Sunday Thoughts – 20170917

  • I like bean dishes. You can cook them in the crockpot. They taste even better over the next few days, so they make great leftovers for cook ahead lunches. This week’s bean dish was a spicy baked bean pot with chorizo, bacon, onions, green peppers, and two jalapenos from the garden. It will be yummy for lunches this week.
  • The garden has been slower to start this year than usual, but it’s set to go crazy within the next two weeks. We picked tomatoes, eggplant, jalapenos, and the first real green peppers I’ve ever gotten from the garden. The green peppers that are big enough to make stuffed green peppers. I’m planning to stuff them and put them in the freezer tomorrow or Tuesday (depending on my energy level and how long things take at the doctor.
  • I have another appointment on Monday for wound care follow up. I’m hoping that we can finally move to the next stage of care, which I think is saline solution and repacking once a day. The wound care nurse is supposed to be at this appointment, so I’ll learn more then.
  • My endurance is still very uneven from surgery. I’m trying to wean myself off my afternoon nap, but I’m still finding it necessary, which throws off my ability to go straight to sleep at night. I’m writing this on the Sunday side of midnight and I feel very awake. After I finish writing, I’m going to put on Thunderstorm white noise from my tablet, and see if that works to get me to sleep.
  • I miss the way work structures a week. I hope that my return to work appointment in just under two weeks goes well even with my open wound.

Three friends try a triathlon – I watch

Team Splash Flash Dash was briefly in the lead of their heat.

My big activity today was watching The Taming of the Slough, a triathlon event for Kayak, Mountain Bike, and Trail running. Doctor Roommate and two friends made up Team Splash Flash Dash. Splash was the kayaker. Flash was mountain biker (aka:Doctor Roommate). Dash ran the final leg.

They came in second in the three-person women’s teams, which is awesome. They’d never done this before. They came in second among the women’s three-person teams even though Doctor Roommate should have had the codename Crash instead of Flash. (Doctor Roommate has no serious injuries. Just some bruises, a bit of road rash, and she will be replacing her helmet since it took one for the team.)

Spectator this event was one of the most active things I’ve done since my surgery. There was plenty of walking around the park to find a place to settle and knit while waiting for the kayaks to come in and then lots of walking around to cheer people on as friends and new acquaintances came into the relay points.

Also, I made two new doggiefriends. Lincoln was a four-month old labradoodle who looked like my Sophie-doodle-ee-doo when she was that age. He was friendly and still all puppy mouth.

At the other end of the doggo spectrum was Craig the piddy boy, an extremely mellow, beautiful yellow and white piddy, who struck me as the second friendliest and calmest piddy I’ve ever met. The winner for breed (IMO) was a piddy girl named Swee’pea, owned by my friend Worm. Craig the piddy was a close second, though. Craig did the Sophie-dog patented nose nudge under the hand and I spent a good part of the award ceremony giving love to a piddypuddy because Sophie’s taught me that nose nudge means doggo needs love now because doggo is about to die.

While the race itself wasn’t exactly my thing to try for myself, it reminded me how much I miss being able to bike or kayak or take quick steps in succession without being yelled at. Currently I’m allowed to walk and lift nothing heavier than a milk jug. I’m also not allowed to get wet in any kind of submersive fashion.

Showering is okay. Bathing is not. Doing something where I have the potential to go swimming in current is RIGHT OUTTM.

All this before 10:30 AM. Satisfied napping happened all around once we got home. All in all, it was a pretty great way to spend a day.

Adventures in wound care: a story in three acts

So, this morning I tried repacking my incision by myself. I should have known it wasn’t going to work, but my starry-eyed optimism said I had to give it a try.

It turned out rather disastrously. Montage sequence of failing to repack my own incision goes here.

In order to see what I was doing, I needed to stand in front of the mirror. Standing in front of the mirror meant that when I removed the old packing, I bled (though not truly profusely) down my front and onto the floor.

It was not going well. I tried lying down to keep the little bit of blood in the wound and not on the floor. With a hand mirror in one hand, I couldn’t wrangle both the packing material and the swab for actually packing. Without the mirror, I couldn’t see what I was doing at all which meant everything was six kinds of sideways.

I wasn’t going to be able to do it alone. I needed the cavalry and quickly because blood was drying on the floor and dried blood is kind of a pain to clean up. Queue the action sequence music.

Doctor Roommate came to my rescue. Yay! Thank you, Doctor Roommate. Doctor Roommate is my hero.

Seriously, AJ was amazing – sucking it up despite the fact that my incision is nasty looking to help me get new antiseptic packing in there so that I can hopefully heal properly now. AJ is amazing and deserves kudos for strength and bravery in the belly of icky not healing.

