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S06.E08: Robert's Story


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With the support of his fiancée, Kathryn, Robert turns to Dr. Now in a desperate attempt to save his life. He tries to reverse a lifelong food addiction that has left him bedbound,, saddled with grotesque lymphedema and nearly 900 pounds.  

This is the regular episode thread.  It will open after the US East Coast showing is over. 

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A reminder from the Mod note:

Let's avoid discussing how money is being snatched from the public's wallet for the participants unless it’s specifically revealed on the show. Anything else is pure speculation not to mention also a slippery slope toward talking politics.

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4 minutes ago, dbell1 said:

And now we're here. I never knew Rob, just a Facebook post once after I'd taken Kathryn out one time. She spent a lot of time fighting to keep him in the care center here, they couldn't get him in the MRI to check the leg because of his size. She was devastated when the hospital was going to send him to the nursing home. The show was his last chance.

DBELL1, how is Kathryn doing? How long ago did this all happen?

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Not for nothing they call it MORBID obesity. It is a statistical certainty that if they run this program long enough, somebody will die. Others may have already died, but Robert’s family is the first to allow the show to be broadcast as a “tribute.” Other families, even if they had sign prior waivers, threatened to sue if a snuff film was broadcast.

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2 minutes ago, LocalGovt said:

I dozed off for the last 20 minutes of the show and woke up right when the screen flashed that Robert had passed away.  What happened??

He had a heart attack.

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Wow. That was a shocker. I thought with all the progress Robert was making that this would have a nice ending for all involved. I actually gasped when I read what happened to him. Oh, how I feel for his mother having lost two sons so young. It's rare that I want to hug the people on this show but I did tonight. My sincere sympathy goes out to all who live to cherish his memory.

The hotel where Robert fell isn't far from where I live. The EMTs were from Botetourt County, the neighboring county to the south. It was nice to see them well represented.

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6 minutes ago, CocoaGoddess said:

As a side note, child molesters (Robert was a victim) can truly rot in hell. 

Amen to that! When I attended OA, I found that most of the compulsive over eaters had been victims of childhood sexual abuse.  People suffering from anorexia and bulimia also attend OA meetings, by the way. But it was primarily the compulsive over eaters that were survivors of sexual abuse.

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It's doubly tragic because he was doing so well until the lymphadema surgery.  He was trying hard, losing the weight, doing the exercise.  You couldn't have asked for a better patient.  Then it all went to crap after that surgery.  I really thought this was going to be one of the great success stories.

 

I need to hug my kitties.

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So very sad. Again, unless it wasn't shown, why no drug treatment or therapy? In past shows when sexual abuse, depression, or any other awful childhood trauma is mentioned, Dr. Now always suggests therapy. Maybe he was too far gone but I have to wonder if he would have gotten out of bed and began to walk or exercise things could have turned out differently.

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2 minutes ago, Kid said:

Amen to that! When I attended OA, I found that most of the compulsive over eaters had been victims of childhood sexual abuse.  People suffering from anorexia and bulimia also attend OA meetings, by the way. But it was primarily the compulsive over eaters that were survivors of sexual abuse.

How sad. I guess food becomes a way to escape? As a sexual abuse survivor, and a child who was given the bare minimum of food, and beaten for "sneaking" food, I guess I'm an exception. I've never been a big eater since I left home. My appetite is minimal. It's like I got used to not having enough to eat, so I just keep doing the minimal eating. 

I hope the abuser of Robert rots in hell. One of my abusers is already there waiting for him. 

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Oh man this was sad. I was hoping for one of those outcomes where he totally kicked ass. He was doing so well. He looks so much like my brother. Even his mannerisms reminded me of him. My brother is bipolar with psychosis and he’s probably well over 400lbs. He’s only 33 but ending up like Robert is a very real possibility. But I can’t save him. Kathryn couldn’t save Robert. He tried but unfortunately it was too late. She seems like a lovely person and I wish her happiness. 

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49 minutes ago, dbell1 said:

She was back home in December. Since then, she's getting her life back together. It's been tough, she had to do the voiceovers a few weeks ago, said it was like reliving everything.

She was amazing at the service. Gave a great eulogy. 

Lots of people wore orange, and there were testimonials about how many people he touched. He lived on his phone. 

Kathryn is going to the gym every day and is down almost 50 pounds. She's stronger mentally and physically than she was when I first met her. 

I'm glad to hear she's doing better. That was a lot for one person to do.

