Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Evening

I wanted to post this last night, but I just ran out of "oomph," so here it is -- early in the morning instead.

Another day fading into night, and things are about the same.

It was my first day back to school after the break. I got up at 4:15AM so that I could shower and dress ahead of the regular morning parade of medical students, residents, and actual doctor types. I straightened and tidied; helped Master into the bathroom -- and back out of the bathroom. I made sure that He had a fresh pitcher of ice, a fruit flavored drink, and clean linen on the bed. I tried to hang around for all the various doctors, so I was still here when the gang of medical students and residents appeared to change the dressing and packing associated with the infection in His belly. It is not a pleasant prodedure -- it hurts Him terribly, and it floods the room with a nasty stench. I wanted to wait for His surgeon to arrive, but I couldn't do it; I had to leave. We waved goodbye, and I took off for the parking garage.

I stopped at a local grocery and bought microwaveable "Lean Pockets" to store in the faculty freezer, so I have something to eat at lunch this week. I got to school about 7:35, and had just over 20 minutes before my kids arrived. From that point on, it was the usual whirl of activity, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with my students.

After school, I headed home to pick up enough clothes to make it through the rest of the week, and headed back here to relieve T and her mother (they spent the afternoon here with Master).

By the time I got here, they had done the procedure to establish His PICC line, so that part of life should be easier. They have also identified the two types of bacteria that are responsible for the infection that we are fighting, so they should be able to more specifically choose appropriate antibiotics. Master was still feeling very worn and miserable, and is becoming very frustrated and depressed by all of this...

They had discontinued giving Him the Pepcid -- one of the medications they have been using to try and alleviate the nausea. When I asked the nurse why, she said something about it being "the hospital policy" to end it after a certain number of doses unless the doctor orders it continued. When I asked her whether she was going to contact the doctor, or if we needed to do that, she agreed to call the resident on call. I also asked her if there was anything else that might be tried for this problem and she did ask that as well, so we have a new anti-nausea medication and a different pain medication. All of that seemed to make the night way better. He slept finally.

I am off to school, and He is going to rest, walk, and breathe. I imagine that we'll be here a few more days. Then maybe home again.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Mistress Trixie on the warpath!

After the absolutely hideous morning, this past Saturday, I started making calls. I called Patient Relations (they are only there M-F), the head of nursing (M-F only) and emailed and extensive complaint letter to the Bariatric Dept at the hospital. I was beyond livid. I was trying to take care of myself and suddenly I am thinking this damned hospital didn't care enough to keep the love of my life ALIVE!

First thing this morning I received an extremely apologetic call from the Head of Nursing. She was fabulous when we were there together and she had already been to Tom, this morning, before calling me. While I was on the phone with her, I had another call beep in and it was Patient Relations. I called her back with all of the details of Tom's Hideous Saturday and she, too, was extremely apologetic and said she would stop in when I am there this afternoon.

Sue has returned to school....no rest....no break....nothing but worry and work for her these past few days. My Mom is coming to get me and take me to spend the afternoon with Tom. I need to get some eyes on him.....and a couple of kisses, too!

I was hot. I was less than gracious. I told everyone like it was and that it was NOT as I expected my husband to be treated. I am thinking of taking a paddle with me today.

I have heard that Tom's favorite PCA is on today. That should greatly improve his care and emotions.

Just go off the phone with Tom...today he is having his PIC line installed. I am sure he will be glad to be rid of the arm IV. He is still not eating much and when he does, it mostly comes back up.

Mom overslept and just called all upset. I tried to settle her down, but she feels like she has let me down by not being on time. Usually I would be stressing, but it is not worth it. We will get to Tom as soon as we can. He is going to be cared for If I have to wack them all with a stick!!

Trixie, signing off!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


T is home and doing well on this 7th day after surgery. It worries me to death that she is there by herself, but I simply cannot figure out how to be two places at once.

Master is still hospitalized, and really struggling. The doctors have FINALLY decided that He has a major wound infection. They re-opened His incision this morning, and extracted a lot of clear, foul-smelling fluid. It is now packed and covered, and they are running two different IV antibiotics. It does appear (to my untrained but dedicated eyes) that the angry red is receding on His belly this afternoon.

We still have no verdict on what is causing His diarrhea, although it does seem to be slowing down. Perhaps it really is a normal post-surgical bowel pattern. I hope so.

We were visited just a few minutes ago by an infectious disease specialist who has indicated that they will be establishing a PICC line and starting a course of vancomycin in the next 24 hours. This will be some pretty intense treatment, but feels promising as an approach to fixing all of this. I hope!

This afternoon, I've gotten Him cleaned up and into a fresh gown. He is now tucked back in and sleeping fairly comfortably. I am almost daring to hope that maybe things are improving a bit.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Cast of Characters

I want to capture some sort of "snapshot" of all the various players that we've dealt with as we've gone through this surgery and recovery process. There have been a few heroes, some angels, and more than just a few who have behaved in ways that were simply unprofessional or uncaring or both. So, here, for the record is the cast of characters in our little drama:

Dr. George Kerlakian is the surgeon. He is awfully good. He inspires confidence. He's been very willing to talk to us all and make sure that we were fully informed of the realities and choices that we've faced all the way along. He's got a whole team assembled that all work to support the success of their bariatric surgery practice. In general, the staff in Kerlakian's office have been helpful and responsive. We have been very impressed with them as a group.

Kerlakian has a couple of partners who seem to be competent enough although neither of them inspire the same confidence as he does. One of our issues at present is that Dr. Kerlakian left yesterday to travel to Memphis for his daughter's soccer tournament. Although I understand that doctors need to have lives too, I am nonetheless frustrated that Kerlakian's life had to happen just now. We really need him here!

Kerlakian gets followed around by a whole gaggle of medical students and surgical residents on rotation. Most of them are as bland and dull as white bread. Perhaps they haven't arrived at the point in their medical educations where they are taught to exhibit personality -- where they learn to relate to human beings as part of their practice. Blech! The one oddball fellow in the group is a young medical student who we've come to call 5AM Nick. He is the first one on the floor every morning, and comes bounding into the room promptly at 5AM with a thousand questions. In the beginning, we found Nick to be awkward and moderately annoying, but he is so gosh darned earnest that it is hard to not like him.

We had excellent nursing care during the first part of our stay here at Good Samaritan Hospital. The nurses and Personal Care Assistants that attended to Master and T after their surgeries were very good. Megan and Meghan, Tracey, and even Jodie (who sometimes seemed very brusque) were all very good, each in their own way. The PCA team was helpful and friendly and supportive. Carol, a great, tall, warrior woman, was cheerful and efficient, and she cheered for every accomplishment. We all got very fond of her. Sarah and Amanda, likewise made so many things about our early days here much easier.

During those first days we met and became very fond of the Nurse Manager, Sherri Joyce. She was quite intrigued by our family and by the "couple" surgical adventure that we were embarking on. We spent a lot of time talking with Sherri, and she was clearly very proud of the team of nurses that she had working under her supervision.

