Total Weight Loss

Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Lost 7 Pounds Yesterday

I am not sure my exact weight when I went in for surgery.  I didn't weigh that morning.  We'd gone out to eat the night before so the number would have probably been up.  I weighed often enough in the days before surgery that I have a pretty good idea of the neighborhood.

I weighed several days after coming home on a lark.  I knew it would be up because my left leg was incredibly swollen.  There was an obvious difference in the size of my right and left legs.  My weight was up 15 pounds.  I didn't get upset because I figured there was more than 15 pounds of fluid in my left thigh alone!!

That, and the fact that my appetite was virtually gone.  I was (and am) trying to listen to my body, and eat when I am hungry.  I got some protein bars and nuts to eat during recovery to have a quick and nutritious snack on hand when I got hungry.  Since I wasn't wearing my regular clothes, I didn't have that guide, I felt like my weight would be down if I could somehow discount the swelling.  One day, I even thought my face appeared thinner in the mirror.  That is a hard one to quantify.  I just enjoyed it without 'proof' and went on.

I go to therapy on MWF.  My therapist is great.  She is the kind of person, I'd be friends with.  We work hard on getting my muscles back in shape so that I can move my left leg again.  I am making progress.  When I first came home 65MD (or whoever was here) had to left my left leg in to the bed.  I couldn't lift it at all.  Nor could I make a side to side motion with that leg.  It was a fluid filled sack of meat hanging from my body.

Now, with great effort, I can lift my leg into the bed and under the right circumstances move my left leg from side to side.  That is just the first wave.  I have to be able to lift my leg while laying on my side.  We haven't even begun to work on that.  Then there is the whole walking thing.  I need to be able to walk without the assistance of a device.  Those things will call come in time.  That is why I am going to therapy.

Yesterday, my therapist wasn't there.  She had a well deserved day off.  I had another therapist.  She was very nice and very different.  Yesterday's therapist was very concerned about symmetry and balance in my body.  I did not understand a lot of what she was doing.  We didn't do the exercises I am used to.  Instead, she put her hands on various parts of my body starting at the top of my head and working down.  I laid on my back on the table as she put her hands under my head, under my shoulders, under my waist, under my pelvis, etc.  She just laid her hands under me.  She didn't massage.  We chatted about family and life as she moved through this process.  

At the end, we did a couple of exercises.  She actually did more of the movement than I did.  She wanted me to see how it would feel to move the muscles properly.  Finally, she told me that she was moving the fluid through my lymph system so it could leave.  She showed me how to put my hand on my left hip to help shed the fluid myself at home.

I wasn't quite sure how this shedding was going to happen.  I could think of two possibilities.  I could pee it out or it could seep out the incision.  I was right.  Both happened.  We put a towel in the bed in case the incision oozed.  It was a good idea, but the sheets are in the washer now.  I also got a lot of practice walking to the bathroom.  It seemed I was peeing far more than the urgency of need.  Even 65MD, commented on perhaps my bladder had expanded.

So, this morning, I weighed.  I'm down 7 pounds.  Now, if I could just do that a few more days...

Thursday, October 29, 2015


WARNING- Major whine and rant ahead!!

Really!?!?!  I know that recovery is going to take longer than I think.  I know that it will be harder than I want.  I know that there will be set backs along the way.  Just because I can do X today, doesn't mean I can do it again tomorrow.  I have tried to hard to prepare myself mentally for whatever comes my way but I was NOT expecting this.

I am allergic to the tape used to bandage the incision.  I just can't wrap my brain around that one.  The tape?!?  Who is allergic to paper???  Me, apparently.  I am not taking this well.  I am angry and insulted.  Of all things that can happen  - a tape allergy happens to me.

Don't get me wrong I'm not hoping for worse.  It is just that I thought I had prepared myself for any eventuality.  I cleared my calendar as much as possible through the end of the year.  It never occurred to me that I might have been made worse by what was supposed to help.

65MD had been changing my bandage regularly since coming home from the hospital.  It drained, as was expected, and the hospital provided us with extra bandages and tape for that purpose.  Early on, I told 65MD that it hurt when he pulled off on of the tapes.  He was surprised and thought it was just because my leg was super sensitive and neither one of us thought much more about it.