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Glad to hear that Katheryn is working on getting stronger and healthier herself after all this.  She really deserves a decent life after spending the last 13 years/however many she did, taking care of Robert.  I'd say for every jug of urine she had to help him fill, she deserves 1 really great year.  Poor woman.

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1 minute ago, Gbb said:

Robert referred to his abuser as a “boy” from the neighborhood. It’s very likely that boy was being (or had been) sexually abused as well and was mimicking what was done to him. That’s no said to excuse it, but my first thought was that there likely were 2 victims there. 

 

You may be right. I hadn't really thought about that. My abusers were all adults, and I guess I look at it from that point of view. But if it was a boy of juvenile age, you may indeed be correct.  

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I so expected mr Aw My Lags to be the first one to pass while on Dr Now’s program. Oh well. Sad Robert didn’t make it. I’m sure refusing to get up because they wouldn’t give him his drugs didn’t help him. RIP.

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18 minutes ago, QuinnInND said:

You may be right. I hadn't really thought about that. My abusers were all adults, and I guess I look at it from that point of view. But if it was a boy of juvenile age, you may indeed be correct.  

I’m very sorry for what you went through. 

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3 hours ago, dbell1 said:

She was back home in December. Since then, she's getting her life back together. It's been tough, she had to do the voiceovers a few weeks ago, said it was like reliving everything.

She was amazing at the service. Gave a great eulogy. 

Lots of people wore orange, and there were testimonials about how many people he touched. He lived on his phone. 

Kathryn is going to the gym every day and is down almost 50 pounds. She's stronger mentally and physically than she was when I first met her. 

Please extend our sympathies. Truly very sad- I want her to get healthier mentally and physically to live her best life from here on out. 

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What a heart wrenching episode. Kathryn did everything humanly possible to drag him through this process. She put him first always and she should never feel like she didn’t do enough. Her selflessness and dedication to his recovery was put on display for all to see.

Her first meetup with the mother after Robert’s passing really triggered my emotions, but when they both met with Dr. Nowzaradan and he showed such gentle kindness to them both I just lost it.

i found it very eerie that Robert seemed to have a sense that he wasn’t going to make it through the night. It didn’t seem fair that he could have lost 350 or so pounds in a year (the most progress I’d ever seen in a Dr. Now patient, especially without gastric surgery) and it wasn’t enough to save him.

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(edited)

That outcome was like a gut punch. Honestly we probably get "lucky" in terms of who has filmed this show because many of these people don't make it, have big complications and lots of much healthier people go through surgery and it seems to set them down a bad path or kills them. Dr. Now says a lot that things are very dangerous but it's easy to forget since most of them make it through the procedures okay. My own father was put under for surgery related to cancer and he never woke up because he had a stroke at some point. It's awful.

I know very well that life isn't fair but when you see people like Lisa who refuses to change or do work or Steven who is a sociopath who legit ruins lives and they're still kicking and someone who really seemed to be doing well doesn't make it, it's just depressing. Especially when you see that so many of this stuff stems from childhood trauma. Yes, it's ultimately on them how they deal with it, but if you watch any kind of "real life/reality" type shows with real people you learn firsthand how much bad childhoods ruin people's lives in the end. I'm very sad for his family. Kathyrn crying because nobody ever wanted to help and just said mean things and they had 4 years of people saying no...ouch. I wonder if things would be different if they'd met Dr. Now 4 years ago.

Also, towards then end at the second rehab I think you could see the change in Rob. The spark was completely gone. I wonder if it was the surgery or the pain his brain was tricking him into having when he didn't have it that was too much in the end. I also bet it was hard to distinguish what was him not trying and what was his body starting to give out. That voiceover from Dr. Now about how one thing can happen to start causing his body to fail and they wouldn't be able to help him is...ouch. I wonder how many patients he's seen this happen to. I can't imagine how traumatic it was for Kathryn to be there as he had a heart attack and died. That poor woman. She's going to be reliving that day for a long time.

Edited by missnoa
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17 minutes ago, Armchair Critic said:

Robert reminded me of the actor Saul Rubinek

I was thinking the same thing the entire time.

 

His body was a really weird shape at the beginning.  He looked like a big pancake at the beginning.

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so wait--does this mean all the shows are "voice overed" after the fact--it hard to beleive some of the more unpleasant participants (lisa, etc) would be willing to do that.

kathyrn was a saint, I felt bad for her when she started to cry when he couldnt get through the hotel hall..

also, hope after he switched rooms they changed the sheets .

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8 hours ago, ThisGirlAsh said:

I almost felt like this episode was too positive to be true once the weight was coming off.  Very sad about how it all ended.