When Master and I came back here in the very early hours of Friday morning, we first came into the Emergency Room. There is major construction happening around the outside of the hospital, and the entrance to the emergency room is far from obvious. I drove us around and around, until finally, in desperation, I pulled into the space that was marked for ambulances only, and ran in to see if I could get someone to help us. A very kind, gentle voiced nurse, actually came outside and walked around the side of the building, guiding me to the place where I needed to go. Once inside the place, we found that the gentle voiced fellow would be Master's emergency room nurse. His name was Michael. Michael's kindness and compassion was simply remarkable to watch. He made what was a very stressful time just a little more bearable.

Then, we came back up to the same surgical floor where we were earlier in the week. Except that, these last few days the level of care and attentiveness has been much less even. The nurse who was on duty when we first came up seemed alright at first, but when the first IV faltered, she told us that she couldn't start an IV -- didn't know how. Really? A nurse who cannot start an IV? As it turns out, it was a sign of things to come. We had an older nurse during the night last night, when things were so terribly difficult. I believe that she was well meaning, but she seemed very old fashioned and unwilling to act as our mediary with the doctors. She just kept feeding us the same useless pablum until we finally got frustrated and made it clear that something needed to be done or there was going to be real trouble. Today, throughout the day, we've dealt with "nurse" Angela. Angela got herself into a snit very early on, as Master opted out of taking a number of His usual medications. He is choosing to wait to resume many of those during this time when His newly remodeled stomach is being so sensitive. Angela clearly disapproved of His choices, and made her feelings very clear. For the rest of the day, she was largely absent, only coming in when she couldn't avoid it, and then providing only the most perfunctory level of care. Randi, the PCA was just frankly not interested, and seemed to spend most of her shift sitting and chatting at the nurses station. Tonight, finally, we seem to have a pretty good team again. Tracey is back. She's wonderful! The PCA is a delightful young woman named Kimmie, and just having her around seems to lighten Master's mood.

I am hoping that tonight will be better than last night. Soon, within the next few days, we'll be heading home. The days here in the hospital will blur into memory. I wanted to have a record of the cast in this part of the saga.


Now I am Angry

We had an absolutely awful night last night.

Master had a serious coughing fit that lasted well over an hour starting at about 1:15 AM, and in spite of our repeated requests for something to help manage the ferocity of the cough, or at the very least, some way to reduce the pain He experienced because of it, we were met with indifference, hostility, and a general attitude of condescension. When I finally got stomping angry over it all, the night nurse gave in and called the resident to come look at the situation. He insisted that they wanted Master to keep coughing; that coughing is an important part of getting well; and he was simply unwilling to give Him anything to quiet the spasms. When I got my back up and told the arrogant jerk that this was NOT simply coughing; it was violent and wrenching and was leaving Him gasping unable to catch His breath. The best that the "medical professional" could offer -- IV morphine for the pain. There was just one problem with that BRILLIANT idea... Master's IV port had stopped functioning at around midnight, and no one in this supposedly "excellent" hospital was able to get a new IV started, even though four so-called "experts" tried. Some of those efforts were just brutal. They finally gave up on the whole business, and the coughing calmed on its own. At about 3:30 this morning, He and I finally fell into an exhausted sleep. We were not awakened by the usual parade of residents until 6 AM.

They did finally find someone who could efficiently and effectively re-establish His IV port this morning, and so as of now, He is once again being given IV fluids and antibiotics. He's also been given the go-ahead to restart clear liquids, so He's been given some apple juice and some sugar-free jell-o and a little warm tea. He did regurgitate a bit of that, but so far most of it seems to be staying down.

This morning, He has experienced repeated bouts of diarrhea, and there is some thought that perhaps He has now a C-diff infection. We are waiting to be able to get a stool sample that can be cultured. T is at home, and doing well, but understandably worried and wanting to be able to see Him. I may go home and get her later in the day and bring her down for a visit, but I am reluctant to do that until we know what we have going on here. She is doing so well. We do not need to expose her to some nasty bug and send her into a tail spin.

Mostly I am angry -- beyond angry, I am furious. The very excellent care that both Master and T received in the days immediately following the surgery has devolved to a style of medical practice that is seeming resentful, parsimonious, and just at the verge of neglectful. I am very aware, this morning that, had I decided not to spend the night here last night, He'd have been all alone in the face of the coughing and the horrible IV debacle; and no one would have cared. I find that just outrageous.

I am exhausted, but I am more than determined than ever that, one way or another, we will get the care that is needed here, and He will get better, and I WILL take Him home.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday Evening Update

It is Friday evening, and I have been here at the hospital with Master since about 12:30 this afternoon. When I arrived this afternoon, He was miserable. He complained of more or less continuous "regurgitation" of liquid into His throat in quantities that would certainly cause choking if He were not constantly swallowing and/or spitting it into a basin. The coughing and throat clearing and gagging attendant upon all of that was making His already tender belly very sore and achy. On top of that, He hadn't slept (except in brief snatches of a few minutes here and there) in well over 24 hours. Now, some 6 hours later, He is freshly showered and installed in bed, resting comfortably for the first time in about a day and a half.

The working diagnosis, at this point, is that Master has a post-operative ileus -- a temporary paralysis of a part of the intestine, causing food and liquids to back up rather than flowing through as they should. This is apparently a fairly common complication after abdominal surgery. The doctors do not seem to be terribly concerned, and are basically telling us that the treatment of choice is to "rest" the

I've been in regular contact with T, who remains at home, and she continues to do well and feel good. She has reduced her pain medication, and feels really well. We've discussed it, and as it stands right now, I'll likely spend the night here at the hospital with Master. If T needs me, a phone call can take me to her side in about 25 minutes.

One really good piece of news in all of this confusion and worry -- As of this morning, four days out from surgery, Teresa has lost a total of 21 pounds. How kewl is that?


Here we go again

I'm home.
Master is not.
They've admitted Him to the hospital and will be administering IV fluids.
He was feeling some better when I left, but surely not as well as we'd hoped He would be by now.
I'm going to try and get a bit of a nap. I am simply fried from lack of sleep.
His clothes are in the washer, and when they are dried and ready to go, I'll gather up the things He will need and head back.
This was the thing I dreaded -- that Master and T might end up in two places, and I'd not be able to be around for them both. Fortunately, T's mom will be down this afternoon, and so perhaps there'll be a bit of coverage at that point.

Meanwhile, I am trying to stay calm. This is a bump. The doctor is taking a very serious, very conservative approach, but then that is likely why his mortality rates for this surgery are so much lower than most other surgeons. He'll treat whatever this is as aggressively as possible, and soon Master will be home and feeling better each day.


Not a good morning....

