Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Night to Remember

Gotcha with the title, huh?  First night without heavy duty pain meds.  Just two acetaminophin and I slept great.  Of course, I hadn't slept hardly at all the night before, up and down for five or six hours until I gave up but that doesn't count.
Got my hair cut on Thursday with a short trip to the bank and the drug store, thank you my friend Susan.  Got a little quilting done yesterday, quilt a little, rest a little, quilt a little, rest a little, (kind of a catchy tune, huh?)  Anyway, I thought that today I would clean out the refrigerator/freezer, then take a shower and go to the store (hey, no pain meds to keep me from driving, right?).  Well, Paul has other ideas.  He said, "Yes, officer, I see the lady weaving down the street, yes that is our car, she is just tired, she'll be okay........ " and the conversation digressed to he is taking me.  So I get to go on an outing with my hubby, fun. To the grocery store and to Joann's and maybe Gospel Supply.  Depends on the energy level.  Right now, I'm just resting from cleaning out the refrigerator/freezer.  God bless you today.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Going Out on the Town!

Well, not really on the town but I did get to go and get a pedicure.  My friend Susan took me because driving while taking Percocet is a bad idea.  I got to go to church last night and was exhausted by the end.  And today I get to get my hair cut.  The pain pills are going to have to go away for most of the time I think.  This little vacuum device is portable as long I'm not away from the electricity for more than 12 hours so I should be okay. 
God works in interesting ways.  I'm not sure that I could have gotten all of the things done for the Leadership Training for Christ convention if I hadn't been off work.  Now the downside is that there is not as much money coming in but life is full of trade offs, like chocolate now, chocolate later or chocolate now and later, I like the last one.  Anyway, I digress.  I have spent many hours on the computer and phone with last minute details for this convention and have been leaning heavily on the chairman who has done this job for years than we can count.  I am the hotel liaison so it's been fun putting together what goes in which room, trying to explain to people that the deadline for reservations was a month ago and that's why you have to pay more, figuring out the food for the banquet and how we are going to cram 750 people into this room.  I figure that most of them are teenagers and everyone knows how many teenagers will fit on a church more!  Same addage applies with food and people in rooms. :)
More ways that God works.  The home health nurse who comes in and changes out the dressings is such a sweetheart.  She is willing to come at odd times if we need it and is so sensitive to whether she is hurting me.  I was talking about the convention and how we could get the dressing changes for the wound vac dealt with and she is willing to come early before we leave and come on Sunday when we get back.  She asked what church it was and I told her church of Christ and she got quiet.  Then  I asked if she went to church anywhere and she said, well, I should tell you that I was raised in the church of Christ and my dad was a minister and he taught nothing but "hell, fire and brimstone" and did not understand why none of his children continued in church later in life.  I do not know if she believes in God but I have invited her to come to a church where we are willing to accept people and where we believe that to show God's love is not to shout and preach but to do and listen and try to heal hurts, like Jesus did.  She seemed surpised that we are that way but Jesus did it that way and it worked for him so I guess I should do it that way too, don't you think.  Anyway, I just wonder if all of this infection happened if for no other reason than for that conversation to take place.  Interesting thoughts!  God bless your day today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Land of the Living Room Chair and Bed

These a seem to be the places that I am living lately.  I'm tethered to the wound vac so I can go to the end of the tubing and then to the end of the electrical plug in.  It is just long enough that if I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, it will reach between the two of them, if I hang the unit itself on the door of the laundry cabinet in our room.  :)  Life is so interesting.
I did get out for an hour or so.  My good friend, Susan, took me to get a pedicure and that was nice.  She's going to take me to get my hair cut on Thursday. 
The wound vac is an interesting device.  It feels like it is suctioning by skin but instead it is cleaning out the wound.  Of course, it looks like I have a HUGE second belly button up high but that will go away, I hope!
I am praying this will heal quickly.  Lots of other people are praying for that too and God hears our prayers so I'm going to add in one more prayer and say, Lord, make it soon.
God bless you all in your pursuit of weight loss.  I hope to begin mine again.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Next Adventure

