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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time for a Diet Upgrade & Weigh-In

Wed. was the beginning of my new diet, "Full Fluids".  This one will, once again, last two weeks but it is the final 2week diet after this I will go through a series of 1 week diets as I adjust my body to accepting solid foods again.  This diet basically adds just a few new items to what I am already eating but they are big ticket items that make me feel like I'm actually "eating" again.

I can now have hot cereal such as oatmeal or cream of wheat, made very thin; low fat, artificial sweetened yogourt with no chunks in it; and low fat, cream soups made with skim (0%) milk, strained.  I can also have low fat artificial sweetened puddings if I want but I never used to eat them so I don't see the point in eating them now just for the sake of it.  I've also stopped eating the jello, too, now, since I don't like it.  I must continue with the three Boosts a day and of course, the vitamin supplements which are for life.  In case you've forgotten I'm taking Calcium +D, twice a day and a pre-natal supplement once a day (this is because they have twice as many nutrients than a regular one a day multi-vitamin.  Even men who've had the operation take the pre-natal for life.)

Of course, I'm in heaven with the new food!  I love cream of wheat and am glad to have real fibre back in my diet.  Yogourt is one of my favourite foods and the cream soups are a hot meal, finally!  Suitable ones I can eat are hard to find though.  Tomato soup is fine.  But others even when they say low fat often have the milk products already added, in the canned versions. So I can't have these since they are made with cream (not skim milk).  So far we've only found Knorr packaged soups which you add your own milk to and only in Cream of Broccoli.  But we'll keep looking around and try some health food stores too because this is definitely a food I want to eat for life.

Other good news!  I did a weigh in on Tuesday in preparation for the new diet and have now lost 43lbs but more important than the numbers I have also gone down 2 clothes sizes.  Clothes I was wearing before I started the Opti-Fast (Oct. 8) are all too big for me now!  I'm reaching to the back (well middle) of my closet and wearing clothes I haven't worn in years.  I'm losing it all in my abdomen and my friend says you can see it in my face.  I can see my toes when I look down!  That's a new sensation.  But even more importantly my mobility has improved exponentially.  I can bend over, touch the ground, tie my shoes, put on my pants, generally move around with so much ease now where before I started this program I had serious mobility issues that were just getting worse.  I feel healthier.

As far as surgery recuperation: all my incisions are now exposed and healing nicely.  Some have little scabs, a few are already healed.  I'm still tender on the outside and a somewhat sore on the inside.  Sleeping is still an issue but nowhere near as painful as before.  I can sleep on my side now, once I slowly get into position but still wake a few times a night.  But as I said it is nowhere near as bad so I'm just grateful it is improving and figure another week should do it.

Walking is going fine.  I'm back to going to Daily Mass, so I walk to church and back every morning plus I walk downtown whenever I need to.  I'm walking wherever I have to go, if possible and we are parking at the back of parking lots, trying to just make life naturally more active.  Plus several times a week, I'm going out for a walk around the neighbourhood going a little further when I feel I can.  I feel I'm doing fine at this stage.  I'm still slow because my insides are sore but I can walk, just not fast.

Be back again either in 2 weeks when the diet changes to "Pureed Foods" or after Dec. 6, my one month check up at the clinic, whichever comes first.  You do the math, too early in the morning for me and I have to go get ready for church.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Visit to the Clinic After Surgery

So today marks the one week point after I got out of the hospital and the day of my first follow up appointment at the Bariatric Clinic.  I saw a nurse and the appointment was about 20 mins. long.  Everything is going well.  My blood pressure is normal.  Yeah!  My sutures have healed nicely, some of the steri-strips have fallen off by themselves and she told me I could start working them off in the shower now as long as I wasn't tugging.  I'm still very tender on the inside but each day I feel better than before.  I'm finished with the injections, thankfully.  I really did not like giving them to myself but I did what I had to.  I have so much energy now, it is unbelievable, I just wish I felt 100%, but as the nurse said each day, I'll feel better and better.  I'm supposed to start a walking routine now, just small to start with and take it at an easy pace until I'm walking about 1/2 an hour 3-4 times a week.  So I went out to the corner and back today and felt great but very sore! 

I did a weigh-in today and have lost another 6 pounds (or the first 6 pounds post-op).  The nurse said this weigh-in isn't very correct though because we are pumped full of so much liquid during the operation that it will take the first month to fully pee it out and walk off the air also pumped into our system.  Though I am not having a bad time with gas.  She said the first month weigh-in will show us a more reliable figure and that's when my next appointment is, on Dec. 6. 

I have one more week to go on this current diet that I described in the last post, then I will get to add more items to my diet as I move onto the next diet called Full Liquids for another two weeks. I'll post about that when I start it but I'm really looking forward to adding cream soups!