Sue just woke me up to say they are taking Tom to the emergency room. Shortness of breath, he feels crummy, and all of his bruising is much worse. I am sure there was more, but frankly, I am half asleep still and a bit scared.

They called the surgeon, who is not terribly concerned, but will meet them at the hospital after the emergency room evaluates him.

I wanted to go. I am doing fine and almost feel guilty that Tom is not. But Sue will have her hands full and I do not need to add to her stress level over this. They PROMISE to call me ASAP. I am positive they will keep me in the loop.

It is 2:16am... And I am blogging to keep myself from being so scared. Say a prayer. I am sure he is fine. The surgeon said he was...but that doesn't relieve my anxiety one bit.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

We're Home!

Got the 5am visit from the first Dr-type-person who did his normal check and said we should be able to leave today. Then the 5:15-Dr-type-person arrived and said the same....and at that point I was all "GET THE PAPERWORK!" I headed for the shower and Sue started loading the car. We got a visit from our surgeon and was proclaimed well enough to head to the house and then had to wait for paperwork, pills, and breakfast. We got home at 10:15am. Tom is reclined in a chair napping thru' CNN. I am checking my email, scheduling upcoming Dr appointments, and calling the florist to have the flowers re-delivered this afternoon. Sue has unloaded the car and is off the get prescriptions, a pill cutter, a pill crusher and then I would think she would be heading for her own shower and perhaps a nap.

Thanks for all of the well-wishes and kind words. I am behaving and a stick is not required for that to occur (so far). Sue is good. Tired, but good. And now that we are all home, she will be even better. She has been eating meals and napping right along with us, so she is doing fine. Tom is exhausted and, since his surgery was more extensive than mine, a bit slower on the recovery. But he is doing fine and will be back to top form in short order.

I think a nap is in order for me.... Thanks again, Everyone!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Day 3

What a difference!

We slept last night -- all of us (although the hospital "chair-bed" was a horribly uncomfortable sleeping platform, and has been summarily banished to the hospital corridor).

T is doing wonderfully; taking in clear liquids and off of all her pain medications. She had an exciting early morning as she got her IV tangled in her bed sheets and then pulled it out. She was on the way to the bathroom at the time and so proceeded on in to pee and then trooped down to the nurses station to get it taken care of -- dripping blood the whole way (can you see where I am going to have trouble with her behaving well once we get out of here?). Anyway, she is completely off the IV, and had her first shower this morning. Hooray!

Funny sidebar storyline -- we have a weird, geeky little resident dude that is always the first one into the room in the morning. He is awkward and lacks even a rudimentary personality, and his bedside manner is rough and jerky. He encountered our T in the hallway this morning (at 5AM) trucking to the nurses station with her hospital gown flapping, dripping blood. Solicitous fellow that he is, he said to her, "you might want to tie up your gown -- it is open in the back." To quote T, "I was dripping blood down my arm! The fact that my ass was showing was the least of my worries."

We do have the official word from the doctor this morning that all of Master's x-rays are fine. Today, they'll move Him off the IV pain medication, and start Him on the clear liquid diet. It is possible that T could go home today; Master will likely be discharged tomorrow. So, one of the discussion topics as we go through the day is whether/if we should do that -- splitting the two of them up, or stay together until they can both go home at once.

For today, the big anticipation is for the return of bowel movements. Both are passing gas and urinating normally, so that is really the last important function.

They are about to bring in "breakfast" trays, so we are off and running for day 3.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yes, I am...

Selkie is the latest in a chorus of exhortations about making sure I'm taking care of myself along with taking care of the family...

"swan, are you taking care of YOU??? are you eating? drinking lots of water? getting some REST??"

The answer is, "yes." I am eating as well as I can in the hospital cafeteria. The food is not spectacular, but it isn't awful, and there are some reasonably healthy choices. So, I was able to get some Cheerios and a banana and some yogurt for breakfast this morning. I had some pizza and a salad for dinner. Not five-star restaurant fare, but serviceable. I'm working hard to stay hydrated -- I have my trusty water bottle. None of us slept well last night, but I am hoping tonight will be better. With luck, we'll maybe be home in our own beds tomorrow night.

I do understand and appreciate the concern from everyone. Thank you, all. I do know how important it is to stay well and strong so that I can do what is needed for the next few weeks. Further, please understand that while He is currently not feeling strong, He is not unaware, and if I did not take care of Master's property, there would be a reckoning.

I am being good. Relax everyone.


Day 2

This has been an "interesting" day.

Both Master and T were taken for a GI scan early this morning. T's came back good, and she's cleared for clear liquids. She is off the IV morphine, and has had no additional pain medication since about noon. No more catheter either, and that surely makes her happy. She's been walking all over the place and really doing very well. She isvery tired this evening, but then, we all are. Hopefully, she'll get a better night's rest tonight.

Master's day has been more problematic. They worked for much longer to try and get His GI tract X-rayed, and just could not get the contrast medium to pass through. They had to come back a couple of hours later in the day and take another shot, and then later, they took Him back and did more X-rays AND a CAT scan. Finally, at about 5PM, they decided that all the connections are fine, and that the flow through the system is as it should be. There seems to be trouble with His bowels; they are in some sort of post-surgical shock which is preventing materials from being passed on through as they should be. At one point, in the early evening, they contemplated entubating Him as an approach to relieving some of the internal pressure, but they opted out of that and are simply allowing things to follow a natural course. He is uncomfortable with lots of intestinal gas and cramping. He's also still dealing with some significant nausea. He too, is off the catheter, so that is some progress.

We are all doing pretty well. Things are moving along. Thank you for all the good thoughts. It really is very encouraging to all of us.


24 Hours

We are just under 24 hours into our new lives.
It was a long day yesterday, and a very long night.

We asked the hospital to bring a "chair-bed" so, I'd have some sort of reasonable sleeping spot. No such luck. So, I bedded down in the recliner in the room. It wasn't bad, and I wasn't in it for very long at any one time...

I think we were awake every half hour to 45 minutes all night long for one thing or another. Pain pumps and leg compression pumps seemed to go into alarm mode all night long. There were repeated visits by the nursing staff as they checked vital signs and blood sugars and urine outputs and... Master has had a fair amount of trouble with nausea, and a significant level of pain, so I was up several times helping Him.

This is a teaching hospital, so the parade of wannabe doctors began just after 5AM. One resident after another came in to peer and poke and stand around awkwardly. We saw the surgeon at just about 6:30, and he seems very positive and upbeat, although there is some thought that Master's ongoing nausea might be due to swelling. Hopefully, if that is the case, it will resolve itself through the day today, and things will improve.

Both are scheduled for a GI series this morning. The X-rays will tell doctors how things are moving through the modified stomach and bowel, and will also show any leakages. If those come back "all clear," we'll begin to see some good progress: clear liquids will be introduced and we'll get them off the catheters. If I can get back on here later, I'll update when that has been completed.