Fade out here, with many thanks to everyone who have been sending prayers, Reiki healing, and well wishes. I really appreciate it. It’s helping keep my spirits up despite the fact that this surgery has been more challenging than expected every step of the way.

But especially for AJ. You are my hero.

3 weeks after surgery

Three weeks-ish. The actual 3 weeks from surgery date was Tuesday of this week.

A portion of my incision reopened, in what I call my dunlap area, because, yes, I hate the term FUPA. Fuck you and your FUPA, people. Pretty is not the rent I pay to exist and go out in public.
I have a sagging belly that dunlaps over my pubic bone. When I finish losing weight, I’ll probably have to have a tummy tuck to get rid of the loose skin there. Right now, I’m working with what I have.
What I have is a three-inch section on my lower belly area that decided to reopen to a depth of a 1/4 of an inch today after I showered and removed the steri-strips there (per doctor’s instructions from last week.)
Let’s start with the answers to the most common questions:
  • No, I wasn’t doing anything stupid.
  • Yes, I’ve been following doctor’s orders.
  • Yes, I called my doctor and I’ve got instructions.
Sometimes things like this just happen whether you’re fat or not. Sometimes I have weird healing issues on parts of my body that aren’t fat, like my wrists and ankles. Fat probably didn’t help, though. 
More steri-strips have been applied. I’m supposed to keep things dry. I was told not to sweat under my belly because you can control that crap.

If things aren’t significantly better by Monday, I’ll have a trip to Iowa City to have my doctor evaluate things and come up with a better plan than sticking it back together with tape and hoping for the best.

After Hysterectomy: the nap-enings

Yesterday marked two weeks since my surgery.

I tried real pants (read: jean shorts) vs yoga pants for a short time yesterday. I could do it, but not for all day. I did it to “go out.” I went to lunch with some friends. Nothing huge. Just an hour of something to break up the day.

It was so nice to see people.

It was also nice to come home, take off those jeans shorts and put on yoga pants. I did that, and then I took a nap. The ability to keep on real pants, not have a ton of seepage/weeping from my incision site, and my general lack of stamina are real barriers for me.

I napped in my computer chair and I napped on the couch. It was a day full of naps.

I’ve been carrying around a pillow for my belly, which I’ve named Gary. You spend this much time with something and it gets a name. I have no idea why its name is Gary. I’m tending to blame pain meds for that one.

Gary is a rather plain 18-inch throw pillow. He wants to be more fabulous. You spend this much time with a throw pillow and believe me, you learn its hopes and dreams.

My friend, Shawnna, brought me a cover for Gary the belly pillow. It was a touch small for his awesomeness, so now Gary has a smaller sassy friend.

Gary’s smaller sassy friend. Gary not pictured.

I haven’t spent enough time with Gary’s smaller, now sassy, friend to be on a first name basis. Also, the good pain meds ran out, which might also account for a lack of name. I put Gary’s smaller sassy friend on my belly while I was napping on the couch to protect it from cat attacks.

To protect my belly. The cats don’t seem interested in attacking Sassy Pillow. They do seem to be interested in loving it up, so there’s that.

To be fair, the cats just want to love my belly up, too. It only feels like an attack. Maybe if they didn’t spend so much time circling before they decide I need “love.”

The cats circling near my computer chair.

Next up: making tea. That’s about all the excitement I can handle right now.

Countdown

At the time of this writing (and I write the night before I post things), I have 36 hours left until my surgery. I’m feeling a little nervous about this. Okay, more than a little nervous. Unsettled enough that I’m finding it hard to write.

I still have so many things I want to complete before the actual surgery and so little time left. Tomorrow I’ll be working from home to complete the last of the things I need to finish up at the day job before I’m out of the office for six to eight weeks.

We the People Walk

In order to form a more perfect body joined yes.fit back in June. Yes.fit does virtual races as a motivator for exercise goals. You work at your own pace. They’re against yourself. Depending on the race you can record walking, running, biking workouts, or even kayaking/canoeing workouts toward completion of the goal. As you make your distance, you get pictures of what you would see along your route as well as inspirational updates to help keep you motivated.

I finished my first race, the Race to Oz, in mid-July. I’m not going to lie. I did it for the medal because it sure as hell wasn’t for the pictures of the terrain between nowheresville and Liberal, KS. Look, another flat as hell shot of Route 54.

I’m now working on the We The People Race. Sophie and I put miles on that Sunday night. We’re 34% of the way through. I get an interesting picture of Philadelphia sent to me (and eventually a t-shirt.) Sophie gets a walk which suits her just fine.

