At nearly 800-lb, and with an extreme case of cellulitis which affects the skin and underlying tissue, 46-year-old James is unable to stand.
Confined to his bed, in the clip below from this week’s My 600-lb Life on TLC he is distraught at being unable to get up and help his ailing father.
Imprisoned in the trailer he calls home, James’s body is no longer functioning correctly because of the burdens placed on it by his weight.
When his elderly dad suffers a serious health scare, all he can do is talk to emergency responders as he grapples with his situation.
Guilt consumes him because he cannot get up to help the very man who has been caring for him — his dad.
He is visibly frightened for his father as he tells us how much his dad means to him, and that he would not have called paramedics unless there was a true emergency.
Following a consistent pattern on My 600-lb Life episodes of childhood traumas leading to eating disorders, we learn that James suffers from the effects of growing up with a hard-drinking alcoholic mother who died when he was a teen.
Now, as a grown man, his bed has become his entire world.
James sought comfort by constantly overeating. The enormity of his weight was compounded by an injury which further limited his mobility, and the downward spiral continued unabated.
An ankle injury was the fast-ticket to isolation, immobilization and super-morbid obesity.
The other horrific effect of his weight gain is the extreme case of cellulitis. Cellulitis is a skin infection than can go from mild cases to severe and ulcerative open sores and extreme infection if not managed.
It’s frightening and hard to treat on someone with edema (swelling) and who is as large as James, whose lymph glands are not working properly.
The cycle of this infection can go haywire. James is now unable to move, allowing the natural internal flow of fluids to circulate, further swelling and aggravating the cellulitis. He cannot win.
Simply put, the mobility issue is life-and-death stuff for James, not only so he can care for his dad, but so he can live a relatively normal life and make it to the age of 50. He must start moving his legs, and try to stand on them or walk.
Desperate to get his life back, James is determined to get to specialist weight-loss surgeon Dr. Younan Nowzardian in Houston for critical weight loss surgery — but he is hampered by both logistics and finance.
Can James get himself extricated from his double-wide trailer which has imprisoned him for years? Will he make the trip and lose enough weight so that Dr. Nowzardian can approve surgery before his body gives up?
My 600-Lb Life airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on TLC