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Weigh-in time

September 28, 2009
by Kathleen Mears
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We residents are weighed at least once a month. I had to learn to get used to that when I came here. I was weighed before, but it was usually at a medical facility on a roll-on scales. I was seldom weighed every month. I never liked it that someone else had to hear me sigh when I saw my weight. But then, I have not been able to weigh myself on my own in decades.

When I came here, they weighed me on a chair scales in the shower room. Since I am quadriplegic, it was rather difficult to sit on the scales and hold my feet up to get an accurate weight. I always cringed because at least two aides were there to verify my weight.

In a couple of years the facility progressed to a roll-on scales. I was a bit dubious about it because it was run by batteries. That just did not seem like a good system to me. They also moved that scales from place to place. Sometimes on weight day there was a line of residents waiting.

For a while the restorative aide weighed us. I wanted to be weighed at the same time of day each month to help assure that we got an accurate weight. I was also pleased that the aide tested the scales with a weight each time before she weighed us.

She also made getting weighed fun. I never felt she told everybody what I weighed. But I knew it was right there in the chart, where anyone allowed could look.

If we gain or lose more than five pounds, we have to be reweighed. At some point when I was trying to lose weight, I began to be weighed weekly. Being weighed weekly made me stay truthful to myself about what I ate. I also watched my calories better when I had to face the scales each week.

I was also able to monitor exactly what happened with my weight. Usually I would gain if I had a urinary tract infection. I assumed that an infection caused me to retain fluid. Then, after a course of antibiotics, the swelling went down and along with it the weight.

I learned the impact of eating an extra 100 or 200 calories a day during the holidays. That behavior resulted in a five- or six-pound weight gain. Those extra pounds never came off as easily as they went on.

Even though I feel we live in a bubble here where everyone knows everything about us, facing the scales once a month keeps me on track.

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Kathleen Mears

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Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...