Annoying things:  it's hard to sleep since I sleep on my side, it feels like everything is pulling on my stitches and I try to stay on my back but keep waking up every few hours as I toss and turn; my mouth always tastes yucky, as if I haven't brushed my teeth in a few days.  I think this is because of the lack of solid foods which help to naturally brush your teeth and keep them clean.  So I've started sucking mints since I'm already a bit OCD about brushing my teeth.  That's it really to the downside.  I'm not enjoying this diet much and really can't wait till next Wed. for the change.  The Boost's are not exactly the most delicious things in the world, either.

So all together now, since I've been apart of the program, just over 1 week after surgery, I am 40 lbs lighter than when I first went in to get weighed at the orientation meeting!  So far, so good!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Last Day In & Coming Home

Wed. was to be my last day scheduled in the hospital and they were ready to get me out of there, unless anything went majorly wrong.  They started off the day by changing my pain meds from morphine injections in the thigh to liquid Tylenol 3 with codeine.  This was not an equivalent exchange so I had to start dealing with the pain more.  Everyone started talking to me about possibly going home that day.  A resident, "David", who'd done most of the talking with me told me that I could go home if I managed to drink my three meals today.  Because today was also the start of the next eating phase!  Modified Fluids!  Yeah!  Now my diet includes drinking three Diabetic Boosts a day, I per meal, and to the liquids I already am drinking I have been allowed to add any artificially sweetened drink as long as it is not carbonated; (carbonated drinks will be a no-no for life) 1/2 cup real fruit juice a day and sweet, glorious milk, skim milk, but milk, oh how I've missed thee.

I also was given some new meds since I'd been in the hospital.  One being a tiny antacid to melt in my mouth each morning early before breakfast and second the anti-coagulant injections in the abdomen started right after the operation as well.  So this day went well, one thing that had not happened yet was that I had not had a bowel movement nor had I passed gas.  This was what they were waiting for.  When they operate on your abdomen laproscopically like this they fill your intestines full of air to assist with the surgery and, of course, afterwards, you must pass this gas out through the end.  The antacids are to stop you from getting acid reflux and burping, making the other end the only option.  I hadn't had so much as a toot or fluff but listening to my stomach they heard bowel sounds, "which was good".  By the afternoon, I was having gas pains and felt the rumbling and gurgling in my bowels as the gas moved around down there.  This is painful.  But still nothing happened. 

Results from that morning's blood tests came back and I was low on potassium so they had sent up two little packets for me to drink of pure potassium.  Vile, vile, wicked, horrible stuff!  Yuck!  I was officially told I could go home around 2pm and dh came and got me about 4pm.  We went down to the lobby where we got a scrip filled for the antacid, Tylenol3/codeine and 7 needles which I'd been taught to inject myself with.  My health care covered the Tylenol, so I had another bill for over $200 for meds.  Now the rumbling in my stomach was acute and while waiting for the meds I went to the bathroom where I first passed the gas.  I don't mean to be gross but there were two sonic booms that released a lot of pressure, I'll tell you!

Now I've been home recuperating since Wed. night.  I'm very sore, in pain at times, especially at night.  It is hard to sleep without moving as it really hurts when I roll onto my side. I had one very bad afternoon on Thurs. where I spent about 40mins. on the toilet and came out absolutely exhausted.  I started off walking like Tim Conway in those old man sketches on the Carol Burnett show but am now walking upright albeit still slowly and carefully.  I'm moving around the house now, going up and down stairs and getting more mobile each day, though the pain of sleepless nights is keeping me slow.

I get full very easy.  In fact I'm always full.  At this point my main focus is to make sure I keep myself hydrated.  I have a chart to fill out and must make sure I drink 2L of fluids a day.  I am managing to get by but it is taking all my effort as half a cup of apple juice while taking me regular morning pills plus vitamin (cut in half now because my stomach opening is too small for a whole vitamin to fit through) leaves me stuffed.  So breakfast takes me from 8-11 and lunch from 12-3/4 and so on.  I am always eating or drinking! 

So where does this leave me know?  I'm on the modified fluids diet for two weeks total, leaving just over a week to go, and I have a follow up in one week after discharge, meaning this Wed.  As you may have noticed I have not had a weigh-in yet since before my surgery.  I didn't want to weight myself while I was till full of the gas as I knew the number would probably go up a bit first so I decided to just wait for my first post-op dr. visit where I will get my first official weigh-in. 

See ya then!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Surgery and Two Days in Hospital

Time to start blogging again even though I"m not really feeling up to it it but if I don't get this last week recorded it will soon become ancient history instead of recent past!

I'll add pictures later.

