Saturday, April 20, 2013

Post-Op Challenges

Having been home for over a week now, I'm starting to understand a little more concretely what an undertaking this whole thing is.  I'm not settled into a routine yet, because nothing will become truly routine until I go back to work and start eating solid food and resume a "normal" existence.  Right now I'm in a transition period, and every day seems to bring new challenges and new attempts at solutions.

Because I am not working and cannot do much of anything, I find myself sleeping a lot.  I've always been a weird sleeper anyway, sleeping very little and relying on mid-day power naps to carry me through, but not having anything to do (or rather not being able to do the things I would normally fill my time doing with large chunks of time off) and tiring easily as I do at this stage, I end up sleeping a lot more than usual.  And that plays a large part in my challenges, which are...

Protein.  I am supposed to take in 60 to 80 grams of protein a day.   It's a little easier to do now that I'm on a full-liquid diet (as opposed to clear liquids, from which it is just impossible to get any significant amount of protein), but still not a breeze.  Three 4-ounce protein shakes can take care of it, but I'm trying to round out my diet with some variety, incorporating other options like soup and farina and yogurt.  I'm supposed to eat something every three hours, but when I sleep half the day that doesn't always happen.  I make farina and cream-based soups with "double strength" milk - nonfat dry milk mixed in with regular skim milk - but I find that at the end of most days I still fall just short of the 60 gram mark.  Remember, my stomach only holds a max of about 4 ounces, so if I skip the shakes it's damn near impossible to get all that protein in there.

Hydration.  This is actually more difficult to do than the protein.  I'm supposed to drink 40 to 60 ounces of water or other clear calorie-free beverages.  I've been averaging about 32 ounces a day, which is not good.  But again, my stomach only holds 4 ounces at most, and I can't drink liquid with my food or I will fill up too quickly.  I have to wait 30 minutes on either side of a meal, but even on a liquid diet I don't seem to digest that quickly.  So I take little sips throughout the day.  But if I'm sleeping throughout the day...well, you see where I'm going with this.  It's recommended that I sip one ounce of fluid every 15 minutes, which is sort of reasonable - if you don't take into consideration time spent sleeping or ingesting meals.  Then it becomes kind of ridiculous.

I think the biggest factor in both of the above is that I have to do them even if I don't want to.  Even if I'm not hungry, I have to eat.  Even if I'm not thirsty, I have to drink.  And right now my options are so limited I'm actually turned off by the thought of eating.  The second biggest factor is that I'm just damn lazy.  Making protein shakes and cream of wheat and soup takes a minor effort.  It's an effort I wouldn't necessarily mind putting forth, if not for the fact that cleanup takes more of an effort, and just loading the dishwasher wears me out to the point where I want to collapse in an exhausted heap on the sofa.

Sleeping.  Even though I do a lot of it, I can't do so comfortably.  Like I said in my last entry, my incisions make it difficult to sleep on my side or stomach, which is how I'm used to sleeping.  Plus the pain meds give me horrible, awful, graphically disturbing dreams. 

Blogging. Yes, I know.  I've been a bit of a slacker.  But I've been too damn busy trying to figure out how the fuck I'm supposed to fit 60-80 grams of protein and 40-60 ounces of fluid every day into a stomach that only holds four ounces.  When math is involved, my brain begins to evaporate, and everything else kind of falls to the side.

Housework. Not that I'm a big fan of it to begin with, but just being able to mindlessly toss in a load of laundry at this point would be welcomed.  I'm not supposed to lift more than ten pounds, and I'm supposed to avoid stairs.  Well...that sort of ruins the whole laundry experience there.  I'm not supposed to do any strenuous activity, no pushing or pulling, and no reaching or stretching.  So I'm supposed to vacuum my rugs and put my dishes  Annoying.

Pooping.  Maybe this is TMI, but good lord I'm constipated.  Hard to believe I was complaining of the opposite problem just a couple weeks ago. And yes, I know that being more properly hydrated would help alleviate this problem.

Working.  I'm trying to get in some freelance work while I have downtime, but I'm too tired, distracted, and busy trying to go to the bathroom and/or figure out the math on my protein and hydration to be productive on any real level.  

Independence and Getting Around in General.  I'm not supposed to walk more than five minutes at a time, and I figured out why the other day.  A friend took me to Target earlier this week and I shuffled around, using a shopping cart like a walker.  That wasn't too awful, but then yesterday I walked up to Walgreens and back, which was about ten minutes total, and I could tell my body was NOT a happy camper.  Pain and fatique plagued me the rest of the night and into today.  Bad news.  After Tuesday I may be cleared to drive, which will liberate me to a degree, but I still can't carry my groceries in the house.

Patience. It's been 10 days since I got sleeved, and things are getting easier.  But I still have a long way to go. 

Here's hoping this list gets shorter with each passing week. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Deedee, you now know what it is like in some ways (not the eating, but the rest) to just have had a c-section. Good luck and enjoy!