Back in the Saddle

I’ve been so overwhelmed with my body the last few days, I haven’t even wanted to touch the computer which is SO unlike me. In my laziness, please excuse the bulleted list:

  • First, Happy Belated Birthday to Kim!
  • Met with my sleep apnea specialist on Monday of this week, and he’s convinced that I don’t need another sleep study, I just need my tonsils removed. (Are you freaking kidding me?? ANOTHER SURGERY? Gah!!!) But heck, I’m on liquids anyway, might as well make the most of it. I don’t know how I feel about this, but I won’t see the ENT (ear, nose, throat) specialist until the end of February and we’ll take it from there. At least if I get it done before April 1st, it won’t cost me a dime since I’ve met my $3500 out of pocket max through surgery. More to come on this saga…
  • Protein sucks. I’ve tried a million things, and I’d love to tell you about each and every one, but I just can’t muster any more brain space discussing the crap right now. Still, I’m reaching about 60 grams a day (I should really be getting 80). I can just imagine going bald right now….
  • My doctor’s office sucks even more than protein. I have a fantastic surgeon. One of the best in the country. Director of the bariatric program at his hospital. But that means I never get to see him. He does surgeries, not follow up. So at my one week appointment, I waited 3 HOURS to see some guy I’ve never met. He took my staples out, barely listed to me complain about my G tube (which I’m now convinced is infected… I’ll spare you the details), for a grand total of about 5 seconds. I hate being held prisoner waiting ridiculous amounts of time for inconsiderate asshole doctors. Plus, the staples right at my belly button were removed and the incision isn’t healed AT ALL. My skin is completely flayed open there. Can’t be good, but whatever. He just said “don’t scrub too hard.”
  • And I’m mad because, after waiting for 3 hours, they had no appointments left to see me in Orlando for my 1-month check up and G tube removal. So I have to go BACK to Ocala and wait an extra 2 days to get this crap out. Oh well.
  • And I’m worried about all my sick and vacation time. I had planned for 3 weeks out, but now that we’re talking tonsil removal, I’m considering going back to work on Monday to save some sick time. I feel okay, just low on energy.
  • And I have this big awesome conference presentation next Friday, and I’m SO thinking about cancelling it. I don’t feel like writing right now. But if I take next week off as planned, I can work on it then. I know I should just do it. It’s an important event with long-lasting benefits.
  • And my poor husband has a hernia, so we’re also scheduling doctor’s appointments and surgery and time off for him. He’s thrilled because he’ll get some time off of work, but I’m worried about whether I’ll be able to have time at home with him. I really should go back to work next week so I don’t have to neglect him after his surgery.
  • And for some reason, I’m irritated at my place of employment for not sending me flowers. Isn’t that stupid? But we ALWAYS send people flowers. I know it shouldn’t bother me, but for some weird reason, it does.
  • Today I pick up a new kind of CPAP machine (an auto-pap) from the doctor’s office which will tell my sleep doctor exactly what my new setting should be without having to do a sleep study. So that’s cool. Good sleep would be nice!
  • And today I also go back to my psychiatrist. I can feel it… I’m going to cry! I’m just really emotional right now.
  • I started vitamins yesterday: love Bariatric Advantage brand so far except for the Sublingual B12. For some reason, it doesn’t dissolve under the tongue like it should. I prefer the store-bought brands I’ve tried in the past. Everything else is yummy!
  • My husband has been eating like a pig. It kind of makes me sick. It’s as if he’s eating for both of us right now. Or maybe he always ate this much and I didn’t notice because I did too? I mean, he’s like constantly thinking about what he wants to eat next. It’s kinda gross. He definitely misses having me as his eating buddy. I have to keep reminding him that I’ll be able to eat again, it will just take a while.
  • Weight today is 288 pounds. I haven’t lost 15 pounds like Lacy, but heck, it’s moving in the right direction. A few more pounds to my first reward!
  • Lots of family drama with everyone learning about my surgery after the fact. In the hospital, the only people who knew were my parents, sister, bro-in-law, and husband. Everybody else was informed later. I’ll have to tell you about that some time.
  • Still, despite all the hardship thus far, I don’t regret having surgery. This is not easy. It sucks. But it will get better.