Monday, March 23, 2009

All is Well

Both Master and T came through the surgery just fine. Both are resting. T seems more comfortable at this point than Master -- He seems to have some pretty significant pain. They did have different operations. Master ended up with the rouen-y gastric bypass, and T had the sleeve gastrectomy, so I am thinking that the difference in pain levels may be related to that.

Both are sipping water and tolerating that fairly well. They've had times of queasiness, but no serious nausea which is a very good sign. T has already been up and walked the length of the hospital hallway. Master is due to sit up for the first time in about 15 minutes.

We are all fine. I haven't been able to get connected to the hospital network all day long. Just finally managed to get a connection, so I apologize for keeping everyone waiting to hear. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back tomorrow and update you all.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thank You...All of You

I can't say thank you enough to all of you who have commented here and at TheHeronClan the last couple of days. It is heartwarming and actually is comforting to see how many of you are pulling for us tomorrow and in the days to come.

t and I both are remarkably calm tonight. I am not so surprised about t. She has had a positive attitude about this throughout this process. I have had times of great anxiety and even doubt, while knowing in my head that this is for the best for us both. Today I am almost feeling relieved. I have a number of crises that cropped up in the last few weeks before this at work, that had me very distressed to be away at this time, resolved in the last week. My father, is home and seemingly well, despite the grave concerns they were having about him yesterday morning.

I am not at all naive enough to believe this is going to be easy, comfortable, or fun, but I am somehow resolved and feeling that all will be well and this won't be as bad as it seemed it might to me at one time. If I have fears and worries it is for t and sue.

I just need for my two loves of my life to be OK through this so we can be one together for the rest of our very long and healthy prosperous lives.

Thank you doesn't begin to express my appreciation and gratitude for your good thoughts, energies, prayers, caring, and friendship.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

P. S. We are told that there is wireless Internet for patients at the hospital. swan will have her laptop there and we hope will be able to be in touch and to keep you abreast of developments and to receive your support.

12 Hours 'til Surgery

I am going first.....because I's a wimp and don't want to fuss about Tom being back in surgery and have that added to my general internal fuss about MY Surgery. I want to go first, get it over with, and wait for Tom in recovery.

We are to arrive at the hospital at 5am and my surgery is at 7am. I am ready. Now that Dad-in-Law is home and surrounded by his friends, lady-love, and fellow "Inmates" (as he calls them), I can relax about all of that.

I am not that worried about the surgery, I have confidence in the Surgeon and I don't usually get too worked up over being cut on. And I have been cut on ALOT!

My worries are mostly: That Tom will be in pain and the morphine will make him sick. That Sue will over-do and wear herself out trying to do everything. That Tom's Dad and/or my Mom will try to come to the hospital during the few days we are in hospital and I will have to worry about them being on the roads. That Tom will try to go back to work too soon and wear himself out.

I Know that the hospital has said they will control the nausea and pain. I know that Tom's Dad is NOT coming to the hospital. I am pretty sure that my Mom will stay home unless there is an emergency. I think Sue and I can keep Tom from over-extending himself. But I think the long-shot is keeping Sue from wearing herself down to a nub. She will do everything she can to make sure we are comfortable, safe, and pain-free and will not take care of herself as well as she should. She is worried and I have done as much as I can to relieve her of some of that worry.

Say a prayer to whomever you pray to. This is going to be a fantastic journey. I just want all of us to be well enough to share the joy.


Day 13 Report

Here we are on Sunday morning... Tomorrow is the day.

Neither Master nor I lost anymore weight yesterday. He's lost 18-1/2 pounds and I've lost 9-1/2. T lost 3 more pounds yesterday -- a total of 14 pounds. So, Master is at 282.5, T is at 254, and I am at 192.5. We've lost 43 pounds altogether.

We've got some running around to do today. We want to pick up some sort of athletic style pants for Master to wear after the surgery -- something easy to wear on the post-surgical belly. We need to take some items to His dad who is going to be in the hospital for at least one more day. We need to get His hair cut, and I am hoping to find time to trim His toenails. We are working to get things packed up. We'll be ready.

Thank you all for all the support and cheering from the sidelines. It has helped in ways that you cannot even begin to guess. As soon as we are through tomorrow, and I have a bit of time, I'll be here to update everyone. Stand by and wish us luck!


Saturday, March 21, 2009


We are just over 24 hours from surgery, and both Master and T have lost weight as we've gone through the two-week pre-surgical diet. here, for the sake of comparison, are two pictures. The one on the left was taken on Valentine's Day. The one on the right is brand new, taken just about half an hour ago. Already, it is possible to see the changes in their faces.


Dad-in-Law is better!

While Tom was with his new Development Director, I went to the hospital to be with his dad. Got there while the Hospitalist was examining him and questioning him. Before I got there his blood pressure was almost back to normal (124/60ish). The Dr said that if all continues as it has and if the test results come back fine (and they have), Dad could probably go home tomorrow! Then the kidney specialist came in, did his exam and questions and said he looked good. Then the little dude with the Echo dilly-wop came in, lubed his chest and did the thing. When he was done, Dad asked how's it look. The little dude said "I am not supposed to read this for you, but it looks good to me!". He left and about 10 mins. later a wild-haired crazy looking guy came in..... Neurologist. Did that voodoo that he do do so well and proclaimed him "Good". Then his blood pressure was taken to which the nurse proclaimed "Great!" at 102/53.

All signs are that we will have a Dad-in-Law returned to his apartment and lady love tomorrow.

At this moment, surgery is back on for Monday 7am!

I am exhausted....today has sucked in ways too numerous to count. Tom has gone to visit his Dad now. I am off to the couch and JD Robb.


Day 12 -- One Thing After Another


The levels of complexity around us are just almost too much to stand.

The daily weight report is that Master is back down to the low point of a couple of days ago... 282.5 pounds. T has stayed the same, so she is 255. I have lost the weight that I regained, so I am back to my low point of 192.5. We have just about a day and a half to go.

Master managed to hire a new development director for His agency yesterday. The old director, who's been with them for about 5 years just left to take another position in Vancouver. The plan is for Master to go into work this afternoon to meet with this new person and get Him oriented and set up so that the development function can be continued while He is off recovering.

The really difficult circumstance that is coming into play at this point, is that Master's father, who is 90 years old, was admitted to the emergency room yesterday afternoon, and then subsequently, to the hospital. He was out, driving his lady friend to the doctor when, coming home, he lost the use of his right leg. The only way he could move it was to lift it with both hands. As they pulled into the parking lot at the center where they live, his foot was mashed down onto the accelerator, and he couldn't lift it off. He drove over the curb, across the lawn, nearly clipped the corner of the building, and after the lady pulled his leg off the pedal, finally coasted to a stop a good long ways from the front door. Staff pulled him out of the car and called an emergency squad who transported him to the hospital around 4:15 in the afternoon.

