Yesterday, I Learned

Image courtesy of ohmyveggies.com
It began innocuously enough. Lor decided to experiment with “riced cauliflower”, a rice substitute made from cauliflower chopped into really little rice-sized bits. We bought a bag of it from CostCo, and Lor decided to make an Orange Chicken stir-fry with it, utilizing Orange Chicken from Trader Joe’s. Two pre-made bags = one easy meal, right?
My first warning should have been the serving size on the Trader Joe’s bag: “1 Serving: 1 cup.”
Betcha a few of you already spotted the problem right there, didn’t you?
Yeah, 1 cup equals 8 ounces. Or, roughly, twice the capacity of a sleeve-reduced stomach.
But, we were not deterred. We would simply eat half a serving each, saving the rest for later. Economical eating is the wave of the future post-bariatric surgery, let me tell you.
Now, I was good. I swear I was. I took small bites. I put my fork down after each one. I chewed thoroughly. I watched the clock to make sure I was taking a full 60 seconds between bites.
What I didn’t do was keep real close track of how much was left in my bowl. Hey, what can I say? It was really good, and we were watching an really compelling episode of The Blacklist.
At the point where I started to feel unusually full, I looked down into my bowl and saw that I had about 4 bites left. Maybe 2 ounces, total volume. That meant that, while distracted by the exploits of Red and Agent Keen, I had accidentally ingested about 6 ounces of food.
I immediately put the bowl down, but it was far, far too late.
It started as hiccups. The hiccups kept increasing in intensity, eventually getting to the point where my diaphragm was seizing every second or two, making it exceptionally difficult to speak or breathe normally. Finally, after about 5 minutes of gasping for air while experiencing a painful burning sensation in the center of my chest, relief (of a sort) arrived – I revisited dinner, this time heading the wrong direction. The vomiting was long and painful. The only upside was, immediately afterwards, the demonic hiccups ceased and I could actually breathe again, and no longer had to consider calling 911 to treat me for acute overeating.
Even this morning, my chest and my esophagus are still sore from the episode. Mainly what I am, though, is embarrassed. Repeated throughout our nutritional training is the instruction to not watch television while you eat. I always thought of this as an unusually restrictive instruction, since we never eat at a table, barring special occasions. We either eat while working in front of a computer or, like last night, while watching our one show of the night. (We generally only watch a single episode of television together each day. If it isn’t sports, that is about all the TV I am interested in.)
What I should have done (and will do in the future) is not tempt fate by putting a “full” serving where I can get to it. If I am going to be distracted (and I frequently am), I need to make sure that 4 ounces of anything if the maximum that gets put in front of me at meal times. That way, there is no opportunity for me to injure myself the way I did yesterday.
Needless to say, I did not hit my protein goal for yesterday, and am not sure about it today, as eating is of very little interest to me at this moment. Maybe two or three protein shakes to make sure I don’t have two days of less than 60 grams of protein in a row? Anything to avoid chewing and swallowing right now. I have exactly ZERO interest in a repeat performance of last night.
Chastened And Educated,
– Hawkwind
PS – This should in no way be taken as a condemnation of Riced Cauliflower. It was exceptionally tasty, and it was so nice to actually have something resembling rice! We will be using it again, just not in the quantities ingested yesterday.

Neither Hide Nor Hair

Photo Credit: kiplingflu via Compfight cc

Though the benefits of our surgeries have been awesome, there is no denying that bariatric surgery comes with a few, shall we call them, negative effects.  And, since we are all humans being, we tend to spend a LOT of time discussing those effects. Remaining positive does not seem to be built into the human consciousness for some reason.

Now, the #1 topic for freaking out about post-surgery, by a large margin, would have to be the infamous “OMG I’VE STOPPED LOSING WEIGHT WHAT DO I DO????” But, beyond that particular issue, there is a host of others we tend to bitch about. Dumping syndrome. Dehydration. Exercise. Lack of family support. Malnutrition. And…hair loss.

Really? Hair loss?