Sophie-dog likes walks! Yes, she does. Oh, yes, she does.

I have 21 miles of 32 total left. Sophie-dog and I walk three miles on our walks. In theory, we can finish this race up right before my surgery.

Then I can start the Alice’s Adventure: Cheshire Cat race to track the mileage I log during the first weeks of recovery. That’s a 24-mile jaunt, which I expect will take longer than my current adventure in rambling since surgery is going to put me down for a bit.

Don’t worry. I’ve already talked to my doctor about this, and I’m allowed to do gentle walking as part of my post surgical recovery. I have no plans to overdo it.

I just want to have some way of seeing progress during the first weeks when I’m not allowed to do anything more than gentle walking.

Bright Sunshiny Day

I wore glasses in my youth, but my vision changed by the time I hit junior high school. I didn’t need them anymore – or rather, lenses couldn’t be ground finely enough to correct the minor flaw in my distance vision. Since we didn’t have the cash to throw around on that sort of thing and having me wear stronger glasses than I needed was deemed detrimental to my vision, I stopped wearing glasses then.

I started wearing computer glasses in my 30s because of the constant eye strain from being on the computer all the time. Over time, it got to where I needed glasses for fine print and reading, so I bought some cheap readers and went on with my life at the recommendation of my optometrist.

Sometime within the last two years, my eyes have actually gotten bad enough to need glasses for distance vision. Now, when I say “bad enough,” I mean actually able to be corrected. I still need correction for reading, but now the difference is only +.5 between distance and reading glasses, vs “you see distance well enough, but you need actual correction for your near vision.”

So yes, I now wear glasses full time and have progressive lenses so I don’t have to constantly swap my glasses. Clear for inside and prescription sunglasses for outside, thanks to Costco Optical (it’s listed in the “things to buy at Costco” section), after all was said and done, including optical insurance coverage (which I’m lucky to have), I got two pairs for what I would have expected to pay for a single pair at my previous optometrist’s office. (My ophthalmologist’s office doesn’t actually have an optical center and I have to see an ophthalmologist now because of my other health issues, which put me at higher risk of even more wackiness going on with my eyes than I already have.)

In some ways, I’m a little sad. My readers have become something of a fashion statement for me, especially my Lydias. I’m very tempted to save up and have them re-lensed with my prescription so that I can still wear them when the mood strikes. It’s silly, especially since I picked some nice sensible frames that I can wear pretty much with everything.

Okay, sensible for me. They’re semi-rimless with pink and purple temples which may not be sensible for everyone. They work with my face shape, my coloring, and my wardrobe. I made the choice like I was picking makeup colors, not clothing colors. Makeup works on a whole different set of rules than clothing.

I have to admit, I was a little sad at first. Progressive lenses are a definite sign that “you’re not as young as you once were.” I had a brief flash of the “I’m so old” pity party right up until the moment when I put on my new glasses. Yes, I am a full-time glasses wearer and that is something that comes with age for many, if not most, people. I could feel sad about it, but I don’t because I now see with clarity everywhere I look.

The seeing with clarity pretty much wherever I’m looking (as long as I’m using the right part of the lens)? That’s amazing. I love actually feeling like the world is clear again, even though that means that I’m also seeing my wrinkles and stray hairs more clearly. If that’s the cost of admission to being able to see whatever I’m looking at and not fighting with blurriness or depending on people with better vision to read to me, it’s well worth it. If anything, I feel less old because I can see clearly now.

I haven’t sat down to try to selfie them yet because I suck at selfies about as much as anyone can suck at a selfie and they’re kind of an ordeal. Take 52 pictures, maybe more. Find one where I don’t look like something from a Hieronymous Bosch painting. Repeat as required.

The Last Judgement (detail of a man being eaten by a monster) c.1504 | Hieronymous Bosch

Ah, Hieronymous Bosch. How I love thee! But not looking like I was imagined up by thee.

Plus, if I take the picture, I have to acknowledge that I’ve gained 50 pounds (thanks, Hormone based IUD), and I don’t really want to immortalize that in photos. Once the IUD is out (a side effect of the hysterectomy I’m having) and I’ve recovered from surgery, I’ll get a nice picture. By nice, I mean one that my vanity can stand for other people to look at.

No delusions of hotness here.

Carpe dat diem

“The trouble is, you think you have time” — Jack Kornfield

but you don’t.

Time is the one commodity in our lives we can’t make more of when we’re out. Once it’s gone it’s gone. That’s it.

So get up and carpe dat diem already.