By the time we left him last night, he'd regained use of the leg. He was entirely lucid, and more than just a little crabby. The hospital had X-rayed his chest and done a CAT scan and found nothing to indicate what the problem might have been. They were planning to have him evaluated by a neurologist today.

This morning, the news is that he has low blood pressure which is continuing to drop, and they do not seem to be able to correct that situation. There is currently some talk that he will be transferred to the intensive care unit within the next couple of hours. This seems ominous no matter how we try to look at it.

The scheduled surgeries are currently up in the air. There is no way that Master will undertake to be disabled while his father's status is in question. So we are waiting. Fear and worry are palpable in our home. Nerves are raw. Tempers are short. There is simply no way to know what this will all come to.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Day 11 Report

Another early morning meeting after a late night and flukey results. According to my scale I gained 2.5 pounds yesterday. No, I didn't deviate from my diet one iota and on this ridiculous level of food consumption I gained 2.5 pounds. I know, I know I should watch the scale every day and my body is become very calorie efficient in reaction to starvation, etc. The good news is I am not bumbed or disheartened. I am just glad I have managed to adhere to this regimen perfectly.

sue gained a pound too yesterday, to get to 194. There seems to have been a wave of weight gain in the heron household.

t, though, had better results. She lost a pound down to 287 and so is down 12 pounds now.

So on it goes. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and we will be done with this phase and then it is on to surgery for t and I, and the beginning of care giver role for sue, Monday.

In response to M:e yesterday, we both passed our presurgical physicals with flying colors so everything is in "go" mode.

All the best and thank you for all your support.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What We've Learned About the Liquid Diet

We are almost done with this two week long, prescribed, "liquid protein" diet before the surgery. It has been difficult on a whole host of levels. Certainly, the hardest part of this for both Master and T is the severe caloric restriction. They have periods of time during the day when they really do feel hungry, and there is not a whole lot to do about that. It is also the case that the severely limited food intake has left them (especially Master) feeling weak and fuzzy headed.

When we began the two week period, all we really had to go on were a couple of pages that were included in THE NOTEBOOK that they were given by the surgical center. Those pages gave us a very minimal idea of how to do this diet, and we really struggled in the first week to figure out a reasonable way to spread out the "meals."

The plan is based on the consumpion of liquid protein. We are using the recommended brand, UNJURY. It is a medical quality protein supplement, and it comes in 5 flavors: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry sorbet, chicken, and unflavored. Master is to have 4 protein drinks each day, and T is allowed 3. Two of them are to be made with skim milk, and the others are to be made with some other no-cal or very low cal beverage. The good news is that the stuff doesn't taste too bad.

Along with the protein drinks, they are each allowed six servings from this list:

  • 1/2 cup fat free, vegetarian soup (Amy's or Hain's)

  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, or Cream of Rice

  • 1/2 cup of fresh fruit (1 cup of berries)

  • 1/2 cup of sugar free applesauce

  • small salad (lettuce, tomato, and onion) with fat free dressing

  • 1 serving of sugar free pudding or jello

  • 1 cup of V-8 vegetable juice or tomato juice

The challenge that we've encountered is how to spread out that set of options in some way that sustains the two of them through the day, and keeps them from suffering too horribly. There were some limited suggestions provided by the surgery group, but we didn't find them very workable. Here's what we've come to as we've gone along (I'm going to give you Master's plan, since I'm more familiar with His routine. T may have made some slight adjustments for herself):

Breakfast --
1/2 cup of Cream of Wheat with sugar free maple syrup
diet soft drink (this won't be allowed post-surgery)

Morning snack --
Chocolate protein shake made with skim milk and 1/2 banana

Lunch --
Chicken flavored protein shake
Diet soft drink

Dinner --
small salad
Amy's vegetarian vegetable soup
Protein drink made with diet cranberry juice and strawberry sorbet flavored UNJURY
Diet soft drink

Bedtime snack--
Chocolate protein shake with 1/2 banana

I know that T has managed to get off of her diet soft drinks. Master is hanging on as long as He can. This week, He is still drinking regular tea and coffee. Once the surgery is done, the only allowable coffee and tea will be decaf. They each also have to take two chewable multiple vitamins, and six chewable calcium citrate tablets each day. We actually made up a weekly chart that helps us keep track of the various bits and pieces each day -- they check them off as they go along.

I know that is not especially interesting reading, but I was determined to capture this while we were still doing it so that, if anyone ever asks us how we did this, we'd have it recorded.


Day 10 Report

I have almost no time this morning. I am off early this AM to take my Dad to an outpatient dermatological surgery, and t and I have early morning presurgical exams by our primary care doc that are required within a week of surgery. Then I have to retrieve my Dad and take him home and get on with my day.

I am down another pound at 282.5. Thus, I have lost 18.5 pounds in 10 days. Swan was down a pound and tells me she is down 9 pounds overall in her shadowing us with a less extreme diet. I haven't seen t so we will have to Blog her progress later.

Thanks again for every one's support.


P. S. I am adding late this Thursday evening after this evening's meeting that t neither lost nor gained anything when she weighed this morning after day 10, so she continues to be down 11 pounds. Thus, we three are down 38.5 pounds overall for ten days on this presurgical diet.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day 9 done

I feel remarkably fragile and "hang-over-like" this morning. I have a steroidal epidural injection procedure in my spine this morning for my spinal stenosis. sue has taken the day off to drive me home afterwards. Tonight I have a meeting of my agency's Finance Committee. Sheesh how am I going to be functional for that? There is always a way.

Anyway the wild news is that I awakened today (after my first good night's sleep in two nights and sleeping in to 7:30 to boot)to find that I weighted 283.5. That's right, after the pendulum swung one way yesterday, taking me back up a pound, now in the reverse swing I went down 4.5 pounds, so a net loss for the two days of 3.5 pounds. Thus I am now down 17.5 pounds in 9 days! Sheesh, I really can't believe this. I can't tell you how many people on my staff have said, "Why don't you just do this diet and skip the surgery?" Of course I am not sharing with them what this is doing to my health. Overall though too, I continue to have ideal blood sugars as well: this morning at 94. I am cold this morning, and can't seem to warm up. My rings are suddenly falling off my fingers.

t this morning is essentially at the same weight as yesterday. She is up fractionally. She bought a new scale right before this and it registers weight in tenths of a pound (mine only in 1/2 pounds). It says she is up slightly but it is not enough to report. So essentially she continues to be off 11 pounds for the period.

sue, who is not really following this diet (and we have told her not to,...it is not healthy)has regained a pound and a half but is still down a very respectable 8 pounds over the 9 days.

So overall we are off 37.5 pounds for the 9 days among the family.

I always appreciate all the support you all have rained down on us and it truly has helped, but never more so than did the wonderful comments yesterday as I/we coped with my sudden weight regain. I understood in my head all the things you all said, but it didn't change the way regaining some weight made me feel. Hearing (well reading:) what you said to me about that really made the emotionally negative aspects of that event way more tolerable and less discouraging.

