Reflecting on Rosy Esparza rollercoaster victim and obesity

 In light of the recent death of a woman, Rosy Esparza,  while riding a roller coaster at Six Flags in Texas, I am reminded of all of our patients who come in before surgery with the simplest of dreams:  “I want to pick up my grandchildren, I want to paint my nails, I want to ride a roller coaster….” So many overweight  and obese people are afraid of doing the simplest things, and for good reasons. It is literally dangerous for morbidly overweight people to ride a roller coaster, because the restraining belt isn’t made to safely close properly on the lap.

Roller Coaster Credit : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/20/six-flags-roller-coaster-death-investigated_n_3628204.html

I am not saying that this is the case in the recent situation at Six Flags.  Although the woman who died was obese, that isn’t necessarily the cause of the accident.  But I triggered in my memory of all those conversations with OUR patients where they expressed a desire to do things that the rest of the world takes for granted.
I think that is one of the reasons I am so passionate about what Dr. Waldrep and I do to help patients achieve their weight loss goals and weight management.  It might not seem grand or exciting… but facilitating someone to have weight loss surgery is like helping someone to gain back their life. We have learned from our patients and through personal experience just how drastic the toll obesity can take on daily living and activities.
Some of my favorite clients have expressed not only an increased energy after surgery (imagine carrying around 10 ten pound bowling balls and being able to finally set them down!) but also the release of fear and shame associated with being obese.  I know that patients, typically afraid of  flying, can finally get on a plane – simply because they don’t have to face the embarrassment of asking for a seat belt extender.  I wonder in the back of my head if Rosy Esparza didn’t wonder if the restraining belt didn’t seem to slide into place as it should, but was perhaps too embarrassed to bring it to anyone’s attention; fearing the shame of being led of the roller coaster because they determined she was ‘too fat” to safely ride it. Just a thought….
Regardless, my prayers go out to the family.  I cannot help but admire a woman who obviously lived her life to the fullest and had many people who loved her.
~From the desk of Lisa Waldep, CURE Program’s Certified Professional Coach & Psychology of Eating Specialist
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