Drastic Measures

Photo Credit: Roving I via Compfight cc

My second post for the day, I know. Maybe this makes up for only producing 4 posts last week? Who knows, but I thought I had better let everyone know what was happening.

I, like all bloggers, make a hobby of watching my blog statistics. I check to see how many total page views I have had (17,000 + as of today!), how many users dropped in today, where they came from, how long they stuck around, and what they looked at while they were here. And a distressing series of events has become the norm here on Misdirected:

1. A new visitor drops in, usually referred from Facebook, but more and more from GastricSleeve.com or other sites.

2. The new visitor reads today’s post. (This usually takes 2 – 3 minutes.)

3. The new visitor tries to go all the way back to where the blog began – back in 2010.

4. Our new visitor reads a post talking about Hunters and Paladins in World of Warcraft, gets thoroughly confused, and leaves. (The visit to the 2010 post lasts, on average, under 10 seconds.)

This has become a trend.

A greater number of people are showing up every day, looking for what I have to say about prepping for Gastric Sleeve surgery. They aren’t looking for old World of Warcraft info, for observations about Hearthstone, for strategies on League of Legends.

However, I am very reluctant to just throw out 5 years worth of gaming articles in the name of expediency.

So, I have reached a compromise with myself. As of today, my older, gaming articles have been moved to a VERY old blog title of mine: “Hawkwind’s Big Adventure“. The articles are still there, still in chronological order, the only thing that has changed is the initial address to reach them. I will also put in a link on Misdirected letting everyone know where they have gone.

Remaining here on Misdirected will be the 20 or so articles I have put together pertaining to Gastric Sleeve surgery, and this is where my future writings on the subject will continue to appear. I do wish there were a more elegant solution, but making sure that anyone just arriving has the best experience possible has become my #1 priority here. Thanks for your understanding, and hopefully this will be the last major paradigm shift here on Misdirected.

At Least Until Version 3.0,

– Hawkwind

Hello, Hiatal

 

Yesterday’s barium test was nothing like I expected. No removal of clothing or metal objects, no lying on a cold table, no hanging around for hours before and after. Instead, I got to stand in a brightly lit room for about 5 minutes in front of a circle of metal about the width of an auto wheel while a Nurse Practitioner worked her magic. Directly in front of me was a video screen so I could watch the result of the x-ray in real time. I immediately had a lovely view of my chest cavity – spine, ribs, and shoulders. Very much like the sick bay in Star Trek, I must say.

I was handed a tiny cup with a straw in it and told to sip the barium slowly until it was gone. As I did so I got to watch a cascade of black looking fluid flow down in front of my spine, hang a right at about my diaphragm, and then drop down into my stomach. But apparently, there was a problem…

“Mr. Schofield, you have a hiatal hernia.” my Nurse Practioner reported.

“A what?” I eloquently replied.

“A hiatal hernia. The barium should flow down the esophagus, then make its way down into the stomach. Do you see this barium here?” she asked, pointing at a little flow of the dark liquid that had headed up, away from the rest of the flow, looking like a small tributary leading into a mighty river.

“Yes, I can see that.”

“That is a hiatal hernia –  a hole in your diaphragm where your stomach is poking through. There’s also a little air pocket above it.” she continued, pointing at a small white circle above the lost barium. “That shouldn’t be there.”

A hole in my diaphragm? An air pocket in my chest cavity? Just as well a pulse and blood pressure monitor wasn’t hooked up to me at that point. The numbers would NOT have been good. However, it turns out my worry was for naught. Though my NP was puzzled that I have not been suffering any of the usual symptoms (acid reflux, pain in the chest), I was informed that the repair of my hernia would be done during my Gastric Sleeve procedure, adding about 5 minutes to the procedure. I would not even be required to make any changes to my daily diet or other activities.  We left the office and went about the rest of our day (which is a whole OTHER blog post.)

I have to say for the record here that I have loved ABQ Health Partners Bariatric Surgery department. They have taken a very confusing and emotional process and turned it into “just another health problem we are going to solve”. I have yet to meet a staff member, from a receptionist to my surgeon, Dr. Tyner, that has not been a total pro. RNP Costales yesterday was no exception – everything was explained to me in language I could understand, and I felt no pressure to move things along while I was getting all my questions answered. Given some of my hideous experiences with other doctors and health care providers while working through my other chronic condition, I know that Lor and I have been very lucky to be getting our procedures done here. Highly recommended, if you are anywhere near Albuquerque.

Up next on the Road to Surgery: My first nutritionist appointment, coming up next week.

Still Trying To Feel The Hole In My Chest,

– Hawkwind

Version 2.0

 

Happy Monday, and welcome to version 2.0 of Misdirected! I had a lot of time to look over the site this weekend (all better now, thanks for asking), and decided a few changes should happen, to make us look a little less like we were stuck in the 1990s. Let me know what you think!

I am aware that I still need to come up with a more graceful transition back to our first Gastric Sleeve post, back on March 2nd for the sake of our (many) new visitors. I just spent the weekend going all the way through The World According to Eggface, from back in 2006 to present day, and was so impressed by the flow of the blog – everything had something to do with weight loss, surgery, new recipes, etc. My poor readers will try to go back to the beginning and will be dumped into stories about World of Warcraft characters and League of Legends strategies. I have not come up with an elegant solution yet. Suggestions, anyone?

