Thursday, April 9, 2015

TBI Recovery Dance

two steps foward, one step back

I saw my neuropsychologist for an initial interview on Monday.  He is responsible for assessing my ability to return to work, so I was hoping I'd get through the hour long appointment without having any clear-cut issues of apparent incompetence.  I think it went well and he scheduled formal testing for next Thursday and will give me the results on May 5th.

Tuesday, I saw the Speech Language Pathologist for outpatient cognitive therapy because in the rehab hospital I had some areas of weakness in this area.  I performed so well, scoring perfectly on all the tests she gave me, that she said she didn't think I would need to see her anymore.

Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., I went for my brain MRI/MRA.  I've been through these tests many times before and knew it would be loud, so I accepted the ear plugs when offered.  During the actual test, I did fine.  I was a bit dizzy when getting off the table, but within a few minutes I was able to walk easily.  In fact, because it was a beautiful day, I decided to walk a few blocks to save Husband time when he picked me up.  Everything was fine.  By 10 a.m. I had bonafide vertigo and spent the rest of the day in bed.  Today I feel much better.  

Two steps forward, one back seems to be my TBI recovery dance.  I've been lurking on some TBI forums online and realize how very lucky I am.  Most people do the one step forward two steps back, it seems.  I am blessed and I am convinced full recovery will happen.

I know I need to give up control on this...but how?  I'm a control freak and this was not at all on my agenda. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Weekend

Easter weekend was very nice.  During the Easter egg dyeing session on Saturday night, I suggested (as I do every year because my kids are forgetful) that drawing a picture on the egg before dying makes a cool-looking egg.  Daughter drew a nice design.  Son drew a penis.  I should have expected as much.

Son proudly shows off his "penis egg"

Easter morning, we woke up early to devour the candy in the baskets.  Daughter, age 6, found the candy in the trunk of my car while I was at the hospital.  She asked me about it and I told her I was keeping it for the Easter Bunny because he had so much candy to deliver.  I'm not sure if she bought it or not, but she may have decided to play along for fear that she wouldn't receive the candy if she knew the truth.  She seemed happy with her candy and Son enjoyed making a silly face with his krabby patty.  

We all went to church and sat with my mom while Husband sang in the choir.  I made it through all of the hymns standing up and singing my best without getting dizzy, so that is progress.  The kids and I looked great, I think, but here's proof:

After church, we went to Husband's sister's house for an all-Parrott dinner.  Several family members of my brother-in-law's family joined us, as did my mom.  I made a salad from this recipe, except I tripled the recipe and used 2 parts Romaine and one part spinach.  It was very good.  The best part of the dinner was when Sister-in-Law passed out pillows her best friend made all of the grandchildren from my mother-in-law's favorite cat sweatshirt.  She wore that sweatshirt all the time, so it was nice to see it turned into a memory item for the kids.  Here they all are with their pillows:

Exhausted, we came home around 5 and I went right to bed.  It was a fantastic day and spending time with my family was quite healing  I hope you all had a great weekend, too.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fall Down Go Boom

One of my med student advisees sent me this photo, which is now my Facebook profile pic.  Apparently it's a good book, too, and I intend to read it when reading doesn't hurt anymore.  

Since losing weight, I've embraced so many challenges I couldn't attempt before. I've ridden horses, gone down water slides, hiked, ridden my new bike, walked my dog, walked with my kids, climbed steps rather than take the elevator...lots of new things.

On 3/15/15, the kids and I were in Maryland just for a weekend to visit my sister's family.  That day, we decided to go to a roller skating rink.  While I initially thought it might be a bad idea to join the kids, when my sister bought herself a ticket, I thought, "What could go wrong?  It's been 30 years since I've been on skates, but I took lessons as a kid and I was pretty good."  It didn't help that my daughter batted her inch long lashes at me as she asked, "Mama, you're gonna skate too, aren't you?" Well of course I did.

Initially, I made it around the rink once clinging to the arm of a very nice man who skates three times a week and took pity on me when he saw me clinging to the wall.  He recommended I practice for a bit on the carpeted area first.  About 5 minutes later, my legs flew out in front of me and I landed smack on the back of my head.  While I didn't lose consciousness, I knew immediately that something was very wrong.  I told my sister, a physician, I thought I had a concussion and wanted to go to her house.  She took me instead to a local emergency room.