Thank you, once again!

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dream. Live the life you've imagined.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

8 Days Down

No one ever said I was anything other than perverse. Yesterday I gained a pound. No, I didn't divert from my diet, but on this very restricted about 800 calorie a day diet, I gained a pound yesterday. Perhaps this is illustrative of why I need such an extreme intervention to deal with my weight. The only particular variance I can think of is that yesterday my schedule was crazy and I was not able to space my eating out at nice even intervals like I have. I got to the end of the day and I had only eaten three of my six allotted side items, so I had a dinner of a cup of cream of wheat with some sugar free maple syrup and a frozen banana chocolate protein shake. This is more food than we typically get at one time. I don't know if that was what resulted in the weight gain. I still ate precisely what we are supposed to have in a day and nothing more.

t this morning is down a half pound and so has lost a total of 10 1/2 pounds. Sue has once again to day remained static neither gaining or losing so she continues to have lost 11 1/2 pounds. So overall we have lost 34 pounds in 8 days. Obviously the dramatic rapid weight loss we experienced in the very beginning has subsided. I actually regained a pound.

Hopefully t's and my livers are both shrinking and shriveling up to tiny little nubs of their former selves. It is good to remember that it is that shrinkage that was the purpose of this diet and the weight loss, that we so much appreciate, is only a side effect.

Thank you for checking in and, once again, for all the supportive comments.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 7 Report

t and I had to be off early this morning for fasting presurgical tests at the hospital where we will be for our surgery next Monday, and so there was no time to post. That hurdle is now behind us and we are that much closer to the finish line....or is it the starting line?

t lost another pound today and is now down 11 pounds for the week. sue and I each weighed exactly what we did yesterday and so she is still down 9 and a half pounds and I am down 14 pounds for the first week of this. How one maintains one's weight eating like this I don't know but that was my result yesterday anyway.

This will be a hectic week. I have evening meetings almost every night and swan has some. t of course has her usual demanding four ten hour day schedule. I am trying to get a lot done before my absence.

So all in all we have lost 34 and a half pounds in one week. I suppose it is likely that we will not see the same dramatic losses this week we saw the first week.

Thank you again to everyone whose commented for all your support.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Another Strange Day

It is Monday morning.
Neither Master nor I lost any weight yesterday. See my pouty face?
Master has an evening meeting tonight, and will likely not be home at all until close to 8:30 or 9:00. Both Master and T have appointments at the hospital this morning for the pre-surgical workup. They had to be NPO after midnight, and so were both carrying all the food for their day with them. Talk about a major logistical challenge! There are protein drinks; some mixed with milk, and others mixed with juice-flavored drinks. There is soup and salad for lunch. There are apples for some meals. There are pills to be taken for morning, noon and evening.

His "lunch bag" weighs a ton!
I just hope it all works out ok.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

6 Days Down

It is Sunday morning....er uh...well early afternoon, and we have now completed 6 of the fourteen days. Weekend days are easier with no work to contend with and the ability to sleep whenever you want. We did take a walk yesterday to increase our physical activity which was good, and I managed to space out y consumption of the six side items so that I could have 2 frozen banana, chocolate protein powder shakes. They are really good and in that I was not having anything that resembled milk shakes going into this they see like an indulgent treat.

Our results this morning are juxtaposed from previous days. This morning it is I who is down just 1/2 pound at 287. So I've lost 14 pounds overall. t is down 1 pound and so has lost 10 pounds overall. And swan, drum roll, is the big loser of yesterday down 3 pounds. swan has now lost 9 and 1/2 pounds overall. So we lost 4 and 1/2 pounds overall between us and have lost 33 and 1/2 pounds overall as a family.

Damn! a third of a hundred pounds own between us in 6 days. Who would have thought?!

Tonight at midnight we will reach the halfway point in this pre-surgical two week liquid protein diet. I guess that means we have reached the point of no return.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Your support

I just want to specifically thank selkie, M:e, Amber (BTW, great Costco story), Hermione, Impish 1, Tangerine Tease, finding my submission, littleone, Sir, kitten, Lynlass, Tiggs, jojo, Ceeci, and Sharon for your reading here and much more for your expressions of caring and support. You don't know as things have been difficult and I've felt lousy this last week (and before), how my heart has leaped each time one of you commented here and cheered us on.

Thank each of you for your friendship.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.


The greatest concern that the bariatric professionals, particularly the mental health practitioner, of our bariatric treatent team, had about me as a candidate for this surgery, was my alcohol consumption. For years, with the exception of few months that I quit to see if I would lose weight, I drank alcohol, usually daily. We (sue and I) almost always had wine with dinner and I typically drank Irish whiskey, brandy, or vodka. There is great concern in that alcohol consumption within the first 6 months after surgery is harmful and after that, what with the goal being weight loss, alcohol provides calories without nutrients. The quest of the bariatric surgical patient is to find a way to manage to get enough nutrients to be healthy within the limited capacity for eating the surgery leaves one with. If one uses up that capacity drinking or adds additional calories with no nutritional value the concern it either malnutrition or weight gain. And if you have the rouen Y bypass surgery, which is what we are both expecting going into this (t has considerable likelihood that her medical history will necessitate them shifting mid-procedure to sleeve gastrectomy), and you drink, the alcohol is dumped directly into your blood with little of the processing a normal stomach and intestinal system put it through. The result is that the intoxicating effects of alcohol are magnified many times. People become quite intoxicated or at least "buzzed" on a single drink or glass of wine.

They had hoped that I would quit drinking prior to this diet so I could get "used to" not drinking anymore. I didn't do that. It seemed illogical to me. It seemed like if t or swan were going to go away for a long time, perhaps I should quit seeing them before they left so I could get used to their absence rather than enjoying them while I had them. So I didn't quit until last Monday.

We are now almost 6 days into this. I've had no alcohol and I have had no difficulty because of missing it. Occasionally I have thought a drink would be nice, but it has not been a craving or even anything I could describe as a longing. I also did not suffer any huge detoxification effect that I can identify. It could be, I suppose, that the difficulties I had the beginning of last week were in part due to detox, but my symptoms were so very similar to t's, who doesn't drink at all, that I suspect it was simply my body adjusting to this radical diet.

Anyway, not only am I rigidly adhering to this diet, but I have put aside alcohol and will for at least 6 months and two weeks if not longer. Sheesh in April I'll not even be able to toast my 60th birthday. Quite a change for a life long drinker, but too, hopefully, I'll be 75 pounds lighter by then as well:) and well on my way to the 120 to 150 pound weight loss that has been predicted for me if I am compliant with "the program."

t and swan have both commented how impressed and relieved they are that this has not been a problem. A few weeks ago t and I both met with the mental health practitioner of the bariatric treatment team to discuss her concern about this and told her that if I said I would do something I would, and that included stopping drinking. I think she was dubious, but was actively suspending her disbelief in line with our reassurances. I am glad that my reality has born out that pledge.

