Q: Charlie how are you feeling?
CW: I'm feeling great, I feel I need local authority on this whole deal
Q: Charlie did you have the band procedure, the open procedure, or the rule NY?
CW: I went in for just the bypass. They originally did it arthroscopically, but then after 48 of bleeding they had to go back in and cut me.
Q: So it was the permanent procedure, opposed to the band, which is a temporary procedure?
CW: Definitely, it was the permanent procedure.
Q: What was your desire for leaving the day of the surgery?
CW: I didn't have a desire to leave the day of the surgery, nor did I leave the day of the surgery.
Q: When did you leave?
CW: I actually never left to tell you the truth. I went into recovery upstairs that evening, and had some trouble breathing, and ended up in intensive care, and then on Sunday night I went back in and got operated on.
Q: Where exactly were you bleeding from?
CW: I'm oblivious to a lot of those things, and this conference call is not going to be about my whole medical history or what's happened here. This is more about my return to the Patriots, and my health as it stands, and rather than get to the details of my whole ordeal, I would rather get to how it deals with the Patriots. So if we want to get to Charlie Weis as it relates to the Patriots then lets get to it.
Q: What are or aren't you able to do as far as your coaching abilities?
CW: Fortunately, the fog cleared up in my mind the first week of July, and that was the first thing that I really got back. Then as you go through the medical condition that I went through, which was pretty bad, the next thing you're trying to do is get your energy level back up which is been improving dramatically by the day. The last side bar was this myopothy that I ended getting in both my feet, where I have a numbness in both my feet. I'm treating this season as if I have a broken leg, what would I have to do if my leg was broken? I'd have to coach in a golf cart. I'd have to get around on either crutches or a walker, and that's how I'm really treating this season because that's really the way it's going to be. As my energy level has gotten good enough, my doctor cleared me to start going to meetings last night which I did, which I thought was a good thing. As a matter of fact, on Saturday afternoon I popped in on a few coaches to kind of get the welcome out of the way. I've been enough of a distraction with this whole ordeal, and the last thing I wanted to be was a distraction to the Patriots.
Q: What is the timetable of your return on the field
CW: I don't want to give one of those coaches analogies where I'm taking it day by day, and I'm just trying to get back as quick as I can, but that really is a true, true answer. I have a doctor whose monitoring me named Joe Ameral, who is the head of Rhode Island Hospital. Between him, and Jim Whalen, the team doctors we're going to make sure we don't push me too fast, but I'm really anxious and I can't get back fast enough. We just want to make that although I'm healthy, minus my feet, I'm healthy enough to resume plenty of work. We just want to make sure that there is no set back, because the real goal is to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 9th. It isn't how well I can perform against the New York Giants on August 10th.
Q: Would you do this again?
CW: Absolutely not. I wouldn't even think twice about it. I know it was portrayed that the reason I wanted to do this was to get head coaching job, but in reality I had gone to six doctors that know me well, some of them friends, some of them professionally, and I explained to them my consideration of having this operation done and all six of them said do it. They all were looking at me in the long run, not the short term saying that they thought I had this weight problem most of my life, I had tried every diet known to man, and they felt after the research I had done, and what they new about gastric bypass this would only do well by me and my family in the long run, and that's the only reason I had it done. All those side bars and other things that come with it, that's great, but in reality as healthy as I am when you're over 300 pounds you're over 300 pounds, and there comes a time when that catches up with you. I just felt at 46 years old it was time to do something, and I obviously wasn't getting it done on my own.
Q: The only reason you wouldn't do it again is because of the health complications?
CW: Obviously. This doesn't mean that the research doesn't say do it, based on my weight problems. When you almost die and you cant walk, there are two good reasons to say hey find another way.
Q: Besides not being able to walk, whatever every day life complications did you have it?
CW: That's it. It's driving my wife crazy, she can't get me out of here fast enough. Actually she's been a godsend. If it hadn't been for my wife having to suffer through this and holding the family together, to be honest with you I'm in really good shape. I've lost a lot of weight, I feel a lot thinner, I feel a lot healthier as far as that stuff goes. There has been a lot of good things that came with this but the bottom line is the negative things that came with it we're just trying to overcome it. I finally have gotten into a mental frame of mind where its time to get back to work, so I'm going to swear at this point I'm almost apologetic to the Patriots for being a distraction. To the coaching staff for them having to scramble, to the players to the ownership. I read that Mortensen article just like you guys, and if I were local beat writer I sit there and say well why don't we know about this, but the bottom line is I'm not trying to be a public forum. I'm just trying to help us win again this year, and to many times coaches give you the patent answer, but the bottom is that's what I want to do. I just want to get back in there and help the offense improve from last year. I really want to apologize to the Patriots organization for being a distraction for the past couple of weeks. It's not really how I like to think to myself as.
Q: Did anyone ever tell you that you have a shot at becoming a head coach if you lose some weight?
CW: I don't want to say that it's a misnomer, because I think that there is a lot of validity in the fact that appearance comes into play. I think its important to priority wise to understand that although I would like to one day envision myself having that opportunity, and no way would that be my main priority in having something this dramatic done, because this decision was not an elective procedure. This was something covered by insurance because they believe you should have it done. I didn't have this done just because I wanted to have this done. I had it done because I really should've had it done, it just didn't turn out right.
Q: So the priority here was more to improve your health long-term?
