Patrick Deuel used to be called the half-ton man. But on Friday, three months after leaving the hospital, Deuel weighed in at 530 pounds - a quarter-of-a-ton.
Deuel, 43, said he has dropped 102 pounds since his January departure from Avera McKennan Hospital, in Sioux Falls, S.D. He's now less than half the 1,072 pounds he weighed when he checked into the hospital last June.
On Friday, Deuel walked outside to greet two doctors visiting his Valentine, Neb. home for the checkup, Deuel said. That's no small feat considering his goal this past Valentine's Day was to take a brief walk with his wife - which he accomplished.
Deuel didn't think he had lost any weight since his release, he said by telephone from his home in north central Nebraska, but the weigh-in proved him wrong.
Since his release from the hospital, Deuel said he's been doing more activity than he had ever dreamed of, walking and even going to a restaurant for his birthday earlier this month. He said he's added some lean muscle mass, thanks to his own therapy program, which consists of leg and arm work. He's also walking daily throughout his house.
All of this movement is new to Deuel, who was housebound for seven years, often spending months in bed. When he checked into the hospital last year, he suffered from heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure and other problems caused by severe obesity.
On Friday, the doctors seemed pleased with Deuel's exercise program, he said, adding that they wanted him to continue with it. But they did suggest he push himself more, he said.
``'Make sure you do just a little more each day,''' Deuel said the doctors told him.
Messages left at the home of Dr. Steve Guse, who had examined Deuel earlier in the day, were not immediately returned Friday. Messages left at the office of Dr. Fred Harris, who led the medical team responsible for Deuel's care, were not immediately returned either.
Deuel now relies on lists to tell him what he should and should not eat. He also lists what he can and cannot eat, because he is missing most of his teeth. He can't eat raw vegetables - which he notes are great for dieters. He shouldn't eat bread, which can quickly fill up his newly shrunken stomach. He said his diet right now consists of protein - such as eggs, meat and tofu and fruit smoothies.
He hasn't kicked his smoking habit yet, going through half-a-pack a day, Deuel said. But that's down from a two-pack a day habit.
Deuel's gastric bypass surgery has been so successful his wife, Edie Deuel, plans to have it done later this year, he said. She weighs about 270 pounds now, Deuel said, adding that she feels heavier as he continues to lose weight.
``The thinner I get, she thinks the heavier she looks. But I still have a ways to go before I get down to her weight,'' Deuel said.
Ideally, Deuel said he'd like to weigh around 240 pounds, which he weighed in the sixth grade. But he's not fixated on the number, he said.
``I'm going to go down until I feel comfortable and I feel like I can go around and go where I want to go and do things that I want to do,'' he said.