Though temporarily losing your hair may not seem significant to most, it is actually a serious topic, tying into things like nutritional health, self-esteem, and post-surgery relationships. The combination of surgical trauma, greatly reduced protein intake, and (in some cases) vitamin deficiency can lead to serious and heavy hair loss. Though your surgeons and nutritionists will try to reassure you that all will be set right within a year (or so) of surgery, the focus remains throughout the community on what can be done to reduce hair loss, how best to disguise what is happening, what headgear is currently in season…
Oh, excuse me. You thought I was talking about my hair loss, didn’t you? Yeah, no – not so much. I have been losing my hair since 2004 or so, with the hairline receding and a thinning spot expanding on the crown of my head. Whenever the two areas meet, I will simply shave it all off. No big deal.
No, the real issue here is Lor’s hair loss.
For a couple of weeks now, she has been mentioning it. She has always had long and beautiful hair, and now it is starting to leave her. She is diligently removing clumps of hair from the drain after every shower. Biotin got quietly added to our daily vitamin regimen. And now, even I am starting to find long, auburn strands of hair in random places around the house. We are quickly approaching a crisis. Despite my encouragement and visual evidence to the contrary, she is positive that she looks half-bald. And, of course, she is convinced that she will be the one bariatric patient whose hair never returns after the body gets used to its new protein intake.
So, Lor has come up with a plan: she is going to cut her hair. Like, waaayy short. In the 30-odd years I have known her, Lor has never had hair shorter than shoulder length – frequently even longer. To offset her current hair loss, she has selected an extremely short “pixie” cut. Knowing that she has always loved her hair length, I must admit to some misgivings about this operation, but the appointment is on the books for Friday, and we are going to proceed. I can only cross my fingers and hope for the best.
She keeps asking me if I will like her “better” with short hair, but the fact of the matter is that I would find her exceptionally attractive even if she shaved her head entirely and went with the “Britney Spears circa 2007” look. So, no, I won’t like her better, per se. I will like her just as much as I always have. And I get the impression that this is NOT the answer she is hoping for from me. 
The pixie cut approaches – only time will tell if it will be a rousing success, or if she will ask why I didn’t talk her out of it.
A post-bariatric patient’s lot is not always a happy one.

A Pair Of Scissors This Way Comes,

– Hawkwind

The slow road to 5K

I spoke last week about a bucket list that I put together several years ago, while in the middle of the “my life is over” crisis that resulted from adult onset epilepsy. I actually still have the physical list around here…somewhere. My memory being what it is, I should probably try to find it and see if I have missed anything important.
One of the items on that list involved attending an annual sporting event here in Albuquerque, one that supports an organization that is near and dear to my heart: the Run For The Zoo, a 5-kilometer race that supports the Albuquerque Biopark. I have wanted to participate in it for as long as I can remember. The problem? I have probably not run 5 kilometers in total over my entire life.
See, I am just not a runner. It is not an activity I enjoy. The endorphin high that so many runners like to talk about never materializes for me: though it did show up occasionally when I was a weightlifter. These days it never shows up at all – all I get is sweat and discomfort from our daily exercise routine.
Still, I have never stopped thinking about it. Earlier this year, along with my commitment to buy a Halloween costume this year if I lost more than 50 pounds due to surgery, I also mentioned to Lor that I wanted to participate in the 2017 Run For The Zoo if everything turned out successfully. I have lots of ideas, and I think she just agreed with me, hoping that the idea would quietly go away after a certain amount of time.
Imagine her surprise when I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to start training for next year’s Run after the majority of my weight loss had occurred – maybe December or January. My proposal fell on deaf ears. She didn’t like to run, she reminded me. I don’t like to run, for that matter. I still have two badly damaged knees. For that matter, I am still over 70 pounds overweight. (I started at 152 pounds overweight, remember.) As the injector of realism into my life, Lor was forced to pop my hopeful, wish-list balloon.
As a compromise, she did remind me that the event had a walking component as well. Now, last time I checked, the walking component was a 1-mile stroll around the zoo grounds, which isn’t what I had in mind at all. However, after further investigation, I discovered that there is indeed a 5-K Fitness Walk “race”. I use the term race loosely because it is non-competitive. No time is kept, no medals are handed out. Parents with small children and strollers are encouraged to participate. Not exactly what I had in mind at all.
However, I accepted my half a loaf, and began looking into training tools for race walking. You know, kind of a Couch To 5K kind of thing for those of us disinclined to actually learn how to run. As it turns out, no such thing exists. You are either learning to be a runner, or you are just going to have to figure it out for yourself. There are no other options.
Currently, we walk anywhere from 1.5 to 2 miles a day. 5 Kilometers works out to 3.11 miles. So, I am going to have to figure out a route in our neighborhood that equates to 3 miles, and then we can start hitting it at least once a week, I suppose. I hope the dog can keep up, though she has been doing fine so far with 2 miles. By January, I will try to start doing the 5K route more than once a week, so that I can begin working on my speed. Lor naturally walks an 18-minute mile without me to slow her down, but together we currently manage a little less than 3 miles an hour. At that rate, all the other race participants will have packed up and gone home by the time I get to the finish line. Even the ones with small children and strollers.
I am simultaneously excited and disappointed. While I am now looking forward to next May, I am also left with the feeling that I am not really going to be doing what I had in mind. But, hey. It isn’t like I have ever participated in any kind of race in my adult life, right?
Besides, it is all for a good cause.
Fearing Finishing Behind A Stroller Full Of Infants,
– Hawkwind