CW: Exactly. My father died at 56, he had liver damage, he became a diabetic in his fifties, and he had two heart attacks. Now you tell me. You go over 20 years being 300 pounds, you're walking on a dartboard, everything is telling you that it's going to get worse. I think it was time for me and my family to try to do something about it. Everybody can say go to Weight Watchers and all of those things, well guess what I've done all those things, and in the long run what have I done, I gained the weight back. So this was a lifetime decision, just like Ken asked originally did you do the temporary or the permanent. This was a permanent thing that I've done. Never again am I going to sit there and have a prime rib and a baked potato, those days are gone.
Q: Did you lose the weight now, because of complications from the surgery?
CW: I couldn't tell you, because I was oblivious for two weeks, I really was. I was in intensive care for over two weeks.
Q: I'm just wondering if the surgery has helped you lose the weight, or if that was due to complications?
CW: I couldn't tell you, I don't know the answer. When you're in the hospital you just do what they tell you to do, especially when you're not right. Right now though I am right. I'm eating small meals, that's all I can tolerate right now, and that's what the diet dictates. You really can't eat really big meals, and I'm really cautious about that and I'm doing everything by the book. The most important thing though is I just want to get my energy level up to the point where I can work 16 hour days, because that's what we need to do to be successful in this business this time of year.
Q: Did you ever think of taking a year off?
Q: What have you been able to gain from the tapes you've seen so far, and your communication with coach Belichick?
CW: First of all, we need a lot of work. You couldn't talk to me about individuals which I'm not going to do. You could talk about a veteran, or you could talk about a rookie, I just know one thing, Bill and the quarterbacks, and the coaching staff have done a nice job getting this little installation going. We're currently in a state of information overload, and the important thing right now is to get everybody settled down, and get the installation in, and refine what we're doing. There's a lot of good things I've seen out there, but we need to get everyone out there and start building some continuity. Obviously with the upgrades in personnel we expect to drastically improve on the offensive performance of last year, but I think that it's important for me and everyone else to suck it up and get out there. I've noticed that every day I pop in and somebody else isn't out there, me included. We need to get everyone out there and working together so we can get this thing going.
Q: Did coach Rehbeins death have any impact on your decision to have this procedure done?
CW: I'd have to say that there is some truth to that. Last year he and I were having some talks about life insurance, and because of his condition he couldn't get any additional life insurance. This is before his death. I went and applied for a significant amount of life insurance, which actually came through right before he died, but I think that after he died I had a lot of time to reflect on that whole situation, and looking back at my fathers health and what happened with him. My blood pressure is 120/80, no one can ask for better blood pressure than that, but I think the bottom line is looking at Dick [Rehbein] and looking at my father dying at 56 I said 'Charlie wake up, its time to do something about it.' Ken will tell you it's a permanent decision when you end up making that. I think that in the long run this was going to be something that was going to be the better for me physically, and my family in the long run.
Q: Is the numbness still present, and if so what do the doctors say about that?
CW: I still have numbness in both of my feet. In addition to the numbness I now have burning. There's a good and bad to the burning. The good is that your nerves are growing back, the bad part is that it hurts like hell. It's an uncomfortable feeling, but at the same time it means that your nerves are growing back. Nerves grow back very slowly, they grow back about a millimeter a month. With dead nerves like the tests from the neurology showed, which I have in my feet, it might a little bit more time. It might take multiple months instead of multiple weeks, so I'm treating this like this I have a broken leg. I have to coach on golf cart. I don't think you guys will hear me any less just because I'm on a golf cart and not standing.
Q: Is the numbness a normal complication from the surgery?
CW: No. Its one the doctors have never seen from this surgery. They had never seen it before. There's a lot of different versions why that happened, blood loss, drugs, there's a whole bunch of different versions of what caused the numbness. All I know is that I have it, and we've now reached the second stage where we have the pain and the burning. After the pain and the burning comes a sensation where things actually start coming back. Now the time frame on that I don't know, I'm not a doctor, but I do know that I'm not letting numb feet stop me from being productive as a football coach. Right the thing I'm working on really isn't the numbness of the feet, I cant do anything about that, I'm just making sure my energy level gets up so that I can handle 16 hour days.
Q: How do you get your energy level up?
CW: I'm getting plenty of rest, eating right. I've been making sure that I'm getting plenty of rest. Last night I came home, talked to my wife for a little while, got eight hours in. I took a little nap this afternoon, and I'm going back in at about five o'clock today. I think that's been good for my state of mind, getting back in there, and each day we're going to make it a little bit longer.
Q: What are you doctors feelings about your demanding workload?
CW: Actually the prognosis is very good. They are amazed at where I am right now, and they encouraged me to go back. If they would've told me to stay home then I would stay, but they actually encouraged me to get back in there. They're monitoring it, I'm not going to do anything stupid. I'm way ahead of schedule. Bill has been saying we'll see how it goes and I'm going to follow the party line, but I'm really encouraged to how things are going.
Q: Has the team been supportive?
CW: Yeah, they've been great. The coaching staff, the management and the team. The quarterbacks, if they don't stop over they call everyday, which pumps you up and keeps you going. The coaching staff is always calling or stopping by. It's been good from Mr. Kraft on down, it's been great. Its time for me to own up to my end of the bargain and start helping and not be a distraction, and that's all I want to do. I want to get back to work, I want to help us get better, and I don't want to give you guys a bunch a garbage answers that you don't want to hear. I'm telling you the truth, its time for me to get back in there and help us get better