Thursday, April 12, 2012

Find yourself another place to fall

It's been a few days!

I celebrated one week post-op yesterday. My sister and baby nephew came to visit/keep me company. I've been sleeping well and I'm totally off pain meds. Not napping everyday either!

Fluids go down much easier now. I discovered my bariatric pantry here at my mom's house - I stocked a shelf in preparation for my surgery back in Sept when I hoped to get the band removal/sleeve revision all in one (due to immense scar tissue and a very angry tummy that sort of fused to my liver with scar tissue, I had my revision in two steps, six months apart). Anyway, I found my box of health wise hot chocolate. 15 grams of protein and 100% delicious. I forgot how good this stuff is. YUM!

I had a challenge on Monday night when my mom made pork loin with garlic in her crockpot and left it to cook and smell amazing all day. I took a shower around 2pm and did not return downstairs until 11am the next day. I got so nauseated during my shower I had to lay down and it lasted for hours. I got really scared and thought I might throw up. I thought it may have been the Isopure I had for "lunch" - my first Isopure since surgery (and my first in years - haven't had that since my first year of banding). I hate that stuff and it produces the nastiest gradu on the back of my tongue. It was probably a combination of the Isopure and the cooking smells. I just had it. My mom felt really guilty (well, I mean, that was kind of insensitive, don't you think? I'm not asking you to suffer with me, but jeez).

The next day was Tuesday and I felt much better. That afternoon, my sister and nephew arrived to spend a couple of nights. I told her in no uncertain terms that if she wanted Popeye's chicken (as she tends to do when she visits), she'd have to eat it there. Enough of this shit. I'm tired of my family parading their food in front of me. Side note: I remember when I was at Curves a few years ago and my mom was visiting. They asked me to pick up dinner: they wanted pizza "and get yourself a salad or whatever." I remember that I was working so hard on my diet at that time, and my family - the people who are supposed to support me - wanted me to go to a pizza place, order myself a special "fat girl" meal for myself, and drive home with a delicious-smelling pizza on my front seat, to give to my thinner relatives to enjoy. Ridiculous. I've explored this at length in therapy. Sometimes your family just isn't who you need them to be.

I digress. Pizzapocolypse 2012 happened on Tuesday night, after I told my sister about Popeye's. I overheard her dinner plan when I was upstairs. She was to make chicken cutlets (pan fried, then baked) and pasta with garlic, oil, and lemon. Pretty much one of my favorite meals of all time. Not to mention INSANELY delicious-smelling. I didn't want to be a brat (since, when I balked at the pork crockpot fiasco of the day before, my mother retorted, "I'm just preparing you for the real world! There's food out there!" Yes mom, there's food out there. But I'm five days post-op and I can only drink broth. Since your ridiculous food issues helped get me here, d'ya think you could throw a sister a bone?). I asked my sister politely if she would consider a cold meal, something that didn't require, I dunno, frying, sautéing, etc. She basically said no. I don't have the energy to fight, so I resigned myself to an armchair in the living room and watched her cook.

You know what? I was ok. I didn't join them at the dinner table. My aunt came by to visit, so we sat in the living room and chatted, her with her tea and I with some chicken broth. Did the food coming out of the kitchen smell amazing? Yes. Did I want to eat it? Yes. Am I more freaked out about the three rows of staples in my stomach than anything else right now? Besides missing work, yeah.

So I made it through the night. Had a little health wise hot choc and all was well.

I still can't lift my nephew (he's about 6x my 5lb limit, ha!) but it was good to see him. Yesterday, I ventured out of the house for the first time since I came home from the hospital. Mom, my sister, and I went to wal-mart (against my convictions) and walked around (I got some gatorade g2, some carnation instant breakfast, some honey, some refried beans for next week's mushies, and a can of mashed sweet potatoes that looked yummy). Their prices really are very good.

Next we went to the local outlet mall to walk around. It was a chilly day and I was going slow, but I was loving it. Walking around, moving outside! It felt great. I drank an iced tea (a few sips, at least) from a vending machine while my slim sister chowed down on a sugary, buttery pretzel from Auntie Anne's. The same pretzel she and I each ordered the last time we were at the outlets. I didn't even care! I really think I'm over some imagined hump. I'm feeling good.