Worded Out

Photo Credit: BarnImages.com via Compfight cc
It has been a busy week here at Misdirected. We (Lor and I, not the “royal” we) have been to doctor’s visits, visited friends in the hospital, and begun investigating some additional potential income streams. At the same time, I have re-programmed Misdirected’s web analytics (since it was reporting ZERO visitors for the last two weeks), and took the time to read and review Gina Horkey’s new book “Making Money as a Freelance Writer“. I have just finished another 10,000-word episode for my upcoming serialized novel (over at Fiction Vortex – why haven’t you visited yet? Serialized Fiction is the coming thing, you know.), and begun work on the next episode.
And, somewhere in between completing episode four and starting up episode five this morning, I sorta ran out of words for the week.
Oh, I tried. I started and stopped no less that 3 different blog posts earlier today. I even “finished” one of them. But it was just not up to snuff. I checked out my conclusion with the Editor-In-Chief of Misdirected (Loralia), and she agreed – it was just not ready for prime time. So, I tucked it and the other two ideas away, where I will revisit them, probably next week.
So, why the little apologetic update?
Because the feedback I get from a particularly evocative article is NOTHING compared to the feedback I get when I fail to publish one on any given Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. Questions rain in: “Is everything ok? Did you move your website? Are you having seizures?”
For today, the answers are: Yes, everything is fine, no the website has not moved, and my health is currently ok, but thanks for caring enough to check!
I just simply have no new, good insights on anything today to share with everyone.
So, release yourself to recess! You are hereby given permission to check out other blogs. Go buy an episode or two on Fiction Vortex. Heck, if you are a writer, go buy and read Gina’s book! But I expect to see you all back here on Monday. I will give myself the weekend off from writing anything, to make sure I am no longer tapped out when next week rolls around. We will catch you all then!
Wondering If I Can Stand The Strain Of Not Writing For 48 Hours,
– Hawkwind

Mistaken Identity

2009 vs. 2016. Nope, can’t see a difference here…
It isn’t every day that we get to enjoy being forgotten. Mostly, we work hard to make ourselves known in the world – to be kind, rich, successful, wise – anything that leaves a mark on those around us. Finding out that we left so little impression that we are not remembered can be really damaging to the ego.
But, not always.
Yesterday I went in to see my family physician for my “yearly wellness” exam. This is the same doctor who, back in February, referred me over to ABQ Health Partners Bariatrics to get started on the bariatric surgery process. When last we met I weighed over 300 pounds, had sky-high blood pressure, and couldn’t walk very well due to my damaged knee.
Yesterday, she walked into the exam room, took one look at me, then a look at Lor (who accompanies me on all my medical visits), then another look at me, and asked: “I have seen you as a patient before, haven’t I?”
Being forgotten: Best Feeling Ever.
My own physician did not recognize Lor and I, only 7 months after our last visit. After going over her notes, she did get quickly up to speed, and was as congratulatory as anyone has been about our weight loss. But mistaking me for an entirely different person just about made my day.
And, oh yeah, I get to cease taking my high blood pressure medications too. So, there is that as well.
Every day, I look in the mirror, and ask myself: “Do I really look all that different?” I don’t think so. As my changes are happening slowly, incrementally, I don’t notice them. Same face, same eyebrows, same goatee, etc. Though I certainly feel differently, I don’t really perceive what the rest of the world is seeing. I can, of course, force the issue by dragging out old photos like the ones above, but even that somehow doesn’t feel “real” to me. 
Now, having someone I see every 6 months fail to recognize me? That feels like progress, and a significant Non-Scale Victory.
Guess I Should Go To The Doctor More Often,
– Hawkwind