Monday morning I arrived for my surgery 7 minutes late but that was ok because they were taking people by the number system and I got number 10 and they were up to number 2, so I figure they got a little late start as well.  Of course there is just drop-off parking at the Surgery Unit so dh went off to park the car, when he arrived back I had been admitted, waited and just had my name called to proceed through to surgery with three other people.  Dh couldn't come in until I was all bedded down, but everything went quickly.  I was asked the same questions over and over, poked, prodded, temp. taken, gowned, iv'd and bedded then dh came in and about ten minutes later the nurse came to say it was time.

Remember this is my first time having surgery of any kind as an adult, and certainly my first "major" surgery.  I wasn't nervous at all; I was excited and pushed through the corridors, seeing all the surgical scrub centres and thinking how cool this was, just like ER.  Then we entered my room, which was filled with my "team".  There were little tv sets all over the room and the wall in front of us was one big TV screen.  Everyone then came up to me and introduced themselves to me and proceeded to do something to me until I was on the table and being told to breathe in and out.  Next thing I knew I was groggily opening my eyes and I was in my room.  My dh appeared briefly.  I remember smiling at each other and saying "hey".  Then my next remembrance is pain and agony!

Brief time out here for some reflection.  After various conversations with nurses and relatives, I realise now that I had never actually contemplated the surgery part of this procedure.  Having never had major surgery before, I had no clue what to expect.  Yes, I was told it would take 4-6 weeks to recuperate but I thought that meant until I was like I'd never been, incisions fully healed etc.  I had literally thought I would be able to walk out of the hospital.  I guess I thought it would be like having a baby, yes you are tired and weak and sore but as soon as you get home you get back into living your life and taking the baby for walks and trips to the doc, right?  You take naps but you suck it up the soreness and get on with it.  Not so with surgery!  I soon found out.

Well, here I was in the hospital, awake, hurting and I couldn't move my stomach muscles!  I couldn't adjust myself in the bed without help.  I remember now, I woke up in the recovery room needing to pee and they would only let me have a bedpan, not allowed to get up in recovery.  Well I can't go on a bedpan, no matter how badly I have to go, so I ended up being a mess crying and wailing about having to go pee and would some get me to a toilet please!  So I was taken up to my room and they had to literally take me arm in arm to the toilet to do my business.  This is all very blurry but the relief of peeing was about as great as the pain of moving.  I guess this is when I fell back to sleep and remember the other wakening described above.

The surgery was a success.  Everything went according to order, smoothly and on time.  My sutures are neat and clean.  The surgery was done laproscopically so I have 5 small incisions with a couple of stitches each and covered with steri-strips which will eventually fall off.  A couple of post-op complications included some original troubles breathing.  I was only getting 80 on this machine that they said I should get at least a 95 on for them to be happy so I was hooked up to the nose oxygen things and that night my C-PAP machine (for sleep apnea) was set up so they could add the extra oxygen.  Also upon awakening I couldn't open my right eye at all.  It burned and stung and watered.  I eventually got it open a crack but couldn't see properly.  Things were blurry with black around the edges.  There was some crusting in the corners of the eye as well.  That night I asked for a saline wash and it felt really good but didn't really help it much.  Gradually over Tuesday, my eye opened, with blurred vision, and eventually got all better.  They say it was a reaction with the stuff they had taped my eyes closed with during the operation.  Nobody could tell me why they taped my eyes closed though and I had other stuff on my mind when the big-wig honcho dr. came around.  And lastly, I had a short bout of low blood pressure; it went down to 56 over something.  I basically slept through this so don't know what they did but when a dr. came to address this with me she found my bp had gone back up nicely and no further follow-up was needed.

The hospital I was at is a teaching hospital, so there was no shortage of staff.  There were nurses, student nurses, interns, residents, doctors, surgeons and specialists who all came to see me at one point or another.  Everyone was very nice and I was treated well.  You get the best care from those lowest on the ladder, though, which I think is always the case with these things.  My surgeon was the leader of the team himself, who I met once post-op and probably would not be able to recognise in a police line-up.  There were two student nurses who worked together, who took wonderful care of me and all the nurses were very nice, especially a young 23 yo male nurse who was fairly new to the job.

On the technical side of things, I was still on a clear fluid diet Mon and Tues which meant my meal trays consisted of appetising delights such as decaf tea with sweetener, apple juice and unsweet. jello.  Wed. was my last day in the hospital and will be the focus of my next post.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Am Still Alive!

Got home from hospital last night.  Surgery was successful, no complications.  Everythink OK.  But I am in agony.  This is my first ever surgery and I never really contemplated the surgery itself.  I'll post all the details about the surgery, hospital stay and recovery as soon as I don't hurt so much.