Tuesday afternoon, he took the bandage off so that I could take a shower.  He pulled and I screamed.  He thought I was overreacting, but it really, really hurt!  Then we noticed a blister not quite as big as a dime at the top of the incision.  I wondered if I had been burned accidentally during the surgery.

I sent a picture of it to my sister who is a labor & delivery nurse.  She said she thought it was the tape.  So, as a precaution, we decided not to re-bandage the incision.  I showed it to my therapist yesterday and she confirmed that it was an allergic reaction.  She gave me another type of bandaging material if I needed it but advised to leave it off if I could.  She also suggested that I but a small band-aid type bandage over the blister in case it ruptured.

Then, last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I felt another blister.  I had 65MD look and I have blisters of varying sizes all down the back of my leg all along the side of the incision right where the tape had been.  Nothing to do for that.  I would have used a whole box of band-aids if I could have figured out how to put them on without getting on the staples.

We just put a towel in the bed to catch the goo as they ruptured, quite a few of them did.  Sigh.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Recovering Nicely, I Think!

A week ago today, I had my left hip replaced and the fun really began!  I've heard that women forget the pain of childbearing or they'd never have another child.  I believe the same applies to hip replacement.  There have been some improvements in the procedure and I was in a different facility so I can't really do an apples to apples comparison.  Suffice to say, this ain't for sissies.

I really liked the new facility and the changes that came along with it.  Everyone that took care of me there was wonderful except for one Nurse Ratchet.  I may or may not discuss her in another post.  Today, I want to share about the spinal tap and the extreme joy it brought me.

I found out Tuesday during pre-op that I was to get a spinal tap.  This would numb me from the waist down.  While I would still be under general anesthesia, I wouldn't have to have as much and avoid those nasty side effects that plagued me so much in times past.  There were other advantages as well, like having narcotics directly injected into my spinal fluid.  Still, the whole idea of someone messing around with my spine freaked me out and I was not in favor of it.

The two pre-op nurses didn't press the issue and went on with the other duties which included giving me pain meds and what I labeled 'nerve' pills.  Having not had any pain medicine for 7 days and no food since midnight, the lovely little pills worked their magic very quickly.  I told them I was feeling relaxed and they said that was a good thing.

Soon, a very kind doctor came in.  He was a little older than me and could have easily been a favorite uncle.  I liked him right away.  We had instant rapport.  I was soooooo glad he was my doctor.  He took lots of time to explain the spinal tap procedure to me  and although I was still fearful, I agreed.  Although I felt like the doctor and I were having a nice coherent conversation, he seemed to chuckle a lot.  At one point the nurses got so tickled that they hid behind the curtain and guffawed.  I am pretty sure that they were laughing at me.  My only concern was that I wasn't quite getting the joke.  I wanted to laugh too, even if it was at my expense.

I was awake as I was taken into the OR.  The first face I saw as I was wheeled in was a man who was the older brother I never had.  I knew instantly that he was a good man and I could trust him completely.  He told me not to be afraid because he would be with me the entire time and that I could lean on him while the doctor was doing the spinal tap.  He called me "sweetie" and names like that.  I let him.  Ordinarily, that is a real pet peeve of mine.  How could a man I hardly know use terms of endearment?  This time, it sealed our bond.  The last thing I remember was sitting with the top of my head on his chest and holding to the sides of his scrubs for dear life.

Then I woke up in my room.  I told 65MD all about the nice, nice man that let me lean on him.  He made such an impression on me that I told 65MD repeatedly just how nice he was.  65MD decided the thing to do was record me telling him all about my new friend.  I've only heard snippets so far, but I didn't think I was slurring my words quite as much as the person he recorded.

The surgeon came in to check on me and I thanked him profusely for the spinal tap and exclaimed how good I felt.  The nurse pointed out to 65MD that I was still numb from the waist down.  The doctor, did not tell me that little bit of information.  I realized later that pain was going to happen no matter what.

Besides, making me hilarious to the medical staff, and being able to tell who the good guys were immediately, the spinal tap also made me quite dizzy and have double vision.

