“My 600 Lb. Life” season 5 presents the case of 46 year-old James of Paducah, Kentucky on Wednesday night March 15 on TLC. Imprisoned in a body that weighs almost 800 lbs. immobile and trapped in a double-wide trailer, James has finally decided to get real about his health. Called super-morbidly obese, he’s been off his feet for a long time, but only recently has he been moved to do something about it.
Why? Well, because he can no longer walk or even stand, he has developed a severe case of cellulitis. In addition to be unable to get up, he can no longer move his legs. In the preview clip posted below, listen as James fears for the health of his own father, yet can do nothing to help if that becomes necessary. RECAP posted below
His dad is his only living parent. James lost his mother when he was in high school and his comfort eating began in earnest. Once an ankle injury took him off his feet, things grew worse. He could be literally at death’s door, but there’s one huge factor holding him back from making the trip to Houston to see Dr. Nowzaradan. He’s unsure if he’ll live through the trip from Kentucky.
This season on “My 600 Lb. Life” all episodes have been two-hours in length and presented details of extreme cases. Last week, we got the first episode that covered a full two years in the life of a patient named Tanisha. She was unable to discipline herself and make progress on an eating program until 18 months after her first appointment with Dr. Now.
Part of her problem was the doctor’s insistence that she lose a lot of weight before she could be considered for surgery. He asks the same from all patients to see if they can change their behavior, because surgery alone won’t stop the cravings and emotional eating With James weighing almost 200 lbs. more than Tanisha and suffering from cellulitis, we know he’ll be asked to do the same. The only question is how much he’ll be asked to lose.
Come back Thursday morning for a recap of the episode.
Not since the story of Penny, has an episode frustrated us like this. James K and girlfriend Lisa were alternately sympathetic people and maddeningly clueless. While we watched them lie about how much food the sick man consumed, it was blatant and unusual enough to make you feel like they were in a trance,
Bayley, the couple’s daughter seemed like the only one who was trying to speak above the noise and warn her father and mother that James would die if they kept feeding him the way they did.
James longed for his mother who was taken away from him early in life due to her alcoholism. He was unable to resume any kind of relationship with her before she passed away. He and his brother were sent to live with his grandmother.
He was close to his dad, but when the man remarried, James felt even more shunted aside. That’s because he suddenly had a lot of step-siblings. Isolated more and more by his weight, his only friend became Lisa, who just happened to live nearby. She was married with children, but the two began an affair.
They had two children together, who were only acknowledged as his years after their birth. While he was morbidly obese during his early years with James, the pounds came quicker once he hurt his foot and became immobilized.
The man was a dictator from his own bed, and once we picked up the story, we learned that Lisa feared his verbal abuse if she didn’t feed him exactly what he wanted. His only hope was getting into Dr. Now’s program and for the first time in years, if ever, the first contact with the doctor was via a video chat.
Without resources to pay for an ambulance and attending medical professionals for the long ride to Houston, James was bedbound. An online plea for money failed, as did local efforts to raise about $15,000. James’ father, still in the picture and came through by refinancing his own home to get his son the money for the trip. The man had just suffered a mild stroke in front of his son, but recovered enough to be of aid.
Each time James had to be moved the screams of “Oh, my leg!” or “Don’t drop me” rang out. You knew he was terrified, and yet because of his attitude, it was difficult to sympathize with him. Then we all learned why we shouldn’t be ashamed of it all. Given the chance to live James and Lisa were unable to make it work.
The only weight he lost was when he spent time in the hospital getting fed only 800 calories a day, while Dr. Now kept the rest of his body as healthy as he could. Nothing was ever done about the open sores on his legs, yet we never heard about an infection. The lies about staying on the eating plan once he left the hospital never stopped.
Everything became an obstacle. Lisa’s car got towed and they didn’t have money to get it out of impound, so their only choices of food were prepared or fast, with places nearby that Lisa could walk to. Could they have cut down on the amount of food he ate? Yes, and some attempts were made, but each time it became difficult to comply with the diet, the couple used it as an excuse to “cheat”, as they called it.
Neither of them realized that he could put on more weight, and he did. So much so, that the doctor hospitalized him again. We’ve never seen Dr. Now as angry and verbally nasty as he was with Lisa and James. Tired of the lies and their inability to understand that 100 % adherence to the program was necessary, he washed his hands of James as he released him from the hospital for the final time.
Without him losing more than 100 pounds, Dr. Now wouldn’t treat him. The doctor did help James get some physical therapy and the end result was getting him into a sitting position for the first time in three years. It wasn’t without his screams and fears, but he was so proud of himself when he finally accomplished it.
That brought vows of him ready to comply with the diet, which we all knew he wouldn’t be able to handle. The sadness of his daughter, never acting up and watching as her parents committed what could be called assisted suicide, was just awful to watch. She’d been taken out of school to help her mother care for her father.
This is a case we’d like to see in a “Where Are They Now” special. Any bets that James K was able to stay alive and help himself?
“My 600 Lb. Life” airs Wednesdays on TLC beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT Image/video credit: TLC, used with permission