A short helicopter ride later, I was admitted to Washington Hospital Center with a basilar skull fracture, subdural hematoma, subarachnoid bleed and a big old hematoma between my scalp and skull right on the back of my head where I landed.    I think I slept most of the next five days, but I woke up to talk to my husband, who flew in to fetch the kids.   They then transferred me to National Rehab Hospital, which is one of the top facilities in the country. Apparently it is the rehab hospital for celebrities...and me.  I was there five days.  

I was discharged last Wednesday, flew home to Kansas City Thursday and am feeling a bit better every day.  My strength and endurance have improved, my constant headache is less intense and I'm learning to somewhat enjoy the intermittent's like being drunk without that risk of hangover.  I can't drive until cleared by occupational therapy and can't return to work until cleared by neuropsychology.  I'm doing everything my family doctor and neurologist tell me to do and I'm hoping to return to work soon.  When I saw my family doc on Friday, I was gritching about how taking a break from work is very inconvenient right now.  She pointed out that most people with basilar skull fractures die.  I decided to stop complaining then an there.

Here are the things I've learned:

  • Weight loss does not fix innate clumsiness
  • My family, friends and coworkers are amazing people
  • Time off when I want it is great but time off when I don't want it is frustrating
  • Daytime TV stinks
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are not laughing matters
So to all of you, dear readers, if this blog even has readers anymore, I ask you to do whatever possible to protect your noggin.  Wear a helmet when you ride a bike.  Don't do anything silly (like rollerskate for the first time after 30 years).  Also, please tell your loved ones every single day how much they mean to you.  Freak accidents happen.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Proof of Progress

I went to the surgeon today for my one year checkup.  They took my photo before surgery and after.  At the time of the "before" shot, I'd already lost about 20 pounds and was feeling quite good about my accomplishment.  I've now lost 153.4 pounds total and my goal is to be at 180 by my 18 month checkup.  It's going fairly slow now, but I think I'll make it.

I'm so glad I had this surgery.  I'm so, so, so glad.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Busy Week

On July 27, 2014 at approximately 7:15 p.m., my life was made complete.  Son had told me that he'd auditioned for and been awarded a solo in the musical his church drama camp was presenting, and all week I'd worried about it.  Honestly, I'd never heard him sing before.  We are a singing family.  I sing.  Husband sings.  Daughter sings.  But Son a.k.a. "Robby"?  I'd never heard him sing.  He's been in church choir since kindergarten because, well, that's what Parrotts do, but I had no idea if he was just mouthing the words when his choir sang or if he was contributing to the music.  So I worried.  What if he was awful?  What if he had stage fright and couldn't go through with it?  How would I comfort him so and encourage him to try again?

So, as I video recorded this for Husband, who was out of town on the night of the performance, I grew teary-eyed.  My boy can sing and did so in front of 240 people.  I can now die happy...but preferably not too soon.

The next day, the kids and I loaded up the car, picked up my mom and headed to St. Louis to meet up with my brother's family.  They were heading from Atlanta to Crested Butte, CO and were going to be stopping in Kansas City for a couple of days, but we thought it would be fun to get the kids together for a fast and furious 24 hours in another city.

Saturday night, we experienced City Museum.  If you live anywhere in the area or are ever traveling through St. Louis, I cannot recommend this place highly enough.  We are definitely going back.  It's an old shoe factory that has been converted to a playground for kids and adults.  It is loud and chaotic and I was sure I was going to lose one of both of my kids before we got out of there, but I haven't had so much fun in a very long time.  I climbed, slid down slides and laughed as I got bumps, bruises and abrasions.  Did I mention they serve adult beverages?  What could be better?

Daughter and I took this selfie on the ferris wheel on the roof of City Museum

Sister-in-law and I hugged one final time before going down a ten story slide at City Museum
The next day we went to the Gateway Arch.  It's something I've always wanted to do, and the view was groovy, but once was enough.

With my mom and five of her grandkids before we went up into the arch
Wednesday July 2nd was my last day at work.  I'm now 3 days into my 25 days away from clinic and campus.  I'll still need to work, just to get caught up on things I ignored last academic year and prepare for the new one starting the last week in July, but I'll work from home and I might wear my jammies all day long.  That will be goooooooooood.