When the therapists (it took two) came to get me up the first time, I could not do it because the room would not be still.  I was determined to walk.  It was my first post op goal and I was not going to get behind from the beginning.  I insisted that they get me up and hold me up until the room stopped spinning.  After about three tries, I began to feel as though the ride was coming to a stop and was ready to take a step.  I asked the therapist for my 'walking frame' using a British accent.  She started laughing so hard that she let go of me.  I fell back in to the bed and bonked her head with mine on the way down.  She refused to get me back up after that.  So, the failure was not mine!!!

Actually, I got a lot of visits from the medical staff and more than one person said I was her favorite patient.  Aside from the one aforementioned grump, everyone I encountered was my favorite as well.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Benefits of Not Taking Pain Meds

I have been off all pain medicine except TylenoT (sic) since Tuesday.  To say I hurt is an understatement.  I have been in some pain now for years.  It is a rare thing for me to be pain free.  I didn't realize just how well the pain medicine has been working until I stopped taking it.  I am trying to stay out of The Pit, so I am thinking of the good parts of not taking pain medicine.

The first I already mentioned.  Now I know just how well the pain medicine was working!

Second, 65MD is cleaning house, and even doing laundry.  I gave him the floors some time ago.  Sweeping, vacuuming and mopping were too hard.  He doesn't quite have the same level of desire for cleanliness as I do, but I just had to let that go.  He has a demanding job, and takes care of millions of other things around the house.  Since, last week, he has suddenly turned into Mr Clean.  He's washed, dusted, swept, mopped just about everything there is to wash, dust, sweep and mop in the house, in addition to those million other things.

Third, 65MD is planning meals, cooking and cleaning up afterwards.  We developed a pattern early in our marriage that one of us cooked and the other cleaned up after the meal, mostly loaded the dishwasher.  Since I've been working from home, I've done most of the meal planning & prep.  He's cleaned up.  

This morning, he made waffles & sausage for breakfast.  His idea.  He even cleaned up afterwards.  The first thing he ever made for me while we were dating was waffles.  We were watching a movie at his house and I was hungry.  He had nothing in his house to snack on but had waffle mix and a waffle iron.  Since that time waffles have become a 'romantic' food for us.

Fourth, 65MD went to the grocery store with me yesterday and I got to push the cart.  That is a two-fer.  First, he does not enjoy shopping any where any time, and when he goes he pushes the cart.  I think he does it to keep me moving.  This time, I needed the cart to lean on as I walked shuffled through the store. He also brought them in and helped put them away.

Next, I am getting a lot of work done on the blanket I am making for my niece.  I'm hoping to get it finished while I am recuperating and start one for the baby coming in May.

Finally, I can mess around on Facebook and play Candy Crush as long as I want guilt free!

I am not quite looking forward to Tuesday and the nightmare that will start then.  But the sooner it starts the sooner it will be over.  Plus, I'll be back on the super-duper pain meds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Much Ado about Nothing

I don't have much to say.  Still, I wanted to check in.

I've been spending most of my time getting ready to be out of commission for at least 8 weeks, and maybe through the end of the year.  I have much more realistic expectations this time of how long it is going to take to get back on my feet.  I'm even trying to convince myself that it is OK that I may not be 100% pain free for a year.

This time we are allowing food to be brought.  That is fraught with danger, I know.  I'm asking for no white flour and no sugar in what is brought.  At the same time, I am planning to accept whatever is given with graciousness and worry about my weight on January 1 with the rest of the nation.

My niece will turn 3 in December.  I am really hoping to be able to make her birthday cake.  She's already asking for "Elsa Anna cake and presents."  Every time she sees me, she says that over and over.  I wish I had a sound clip to share.  It is more like "ElsaAnnacakeandpresents" as if it was one word.  She is jazzed about her birthday.  Last time she was at my house, she decided it would be a good time to make the cake.  It took some convincing but she finally agreed to wait closer to her birthday.

I can understand her confusion though.  In the interest of planning ahead her mother and I have been gathering supplies since I most likely won't be driving before her birthday.  And, her mother can make the cake with my instructions if I'm not able.

I've been a little surprised by the number of things happening in the next 8 or so weeks that I feel like somehow need my attention.  Maybe this is a good thing.  Maybe I need to see that I am not so vital, and just enjoy life.

