rotations through the ER. These guests to the ER well treated by the ER supervisors who didn't expect much of them. That created a relaxed micro-environment in which they had a lot of time to tell me what they were doing and thinking with patients. I think I kind of became addicted to such spoiled treatment. For a few years I'd spent about 80% of every Friday and Saturday night there, often checking in at 8 pm Friday night and checking out sometime Saturday or even Sunday afternoon. There were lots of call rooms where a 22-year old in a volunteer shirt could camp out to nap.
The really rewarding thing about that environment was the unending need. Here is this series of waiting rooms with maybe 200 indigent people. Mothers, children, wives, husbands, brothers, all waiting for 6, 7, 8 .. sometimes (literally!) 20 hours to receive attention from the constantly beleaguered and underfunded county medical staff. About 70% of these people only spoke Spanish. (I picked that up in high school and was fortunate enough to be able to help out as a translator). Most had no insurance to speak of. Many of them agonizing over the question of whether filling out hospital paperwork could lead to them being deported. I'd had advanced cardiac life support and other fancy training which was often put to use but the most meaningful service I could dispense there didn't require any training at all : attention. Hi. I know you've been waiting here forever. I acknowledge your existence. Here is an update on your son. Just simple stuff like that. So much need. And working with the physicians. An x-ray might take 2 hours to make the rounds on its own for a non-critical patient. A quick walk to the x-ray room and back by a volunteer with the gift of time could shorten that to 5 minutes. That precious gift of time.
Some of my nights there were a tad adrenalin-laden. Hearing the pop pop pop around the corner one afternoon as a psychotic patient fired a gun at physicians. Having a patient rip out his IV and wield it at me as if it were a knife, demanding more pain medication. The Los Angeles riots were quite an experience. It was a veritable M*A*S*H. Driving past flames of burning bridges on the 110 freeway to my left and right, I arrived to help sort out the seriously wounded patients from the many dozens of shoplifters having seriously cut their hands on broken store windows.
All that grew blasé pretty quick, though. There's a nursing strike. Short-handed physicians pull me in and here I am with my finger in a bullet hole in someone's heart for 30 seconds. I'm feeling all god-like and important. By the 5th or 10th time around (not that same thing, but stuff like that) it all grows hollow, and my attention turns to the 8 year in the corner who, at 3 AM on a school night hasn't gotten the gash on his finger stitched yet because a stainless steal ring on the swollen digit is too tough for the cutting tool the nurse is struggling with. As the years wore on, I spent more and more of my time on the upper floors rounding with medicine attending physicians. Unlike their harried underlings (residents and med students) who had been up all night charged with official patient responsibilities, I was free as a bird to spend the evening following the same patient through multiple wards with as many stops at the medical reference desk as I wanted. I miss those days.
Going back even further, I was born in Denville NJ in 1970 but have lived in California since 1975. I'm an only child and live just down the road from my parents in Mission Viejo. My father has worked as a human resource director for Kawasaki Motors (the company that invented the jet ski industry). I remember going out dirt biking with him a lot when I was little. He'?s starting to help me out on this web site now days having retired at a ripe old age of 55. My mom is a teacher. I remember she was getting a degree in social work, then briefly working on an MBA, and then moved with me to California when my father was promoted there. Wound up doing social work (in the guise of a teacher) more or less ever since. She was a special education teacher for a long time. That was hard, though, when she'd have ADD (attention deficit disorder) kids mixed in with downs syndrome now and then that she really couldn't do much to help. Lots of concerned parents of such kids wanting various types of "equal integration" or "mainstreaming" as I think it was called. She teaches swimming during the summer to local kids.
I spent most of my childhood in Mission Viejo, CA. In elementary school I had fun playing mad scientist (though that was before anyone explained that that stereotype was to me.) I could often be found mixing miscellaneous concoctions together in the garage. I had a few things actually blow up; some planned and some not -- which was a real blast! I spent a lot of time building things. I built a telegraph in 4th grade and wired up a few classes with it. No one, including me, knew Morse code, but that was fine; I made up an alternate code which I shared with a friend and we could say whatever we wanted about the teachers without them knowing what we were saying -- while getting extra credit for it. Music has been fun in my life. I remember in 5th grade I made a type of water glass organ. I had 12 classes filled with different amounts of water matching the notes on a musical scale. My dad sawed a wooden wheel 3 feet in diameter and I pounded about 200 nails in the edge of it which brushed up against a little needle like the wheel they have in the TV game show Jeopardy. Each nail connected a different musical circuit so that you could play songs on the water glasses by turning the dial. That was a lot of fun. The dog kept messing up the water levels in the glasses, though. (Most of the time, fortunately, it would go to the pool to drink). The family cat wasn't as active, except to distract the dog, which itself was a good thing and fun viewing entertainment as well. Away from the house I trained as a Jr. Lifeguard at the ocean every summer about 6 years in a row, along with playing soccer and being on a swim team.
