Not bad for a fat girl


Still in the Hospital

This surgery thing is no joke. Recovery is brutal. At least it is for my sweetheart. It’s amazing how many things have to be in alignment for the human body to function properly. The hospital staff is testament to all those moving parts.

There are the doctors, of course, who diagnose and perform surgery and order medications and monitor recovery, but they’re just a part of the much bigger community that makes up the team of people providing care and services at the hospital.

The nurses are the ones on the front lines. They’re with the patients the most, taking care of everything from pillow position to administering medication to providing support for hallway walks. They take vitals, assist with bathrooming, clean wounds, and keep patients spirits up. They are amazing.

Then there are the nurse’s aides, the phlebotomists, the physical therapists, the nutritionists, the patient transport specialists, the patient care coordinators, the cleaners, the volunteers, and all the other people whom I’m forgetting but who also do a great job. The hospital never closes. It never slows down. It ticks on like a clock, constantly there working for the people who need its care. I’m so grateful to all the people who make it happen.

My guy is still in the hospital. His body has taken a beating, but with this incredible team of people on his side he’s getting stronger day by day. As much as I appreciate and admire the people at the hospital, I hope that soon we can say goodbye to them for good.


I’m Okay, But What Does Depression Really Look Like?

There’s been so much talk about mental health in general and depression specifically recently that I’m questioning what depression really looks like. I know some general information about depression, like that it has nothing to do with how fabulous your life seems to be from the outside. Cruel, isn’t it? You can work hard, do your best, love and be loved, and yet still be depressed. An outsider might envy your life, when in reality you are struggling just to get through the day.

I’m not struggling to get through my days, thank goodness. My life is pretty great, in fact. I have a terrific kid, a loving relationship, great family, good friends, a career I enjoy, a comfortable home, I’m well educated, I have interests and connections, and yet…

94923.original-6151.jpgSomething just feels kind of off. I haven’t been taking care of myself the way I know I should. I haven’t been exercising. I’ve been eating terribly. I’ve been feeling sort of detatched, if that makes any sense. I have time on my hands and I feel like I’m just wasting it. I’m tired for no reason. I’m achy. I’m taking my medications, so I don’t think it’s my body. Is it my mind? Am I depressed? Why would I be? But something isn’t right.

When I think of depression I think of someone who is overwhelmingly sad. That’s not me. I think of someone who has difficulty functioning. That’s not me. But then again it wasn’t some of the well-known people who recently died by suicide. NO. I am not suicidal. I am simply out of sorts, and I don’t like it. I’m usually pretty chill, with a side of optimism, but recently I’ve been more “meh.” I’d like to shake that off, and get back to feeling like myself. Maybe I just need to exercise more, I do know it helps a person’s outlook. But maybe there’s something more. I’m just not sure.

Tomorrow I have my annual check up. It should be super-fun. This, of course, is sarcasm. I don’t enjoy my check up, and I don’t know many people who do. This one will be particularly bad, because I know I haven’t taken care of myself the way I should have. I’m supposed to be losing weight, but I’m certain I’ve gained. I imagine I’ll get scolded for that. UGH. I think I better talk to my provider about my state of mind. Maybe he can help. Talking about it is a step in the right direction, anyway, at least I think it is. Wish me luck.


On the Medical Front

Low Tech Medicine

Yesterday was an “interesting” day for me on the medical frontier. Two things happened that made me really think about this whole health and wellness idea. As in, “I’m really glad I’m taking this health and wellness thing seriously.” The first thing that happened was I had a date with liquid nitrogen. If you’ve never experienced it, I can assure you that you’re not missing out on too much fun. Liquid nitrogen is used by physicians to freeze and subsequently cause nasty little skin growths to fall off. It hurts. Depending on the area treated, it can hurt quite a bit. Of course, that’s just me talking. Someone else might say it’s mildly annoying or something like that, but to me, it’s pretty uncomfortable.

Here’s how it went down. First, I was ushered into the “surgery” room about five minutes after my appointment time. Pretty darn good, I’d say. Then I chatted with the nurse about all the fun things that were to be removed. The thing is, most of the little nasties are skin tags, and they tend to form in areas that rub, as in the nooks and crannies that a fat woman like me has in various and sundry places around her body. This, of course, requires the doctor have access to all these areas, so I was offered a paper drape and left alone. Big deep breath in, shorts off, and I get myself situated and wait. And wait. And wait. I know they’re busy and I know that the later in the day it gets the more likely they are to be backed up. I totally get that, but tell it to my fear and anxiety response that was steadily climbing. By the time the doctor, nurse, and medical student arrived for the party, I was good and stuck to the paper covering on the exam table, due to my stress sweat. Weird, since the air conditioning was so cold that I was beginning to get frostbite in my toes. Anyway, that’s how the doctor found me, crunched up paper on my lap, soggy paper under my bottom, and me with jitters and very little dignity left in the middle. Great.

Lucky for me, he’s a pretty awesome guy, so I managed to carry on while he got on with the festivities. Ow. Ouch. Oh. Eighteen triple zaps of the freeze ray later, he was done. He helped me sit up and my head spun. I’m such a big baby, I know.

But, wait, if you were paying attention you know that my medical adventures weren’t quite over yet. That’s right, there’s a part two to this post!

So, in conjunction with the aforementioned skin appointment, I also had an appointment to pick up equipment for an at-home sleep study. I felt very official walking out of the building with my little black plastic equipment case (similar to the one pictured above, but black). Inside it held the contraption that would tell my doctor about my sleep, and if I had any issues that he might be able to help me with. Now, let’s be clear on this, I do not want a C-PAP machine. I have no desire to be hooked up like a fighter pilot as I drift off into dream land. The doctor tells me that there are other, less obvious things that might be appropriate, but first we must do the sleep study.

I was relieved that it was at home, because the images I’ve seen on tv of people doing sleep studies are ridiculous. Of course those people can’t sleep! They’re all hooked up and in a strange bed with people staring at them. I couldn’t sleep like that either. My equipment was much smaller. It most resembled the headgear worn by the nerds in Sixteen Candles. After a slightly inauspicious start (it told me there was a fatal error and started beeping, this was slightly stressful, but I worked through it and got it recalibrated) I actually was able to sleep with it just fine. I dropped it off this morning (before 10 or I had to pay a  $75 fine, gulp) so now I wait to hear what the doctor thinks. Maybe a mouthguard? I’ll keep you posted.116065_1231069417348_220_320

All this medical nonsense got me thinking about how much my body would appreciate me giving it a break. I really do make it work hard, even just to do simple things like tie my shoes and sleep. Still, it isn’t giving up on me. Yesterday I took a brisk 30 minute walk on the treadmill followed by a 15 minute swim/water jog. It really felt good, so I have hope. The mirror isn’t encouraging me at all yet, but I have to give myself a break. I deserve it.