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Parenting Fumble October 22, 2013

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:32 pm

I think it’s well established that I’m not very good at explaining the mysteries of the world to Weenut. When I was trying to explain God and how he was everywhere and all powerful, I might have made a comparison to Superman…

I was raised Catholic and we stopped going to church sometime before reconciliation. In general, I’m pretty agnostic. I don’t think any religion really has it right, except for the core belief that you should try to be a good person-although many religions seem to believe things that directly contradict that core belief. I don’t really believe the bible is more than a collection of fables. I don’t believe that there is some divine being that intervenes directly in people’s lives to perform miracles. I just can’t reconcile that with the randomly awful things that happen to perfectly good people and the evil that goes on unfettered every day around the world. At the same time, I don’t begrudge anyone religious beliefs that give them a framework with which to make sense of the world.

Still, I can’t say that in times of trouble and stress, I haven’t found myself turning to “prayer.” When I found out I was miscarrying years ago, many, many times the thought passed through my head “please, please god, do not let this happen on its own, please let me make it to the d&c next week.” When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, I taught Weenut the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer adding on a round of “God bless Pepere, Memere, etc” to the end. There was comfort in the ritual, whether or not I really believed that god was up there changing the course of destiny. Plus, there is nothing wrong in teaching Weenut to be thankful for the people in his life.

Soooo, I don’t know, there are so many concepts that are just kind of embedded into my consciousness, whether or not I really, really believe there’s someone on the other side waiting to met out judgments at the end. When I pray/wish for something, I don’t know if I’m really throwing it out there to God, fate, the universe, whatever. And because I don’t really have a good handle on it myself, it makes it kind of hard to explain things to an inquisitive 5 year old. As was clearly evident in the conversation Weenut and I had last night.

Weenut: Why are there four seasons?
Me: I guess because mother nature designed it that way. (First thing that popped into my head. Now that I think about it, there is probably some perfectly valid scientific explanation having to do with the earth’s rotation, position relative to the sun, etc. I’m sure Christianity/the bible has some official explanation about god’s design as well.)
Weenut: Was she the first person?
Me: No, Adam and Eve were the first people. (QUICKSAND, MIXING METAPHORS, I am so bad at this).
Weenut: But how did they live if there was nothing else here and no other people? What did they eat?
Me: Well there were fruits and vegetables and nature and stuff. (And a poisoned apple. Why is this so complicated).
Weenut: Well then who made nature?
Me: (Abort! Abort! Getting too complicated! Misdirection needed) Something nonsensical mumbling and then Hey! Time for dessert!

