More Energy And Less Medication

Today I started the day with a peach protein smoothie. Because I’m now able to eat fruit, here’s my easy smoothie of the morning:

  • EAS AdvantEdge RTD protein shake
  • small can of diced peaches in own juice
  • lots of ice
  • Sugar-free Torani vanilla syrup

Usually I blend enough that it’s really smooth and thin, and I save half to have in the afternoon.

I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but I’m actually feeling like I’m really getting better. My energy is up and my pain level is down. I’ve only been taking about half as much Lortab as I was last week, and sometimes I feel good enough to skip a dose. For a while I was scared about how soon I would need to go back to work, but now I think I’ll be ready for next week.

Today when it was time to take my second pain meds of the day, I felt good enough that I didn’t need to take them on time. Because I’ve been restricted from driving since surgery, I thought I’d take this pain-free time to go on a joyride. I made a few stops, walked around a few stores, and enjoyed being out of the house for about an hour.

riverwalk apartments utahWhen I got back, my friend Marci came over to help me with some cleaning. As wonderful as my husband is at taking care of me, he doesn’t understand that a messy house hinders my recovery. Marci scrubbed the bathrooms until they were spotless, and did little things to straighten up a few rooms. I couldn’t do much, but it felt good to be productive.

This evening, I went out again with Mary and Shay, and they wanted to get Red Mango. I have been wanting some frozen yogurt, and I like their froyo because it has it has live and active cultures (which my body desperately needs after so many antibiotics). It’s low on calories and fat, but a bit high in sugar, so I only had a few bites. It was such a treat!

Today’s food diary:

  • peach protein smoothie
  • refried beans with melted cheese
  • shaved deli turkey with whipped light cream cheese
  • Red mango frozen yogurt  (about 2 TB)
  • 1/2 stick string cheese

Post-Op Aches And Pains

motorized grocery cart

Yesterday I started the day feeling pretty awesome, all things considered. I told Taylor I wanted to go to Wal-Mart and ride the cart around the store to get all the foods that I want. Even though I was riding around most of the time, it was still exhausting to leave the house…especially having to climb 3 flights of stairs to get back to my apartment.

One of the most frustrating revelations that I’ve had this week is that I’ve been taking too much pain medication. I was given a bottle of liquid Lortab to manage my pain after I was taken off my PCA pump in the hospital. Even though the instructions on the bottle clearly state 3 TEASPOONS every 4 hours, I read it as 3 TABLESPOONS. It wasn’t a pharmacy error, it was me being out of it and measuring my meds out in the same little cups as my food and drinks.

As a result, I’ve either been far too medicated, or not medicated enough. When I called the doctor’s office concerned about the amount of Lortab I had left, the nurse told me that “extra strength Tylenol should be perfectly sufficient” at this point. Let me tell you…after major abdominal surgery, 2 days of Lortab is not enough before switching to Tylenol.

I’ve been trying to increase my water consumption to 64 ounces a day. I’m more likely to drink it when there is ice in it, but if I drink too much at once it HURTS. It feels like a punch to the chest, and the pain has to slowly subside as my my pouch empties. I’m also drinking watered down apple juice, broth, and a special chocolate milk drink.  Today I’ve eaten most of a stick of string cheese, a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese, and some sugar-free jello. I’m looking forward to being able to eat strained cream soups and pudding tomorrow. It’s getting a little boring.

A few people have asked me to post a picture of what my belly looks like right now. The small bandages are steri-strips over the laparoscopic ports from surgery. The big gauze bandage is covering the hole where my JP tube was. It’s still the part of me that hurts the most, but it’s not as tender as it was the past two days.

cpap LT for her

I’ve had a few visitors since I’ve been home from the hospital. My neighbor Angie came over to bring dinner to my family last night. My Yelp buddy who I refer to as “the other Nicole B.” brought by flowers and a care package. My brother Jacob stopped by for a few minutes, as did my friend Emily. I don’t have much tolerance for long visits, but I do like to see people. Especially when I don’t have to take my flights of stairs to leave the house.

As for rest, I ‘m sleeping 4-6 hours a night, with a nap here and there. Because of my severe sleep apnea, I have to be vigilant about always using my CPAP mask. If I don’t use it when I’m dozing off, I get very light headed and get tingly hands and limbs. It ain’t pretty, but it’s what I gotta do.