Okay, after three days in the hospital, I got home.  The lapband was infected all through the band, tubing and port.  They had to clean out a fairly large cavity and left the "hole" open because it must heal from the inside out. 
There are two places that have to be cleaned and packed so, because it was Friday, and because the company promised the doctor that the wound vac that we needed would be delivered to my house on Saturday, they sent me home.  That part mademe happy.  However, someone has to clean the wounds.  One's spouse is the logical  choice, however, we need to think about my spouse, who I love very much.  He works for a hospital but avoids hospital rooms.  When I'm inn the hospital, he comes to see me, but doesn't really stay a long time.  You get the picture, not a wimp by any means but get s bit wimpy in certain things.  So, he said yes,he could change this dressing and repack the wound as long as I talk him through it.  I give him great kudos for that!  So he did the small one and everything is okay, then we opened up the second one, took out the packing and he got light headed andhad to sit down.  Now I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to change this packing on myslef on my stomach area.  I tried to unscrew my head but I had a feeling that end result would be messy so I changed that plan.  However, in the end, Paul managed to change everything out and all was well.  That was on Friday night.
On Saturday, we waited and waited and waited for the vac to be delivered and it  didn't come so when the Home health nurse came, I called the company.  It turned out there was a delay in a plane somewhere at 2:00 am and it would not be here until Sunday.  My heart sank because I knew my hubby could not keep changing those dresses, oh I mean dressings :).  I asked if there was a way to get one there on Sunday and they said they could ship it and it should be here to day.  So here I sit waiting for the wound vac to arrive so I can call Marilyn that it is here.  This should cut the healing time in half.  Taking four more weeks off work will be problematical because I have 2 graduations in May, May 1st for my daughteer from Abilene Christian University and May 8th for my daughter from Pepperdine University.  Life just says inteesting!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Sad (and Painful) time

Yesterday they did emergency surgery and took out my lapband.  It was totally infected as was the abdominal cavity.  I guess I'm in for more adventures.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Problems, problems, problems

We all have different problems but mine seem to be following be or actually staying with me.  Great weekend with the quilt show and the meeting on Saturday.  The incision site for the actual port started to get infected on Friday night and so this morning I went to the doctor and he said "The incision is infected"  DUH!  So he's giving me pain meds and antibiotics and no work for another week.  Bad because the the  money is less but good because I can work on LTC stuff when I'm cognizant and off the pain meds :).  Hope ya'll have a good week.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Road Trip and the challenges

I took a road trip for my birthday to the Arizona Quilters Guild quilt show with the wonderful ladies from Quilter's Market, a quilt shop here in Tucson.  We went on a bus, played games and had a great time while on the way to Phoenix, about a 2 1/2 hour drive.  I drank a protein shake on the way there and ate some pear sauce (which is allowed now because I'm on "soft and mushies").  Went into the show and looked at quilts and spent money :) and enjoyed myself but soon I found myself a bit hungry.  So I thought to myself, "Self, surely among all of the food venders here, there will be some soft and mushy food to eat."  (We were not allowed to bring outside food or drink into the convention center.)  However, soft and mushy food is more difficult to find that you would think.  They had pasta with red sauce but it came with so much other food and cost $13 that I decided to opt out of that.  I finally had a soft blueberry muffin and ate about 1/4 of it very, very slowly and carefully.  Then I drank some apple juice.  Went back in and looked at more quilts, had a great time and boarded the bus.  We went to a quilt shop in Chandler and did some more shopping.  I didn't go with the bus back to Tucson as Paul picked me up at the quilt shop....well, almost.  He was still 45 minutes away and I was hungry again so I walked to the Burger King.  Did you know that you can smash french fries and make them mushy and chew them very carefully and not eat very many?  Icees work really well also.  Got through that and Paul showed up.  We went to the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort and checked into our room, met Bob and Patty Larson and went to eat.
Another challenge.  It was a Mexican buffet.  Hmmm..... what to eat????   They had a soft white fish that I put some green and red sauce on, some macaroni salad that I mushed up and some refried beans.  It worked but it wasn't easy.  The hardest part of eating out is paying full price and not being able to eat it all.  Guess I won't go to anymore all you can eat places.  Just not enough room!
But it's worth it.  I've lost 20 pounds since the 15th of January.  Go, Go, Go........ 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lesson number 2