Onward!

G-tube Drama

Ok, something isn’t right about the G tube. I was told to drain it three times per day: no problem. I was told to flush it with 1 ounce of water after draining: no problem. I was told to just lean back and let gravity pull the water down the G tube and into my resected stomach: PROBLEM. Every time I’ve flushed the G tube, I’ve had to use the fluid-pusher-thingy in the syringe-thingy. Gravity does not move the water down.

Plus, everything inside my body underneath the G tube area HURTS. Feels swollen.

So I’m thinking that my G tube is clogged, and my old stomach is filling full of crud and will explode any moment now (although I realize it still drains into my intestines and always will). But the gravity thing… tube must be clogged, right?

It got so uncomfortable that I finally called Dr. Jawad’s answering service. He called me back immediately, asked me to explain the problem, asked me when I’d had surgery, and then said to keep draining the tube, but do not put water in to flush it afterwards, and to come see him in the Orlando office on Monday. Monday. Hope I don’t combust first, you know?

Plus, I’m having pain behind one knee and trying to convince myself it’s not a blood clot. I mean, it’s probably not, right? I’ve been walking non-stop (except when I’m sleeping all night long). Blood clots are supposed to be extremely painful, right? So this annoying little feeling is probably nothing more than paranoia.

And I’ve been crying. All. Day. Long. Great for hydration, yes?

Note to posterity: post-op day 4 is scary. At least for me.

Edited to add: Ok, after a good long cry and some more pain peds, I’m back to feeling normal. What a roller coaster!

And exhaustion sets in…

The theme for today is exhaustion, sluggishness, and heavy eyelids. I guess that’s normal after no more than 500 calories over the last week, but dang. Zzzzzzz.

I’m supposed to get 64 oz. of fluid and 60-80 (should be more like 80) grams of protein each day. Yesterday was my first day trying with the protein, and I didn’t quite hit the mark. With 4 EAS pre-mixed protein drinks, I hit 64 grams of protein and about 58 ounces of fluid. Not too shabby.

I did try two different “shake recipes” with protein powder and, um, GROSS. I’ll be sticking to the ready-to-drink store-bought concoctions for now.

G tube still hurts like a mutha. Only 4 and a half more weeks until it’s removed…. No nausea, no pain anywhere else. I can do this!

Still Truckin’

It’s post-op day 3, and today I start pushing protein. From Lacy’s experience, I know this will be a challenge, but I’m just going to do my best and get as close as I can to my goals. To make it easy, I’m going to avoid thick things like pudding and yogurt and just drink my watery EAS pre-mixed protein drinks to begin with.

I did not make my goal for fluid yesterday; I ended the day with only about 45 ounces instead of 64. I was doing great until I tried some warm herbal tea–chicken little (mom’s name for my new pouch) didn’t like that at all. I followed up with just the teensiest bit of jello, and CLUNK, nothing moved out of that pouch for over an hour. I decided that since I couldn’t sip, I might as well sleep, and I guess laying down helped because after an hour, I woke up and began sipping water again with no problems.

I took my first shower yesterday which, I admit, scared me half to death. Something about cleaning painful incisions is just so unpleasant. But it went fine and I felt a million times better. I also went on a few walks–very slow ones–and probably walked about a mile all together. Toward the afternoon, I started spacing out my pain medicine a bit longer since it doesn’t really help with G tube pain and only makes me sleepy anyways. I took my last doses of pain and nausea meds right before bed and slept 8 solid hours.

