Two Little Pills Can Change Everything

When water is destroying your life instead of keeping you afloat.

Zach J. Payne
9 min readJan 15, 2020


Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Somewhere around late October, my body decided to crap out.

It was completely unexpected, considering that I had been doing so much better, health-wise. I’d started my diet, 77 pounds in the two months prior, and was starting to honestly feel better.

The water started sneaking up on me.

I didn’t notice until the day after my birthday, when I got in the car to drive to a doctor’s appointment, in Erie — about a 90 minute drive. It was time for my monthly check-in with the bariatric surgeon, so it was an appointment I was motivated to get to. I got behind the wheel, and I noticed that my right leg couldn’t reach the pedals right. There wasn’t enough space.

So I made sure that the seat was all the way back (it was), and I set off, anyway. I barely made it around the corner before I realized that I couldn’t drive like this. My reaction times were off, my placement was off. It would be too easy to make a mistake that could get somebody hurt.

So I went back home.

My leg was definitely messed up.

But, what you have to understand is, my leg is always messed up.

From the literal moment of my birth, my right leg has been . . . a problem. I was born with a club foot, and when I was fairly young (six months old, I think?) I had a surgery to correct it.

Or, over-correct it, anyway.

The one thing I do remember is, when I was in elementary school, seeing a podiatrist who told me and my mom that my right foot was, essentially a bag of bones.

But it’s not just the foot that’s screwed up. The whole leg juts out at a weird angle. When I walk, it’s not with my feet and knees parallel to each other. My right leg is offset at about a 60° angle.

But that wasn’t the problem this time. My leg was swollen.

I had a cellulitis infection earlier in the year — one that had sent me into the hospital, and one that basically rendered the entire surface of my right shin into an open wound…