Yesterday I went to my cousin's for his annual "Fourth of July Cooper Cousin Reunion" at Lake Lotawana, MO.   Some years it is huge. This year it was quite cozy with only 15 of us there.  Son was sick, so he and his dad stayed home, but daughter and I enjoyed the sun and the company.  Later the kids enjoyed setting off firecrackers in the street while the dog and I cowered in the house and tried to avoid the noise.

Girl child "walking on water" at Lake Lotawana

Daughter setting off a smoke bomb

Boy child in KID HEAVEN
Today I had lunch with a nurse from the clinic where I've worked since September and we had a great time getting to know each other.  It's good to meet make new friends and I'm grateful to have someone at my "new clinic" that I can know outside of work.

So long, farewell, dearies...until next time.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

I Have Not Abandoned This Blog

This week I saw a patient who used to see me at the suburban clinic.  When it closed down, she did an internet search to find out where I'd relocated.  She found me and told me that during her search, she found this blog.

To be honest, I'd sorta forgotten about this blog.  Most of my updates are on Facebook now.  For years, I needed, really needed to blog.  It was therapy.  But then I entered therapy with a real live counselor and it helped even more than blogging.  I went through the RNY gastric bypass surgery, lost a lot of weight and gained self-respect and confidence. So, I haven't abandoned this blog, but I don't need it as much as I used to.  This is a very, very good thing and I hope you will celebrate with me.

when I reached "onederland" (from a high weight of 348.8), I thought I'd died and gone to heaven
Since I last wrote...

Professionally, things are going well.  I've settled into the new clinic setting (Downtown Campus of Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center) and have assumed more responsibility in the department in terms of curriculum development.  The University administration encouraged me to apply for the Costin Institute for Osteopathic Medical Educators, so I've attended 3 of 4 long weekend workshops.  The professional networking opportnities of being involved in this program are amazing, and I've learned a lot about what I want in my career.

May 2014 Costin Institute leadership building activity
(we are Cohort X, so we make this sign with every photo)
One of the professional activities that means the most to me (not just this year but EVER) is that the graduating class of 2014 asked me to be one of two faculty hooders at their ceremony.  I hooded about 80 graduates and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

hooding a new osteopathic physician at KCUMB's 2014 graduation
In February, we adopted a dog that my colleague rescued from campus.  He found the dog, a Shihtzu mix, wandering in the parking lot on campus.  The dog was very thin, very dirty and seemed desperate.  My loving colleague, a pediatrician with two dogs of his own, took him home, named him "Gus", got him cleaned up, fed him for six weeks, updated his shots, had him neutered and microchipped, then gave him to us.  The kids' docwho saved Gus couldn't keep him and thought Gus would do well with kids.  Does he ever!  We are thrilled to have this new member of our family.
Gus with hair

Gus after a haircut
On the family front, I am sad to report that we lost my mother-in-law, Norma Parrott, in February.  Her obituary can be read here.  She was a fiercely independent woman who had some health problems in the last year, but she had completely recovered.  Around the times of her surgeries in the past year, she temporarily lost some of her independence and we saw that aging would be hard for her.  At the time of her sudden death from a brain aneurysm at the age of 83, she was living on her own, driving, active in many social groups, playing an involved role in the lives of her five grandchildren and serving as the best mother-in-law EVER.  We are comforted that she likely did not experience much pain or fear when her time came and she did not die alone.  We are also comforted that she got to be with all five grandkids, unexpectedly, when the stars aligned and people without planning gathered in our living room to meet Gus, just four days before she died.

Norma with all five grandkids, Christmas 2013

In April, Husband and I performed at Helzburg Hall at Kauffman Center with a choir in Haydn's Creation. The preparation for this concert was thrilling and more than a little bit exhausting, but it paid off when I experienced what it feels like to perform in such a grand venue.  Here's a review of the concert, if you are really bored.

the choir's view during the concert (before the conductor came up)
the audience view - I'm the one in black

On Easter weekend, we traveled to Minneapolis to attend the wedding of my cousin Mae to Kitty, the other mother of her children.  We were thrilled to attend this wonderful event in my family's life as well as celebrate the progressive political atmosphere that permits people who love each other to commit to marriage in front of God and the world.

the Parrott family before Mae & Kitty's wedding

On the home front, we installed new tile in both of the bathrooms, hard wood floors in the dining room and new carpet on the main floor and upstairs.  To replace the flooring, we first needed to find the floor.  We underwent several weeks of deep cleaning, sorting, tossing, donating and finally are able to enjoy our house a little more than we usually are.  While I don't think it will stay like this for long, we seem to be keeping up with the "every night pickup before going to bed" routine.  That is something so small, but it helps so much.

