Monthly Archives: May 2021

On Food

Standard

So we have been on the road the past few days and negotiating eating in restaurants and on the fly for the first time since surgery. Here are some things I found interesting:

1) We heard in the Facebook support group for our bariatric surgery group that one thing you have to get used to is wasting food. You can’t eat anything close to a regular sized restaurant meal anymore, even the “lighter fare” smaller meals they offer. Even children’s menu meals are too big. This is super true. This morning The Lovely Rhonda and I split a lighter meal of a two egg scramble with ham and cheese, hash browns and English muffin. We each ate about half of the half order of scramble on our plates, a couple of bites of the half order of hash browns, and a couple bites of the half English muffin. So between us, half the meal was left behind.

Of course, at home we save leftovers and don’t actually waste the food, but you get the idea. We really do eat very little.

2) It appears the sugar monkey on my back is at least muzzled. I had a tiny piece of cake with a little dab of ice cream last week on my daughter’s birthday and it made me super weird. Well, weirder. I felt kind of sick to my stomach and then super tired for a while. I’m not saying I’m off all sugar for good, but I won’t be eating more than a bite here and there.

3) I don’t really miss soda. Once I gave it up the spell was broken. Some people can still have carbonated drinks after this surgery but a lot of people cannot tolerate them due to the tiny stomach/no room for gas issue. I am a world champion belch queen from way back and could probably have them, but why?

I have started to order the occasional Arnold Palmer because I like lemonade but it’s too sweet, I like iced tea only sort of, and the combination of the two isn’t bad.

Also, and this is TMI so stop reading now if you don’t care to know, carbonation and caffeine are irritants to the bladder. Guess who no longer has to pee constantly and urgently? I’m super cool with this. I have also found that sugar free drink mixes like Crystal Light contain something that my bladder doesn’t like, maybe the malic acid, so I don’t have those very often either. They are now a sometimes thing when I just want something other than water, and I like them diluted anyway. Harm reduction, people!

Spelunking on a Sunday

Standard

So we’re wrapping up this little mini-break with an adventure the likes of which we have not experienced before, and which three months ago we could not have done.

It’s not as though we’re breaking new ground here, we didn’t make an expedition up Everest or anything. But we did take a tour through the Lewis & Clark Caverns National Monument, which did involve a death march hike up to the entrance, a distance of approximately forever three quarters of a mile and an elevation gain of about ten thousand three hundred feet.

At the trail head one is greeted by this sign.

And so we found ourselves trudging wearily up the path. I typically use a cane for longer walks because of my rickety leg situation; it makes it easier to push off since my left pusher-offer hamstring muscle is completely MIA. But, we were afeared that they wouldn’t allow me to go on this trek if I had a stick with me so I left it behind in the car.

We survived the hike up, predictably coming in dead last behind the family with the four year old and the mom carrying a toddler in a front pack. It’s ok though; coming in last is pretty much my specialty. Plus that mom looked really fit.

Once at the cave entrance you get a few minutes to listen to the park ranger guide talk about the history of the caves and how much damage people have done to it over the years and why you definitely need to not touch anything or carry any cool cave features away which we wouldn’t do anyway because we are not assholes.

And then in we went, down through room after room of spectacular cave formations, down six hundred million bajillion steps, down in the cool beautiful cave until we emerged victorious into the bright sun and sweatily but triumphantly trudged the quarter mile back to the visitor center.

A pool
500 foot tunnel blasted through by Conservation Corps to provide a lower exit so we wouldn’t have to climb back up all those damn stairs

There were places in the cavern where you had to stoop to squeeze through low ceiling areas, sidle sidelong around odd corners, even sit on your bottom and slide down a little curving stone slide (or duck walk through). I’m not great at regular walking so I was feeling not so confident about any other kind. This meant I had to negotiate sitting on the ground and then getting back up at the end, a process that was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that there were a couple of people behind me to act as witnesses. Nevertheless I prevailed and I’m not even dead here at the end.

Anything beyond walking on level ground is precarious for me as I have on one leg a reasonable knee with no muscle attached to it and on the other leg a shitty arthritic knee, complete with torn meniscus and MCL, with the usual amount of muscle attached. Lucky me! Still, I managed the cave tour with all its interesting terrain and it was super fun and cool, and as previously noted, bonus points for not being dead.

The Lovely Rhonda also prevailed although it was touch and go on the stairs up toward the end. She is my hero.

“I’m not dead yet “

Our Progress Through Life

Standard

So today we’re in Bozeman, Montana, taking the eldest child to her first college tour. We decided to make a little mini-break out of it because The Lovely Rhonda cannot do anything halfway. Oh, we just moved into new offices? Must be time to not be home to set up the computers.

Anyway, tomorrow we’ll head over to the Museum of the Rockies for a bit and then mosey over to the north end of Yellowstone, and Sunday we’ll explore the Lewis & Clark Caverns; then Monday we’ll head home.