Drink up readers. Mine tonight will be a frozen chocolate banana protein powder shake before bed:)

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

"It seems like all I ever do is pee"

So, went the conversation between T and I in the ladies room as we got ready to leave the movie theater this afternoon. We went and saw Gran Torino, by Clint Eastwood, and it was really a very good show, but there wasn't a one of us who wasn't dying to get to the restroom by the time it was over...

Truly, one of the most obvious effects of this dietary regimen has been that each one of us is continually beating a path to the bathroom. Sorry, that is likely "too much information" for most people, but it is the plain and unvarnished truth.

So... in the midst of all this deadly serious counting of servings and pills and pounds, I wondered if there weren't some anthem appropriate to our circumstances, and thanks to the wonders of Google, I found just the thing. Enjoy!

Lyrics -- You're a nation bright as gold. You're a nation no one can hold. You're a nation in the morning You're a nation at night You're a nation in pain You're a nation in delight You're a nation of many fine colors You're a nation going every which way You're a nation that burns You're a nation that yearns You're a nation twists and turns You're a nation, You're a nation I love the land I live on I hope that you do, too You're a nation upon it, you know it's here for you The world watches you and me Do you know what they see? They see You're a nation, You're a nation on TV You're a nation, You're a nation You're a nation in pajamas You're a nation in your sleep You're a nation in your gym shorts Running down the street You're a nation together You're a nation alone You're a nation at work You're a nation at home You're a nation with the latest joke About ol' W. You're a nation for peace You're a nation of Red, White, and Blue

Day 5 progress

We finally got up this morning at about 10:45. This diet should be touted as a cure for insomnia. All I want to do is sleep. I just got up about an hour ago, have had breakfast (frozen banana, protein powder chocolate shake, cream of wheat with a little sugar free maple syrup, and black coffee.....I'm splurging... what the heck it's the weekend:) and now I'm ready to go back to bed.

Well we managed to finish the work week and now we are on into the weekend. This morning t had lost nothing at her weigh in today so weighs 259 having lost 9 pounds. swan lost a pound and a half yesterday (she is quick to point out she re lost the pound she regained yesterday plus and additional half pound) so she's now lost 6 and a half pounds overall. I lost three and a half pounds yesterday and so have lost 13 and a half pounds so far. Between the three of us we have lost 29 pounds overall in just over 5 days.....EAT YOUR HEARTS OUT BIGGEST LOSERS!

All in all we are doing very well. I find that I am really in a fog. The sending the email to my ex in the raheretic email account Thursday is a good example. Just a few minutes ago I opened Internet Explorer and, having gotten it to open, I couldn't recall why I had come there. Then suddenly slowly the light turned on, "Oh yeah, I wanted to post on the Blog."

So anyway, I am hoping to do a lot of work here at home this weekend, if I can make my mind function well enough. We may be going to go to a movie later today, although we seem to be having trouble finding one we are interested in...we may be going to see Grand Tourino.

So this is where we are Saturday morning, and thank you again for all your support.

Through a fogged in low calorie befuddled brain,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekend Concerns

I have been dreading the weekend. Long days of relaxation that are usually spent, for me at least, plotting and planning tasty meals for the weekends. I usually spend Friday (keep in mind I work 4-10's and am off Fri, Sat, Sun) cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping and planning meals. We do a bunch of shopping at the local Costco and I have known all week that we were going to need laundry soap and softener and more low-sodium V-8. I have been concerned about being at the Costco during the times they have all the samples out for tasting. ( NO, I do not taste all samples, I am good..but the temptation....) Sooooo, Tom & Sue had a meeting last night and when I got off work, I went to Costco. NO SAMPLES in sight! Guess they only do that on Fri, Sat, Sun! I was safe and it was a quick in & out. Today (Fri) I am doing laundry and more closet cleaning. I have been unloading most of my clothing at the local Goodwill truck, and I have 5 more bags to deliver today. I have made some herbal iced tea (no caffeine allowed!) and think I have figured out the UNJURY Chicken Flavored broth temperature issue. And I HAVE watched my beloved cooking shows....and am not at all tempted to cook anything.

Not a bad start... 2 more days to go!


Day 4 Addendum

t is up, feeling better, and has great news! She lost 3 more pounds yesterday so she is down 9 pounds over all since Monday. She followed the regimen to the letter yesterday and it worked.

So congratulations t!!!!!

And NO!!!! Now you cannot GO TO TACO BELL!!!!! (like you would:)

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Friday morning and 4 days completed

We are now over a third of the way through this diet and the approach to our surgeries. Yesterday found swan and I feeling better and t of course struggling in the aftermath of a sleepless night.

Thank goodness t's 4 day work week ended yesterday so she will be able to sleep in today. Swan and I awakened to feel quite "hung over." I hate to suffer this when I've had nothing to drink. It just seems unfair somehow.

swan was actually up a pound today. We had a committee meeting last night at Panera and she had a regular soft drink. She is allergic to the sweetener in traditional diet soft drink. She is attributing her weight gain to the resulting sugar jolt and may be right. I lost 1 more pound. I am not surprised that we are seeing diminishing returns in terms of weight loss. I imagine by now I've lost all my water weight and so decreases now will not be as dramatic. I am though, now down precisely 10 pounds over the 4+ days we've been doing this. Hey if I could continue losing at the rate of a pound a day, I'd lose 20 pounds in the two weeks prior to my surgery (I'm not predicting this,,simply projecting:) My blood sugars this morning were 92 (92 yesterday too...I realized I didn't report that yesterday). I was feeling hungry when I got home yesterday before going back out for our meeting. I tested then and at 5:27 PM my blood sugar was 94. It appears my sugar control on this diet is excellent.

We had an interesting development. I spoke with my ex yesterday and she is back in town. Her mother is very ill and failing but it is not necessarily the case that her death is going to be immediate. She was willing to be "on-call" for my Dad in any emergencies that would erupt while t and I are incapacitated by our surgery. That was wonderful news. I contacted his independent living center and they have her down as contact for that time period. I phoned my dad about that and he is pleased and relieved. He has always had a very close and loving relationship with her. Then I emailed her to thank her and tell her his home was notified. I had been working on here and, inadvertently, I emailed her, not in the usual vanilla account I use for dealings with my family, but using my Raheretic email account. OOOPS! So last night signing on after our meeting I realized my mistake when I read her response (simply a very polite and gracious thank you)and realized it was in the Raheretic account.