Both our kids are playing baseball through YMCA this summer.  Boy child is in his first season of kid pitch and girl child is in tee ball.  We have games 2-4 times a week and it is an absolute joy.

girl child "pitching" at her first tee ball game
So that's about it for the (apparently) semi-annual update.  My summer plans are full.  We will do a little bit of travel.  I'm going to see some old friends.  I'm going to get 100% caught up on everything for work so that that the first week of August I can start the year off without the usual panic.  And if you believe that last prediction, then you don't know me very well!

See ya around sometime soonish.  Maybe.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

January 2014 Update

At church, Christmas Eve 2013, with the family

It's cold here in Kansas City.  We just ran a couple errands and the car thermometer told us it was 12 degrees outside.  Wowsa.  They've already called off school for tomorrow because it won't be safe for kids to wait at bus stops.  I just updated our family blog and thought it might be a good time to update this one, too.  That sounds like more fun that writing a lecture, which was my goal for the day.  Procrastination is a way of life.

Lots of administrative changes at work since last I blogged. They don't really affect me that much.  I think it is all good for students, so most of us are just going with the flow.

We have switched clinic locations to a federally qualified health center that is just a couple blocks from our campus.  While I am thrilled to be serving the community that lives close to where we teach our students, the cultural learning curve has been huge.  The patients there speak 36 different languages.  We have 10 full time interpreters, but often they are busy and we must use the a language service by phone.  Like most clinics, we see a lot of people with chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes and hypertension.  Understanding their cultural issues and diet, especially for the recent immigrants, is very important for me.  I found a great site that talks about what a lot of these folks have been through.  For an example, here is the site with all sorts of information about the Karen people.  To be honest, I didn't know the Karen people existed until I started seeing them come through my clinic.  For a relatively educated person, there is a lot I need to learn.

I'm happy to report that the weight loss surgery was a success in terms of improving my health.  I'm currently waiting  on a replacement part for my scale, but as of 12/23 I'd lost 118 pounds.  Here is a before/after comparison.  I took this on 12/16, exactly 5 months post-op, when I'd lost 116 pounds.

More than halfway to goal after 5 months

While I've not started a real exercise plan, I do take the steps at work (up to my third floor office) and have increased my daily activity considerably.  Walking is no problem.  My back pain is gone.  Not just improved, but gone.  My doctor stopped all three blood pressure medicines, both cholesterol medicines and my pre-diabetes medicine.  All of the chronic meds I take now are not weight-related or are vitamins.  That being said, the holidays were extremely difficult.  All of the food, the drinking at parties - I'm almost afraid to step on the scale once I fix it.  But I will, because I'm committed to this process.  Still, I'm checking in at a support group tomorrow night.  I need to talk to people who are walking this same path.

Church remains a huge part of our lives.  All four of us sing in choirs.  Husband and I will audition to sing with the chamber choir at Helzburg Hall in April (Haydn's Creation).  Husband got the chance to sing there last year.  I couldn't because I would miss the last three rehearsals due to work-related travel. As I sat, listening to the beautiful music in that acoustically exquisite venue, I knew that I would do anything for the opportunity should it arise. Wish me luck as I audition in the next couple of weeks.  I really want this experience.

Life is busy always busy for our family.  Husband travels a lot, though it seems he won't leave the country until March this year.  The kids are involved in choirs, sports and scouts.  We hope to put both kids back in swim lessons and enroll the boy in piano lessons.  He's in third grade.  It's time.

That's all I got this time around, folks.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Beautiful Day

Today we've done nothing.  It's been beautiful.

