Juan José turned 52 on Wednesday, a day that he spent in the Clínico hospital without being able to leave his bed. Now 300 kilos, he can no longer get up by himself. His morbid obesity means that he has spent most of the past four or five years at home, rarely going out. He was even unable to attend his own mother's funeral.
He also has anxiety and depression, which have contributed to his massive weight gain in the last year which has, in turn, prevented him from going to the doctor who was keeping his mental health in check.
According to his sister, Lola, Juan José was generally able to look after himself but that his state deteriorated rapidly in recent days.
The alarm was raised several days ago after Juan José made a call to the Cadena Ser radio station in which he told them that he had been unable to leave his bed for more than a week and was “unable to change position due to his weight.” He had already contacted the emergency services, who were used to dealing with him, but was told that as he was not an emergency case, he would have to wait.
Due to the high-profile nature of the case, both district councillor Teresa Porras and obesity specialist Doctor José Rivas visited his home first thing on Monday morning. After the doctor's examination found “fluid on his lungs”, it was decided that he needed to be taken to hospital.
Soon afterwards, eight firemen, local police and a team of local social services employees, arrived at his house in order to take him to hospital. It was a difficult operation, as the firemen had to be gentle and administer oxygen due to his reduced lung function. What's more, the bed which awaited him had a maximum capacity of 250 kilos so needed to be adapted.
Now, Juan José has the opportunity to improve his quality of life and regain his mobility. The hospital has put him on a low-calorie diet that is designed to help him lose between 60 and 70 kilos, which is needed before he can undergo bariatric surgery to decrease his stomach capacity.
“The doctors have put me on a diet of astronaut's food: I have to follow it to the letter. It is nutritionally balanced, with low-calorie content,” Juan José told SUR from his individual room, after he had spent over 24 hours under emergency observation.
“I'm aware that it can't go on like this. Therefore, I'm not going to let anyone bring me food that is not approved by the hospital,” he said. “I don't know how long I'll be in hospital for or how soon they can operate on me. The doctors told me that the faster I can recover the better, as I will be able to regain quality of life.”
Juan José expressed his thanks for the help of José Luis, his doctor at the Cruz del Humilladero health centre. “He has encouraged me and helped me to come to hospital. I would also like to thank Dr Juan Garcia Arnés, who has spent the last few years treating my obesity at Carlos Haya hospital,” he said.
Juan José was stabilised on his first day at hospital, and is undergoing a series of tests, as well as being put on a course of antibiotics and anti-inflammatories.