Monday, November 29, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Mom

***Originally written Sunday Nov 21***

Oh man ... I do not respect wimps.

I am seriously feeling like one right now.

I will warn you up front, I may not be overly popular after posting this self pitying piece of drivel ... I am choosing to view the fact that I am so cranky today as a good sign of recovery ... that is truly my hope.

First of all ... I came through the surgery just fine Everyone seemed very pleased with themselves on my overall recovery and tolerance. I can even recall feeling so proud of myself in the recovery room when the nurse kept saying how she didn't understand why I needed to be watched for sleep apnea when I didn't even snore (SCORE!!). Then she proceeded to tell me what a great job I was doing. (I'm ROCKIN' the recovery room - double SCORE)

I was feeling fairly good with my bad self all the way around when they brought me back to my room. I was crackin' wise with the 'm'urse or possibly porter that was wheeling my bed down the hall. They got me in my room and promptly set about taking my vitals, pricking my finger and whipping up my johnny shirt to check my incisions ... which, given their pattern on my tummy, prompted me to shout ... "okay, piggies - I got room for six of y'all!" I think my 'm'urse may have peed in his scrubs a little.

Finally my husband was allowed to come in. I felt much better once I knew that HE knew I was alright. My procedure didn't get started on time ... equipment failure ... and that made it necessary for me to stay under for 3 times longer than originally anticipated ... then recovery was twice as long as expected ... I had gathered some of this while coming to and hearing them talk about me all around the edges of my consciousness. So - I was highly concerned about the mental health of my spouse by the time I actually saw him.

I was conscious for approximately 6 minutes (possibly less) in his company, before I lapsed back into a drug induced slumber. To say I was stoned would be like saying Keith Richards 'experimented' with drugs in his younger years. I didn't know what planets even were ... much less which one I was on. I slept on and off for quite a few hours more ... to my hubby's credit, he was sitting right there every time I woke up. It was finally time for me to try my legs and attempt going to the loo.

My first attempt failed. So did my second and third. I was beginning to panic. Catheters and me just don't get along well. Finally after what seemed like days, I woke up ... got up out of bed (with some help) and went ... literally "went" - which was tinkly music to my ears and soul. It was at that point that I insisted hubby go home. (Yes, I selfishly kept him there until I peed ... I didn't want to have to go through the whole catheter thing without him there to talk me through it.)

Sadly, after being asleep the entire time he was there ... I was awake for the rest of the night once he left.

Other than being stoned out of my mind, I was actually doing very well. Pain was well managed at first and my mobility was good ... I even went for a little walk around the ward with my IV pole in tow. I wasn't expecting to see anyone on Wednesday, so when Pauly came for a visit, it was really nice. Not that I remember much about it ... except how happy I was to see her.

Things went rapidly downhill from there ... but I actually don't even want to share that. Suffice it to say, I was less than impressed with the rest of my stay.

I came home Thursday evening (Nov 18) and remained fairly miserable until Saturday, when things took a turn for the better.

***Update as of Monday November 29***

It's been nearly two weeks since my surgery. I am down 38 lbs. I have had some downs ... and surprisingly, have experienced a few doubts since having this done ... I really didn't expect that. Overall, though ... things are going very well. Last week, I got all 16 staples out of my incisions - that was interesting. I have two more weeks until my next check up and at that point, I will be able to graduate to soft foods like eggs and soft fish - I can hardly freaking wait!!

I've been painfully bored over the past two weeks, but I am very happy to report that my stamina is returning and I am able to complete many of the tasks that have been piling up around my ears. This is a very good thing. I have my sights set on being fully decorated (which means fully clean, first) by the end of this weekend. My hubs has to have surgery for Carpel Tunnel on Friday, so he'll be down and out for a spot now as well. Never rains, but it pours.

Other than that, my sister is coming home from Calgary on the 10th and I am really looking forward to having her here for Christmas. It's been a year and a half since we've seen her. I'm also toying with the idea of possibly working a bit from home for the next few weeks. I'm kind of in a "wait and see" pattern for that one.

Anyhoo ... I guess this wasn't quite so bad as it started off. My perspective is much brighter than it was.

Happy Monday, Bleeps!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

Here I sit ... just one week away from my big day. Seven sleeps. I'm frightened ...  like, laying awake in bed at all hours of the night, frightened ... or heart racing into my stomach, frightened - but perhaps not for the reasons one might think. I'm not so much afraid of something happening during the surgery ... I mean a little, but really - I have a better chance of stroking out in a rage over one of Narci's bullshit stunts, than I do of actually dying on the operating table ... and all things aside, I am pretty healthy - thank heaven.

No, my fear is somewhat more bone deep than that. See, I have allowed my personal disgust in myself to colour every facet of my life for many, many years. I see the fact that I haven't been able to control this very personal thing, as not only a colossal failure, but a massive character flaw. I mean, please ... how could anyone allow themselves to gain 150 pounds, right? I did it, and  still can't provide an answer to that question. It keeps me from fully participating in my life. I have not applied for jobs (and subsequently suffered along in the one I have in a very unhappy manner), not gone to public functions, not  attended work functions - even award ceremonies where I won shit, not gone swimming with my children ... not even spent any sort of physical time with friends. In fact, the few people I call "friend" are mostly voices on the phone (no - not just in my head) and letters on a computer screen.

And so ... sitting on the edge of the precipice that I have spent nearly two decades digging ... with the impending promise of a bridge across staring me right in the face ... I'm scared shit-less. No safety net now, sweet pea. No excuses. You are here ... on the eve of the first day of the rest of your life. Whatcha gonna do now? 

I haven't been able to articulate this - even to myself until today ... but THIS is the fear I am feeling.