I had a great time trick-or-treating with my kids on Thursday night.  They were a bit wimpy, asked to go home after only an hour and a half, at most 50 houses.  I remember wanting to be out for at least 3 or 4 hours when I was a young kid.  Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

Tomorrow is church, an appointment at the nail salon and then we all have to clean house.  It's really, really bad and the housekeepers are coming Monday. They can't find the counters to wipe or the floor to vaccuum at this point.  We definitely have our work cut out for us.

That's all I got, folks.  Enjoy your November!

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Seems I haven't posted in about six weeks.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Things are perking along with my weight loss.  I weigh every Monday and last week was down 86.6 pounds.  I have been "cheating" a bit and I'm aware of the damage I can do if I slip back into bad habits, so I'm trying to stop that nonsense.  The good thing about losing all this weight? Everything.  I have more energy, I can play with my kids, I can walk, I can stand.  I don't feel like going to bed all the time.  I feel I look "OK" in clothes now.  Yes, I would like to lose 80 more, but if for some reason that doesn't happen, the surgery still will have been a great success.

Husband has been a traveling fool.  India in July, Zurich in August, Mongolia for two weeks in September, then Ghana/Copenhagen for two weeks in October.  He doesn't have any more international trips scheduled yet, but I know they are coming.  I pray my mom continues to be willing to move in while he is gone.  I can't get the kids to and from school most days with my work schedule, so having her here is a lifesaver.

I attended the "Obesity Course" put on by the American Society of Bariatric Physicians in Phoenix.  I'm now a member of this group and look forward to more conferences.  I hope to be a board certified medical bariatrician in 3-4 years.  I learned so much and want to make helping obese people the main feature of my practice.

Speaking of life as a dokter, the university moved me from my suburban clinic to an urban clinic in the heart of downtown.  It is a "safety net" clinic that serves uninsured and Medicaid patients as well as a few insured folks.  The patients there speak 36 languages.  It has been an adjustment (understatement), but I am bound and determined to make it work.   The facility is beautiful and new and 3 blocks from campus, which is very handy.  Several of my "old" patients followed me, so it is great to see some familiar names on my schedule.

Teaching remains my real passion in professional life.  The med students stun me with their insight and dedication.  I remain in awe that I survived med school. As Perri Klass titled her book about med school, it is A Not Entirely Benign Procedure.

Speaking of books, I'm reading a book called Infidel.  Go ahead.  Click on that link and see what it is about.  This story is well-written,  riveting and makes me very, very glad I was born in this country.  I'm about halfway through it and it helps me understand to some degree the culture of Somalia.  I have a lot of Somalian patients now, so this is quite helpful.

My house remains a source of misery for me.  I can't keep it up and we've lately been living in a way that is just plain embarrassing.  I've finally reached my limit, so today I invited 20+ people to join us for Thanksgiving dinner.  It will force me (dare I to clean up this unholy mess.

The kids are great.  Boy child, now in 3rd grade, is well behaved in class according to his teacher, and girl child just learned to tie her shoes.  They both play basketball in the fall, so our home lives revolve around practices and games.  My friends, if you've never been to a Bitty Basketball (preschool age) game, you are missing one of the best things in life.

Tonight, a friend and I saw Enough Said, starring James Gandolfini (RIP) and Julia Louis-Dreyfuss.  It is a gentle romantic comedy and I loved it.  Julia Louis-Dreyfull, best known for Seinfeld, is a comedic genius but she does very well in more serious scenes, too.  Go see it.  You won't be sorry.

So that's it for my brief update.  I'll try to get back to this blog on a more regular basis.  Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Baby Steps

I'm driving again.  That made for a busy Wednesday afternoon and Friday morning of errands.  In between, I crashed.  Couldn't leave the house Thursday during the day but had a healing session of choir practice in the evening.  Today is "hair day." I'm getting mine cut and then taking my daughter to her four hour (every three weeks) session for take down, cleansing, conditioning and put up again.

Seeing doc on Monday - hoping to get back to work soon.

I've lost 57.4 pounds since July 2nd.  That is amazing to me! Sorta worth all the dry heaving and puking and not being able to eat.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Back

Felt a little ill when I went to work last Wednesday.  Abdominal cramps, figured I'd picked up a virus. Went to various meetings, stayed fairly busy.  Was teaching 40 minute small groups from 1-5 when the vomiting started.  Left work at 3 (thanks to an understanding department chair who took over for my teaching duties) and by 9pm I was admitted to the hospital with a small bowel obstruction.  That's obstruction of the small bowel, not a small bowel obstruction.  No, there was nothing small about it. And while I try not to whine too much when I'm sick, I drew the line when I started puking flecks of poop.  That was definitely worthy of loud whining.