I've had to stop taking pain medication. Until surgery, I am allowed as much acetaminophen (Tylenol) as I want.  Woohoo!  NOT!  Folks, if my pain were manageable with that stuff, I wouldn't even be considering surgery! I have already pre-apologized to 65MD for being a grump.  He was kind and said so far I hadn't been too bad.  He ain't seen nothin' yet, I fear.  He's a good man.  He understands.  For my readers that pray, it would certainly help to spare one for him.

I'll keep in touch as I can.  I'll probably have a lot more time for blogging.  Although, I can't address the coherence of what might be blogged!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I co-teach the 4's, 5's and kindergartners on Sunday mornings at church.  I love that age group.  They are becoming their own individuals and at the same time are so sweet an innocent.  They are excited to learn and give love so freely.  And, they are HONEST!    What's not to love?

They are also quite into birthdays and how old everyone is.  That subject came up as the children were coming in on Sunday.  The co-teacher said that she was older than me.  She is.  The precious little girl sitting next to me piped up with; "Yes, but she is bigger" referring to me.

Now, I am choosing to believe that she was giving me high praise rather than calling me fat.  In her world, being bigger is better, as is being older.  Since I was not older than the other teacher, at least I was bigger.  I am.  The other teacher is a normal sized lady.  I'm still falling on the plus side of the spectrum.

I am sure I am making more out of the offhand comment made by a 4 year old, than I should.  Still, I keep circling back to the fact that she said "bigger" not "fat."  Maybe just maybe, her sweet little eyes don't see me as fat.  I am not as big or as fat as I once was.  There's that!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Here We Go, Again!

I saw the surgeon yesterday for a one year follow up on my right hip replacement.  To the day, it was one year when I had surgery.  He was very pleased with the way my right hip has healed.  He even used the word 'perfect' to describe it.  That made me very happy.

He x-rayed my left hip as well since it has been bothering me off and on for most of the year since the right replacement.  He told me in the spring that the left hip had the same deformity and would eventually need to be replaced.  I was hoping to make it until January because I don't like January & February.  It would be fine with me to feel worse than dirt for those months. (not really fine, but better than in the summer)

But, the best laid plans, as we all know, don't always work out.  The x-ray showed that my left hip had 'collapsed.'  I wasn't surprised to hear that something like that happened.  About three weeks ago, I was standing up and it popped.  It hurt.  It hasn't stopped hurting at some level ever since.  

The pain medicine beats it back some but not completely.  I can hobble around and get things done that are necessary but not everything I'd like to do.  It has been longer than I want to think about since my house has been actually clean.  I keep the clutter and crumbs beat back, but the dust is piling up, especially in the bedroom where the new floor is being installed.  I don't even go back there most days.

Anyway, the only treatment for a collapsed hip is replacement and it is a bit more urgent.  So, I am scheduled for replacement on October 20.

On the one hand, I am so ready to get this behind me that I am OK with the escalated date.  On the other hand, the memories of how hard it was are still too fresh and I really don't want to go through that again.  The full truth is, I am fearful that even this won't help.  Even though the doctor said that my right hip was fine, it still hurts from time to time.  I'm hoping that is just because I'm favoring my left hip and putting too much stress on it.  

Being in pain for years, literally, years makes me wonder if I will ever be pain free again. I see people walking and am envious that they appear to be walking with ease and pain free.  Will that ever be me again?  Or, will I wind up in a wheelchair?

No one, not even the surgeon, who knows my weight because I weighed at his office yesterday, has said that if I lose weight it will help.  No one.  Still, we all know that losing any amount of weight will help.  I had finally gotten into a routine, however pitiful with the Wii and my eating that my weight was finally slipping down.  Now, I see all of that struggle to lose 10 lbs about to go up in smoke.  I hate it.  

I know that once I heal (if I heal) I can get back to the Wii or maybe even actual exercise and lose weight again.  I'm tired of losing the same pounds over and over.

I guess the bottom line is, I'm scared.  Scared of the surgery, scared of the recovery, scared that nothing will be fixed or even improved in the long run, and scared of becoming the fat old lady in a wheelchair.