Bozeman is pretty nice, very much a college town full of Dynamic Young People ™ but also charmingly rustic at its heart. As an example the cafe we’re about to eat breakfast in is housed in a 150 year old building with a pressed tin ceiling. Bozeman is also relentlessly Caucasian, and we’ve seen a few ratty Trump flags still waving limply in the breezes, but this is not unusual for the American boonies.

In other news, recently we went through our closet and culled out the pants that don’t fit. This turned out to be pretty much all of them. All the pants that didn’t fit pre-surgery because they were too tight, now don’t fit because they’re literally falling off of us. We gathered them into a heap which I then felt compelled to fold neatly because of reasons. We’re donating them to a friend’s charity where we are assured that the chunkier lady recipients are in need of our FIFTY pairs of pants.

Yes. Fifty. Because we had a lot of pants. Stop asking questions.

Ok, it is a lot of pants.

I had a sad because the shorts I kept because they were my favorites are now too big and not even worth donating because they’re antiquated and too worn out to be useful. Such is life.

I’m now wearing pants that are two sizes smaller. So I’m not THAT sad.

Another new development: I can cross my legs.

It’s been years.

This is significant because a) I used to be too fat, and b) after I ripped off my semimembranosis muscle, it took me about a year and a half to cross my legs at the ankles. Now, a mere three and a half years later, I can cross my actual legs. I did it today, twice, while we were listening to college tour stuff.

Today we took a walking tour around the main points of the campus while a chipper college student delivered a great deal of information to us at high velocity. Past me would have stayed back at the student union building, but current me went along with this demented scheme. I admit to trudging by the end, but it didn’t kill me.

Which is good, because Sunday we’re going on a two mile hike through a cavern that will involve not just walking but “the route requires visitors to navigate over 600 stairs (over 500 down and over 100 up), to bend, duck waddle, and even slide.”

Three months ago this would not have been even a possibility. To say I’m excited is an understatement.

At least it’s not the ‘rona

Standard

We went motorcycling last weekend. We each have these pretty great motorcycles and they’ve hardly been ridden in ages because of my dumb leg and then our work schedules and summer heat and life and kids and stuff.

Then too (speaking only for myself here) I wasn’t that comfortable riding because my gear wasn’t fitting well and I just felt awful.

A friend of ours posted about wanting to go for a jaunt on Saturday so we decided to go, despite The Lovely Rhonda having constant misgivings about our right to do anything fun during These Trying Times while we are expanding the practice etc. So, we plugged in the battery tenders and mentally prepared ourselves for the work of riding. It really is work if you’re out of practice and deconditioned.

It turned out to be cool and cloudy, so over-pants were necessary. I hadn’t worn mine for a couple of years and they barely fit then.

Sixty pounds (almost) later, they fit GREAT. I could easily bend my knees, they were roomy, all that jazz. It was a big deal.

Sadly, I chose to wear a mesh jacket with a thick flannel shirt under it, plus my t-shirt, thinking it’d warm up. This was unwise as I got a chill and had difficulty warming up, despite my delightful heated handgrips.

We peeled off the ride when it got close to our neck of the woods and went directly to the hot tub, but even an extended soak did me little good. I thought it was just being cold and tired, but (cue ominous music) it turned out to be something else entirely.

Well, maybe not entirely. Probably being cold and tired did contribute.

I spent the rest of Saturday and all of Sunday with a crappy headache, chills, and fever, feeling horrifically terrible. Monday wasn’t much better, and with the added fun of Digestive Problems. Like, “stay close to a flush toilet” kind of problems.

Today I went and had a Covid test because all of these symptoms can be associated with a minor Covid infection, but it turns out I’m just garden variety sick. Things are starting to settle down — as an example, I can now trust a cautious fart — but I still have a headache and feel lousy.

Who even am I anymore

Standard

So tonight the children are “independently” (using our money of course) taking their babysitter out to an escape room and sushi.

Well technically they are footing some of the bill themselves. So there’s that.

The Lovely Rhonda and I decided to go out for something to eat, because the food at home didn’t appeal to us. You know how that goes. We ended up at McGraths, which is where you take your grandma on her birthday, but it’s close and we like seafood.

Past us: ALL THE THINGS with a diet soda (me) and a beer or two (TLR). Fried shramps! Baked potato! Bread! Clam strips! Stuffed mushrooms! Rawr!

Present us: Uh, we’ll each have a lemonade and split an appetizer sampler.

Waiter: Great! I’ll be right back with your bread!

Us, in unison: NO BREAD!!

Rhonda: eats one fourth of a crab cake, three tablespoons of chowder, and a single tiny piece of mini garlic toast with crab and artichoke dip.

Me: PEELS THE BREADING OFF the two coconut shrimp and eats only the meat, also one fourth of a crab cake, and a darling piece of mini garlic toast with dip.

Both of us: OH GOD I’M STUFFED

The good news is that we brought the rest home and finished nearly all of it over the next couple of days.

But really? I peeled off the breading?

Who even AM I anymore?

In other news we took photos at about our seven week surgiversary. Here’s a couple of mine:

Fifty five pounds gone.
Also I got a haircut.