Anyhoo, surgery went well and (SCORE!) they repaired my hernia with mesh.  Here I thought I'd have to lose a bunch more weight to have that happen, but apparently the "temporary" hernia repair contributed to this obstruction, so I got a "permanent" repair.

Husband was able to delay his trip to Zurich, so when he left, he knew I was going to be OK.  I'm sure it was horrible for him traveling with his wife in the hospital, but I forced him to go.  New job and all.

Yeah, there were a couple of postop happenings that resulted in my being there for six nights, but it's all in the past.  Mom brought me home yesterday afternoon and there had been a transformer issue in our neighborhood, so we gathered up the kids from their schools and had a campout at Grandma's house.

Before I end this post, I have to give a big huge shout out thank you to my colleagues.  They looked at my schedule and divvied everything up so I don't have any responsibilities through the end of September.  My chair said that if I am cleared to come back earlier and want to try some teaching, I can do that, and then if I only go 15 or 20 minutes, the "back up" will take over.  I feel very supported.

So now I'm trying to get caught up on charting I should have done two weeks ago.  Or maybe I should take a nap first. After that, I'll probably need another nap.  Good day, dearies.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finally Getting Somewhere

Today marks 4 weeks from my surgery.  Since I started the "liquid liver-shrinking" diet two weeks before surgery, I've lost 45 pounds.

Let me state that again...I'm 45 pounds down in only 6 weeks.  It's absurd and I feel great.

Y'all know I struggle with food addiction.  A couple weeks ago I learned hard way that eating like I used to is a very, very bad idea.  I chose to eat a couple of those grocery store deli sushi rolls (California rolls - basically avocado and rice).  I was in pain for nearly 3 hours.  While I didn't vomit, I certainly wanted to. Dealing with any emotion, even happy emotions, without the ability to distract myself with food is difficult.

The school year is back in full swing.  Son got the teacher he wanted, but one of his good friends was assigned to another classroom.  I called this other kid's mom and we agreed to compare calendars for a playdate.  Daughter has one more year of preschool before kindergarten.  We were so pleased with Son's preschool that we put Daughter there, also.  She, too, will be reading by the time she gets into the public school.

I've given 3 lectures this year.  During the intro to the second year class, I told them that I'd had gastric bypass surgery since they last saw me and the entire class burst into a round of applause.  It took my breath away.  I've had immense support from my colleagues, each of  whom seems to understand what a difficult choice surgery was and how my life now is not always so pleasant.

Unfortunately, the clinic medical director, a wonderful man, told me that I can't keep seeing patients until my stool is lab-verified clear of C. diff.  (Click here for details on C. diff). I take handwashing super seriously, especially now, but he pointed out a lot of other doctors' patients are immunosuppressed.  When he put it that way, I really don't want to kill someone with my bug.  I completed my first 14 days of treatment but am not sure it's gone.  I feel better overall but have occasional bad abdominal cramps followed by a BM that has a characteristic smell, so we'll see.  I visited my doc today and they are going to test my stool again.

Overall, my energy level is WAY up.  I'm able to stand for long periods or time, walk greater distances and stay up with my family when I get home from work rather than going straight to bed like I used to do at least 3 times a week. The main issue now is my middle back pain.  My colleagues who specialize in OMT have treated me and I think it will get better soon.  We all agree that my muscles and fascia have to get used to what they are supposed to support when I stand up.  They'd gotten used to me at 345, but now that I'm 300 I walk differently and the back hasn't quite adjusted to that change.

So what's next?  One of the administrative assistants in my department and I are meeting at 6 a.m. in the exercise room the first week of September.  We want to exercise early, to get it over with, but neither of us feels we can do it on our own.  I'm very excited to have an exercise buddy and will work on getting stronger over the next couple of weeks in preparation.

I hope your late summer is pleasant, too!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Here, Piggy Piggy

I said hateful, hurtful words to my family this morning. 