See - I have been researching weight loss surgery for around 3 years. In fact, I started off wanting an entirely different procedure, and have come to this one (Gastric Sleeve Resection) by way of information, safety, results and availability. In that time, (and mostly in the past year and a half) I have spent much of my energy on either campaigning to make it happen, talking myself into actually doing it and convincing the nay-sayers in my life that it is a sound decision. My mother being "Nay-sayer number 1".

See, Mom has not been very supportive of this decision. At first, I thought it was because she was simply worried about my safety and having any sort of surgery can be dangerous - so I tried to assuage her fears by providing data on the relative safety of the procedure. It didn't seem to help. I have come to realize over time that her lack of enthusiasm appears to come from a slightly darker place. I've thought a whole lot about it and I think she feels embarrassed about me having this. Let me state (for the record) that it is a bitter pill to swallow when your mother's opinions are the very echo of your own self deprecation.
Obviously, the first thing that jumps into anyone's mind is: How could she be embarrassed ...  first of all, it isn't about her and second of all, nobody knows about it? (Am I right?) But, see ... here's the thing ... she has told everyone in her world about it. The women she works with ... my sisters ... her friends (many of whom I have known for many, many years) ... and she's been running this twisted little opinion poll for the past several months regarding the validity of having this type of procedure done. And not that this isn't bad enough all on its own, but she's been presenting the various opinions to me as though she had been defending my decision to these people (passive aggressive, much?) ... when the reality is that she had absolutely no fucking right to say a bloody word to ANYBODY about this. It is not hers to share. This is mine, and I wish like hell I had never told her I was having it done.

My favorite part was when she told me (just this past Saturday) that after having a long heart to heart with herself, she thinks that if she had such a huge amount of weight to lose (as do I) ... and this surgery was available to her ... that she'd likely opt to have it done, too. (This from a woman who had her throat stripped and part of her palette reconstructed so she would no longer snore, for fuck's sakes.) I sat there, looking across the table at her - dumbfounded. She went on to say that maybe this wasn't necessarily the "easy way out" after all ... though most people seem to think that it is ... and that even though she feared I might be going about this backwards and "dealing with my problems from the outside in" (as my 23 inch waist-ed, 26 year old sister so sagely commented) ... that she supported my decision, in spite of everything else. {This is where something snapped inside my head ... I said very little - a simple 'well ... anyone who thinks there is anything 'easy' about what I am doing here is welcome to say that to my face ... and perhaps waddle a mile in my crocs before they make such an arbitrary, unfeeling and glaringly untrue comment about something they clearly know nothing about.' I then gave an unenthusiastic 'thank you' for her "support" and promptly changed the subject ... because any other course of action would not have had any happy outcome.}

This is my MOTHER, people. The person who is supposed to have my back - NO-MATTER-WHAT! The person who provides my alibi when I freak out and go postal on my employer ... the person who picks up the pieces of my shattered ego and spit-glues them back together ... the one who kisses the owie better and makes the pain go away. What-tha-hell? This is the same woman who has BEEN there for every event that led to this "(apparently not so) personal failure" of hers mine. She was there for pretty damned near all of it ... and she's been there for the past 20 odd years it has taken me to forge some kind of life for myself out of the rubble. How can she possibly think that ANY of this has been easy? I've paid the fine ... I've done my time and it is time for me to finally move past this. Christ, I have had so much therapy over the years, I have undoubtedly put a few shrinks' kids through medical school ... it is unbearable to think that she doesn't 'get' this... and clearly, she doesn't. And I don't know how to tell her.

I talked to my long time friend this morning. She knew me when I was "me" ... or at least the me I best relate to. She has been there for much of the "stuff that brought me here", too. She has never had a weight problem ... not ever. She shouldn't be able to 'get' this ... but when I told her about the conversation that happened on Saturday, she had the following to say about it: (not a direct quote - I wanted to ask her to type everything she just said in an email, but felt that might be a little weird ... but I really needed for someone on the outside to see and say something like this) 'Look - I think I can safely say that you are one of the strongest people I know. I have watched you struggle with this (weight issue) for a long time. I have seen how the way you see yourself has robbed you of an awful lot of opportunities. I think you have done the work. I don't think for a second you are doing anything backward and can't see how anyone who knows the first thing about you could think - and certainly not say - something so stupid. Your outside image is simply disconnected from the person you are inside ... that is the most simple way to see this ... and it is merely time to correct that.'  She went on to say that she had one "stupid moment" after I got my date where she feared I might change ... but realized I have always been the same person ... just not an active participant in my life for too many years. 

She is such a talented wordsmith, and I am not doing this justice ... I really wish I had gotten her to email the comment to me. The point is, she gets it. She understands... and I need that right now. My husband has been his usual rock-star self ... and I am grateful beyond belief ... but I still need for the people in my world to really get this ... really embrace what I am trying to do here. Am I being too selfish in wanting that? Is it okay for me to just expect it?

This song is by Colin Hay ... I lifted this from Fadra ... who left it on a comment to the Grasshoppa I think it says a whole lot.

Any minute now, my ship is coming in - I'll keep checking the horizon - I'll stand on the bow, feel the waves come crashing - Come crashing down down down, on me

And you say, be still my love - Open up your heart - Let the light shine in
But don't you understand - I already have a plan - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened - But in my dreams, I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path, and up this cobbled lane - I'm walking in my old footsteps, once again
And you say, just be here now - Forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin
Let me throw one more dice - I know that I can win - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now, my ship is coming in - I'll keep checking the horizon
And I'll check my machine, there's sure to be that call - It's gonna happen soon, soon, soon - It's just that times are lean

And you say, be still my love - Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don't you understand - I already have a plan - I'm waiting for my real life to begin

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