Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Band Myth #5

Equating side effects with a properly working band is very common, and potentially very harmful. The two most significant signs of the band’s proper functioning are (1) early satiety and (2) prolonged satiety. Those signs are rarely expressed in large, bold, uppercase letters, such as


Those signs won’t be accompanied by clanging bells or flashing lights, either. In fact, the less noise and distraction (such as “Why don’t I have stuck episodes?”), the more likely you are to be able to recognize early and prolonged satiety. 

Before I tell you why the no side effects = broken band worry is a sign of mythical thinking, let’s make sure we agree on the definition of a side effect, and how that relates to complications. A side effect is an unintentional or unwanted effect of a medical treatment, and it’s usually exceeded (or at least balanced) by the benefits (the intentional, wanted effects) of that treatment. For example, antibiotics can cause diarrhea. That’s an unpleasant side effect, but an untreated infection can have far worse consequences for the patient. Side effects can often be managed by tweaking or changing the treatment, and they are rarely worse than the original condition.  
A complication, on the other hand, is a more acute, serious consequence of a medical treatment, and usually needs a more aggressive approach, including surgery to fix the problem. Now let’s go back to the antibiotic example. An allergic, anaphylactic reaction to the antibiotic can be fatal without prompt medical treatment. That’s a complication, and it’s far worse than the original condition.  

So in the context of all that, it seems strange to me when bandsters long for side effects like regurgitation (PB’s), stuck episodes, and sliming. Instead of looking for more subtle clues from their bodies (like early and prolonged satiety), they go looking for problems, and worse than that, they tend to “test” their band with foolish eating and/or overeating, hoping to provoke a side effect that will signal to them that they really do have a band in there. One of the many problems with that approach is that it can also provoke a complication.

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