 

Side note:  I will never understand why people who work so hard like Robert die and trash like Lisa can stay alive with her Doritos bag maggot folds.  Life isn't fair.

I was thinking the same thing, not anything to complain about at all concerning Robert or his girlfriend. The only thing that irritated me was how that friend who helped them move to Houston, the guy, just STOOD there and watched Kathryn struggle to pull Rob out of his chair and so forth. I wanted to say to him, "Geeez, be a gentleman, help her ." He did this more than once in the show. 

5 hours ago, AvoidinDaChubRub said:

A sad outcome. 

I found it odd after his surgery that he became more and more angry... but now I think maybe he sensed the end coming and was trying to push people away. :(

As a person with a heart condition, I understood Rob's change in personality towards the end. You have days where you are too weak to even move and it does change how you deal with things a lot. I can't help but wonder with all that weakness and seemingly to "not care", did he have any work ups at that point, like a recent EKG?

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I know Kathryn's friend is posting here but I have to say I don't view her as a saint, she was constantly complaining and playing martyr. Yes it must have been a miserable existence for her but it was her choice to stay with him. Sad episode.

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1 hour ago, AnnaBaptist said:

This was very sad to watch, but that is reality. Pretty much all of the people on these shows are going to die way earlier than the normal life expectancy. I "liked" this episode because Dr. Now talked briefly about how doctors go for the quick fix and prescribe drugs to alleviate symptoms, but often do not address the underlying causes. Did Robert ever go to therapy before seeing Dr. Now? Robert was taking an array of drugs that rival what people in nursing homes in their 80s and 90s take. My father in his 90s did not take anything like that amount of drugs until old age kicked in and one thing started failing after another. Robert's body was like that of a 90-year-old in that it was only a matter of time before systems would shut down. 

This episode was good in that it had some nuance. Robert had some good qualities and some not-so-good ones, and that showed in the episode. I never want anyone to die, but he and Kathryn were preferable to watch than one-dimensional (emotionally) Lisa.

As to the bolded statement ^^ - I came here to say the same thing. Sadly, it's a strong dynamic. The patient wants relief, and rarely wants to undertake a massive (or even minor) lifestyle change to deal with the problem, the physician has an ethical obligation to relieve suffering, there's a medication that can help immediately, so bingo, patient gets a scrip and the circus begins. 

I missed part of the episode, and came back in as Robert was getting the surgery, and then learned he had the painkiller addiction going on. IIRC, every episode includes some VO from Dr. Now about the dangers of surgery on these super-morbidly-obese patients. I confess, at that point I tend to just mentally nod, and go "yeah, we know, we know." Well, this time we got to see someone who didn't make it very far past the surgery. The adjective "morbid" about such obesity, is used for a reason. 

I also agree with @AnnaBaptist, Robert was a guy with strengths and weaknesses. He was articulate, and though I can't recall an example on the episode, he struck me as someone with a sense of humor. I'm sorry his body wore out under the strain and his journey here was cut short. RIP, guy. 

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This was so sad.  I was reading the Live Chat last night, but didn't participate.  Someone pointed out that the voiceover was the fiance and that it probably meant he had died.  Everyone was saying nobody had died on the show before and I had distinctly remembered an episode featuring a Haitian woman that died, so I Googled and it turned out it was a different but similar TLC show called 600 Pound Mom

https://radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/12/600-pound-mom-eats-death-video-photos-dominique-lanoise/

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3 minutes ago, Momof2boyz said:

This was so sad.  I was reading the Live Chat last night, but didn't participate.  Someone pointed out that the voiceover was the fiance and that it probably meant he had died.  Everyone was saying nobody had died on the show before and I had distinctly remembered an episode featuring a Haitian woman that died, so I Googled and it turned out it was a different but similar TLC show called 600 Pound Mom

https://radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/12/600-pound-mom-eats-death-video-photos-dominique-lanoise/

I thought a few years ago, there was a younger guy who also died. 

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2 minutes ago, Awfarmington said:

I thought a few years ago, there was a younger guy who also died. 

Yes - I don't remember his name, but I believe he died later, after the episode filmed and aired.

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1 minute ago, Momof2boyz said:

Yes - I don't remember his name, but I believe he died later, after the episode filmed and aired.

I know Henry Foots died (not sure if it was during or after filming) but I have a vague recollection of a younger white guy who died during filming. It was TLC, but possibly one of their other obesity shows. The details are muddy but one of the things he was struggling with was severe pneumonia.

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