I woke up, took more meds, and I’m just going to sip on water until my sister gets here in the next couple of hours. She’s bringing chick-flics since we never get to watch them with our husbands. : )

And can I just say how awesome it was to have my mom here with me all day yesterday? She is the perfect companion, and she knows exactly what I need. I just can’t explain how lucky I feel to have her so close by and so willing to help. She’s out of town now for a business trip, but I’m sure she’ll be calling to check in on me.

Last thing: I know we gain weight in the hospital from fluids and gases and what-not. And I know I shouldn’t weigh myself every day. But I haven’t eaten anything by water and sugar free jello since Sunday–how is it possible that I’ve GAINED a pound?? I went into the hospital weighing 296, and today I weigh 297. What gives?? Oh well, maybe my body will snap out of it once it starts getting protein today.

Ok, now it’s the last thing: I just wanted to share a memory I have of coming home from the hospital. When I was released, Lee was driving the car and I was sort of spacing in and out in the passenger seat. But every time I opened my eyes, I saw a fast food restaurant or a billboard for some kind of food, and the thought crossed my mind: “They’re not talking to me any more.” The advertisers aren’t speaking to me or my needs or my weaknesses any more. I have a new tool, and although it doesn’t grant instant immunity from overeating, it does mean I have more reasons and more ways to eat a new way, a healthy way, that supercedes the flashy advertising of foods that make me nauseus to think about now. The advertisers just aren’t talking to me anymore; they’re talking to somebody else.

Hiya!

I’m back! My sister wrote the last entry on my behalf. The stay in the hospital was pretty uneventful. I remember waking up in the recovery room and moaning in pain, but they medicated me pretty quickly and I slept most of the six hours I spent in recovery waiting for a room. My family was a bit restless wondering why it took so long, but when we finally did get up to my room, I wasn’t great company. My sister and her husband headed back to Jacksonville, Lee left in the late evening, and mom spent the night with me. For as much of a fuss I made over wanting Lee to stay, it worked out perfectly. Nobody takes care of us like our mommy!

I spent a good part of the day of surgery nauseas, getting meds, and then sleeping. The first time I tried to walk, my blood pressure plummeted as soon as I sat up, so they didn’t press me into walking at all. Finally, around midnight, I took my first walk. Walking doesn’t hurt at all, it’s just the getting in and out of bed that’s a bit uncomfortable.

Surprisingly, I haven’t had any of that left shoulder pain I’d heard so much about. I guess they didn’t leave too much gas inside when the procedure was all said and done. The worst part was the nasogastric tube–when they removed that at 5:30 am the morning after surgery, I felt like a new woman! None of the drains or the catheter hurt being removed either.

So once I got home yesterday afternoon, I just kept sipping on a bottle of Propel water, and it took me about 6 hours to finish 23 ounces. I’ll have to do better than that to stay well-hydrated today, but I think I’m off to a good start.

I did have a little trouble flushing my G-tube the first time… I about passed out on the bathroom floor. The second time wasn’t nearly as bad. I’m trying to stick with a 6-hour schedule, cleaning and draining it when I take nausea medication. This morning I’ll take my first shower since surgery (yippee!), though I’m a little nervous about standing up that long. I’m sure it will be fine. Lee’s back to work Thursday and Friday, so I’ll have my mom home with me all day today and then my sister with me all day tomorrow.

So far, no complaints. I’m staying on top of the pain medication, sipping constantly, and getting lots of rest! Thank you very, very much for all of your prayers!

After surgery

It’s after surgery and although I am doing fine, I am in a lot of pain which I didn’t expect. I am also nauseous and haven’t been able to get up and walk because of it. Hopefully the pain and the nausea will be gone or at least greatly diminished by the morning.

Edited to add: this post was written by MegaMeggs’ sister, Rachel

Always time for blogging

40 minutes until we leave for the hospital, but there’s always time for a blog update! Still not feeling any nervousness, I just want this part of the process to be done. The only feeling I have right now is intense hunger… sticking to clear liquids yesterday has me famished. I look forward to not feeling that for a while!

Bags are packed, house is clean, blog is updated. Onward!

And thank you for praying. It means so much!