Thursday, December 29, 2011

Surgeon Follow-Up: Cleared for Solid Food!

Hooray! I saw my surgeon today, exactly a month after being admitted for my surgery. He was pleased with my progress, and we discussed several concerns I had - in particular the "Ack! It's an aneurysm!" incident, and my proclivity to burp after ingesting anything, including water.

I've also been feeling fairly weak the last 7 to 9 days, with some blood pressure readings lower than I'd really have liked to see. This morning didn't start out well in that regard, after getting up I took a hot shower, which normally is quite a treat - but suddenly I was feeling light headed, and starting even having a bit of trouble breathing. I hurried to finish rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, and as my vision started getting wobbly, I yelled for the Man to come help me. He got me out of the shower, wrapped up in my towel, and seated on the toilet until I came back around to normal breathing and didn't feel quite so woozy. After I was able to get dried off and into my robe, I sat down at my desk to check my blood pressure: 77/49 - um, not good. I drank some of my protein shake and about 10 minutes later I was at 92/67 - still not great, but 5 minutes after that I was up to 103/70 - normal, if somewhat low-normal. That wasn't fun, so we decided to put me to bed until time to leave for my appointment at the hospital.

One of the things I love about working with Wake Forest is that - at least in Dr. Fuzz's clinic - they're always so prompt. We waited no more than 2 minutes between the nurse's evaluation and Fuzz coming to the room. He was very pleased with my progress - quickly identified that my weakness and low BP issues were the result of dehydration (apparently I've been throwing off ketones like whoah - he could smell it on my breath just sitting next to me). He said to worry less about the "no drinking for 30 minutes before/after eating" rule, than about getting in at least the minimum 48oz of water, and preferably more toward 60-80oz until we get the dehydration under control. He also suggested I add a bit of juice to each bottle of water - just enough to get a small bit of sugar for the extra calories, which should help stabilize the woozies. They sent me on my to the lab (no results back yet) and to see the nutritionist, who gave me some suggested foods information and other materials. One interesting item was a laminated card that identified me as a bypass patient, asking any restaurant that I might choose to show it to, to allow me to order either off the children's menu, or perhaps be served a reduced portion. Any agreeable restaurants would be listed by the program as "bariatric friendly". Not sure I'll use it, but it's an interesting thing to have in your wallet.

We got home, and I tried to eat some left-over "strata" of sorts (not as fancy as most, but more than a scramble), that we'd originally made for breakfast on Tuesday. I'd been able to eat a very small portion then, but today - not so much. It immediately started feeling like it wasn't going to sit well, and unfortunately resulted in my second bout of vomiting. The Man was in the kitchen cooking up some squash for his lunch, and didn't immediately hear me in distress down the hall, but as my last heaves hit - so did the searing pain at the base of my skull again. Thankfully this time not the triad of death pain like last week, but excruciating none-the-less. I cried out several times, and heard the Man come rushing down the hallway. He helped me to bed, and asked if I needed any painkillers or what he might do. I decided on a half dose of the liquid lortab (hydrocodone and tylenol), and a bag of anything frozen we might have in the freezer (a dubious proposition in this house, we use fresh veggies almost exclusively). Amazingly he came up with a bag of peas, and so I knocked back the happy juice and laid back on the peas and hoped it would pass quickly. It took about 20 minutes to take most of the edge off. Our mechanic called while I was waiting for things to kick in; the Man's car was being serviced. Turned out he had a broken water pump - they promised to be finished by the end of the business day, so I snuggled in to watch TV and wait for the call that his car was done.

When the garage called back I was feeling much better. We packed up the presents for his brother, sister in law, niece and her 2 boys, and his nephew, and set out to pick up his car, and then continue on to his brother's house for a belated Santa delivery. Only his brother was home when we arrived, but we had a nice chat for a few hours, looked through a bit more of his mother's things (she passed away back in June), and selected a few of them to take home. As it was getting late, we decided to stop for a quick, cheap dinner - and settled in Chili's. This would be interesting - I went in thinking maybe a cup of soup, or something I could ask for a box to take the bulk of it home. After looking over the menu, I settled on their slider plate - 4 mini cheeseburgers (and fries and such that I'd not eat). I managed to eat one of the slider patties, and nibble a couple of onion strings. The waiter first gave me kind of a quirky smile when he saw me attacking the patty with a knife and fork after removing the bun from the first slider - but didn't say anything to me until the Man was clearly done with his meal, and I was slowing down. He simply asked if I needed a box, and I answered "Yes, please!" with a big smile, and the Man made sure he got a nice tip for not commenting on my eating habits. There's 3 sliders in the fridge - I might end up eating 1 or 2 more patties over the next 2 days, but that's probably it. As time passes, I'd definitely have been able to eat a bit different, and it felt silly eating so little of a $8 meal, but I'll get some more out of it than I did tonight, and I was able to successfully eat out with my husband, so that felt good.

Tomorrow's objective is to find some mini ice-cube trays - a friend suggested putting some of my dilute juice into ice cubes, so I can suck on them. That seems like a fun way of getting some of my liquids in, so I'm going to try and pick some up tomorrow if I feel up to going out.

So - mixed results on food today, but one day at a time, that's all I can do.


  1. Oh! I hadn't thought of getting a card for children's meals. So often, my mum eats way too much because we go out to eat just before shopping, and she doesn't want it to go to waste or rot in the car. I should mention that to her, because she has been turned down for children's meals before, which is bullshit.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're on solids! You really ought to talk to my mum a bit. She has derailed terribly from her diet and exercise plan. We live not too far away... You two would get along swimmingly.

  2. Annie, you inspire me to actually use the blog I started! It's so important to "catalog" our journeys; I'm glad you're sharing yours.