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The Tuck October 3, 2013

Filed under: Battle of the Scale — booksunread @ 1:13 pm

So I’m four weeks post-surgery now. I’m healing well with no complications, although it does seem to be taking forever. I’m glad that I postponed the surgery last spring with a trip to the UK coming up four weeks later. There is NO WAY I would have been up for a trans-Atlantic travel and the rigors of that trip at this point in my recovery. So here’s how it went.
A friend drove me down for my 6:45 arrival so that Miguel could get Weenut up and off to school. This was a full two hours before my surgery so there was a lot of sitting around. Getting my vitals checked, IV started, putting on my lovely hospital gown, etc. You have a nurse assigned to you, a patient care assistant and then also IV lady whatever she was called (who did a shit job finding a vein and left me with a lump in my vein that is still not all the way gone).
The doctor finally came in to mark me and kept stepping back to eyeball me and adjusting my shoulders to be more level-I am lopsided. I love full frontal nudity with near strangers (in consult visits, I kept on my underwear onso it was first with the full monty…). It was a lot of marking between the tummy tuck marks, and the breast lift marks and the lipo she also did around my hips. She also promised me some kind of sedative to relax me before heading in to surgery. I was like okay whatevs-I really wasn’t all that nervous. Mostly because I was refusing to think about what was about to happen. And also because I was voluntarily choosing to do this to myself of my own free will and not because of any health issue.
The pre-op cocktail was quite warm and lovely and fuzzy and before I knew it they were popping on my orange “latex sensitive” shower cap/hairnet and wheeling me off to the OR. A bunch of masked people were introducing themselves to me and the last thing I remember was being moved to the operating table.
I woke up in recovery feeling no pain or disorientation, I was even able to direct the nurse to exactly where my glasses were stowed in my bag. I was finally transferred to a room sometime before 1 and Miguel and my friend were allowed to meet me there. The nurses got me all settled, explained the morphine pump to me and I was basically like alright guys, you can take off because all I’m going to be doing all day is riding this morphine wave and sleeping.
And ride the morphine pump I did. The nurse in pre-op had given me kind of a mini lecture about not being afraid to take advantage of the pain meds, to stay out in front of the pain rather than wait until it was really bad. The morphine pump works like this-you can hit the button whenever you want but it will only give you a hit of morphine if it’s time for more (GENIUS). It beeps once if it’s delivering the morphine and three times if it’s not time for another dose. So every time I drifted into consciousness, I hit the button to see if it would give me some. So basically, every single time I was medically able to get morphine without od’ing, I got one.
Which was super awesome until the next morning, when I had to get weaned off of it, have my catheter removed and start moving around, coming back to the land of the living with the goal of being shuttled out the door in the late afternoon. And I was super super nauseous. You have to pee before you can leave, but I couldn’t eat or drink anything to get some pee made. I tried some saltines and water but it didn’t go well. Before long, I could tell they were coming back up, but the basin was on the table out of the reach of my limited mobility (not to mention the thought of hurling when your stomach is all stitched together is not a fun prospect). I pushed the nurse button which thankfully was within reach. “Yessss?” a bored voice asked. “Helllp” I croaked (I was afraid to talk/open my mouth too much for fear it would all come spewing out). “What?” “Helllp.Vomit.Help.” Three people came in and they were like “I don’t know” I stretched my hand out for the basin and the nurse clued in and got it under my chin just in time.
Meanwhile. It’s been about 6 hours since the catheter came out which is when they expect things to start working. No pee. Since I can’t hold down liquids, they push some more via IV. And give me an anti-nausea med that knocks me back out. It’s getting later in the day and nothing is happening. The hope was Miguel would be able to get me settled at home before picking up Weenut at daycare. So as the day wore on without any pee, I was getting more stressed out about not getting out. I finally did pee late afternoon and was like alright, let’s roll. But I was still super nauseous.
So the doctor had decreed they wanted me to be able to keep down some liquids/food before they’d release me. It was after 4 by this time so I had some broth and juice or whatever. But then that still wasn’t good enough, they wanted me to have some soft foods. So I had to wait for some oatmeal and a banana and put a dent in that before they’d let me go. It was getting close to 8 by this point and I finally got them to call in an anti-nausea Rx and send me home. I was not about to be spending another night in the hospital on my dime. So Miguel lined up a sitter and picked up my meds and came to get me.
The half hour drive home was long-I had been pumped so full of fluids via IV I had to pee so bad. I waddled into the house hunched over at the waist, straight past the babysitter to the bathroom and stayed there till Miguel had paid her and she left.
I went straight up to bed and spent the night alternating between the recliner and bed, with frequent trips to pee out all that fluid. It wasn’t awful. I was so freaked out from the morphine sickness, I was afraid to take anything other than the nausea meds and Tylenol. I left the valium and percocets alone. But the pain was still pretty manageable. I couldn’t really feel much of anything if I was sitting still and really only a 4 when I was moving.
I was given a surgical bra lined with huge pads of guaze at the hospital and then the stomach incision was covered with what almost look liked padded duct tape. Over all of my stomach was a large adhesive plastic, saran wrap –like bandage, which all stayed in place till my one week post-op. So wound care was just taking care of the boob incisions at first. I was able to shower on my second day home and then had to ointment and re-dress the breasts. And I had drains coming out my lower abdomen that had to be emptied and measured every day for that first week. So gross to see your body juice on the outside. Luckily they came out after the first week.
The biggest pain point throughout recovery was that I couldn’t stand upright. And eventually that was taking a toll on my back, with spasms and tightness if I was up and walking around for any length of time. I had to shower sitting down. This pain led me back to the valium and percocets which I tolerated without nausea, thankfully. I took the combo at night for a while to ensure a good nights sleep and weaned myself back off once I went back to work in the office (I was off 1 week, then worked from home for a another week and a half).
It’s now almost 3 weeks later-7 weeks post op. I’m back to running (just a mile at a time) and doing some low impact cardio + light weights. The tightness through my abdomen is easing, but I still can’t do anything really core intensive like situps or pilates. My lift is still settling so the shape, evenesss and scar appearance there is changing daily. Not sure how I’m going to like where they finally settle. They’re still a little heavy/tear shaped which I knew I was going to get without an implant. But I’m sure if I go back to look at my before pix, I will be super happy to compare. The real test will be can I wear a halter style bathing suit in the summer without it looking awful.
My abdominal scar is still looking pretty gnarly. I’m using scar regimen once a day and massaging with vitamin e cream every night. I’m not looking to wear a bikini when this is all over, but I’d rather not look like Frankenstein either, so I’m eager for it to fade. I read somewhere (after the surgery) that it takes two years for the tissues to fully heal. So that’s where I’m at.