By the way – if you are at all interested in bariatric surgery, weight loss, dietary changes, etc – you need to go check out TWATE for yourself – Shelly’s prose is awesome, and her recipes are going to be absolute lifesavers for us after we go under the…scope. (Was going to say knife, but that is not really how Gastric Sleeve is done.) I can only hope 10 years after my surgery I am still providing readers with excellent, relevant content like she is.

Next up on the pre-surgical agenda is today’s Barium Test. It doesn’t sound all that bad to me, and others that have done it tell me it is no big deal. Basically, I swallow some barium, then have a series of X-Rays taken. No idea how long it will take, what they are looking for, etc. I should’ve paid more attention during the initial consult, but I was just being buried under info at the time, and this procedure seemed relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Hope it turns out that way. I will keep everyone posted.

Thanks to everyone that is stopping in and sharing the blog with those that might be interested – we started growing by leaps and bounds after March 2 and haven’t slowed down yet. I’ve  had the chance to answer LOTS of questions about the surgery and the reasoning behind it, and love getting the info out there that this is not a shortcut – this is merely adding an additional tool to the diet and lifestyle changes that need to happen to combat obesity.

We’ll talk to you all again post-barium!

Preparing To Drink Radioactive Chalk,

– Hawkwind

My Microbial Colony

Photo Credit: findingtheobvious via Compfight cc

One of the things rarely mentioned about hospitals is that they are a great place to get sick. I walked into the hospital yesterday morning feeling pretty normal and emerged a few hours later having been colonized by an enterprising group of microbes. 24 hours later, this has turned into a full-blown head cold. I am now doing all the usual stuff – filling wastebaskets with used Kleenex, staying as far away from Lor as possible, and mouth-breathing like a landed fish. Joyous.

There really isn’t a lot to say about a cold that translates well into “weight-loss blog”, but it does raise some interesting questions for what happens after the surgery. Many of my go-to remedies and comfort foods are going to be denied to me after the surgery. For example:

  • Orange Juice. Nope, totally off the list. A completely protein-less high carbohydrate liquid. 3 “No”s for the price of one there.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup. Again, not enough protein and the part of the soup that makes the ravaged throat feel better (the broth) is the part that has the lowest nutritional value.
  • Ice Cream. My favorite comfort food for head colds is pure sugar and empty calories. Sigh.
  • Water. Kinda the opposite problem here, but who wants to drink water while they have a cold? I want something warm, and aromatic. Guess I could drink caffeine-free teas, but 64 ounces of fluid a day fills a LOT of teacups.

Just things to think about to the accompaniment of the tympanic drums that have taken up residence in my head. Considering that I have a barium test on the books for Monday, I am going to need to get over this thing fast. This means all the usual stuff – keep the infected fluids moving out of the body so they can’t slide into the lungs, mega-doses of Vitamin C (but not in Orange Juice), don’t get dehydrated, etc. Where all I want to do is lie down, burrow under the covers, and wait for my head to fall off. This prepping for gastric sleeve surgery thing is not for the faint of heart.

I’ll talk to you all on Monday – here’s wishing you all a better weekend than the one I am going to have.

Hosting A Microbe Dance Party,

– Hawkwind

3:40 AM And Counting

3:40 A.M. A time seen in normal circumstances only by staff at the emergency room, OTR Truck Drivers, and waitstaff at the local Denny’s. Yet, here I sit, listening to the sleeping house, banging out a few hundred words so I don’t go two days in a row in silence.

The second round of medical visits preparing the way to the promised land of Gastric Sleeve has just begun. For the next two weeks, we will be poked, prodded, analyzed, folded, spindled and hopefully not mutilated. Nutritionist visits, Barium tests, and trips to a day surgery center nearly an hour away fill our days. And, somewhere in here, this whole thing passed from “might happen” to “this is happening”.

It isn’t that this wasn’t “real” before, mind you. But the 45 grams of Carbohydrate meals and trying to down 64 ounces of water a day now feel like prologue. Drinking barium and getting a tube containing a camera shoved down the throat suddenly brings the whole thing into focus: this is really happening, isn’t it?

The changes are everywhere. We’ve started watching the clock before and after meals, timing our fluid intake (no fluids 30 minutes before or 1 hour after meals). We’re trying to eat meals in order: protein, then fruits and vegetables, then starches. We’ve undergone a second round of getting rid of food in our pantry after some gentle correction from our nutritionist. We’re even exercising every day, if not always for the recommended 30 minutes. Our lives are changing in every way, in preparation for living this way for the rest of our lives.

But, somehow, being up this early to get prepped for a 6:30 AM procedure at a hospital in a whole other county just brought it all crashing in – this is really happening to us. To ME. Before this week, despite all the changes, I still felt a curious sense of detachment, of disassociation. Not anymore. Somewhere in the appointments this week, a threshold was crossed.

This just got real, my friends.

Really Awake Now,

– Hawkwind