In playing with different foods to see what can be puried, I have found that most of them are fruit and juice.  I have to watch the calories with those.  However, Cream of Wheat works really well for Breakfast with PLAIN protein powder, a few oz of milk and some artificial sweetner.  I have also found that Kefir works really well but you have to count the cost of the calories.  The protein powder that only requires one scoop for 25-30 grams of protein make the shake taste better and they are less gritty than if you have to use two scoops of powder.  I made some soup with vegetables and meat for a potluck and took 12 oz of the soup without the meat, put it in the blender, took 1/2 for myself at the potluck and put the other 1/2 in the refrigerator for lunch.  My hubbie is enjoying the rest of the soup. 
We had our potluck at our Life Group, where we have a group from the church who get together on Sunday nights to have a Bible study.  Once a month we have a potluck.  We also celebrate birthdays.  I caused a dilemma because I could not eat the cake this year.  So they got a very small fudge chocolate cake and I blew out the candles.  I took a very, very small piece, put it in some milk in the blender and that was my birthday cake.  Innovation, that's the word of the day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Surgery Saga

My hubbie suggested that some people might not know the process involved in having lapband surgery.  It can be very involved.  I first talked to Paul, my husband, about this in December.  I also talked to my primary care doctor.  My doc was not totally for it as he had several patients who had lost the weight and then gained it back or had not lost the weight at all.  I can actually see how that can happen and will post about that later.  Paul and I attended a seminar that gave us more information and also checked out our insurance and surfed the net for as many sources and opinions as possible.  I also talked to my cardiologist who gave me a hardy thumbs up because of the weight loss issue for me and my cardiac health.  My PCP (primary care physician) really wanted me to lose the weight because of several health issues so he also endorsed the surgery.  I had to have a clearance from the cardiologist, a letter of recommendation from my PCP and then I went to see the surgeon.
A funny note about that visit.  The surgeon that I used was originally at the hospital that I work at and after several years switched his practice to the hospital that Paul works at.  This was a plus for us because Paul's insurance covered the surgery but mine at my hospital would not.  That was one of the reasons for this surgeon to move.  However, when he walked into the room, he obviously had looked at my chart and knew who worked where because he looked at me and said "Bad guys" and at Paul and said "Good guys".  We all laughed because we understand the hospital dynamics.
After seeing the surgeon, I had to go through a psychiatric evaluation.  They decided that I was crazy but I told them that they were just jealous that the little voices didn't talk to them, so they okay'ed me for surgery.  Then I had to have a nutritional consult.  We talked about how often I would eat after the surgery (6 times a day but no more that 4-5 oz at a time) and what types of food would be best.  I'm still working on that part since I'm still on liquids, then I go to mushy foods for a few weeks and then I can eat what I want.  However, good choices will be important because who wouldn't rather have 5 oz of M&M's rather than 5 oz of salad? 
After this I was cleared but we had to wait 2 weeks for the hospital and the insurance to get their contract in place (we thought it was already in place as of January 1).  They got their act together and Paul went with me to a pre-op appointment that gave us all of the information for pre-op and post-op.  Then they scheduled the surgery. 
My surgery was scheduled 2 1/2 weeks after this appointment so I had to start immediately on the pre-op diet.  I was allowed two protein shakes (had to have 30 grams of protein per shake) and a meal with no more than 1200 calories per day.  I was definitely used to eating more than this and I was very hungry but I stuck to it and wrote down what I ate and how many calories.  I had to go through the stuff you always do before surgery, blood work, EKG, etc. a week before the surgery.
The day of surgery we got to the hospital at 0630 with surgery scheduled for 0830.  I suppose they are used to people always being late because we sat for 45 minutes before anything happened.  Then they took me back, got me ready for surgery, asked a billion of the same questions and wheeled me into the operating room. 
Next thing I know, I'm waking up and having pain where you would expect, the abdominal area, but also having chest pain.  This is always disturbing to the nurses and doctors around you so they did all of the normal things, like EKG, blood work,  check the monitors, etc.  Then they said I couldn't go home but had to stay overnight.  Knowing that this was a possibility, I had all of the important accoutrements with me, like laptop, quilting magazines, other magazines, coloring to do and a book to read.  Did I mention quilting magazines?:)
  They put me in the CCU stepdown unit and I confused them there.  I was a cardiac patient who had just had lapband surgery.  I couldn't eat their cardiac diet, the hospitalist doctor thought I was there because I had sleep apnea so he ordered respiratory therapy to come in and hook up my CPAP machine (I don't have one!).  The nurse I had was one I had before and she is a wonderful person.  She straightened everyone out on what was happening and we settled in.  I had my computer so I surfed the net between sleeping from the pain meds and watched TV and checked out my quilting magazines. 
They made me get up and walk to try to avoid blood clots (I agree with that!). 
The food was interesting and actually good.  They gave me soup with protein powder in it for dinner with sugar free fruit drink and milk.  Interestingly enough, they gave me 2% milk so I asked them to trade it for non-fat milk (which I'm used to).  I had to eat very slowly but it was good soup.  For breakfast the next morning, they gave me a very runny cream of wheat cereal with protein powder. I had been warned that this tasted terrible but I guess I'm strange because I liked it and made it for myself at home.
I was very glad to get to come home but also very sore.  My energy level has been low since being home.  I'm off work for another week and am just trying to recoop. 
I hope this helps some of you thinking about this option for weight loss.  It has been a huge step for me and I have a very long way to go and will be doing this for the rest of my life.  But, as my dad used to say, the alternative is rather grim.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lesson number 1 in the game of Lapband