Friday night, a friend dropped by unexpectedly.  I would have loved to have invited her into my home, but instead stook out on the driveway, apologizing that I can't let her see my house in its state of disarray.  But honestly, when is my house ever in a good state?  When could I ever invite somebody in without warning?  And why can't I live the way others live?

Saturday, as I stepped out of the shower, I failed to notice the turkey sandwich on my bedroom floor and plunged my foot into a clammy gob of white bread, turkey and mayonnaise.  My daughter, who had put the sandwich down "just for a minute" didn't understand why I was so upset. 

The house cleaners were scheduled to come today after 4 weeks away.  We worked on the house yesterday, but there are some "morning of" details to be accomplished (change the kitty litter box, scoot the dirty clothes hamper into the walk in closet). It was during the rush of the morning (my first day back at work) that I lost it and just stared spewing venom at my family.

So I sit in this quiet office, where I have a ton of work I should be doing, and all I can think of is my home, which is not a comforting environment for any of us.  I long to know that when I put something in it's "spot", it will be there when I go back for it.  In our home, things just aren't respected.  They are moved willy nilly.  I long to have a place to do paperwork, but my dining room table is completely covered.  Again.  I have to bring paperwork to the office to get it finished.

To be clear: We live like pigs.  I am sick of it.  As I feel better and can't just distract myself with fast food, I'm going to have to tackle the mess.  It's overwhwelming.  My family will just have to adjust.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Early Days Ups and Downs

Post surgery day 8.

As of yesterday, I'd lost 36.2 pounds in 3 weeks.  That just amazes me.  Whenever I question why I did this surgery, I remember that little fact and I walk a little taller.

Yes, I spent most of yesterday and today wondering why I did this to myself.    My biggest complaint is that I am so sick of these stupid protein shakes.  To a WLS (weight loss surgery) patient, fluids and protein are vital.  At this stage of my recovery process, I have to get in at least 64 oz of water PLUS four 8-oz protein shakes PLUS 6 Tbsp of pureed food (cottage cheese, greek yogurt, etc.) served in 2 Tbsp "meals.".  Now, I can't drink anything for 30 minutes before the pureed meals, during the 30 minutes I'm supposed to take eating the pureed food or 30 minutes after eating the pureed food.  (See YouTube video on sidebar for excellent explanation of this). That's a combined 4.5 hours that I can't drink, so getting in all those fluids is very difficult.  I can't guzzle anymore, so I must be constantly sipping.

During some of the sips, I'm trying to work in all of my meds.  Besides "normal" 8 pills a day, I've added 6 more that are specifically because of the surgery I've had (Protonix for acid reflux, calcium, multivitamin and vitamin B12 which melts under my tongue).  Because my absorption is down, I don't want my body to have to face a large clump of those pills, so I'm trying to take one every half hour or so.  This is a lot of time and attention just paid to what I'm putting in my body and truth is, all I ever want is the water.  All the other stuff just makes me feel bloated.

Add to that our home A/C is not working to its ideal and I'm a grumpy grumpy gal.  Poor husband...he can do nothing right today, it seems, but I know he is really only doing whatever he thinks he can to make me feel better.

Yesterday I asked my surgeon's nurse to please show him the photo I'd taken of my hernia repair area.  I understood there might be some bruising, but holy begoly - this is a lot of bruising.  A lot a lot.  He asked her to get me an appointment for today, so today I went in for a late morning meeting.

my big ole bruise at what used to be my belly button, where they did the hernia repair -
we marked the edges to check for growth

He told me that the amount of pain I'm having is normal for a laparoscopic hernia repair and reminded me that he had to do a lot of pulling and tugging and pushing.  He said it could go on for another six to eight weeks.  Oh my.  The bruising is also normal.  He noted that I had a mildly elevated temperature and said it might be a bacterial infection common after hospitalization or that I might have an infection in the fluid surrounding that hernia repair.  They drew some labs to sort that out.  Mostly, he reassured me that my frustration with the fluids and diet is very, very normal.  It makes it somewhat more bearable.

So tonight I had some cheddar cheese for dinner (which I chewed until it was the consistency of applesauce), I'm watching Big Bang Theory with my hubs and probably will go to bed soon.  Tomorrow, I drive for the first time since surgery.  Then, on Monday - I'm headed back to work. Woo hoo!