When I was in high school I was active in a music band (keyboard and guitar). I really need to get back into that more. One of these years I'm going to get some of my music together on a CD. Ah, heck, I've been telling myself that, though, for about 10 years now. My parents like it when I visit their piano from time to time, though, which is fun. That's where my/their/our dog is on some of the last legs of its 13 year life-span. Pretty funny and relaxing, actually, to see neighborhood kids walking right past our gate and for the half-deaf little canine (pure bred mutt) to NOT go ballistic with the acoustic demolition so common in earlier years. It's interesting going back to that house (it's got a pool which gets used sometimes).
Thinking about the more recent past, one of the reasons I started this site was that a few summers ago I was disabled by a health condition that kept me at home for many months. At the time I was without insurance and I went WAY into debt with multiple emergency room visits. I felt scared and alone, and it really crystallized in my mind how many people there are out there in need of health information and support, regarding many topics. Obesity is particularly of concern to me. I've seen so much psychological abuse of people with this genetic & biological disease by insurers and even health care workers. A relative of mine had a bad time with severe sleep apnea, and it seemed like the health system didn't do a very good job helping him.
Writing on this topic now, I find myself feeling kind of nostalgic. Over the past 30 months, I've been fortunate enough to have gotten to know perhaps 300 people on this site (of the 50,000 who have come through here as official members). Of these, many have gone on to achieve great feats of physical and emotional self transformation. Several, however, passed away due to inadequate attention given to their health problems. I've kept many of their profiles up as reminders to myself. It really drives home the point (to me, and hopefully to some of you) of how we need to stick together to help one another with information and support.
We're all capable of self-reliance and great proficiency in discovering and actualizing our potentials and talent, but the monsters of depression and helplessness are forever out there, rearing their ugly heads. What really bugs me is when they stay too long.
I think we're all capable of greatness and happiness in life, and that getting knocked down temporarily by life's distractions is part of the growth process. This is all good. What really bugs me, though, is how easy it is, sometimes, to get stuck in the disability phase. Life is never perfect and we all have our problems to work out, but it just isn't right that people should have to suffer from discrimination when a supportive community might be right around the corner. It isn't right that indifferent bureaucracies should inflict such abject disrespect upon the public. It really bugs me that people with curable medical conditions are often left in ignorance and treated with cruelty. We've got enough things in live to fear as it is. I find it ridiculous in the age of the internet for there to still be SOOOOOOOO many people still isolated from companionship, wisdom, insight, and support.
So, that's more or less what I'm all about with this web site. Now, reading back over what I just wrote, I'm thinking of some of you who I know who have had really smooth enough sailing through the entire bariatric surgery process. Presumably my words above might come off to some of you as melodramatic -- and where this is the case I suppose that's a great sign.
There is a lot of fun to be had here, I think, provided that resources are available. I started this site as hobby 2-3 years ago. I remember watching with glee when the membership count passed a whopping 500 members! (Now I might pick up half that many in a single day). What I never expected getting into with this site when I first started it was the never-ending clamor for more features and/or feature fixing (I never had any formal training with computer programming and have surely been a bit sloppy here and there teaching myself along the way). Starting about 18 months ago, I found myself volunteering literally 100 hours a week on the site. It was hands down the most meaningful and rewarding thing I could think of being involved with, but after turning away paid web programming work long enough, and with my school and medical debts still unpaid, it was quite a challenge. Fortunately in more recent months I've had additional help from family and volunteers and ... gasp ... official "staff" ... in keeping things going here. We're happy to learn of any surgeons or bariatric centers with an interest in financially supporting us. As our team becomes more organized, we hope to offer increasing opportunities for rewarding participation from anyone who wants to help out.
For an ongoing list of things you could do, please click here: http://www.obesityhelp.com/morbidobesity/howucanhelp.phtml http://www.obesityhelp.com/morbidobesity/howucanhelp.phtml <-- the link there might be invisible if you've already been there.
Anyway, that's some information about me and where this community came from. I spend most of my times behind the scenes working on all kinds of programming and database things that need to be taken care of least the entire site grind to a halt. I'm going to try to make it more of a point to pull myself away more often to stop by the chat rooms and message boards at least once or twice a day.
Thank you so much for participating in our community here. I'm truly grateful to you all.
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