An explanation first about what you get to eat for the first week after lapband surgery.  Liquids, liquids and more liquids.  You also must get into your liquids 90 grams of protein powder for the day.  While in the hospital, they gave me some really good soup with the protein powder in it so at home today, I thought to myself, "Self, you can make good soup, add protein powder to your good soup."  So I took a can of cream of mushroom soup, added water and a little milk, some garlic powder, some dry mustard and heated it up.  Then I put it in the blender with the protein powder and blended it.  Looked good and then I tasted it.  I forgot that the protein powder was Vanilla.  Did you know that vanilla and mushroom soup do not taste very good together.  I manage to eat about 1/2 of it before I gave up so I guess I'll add 15 grams of protein powder to a shake this afternoon to get the rest of that meal's protein in.  Just remember, check your ingredients BEFORE you put them together. :)  I think I need to go to the store to get some PLAIN protein powder today.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A New Beginning

A new beginning is where I am.  With the encouragement or was it the threatening of my primary care doctor and my cardiologist and with the blessing of my husband, I have chosen to have the Realize Band (a type of lapband) put in as a tool to assist in losing weight. 
I have always been overweight.  I think I weighed 50 lbs at birth (well, maybe not that much) but even as a child I was chubby and I just never really slimmed down.  Probably the summer I got married was the smallest I was and even then I was 20 lbs. overweight. 
I have tried a lot of different diets and have come to realize (pun intended) that I must change my eating habits.  The band will help me to do this.  It will let me know when I am hungry and when I am full.  The consequences of overeating are uncomfortable to say the least and not pleasant at all. 
I am grateful for the opportunity to change.  Without the insurance we have, I would not have been able to have this surgery. 
Some people have said, "well, just cut your food in half".  My problem is that I know the rest of the food is there and so I eat it if I want it.  Hopefully I will learn that I have the power over my body to eat what I need and will get my weight to a healthy place.
I hope to share ideas and recipes on this blog that will benefit others who are fighting this same battle.