SAN NICOLAS DE LOS GARZA, Mexico — When you weigh 800 pounds, you need a forklift and a tow truck to go for a Sunday picnic. Unfortunately for Monterrey's famous large man, Manuel Uribe, 42, his first such jaunt in five years was canceled by doctors after a freak accident en route to La Boca dam, a popular weekend destination near this northern Mexican city.
The sunshade on his specially reinforced bed, which was propped on a flatbed tow truck big enough for a bus, was knocked off by a low underpass, a steel beam narrowly missing Uribe's body.
Doctors checked his pulse, which was racing, and said his blood pressure fell.
"He can't recover that easily from a scare like that," said Silvia Orozco, one of his doctors.
It was hard to tell who was the most disappointed. Uribe was celebrating two years on a special diet, which is said to have shaved off some 400 pounds. His girlfriend, Claudia Solís, was celebrating her 38th birthday.
The township of Santiago, where the dam is located, had a feast planned, in part to impress the half-dozen foreign TV crews that have been following Uribe's story since he first appeared on Mexican television some two years ago.
Uribe weighed 660 pounds about five years ago, said Gustavo Orozco, another of his doctors. An operation to remove about 150 pounds left him bedridden, and he eventually reached 1,230 pounds, Orozco said. There is some debate over how much weight Uribe continues to lose, however.
"No one really knows," said Stephanie Krüger of German Focus TV, who has been following Uribe for two years.
TV crews from France, England, Italy and the United States were on hand Sunday, said Ana María Giacosa, who translates for the crews.
A notice on the window to the Uribe family business noted that Discovery Channel USA was filming a documentary tentatively titled "Manuel's Story."
"We've sold him to all of Europe," Krüger said. "Germans just love to see him."
She said that last year Uribe weighed in at around 800 pounds, a figure the Associated Press published last March.
"He used to be bigger," said Elodia Islas, 54, a neighbor who has known Uribe since he was a boy. "Now he can move."
But he still cannot walk.
Sunday morning, a forklift lifted Uribe out of his home for his first public appearance in almost a year. His steel frame bed was pulled onto the back of the flatbed tow truck, and a large sunshade — advertising the town of Santiago — was placed on top of the bed. A low overpass knocked it off about 15 minutes into the trip to the reservoir.
Uribe insisted on continuing but admitted the accident scared him.
"I'm a bit sad," he said. "But my safety and my physical state come first."
His doctors said he might have an operation to remove huge tumors on his legs in July, which may get him back on his feet.
"That's what we hope, that he walks," said Julio Martínez, a driver for the family. "It's up to him."
Jeebus... eat a carrot once and while...