My drain had been very uncomfortable, moreso the past few days than ever. It was draining well and I'd been good taking care of it, but it started to really hurt.

Today was my one week follow-up with my surgeon. I was so excited. Could he puh-leeze take out this drain?! And answer some questions?!

He weighed me (337.8) - I have to check what I was on my scale at home. Can't really remember, and since I didn't see the surgeon just before this surgery, he didn't have a comparison number. It really doesn't matter right now, anyway. Numbers so ain't my focus.

He did a quick exam and said everything looks good. My four incision sites are VERY itchy and are getting red and raised - a definite reaction to the surgical glue, he said. He showed me how to peel it off and gave me the green light. Yay! I love peeling surgical glue. It's like picking at scabs, but it provides somewhat instant itch relief.

The next part was the part I was freaked about: he took out my drain. Here's what I knew going in: I had a hole in my abdomen about 1/4" in diameter. Out of that hole was about 12" of plastic tubing, and attached to that tubing was a small, grenade-looking plastic bulb. At the skin, it appeared that the plastic tubing was attached to my skin with a black stitch. I had no idea what was under the surface. I imagined that the end of the tubing was about 3-4" inside and secured to some muscle with stitching.

"Will this hurt?" I asked, getting the doctor's favorite response in return: "Everyone is different!"

"Great," I said, turning my head to look at my mom, who had a grin on her face, "that means it'll hurt."

I didn't want to watch (and couldn't, exactly, since I was laying down). But, here's what I heard and felt. I heard the surgeon clip the suture and then I felt a pull.

PULLLLLLLLL... ahh. It was out. I looked inside the hazmat container afterwards - I had to see this thing. My ideas of it being a few inches of mere tubing were wrong. It was about a FOOT long and had very thick white plastic around the tubing. It wasn't attached to anything inside, but it floated free in the cavity where 85% of my stomach once was, and the bulb at the end of the drain acted as a vacuum for the fluid (if the fluid is left inside, it could over-collect and cause infection. Now that the drain is out, my body will absorb the fluid).

Here's how I describe the feeling: it feels like you have an enormous amount of plastic tubing inside your body that is up under your diaphragm and the surgeon pulls it out of a 1/4"-diameter hole in your abdomen. That's how it feels. I can't describe it better than that. It didn't hurt, but it was weird. And I felt better instantly. My mom even said my face changed after the drain came out. I relaxed, even felt happy. Free!

Cleared to progress to stage 2 of my progressive diet, and having made my one-month followup appointment (and paid a $50 copay, hurrah hurrah), I practically skipped out of the office.

I asked my mom to stop at my favorite breakfast place in the city where I worked last year - my surgeon's office is just outside that city, which is about an hour away from my mom's house. I was dying for one of their smoothies. Now that I'm on stage 2, thick liquids, smoothies have been given the green light. I figured I'd try to learn how they're made at this place while I was there.

I got my banana flip smoothie (and had it put in 2 cups to split with mom since I'd never be able to drink one on my own). It has peanut butter, bananas, and fat-free vanilla yogurt. For $1 extra I added a scoop of EAS vanilla protein powder. SO DELICIOUS. And no, she wouldn't give me the recipe. No worries, I can figure this out on my own.

We went to GNC to buy myself a new multivitamin and some protein powder for smoothies. I joined their gold club and already it's paid for itself.

Next we went to the supermarket to pick up some full liquid-diet friendly stuff. I got a few cans of cream soup (cream of shrimp, cream of chicken with herb, cheddar cheese, and butternut squash), some jell-o chocolate pudding, a box of farina, and some greek yogurt and bananas for smoothies, (already purchased some all-natural peanut butter).

When we got home I wanted to lay down. I was just.. tired. It's been a lot on me the past couple of days. We walked a lot yesterday, much more than I had done in over a week. Plus all the emotional and physical stress from going to see my surgeon and walking around the store - I just wanted some horizontal time. Well, I sort of took an impromptu nap. For five hours!

Mom woke me up around 6:30 and I've been hanging out in the living room ever since. I've been sipping on gatorade and catching up on the news. I decided to bite the bullet. I made some farina. Man, oh man, was that runny, creamy, wheaty cereal amazing. I probably ate about 1/4 cup.

Welcome to full liquids - it's a joy to be here.