Then as I checked statcounter, there it was. About an hour after I had written her there was an arrival at TheHeronClan by someone in Cincinnati. They had gotten there by performing a search for "raheretic." They were coming from the server at the organization where she works. They stayed for 3 hours and 28 minutes. Looking at some of the more analytical functions of statcounter, we can identify some of the posts she visited. She seems to have scrolled through much of the blog 20 posts at a whack. We are not certain if she visited this blog but it is likely. There have been a number of visits from Cincinnati, but we cannot trace them to what is more than likely her. So anyway the facade we've kept up, hiding in plain sight, is likely blown, at least with her. She is likely reconstructing her perception of our past in a new light. Hopefully this is not a development that will kick off any negative events. Life is just too complicated.

t is of course sleeping in this morning, so we will not know how she is doing until later, but she is getting a good and much needed rest.

Now on to day 5 and hopefully further weight loss and our health continuing to maintain despite this extreme diet.

Once again thank you to all of you for your support and the many lovely and supportive comments. I hope I have time and energy this weekend to make individualized responses.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today I got flowers

Last night sucked. No 2 ways about it....it sucked out loud. I slept badly, when I slept at all. And woke to having lost only 1/2 of a pound. I was a depressed puppy when I kissed Tom goodbye this morning and headed down the road for my hour commute to a 10-hour workday. I really would have been happier if I could have stayed home and slept all day and watch fast-food commercials when I was awake (because that is ALL that is on TV now, especially since we cannot eat it ever again).

The day is slow, so it was dragging like crazy and I have been quiet because I feel like screaming and crying........and the security guard downstairs called to say "You have a delivery".

One of ladies I work with said "It's not your birthday!".

And I got the most beautiful bouquet of flowers from my Spice! Red roses, red carnations, sunflowers, coxcombs, purple spiky-things....simply lovely. And brightens my day considerably.

I love youse guys!


Day 3 - Choppy Waters

Three days are now passed and yesterday presented us a few new challenges. I was leaving for my first trip into the office since Monday, to a meeting I wanted very much to attend, when my cell went off to tell me my 90 year old Dad was being transported to the hospital from his home in an independent living center. He had had extreme nausea and dizziness. I diverted back home to pack up some yogurt, an apple, and drinks to tie me over within diet constraints, not knowing how long the time at the hospital might take. We've done many of these hospital trips with Dad over the last few years, and they often mean late nights there before they eventually decide to admit him and get him into a room. t was ready to bring me dinner there when she got home at 8:00 if that was necessary. It turned out he was having a bad reaction to dialysis that morning. We are new to his dialysis. He's only been having it for two weeks. Apparently they increased it yesterday and that set this off. I got him home about 8:00 then picked up the PRN anti-nausea medication they prescribed for him to have if this reoccurs. The E. R. doc communicated with his nephrologist who will (hopefully) modify his dialysis so that this won't reoccur. I am very worried what will happen if he has a crisis when both t and I are ill following our surgery and sue has her hands full with our care. Normally we would rely on my ex-wife, but we had a call from her last night that she is four hours away with her Mom who is in her last days dying with cancer. So, I suspect, she may not be available as a resource either. Maybe I'll contact his independent living center to see if they have any resources to bring to bear in such circumstances.

t is feeling quite down this morning. She didn't sleep last night, and she lost no more weight yesterday. It seems talking with her she didn't feel like eating yesterday at work, skipped her two snacks, and so ate less than she should have in compliance with the program. I have reminded her they told us this might happen and that it was very important that we follow this regimen exactly, or we might have trouble. I wish so much we didn't have to work and I could just hug her all day and make sure she had what she should to feel better. Honey it will get better. We still have 11 days to go and we will lose more and you must follow this program and we will get through this and the surgery safely.

Anyway day three is past. I lost 2 more pounds and so am down 9 over the three days. T is still down 6 pounds. Six pounds weight loss in 3 days is nothing to be sneezed at. Too, it is important to recall that the purpose of this is not primarily weight loss, but shrinking our livers so that when we have our surgeries the liver is up and out of the surgeon's way. swan too has lost no more today. She did eat a little more yesterday (some left over pasta from the Friday night "last Italian dinner" I think). She is feeling better today and her color looks better. She had a long day, with an evening event at her school, and a migraine to boot, so her day was not a piece of cake by any measure either. So I would assume that means that we three are down 20 pounds to date. Too, if we count days as being from midnight to midnight, then at noon today (in 3 hours and 48 minutes:) we will be 25% of the way through this diet.

We are well begun on this process, even if there are struggles, and I love my t for her ability to tough this out, and love us through it, and my swan for her huge love and caring for us both. I don't know how I would make it without either of them.

Three days down and 11 to go.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.
Posted by Raheretic at 3/12/2009 0 comments Links to this post

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 2 Report

It's early Wednesday morning. I started the day off yesterday feeling more functional and expecting that I would go to the office for a normal day. As the day wore on I never left working from home. About 1:30 in the afternoon I started feeling awful again.....weak, shaky, fuzzy thought process....just blech. I slept most of the afternoon after that. I had a yogurt as a snack when swan got home then we napped until t got here for dinner. Last night for dinner t and I had a cup each of low sodium vegetarian vegetable soup. It was really good and I think we will be eating that option frequently...tasty, warm, enough vegetables you feel like you've had some sort of solid food after you eat it. We are glad that option exists within this very limited diet. swan had some beef vegetable soup, and is, while eating more than we are, still very much on a reduced diet in spirit with us (t and I have been insistent that she is not to adhere to our diet..it is not medically necessary nor would it be safe..it is good she is complying, the exertion of having to spank her now would be difficult:)swan has been wonderful dressing up our evening meal and preparing my meal options for the daytime and just supporting us through all this.

This morning I weighed 294.0 pounds and my blood sugar was 99. So my sugars are still in an ideal range (no sign of hypo-glycemia thank goodness) and I'm down exactly 7 pounds in the first 48 hours of this diet process. t has lost 5.5 pounds. swan has lost 6 pounds. The three of us have lost 18.5 pounds combined. The weight loss is very reinforcing. This diet really feels awful. I hope it continues to be effective in terms of weight loss. Of course I have no way to monitor how it is working in terms of its real goal, which is to shrink t's and my livers prior to surgery. Hopefully we are wringing the fat out of our livers just like wringing out a wet sponge:)

I can't tell you how much all of the comments we are getting here mean. When I check in and find one of you have given us encouragement, or suggestions, or whatever, it means such a great deal to me. I am sure swan and t feel very supported too.

On now to day 3. When that is done we will be over 20% of the way through this. This really feels like a marathon event. Hopefully it will not seem so long once it is done.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Day 1 of the pre-surgery preperatory"Fast"..on to Day 2

We're 24 hours in now and I'm feeling better...not great, but better. Yesterday I felt pretty sick most of the day. I was way low energy, and spacey, and shaky. I came home yesterday from work ravenously hungry without being able to eat much of substance. We figured out, looking at the diet, that I could have a pudding cup and an apple. That helped. The apple was the first thing I'd had that was chewable and seemed relatively solid. Then I went to bed until t got home and we had what amounted to dinner.

Dinner was a 1 cup lettuce tomato and onion salad with fat free Italian dressing, a yogurt, a chicken soup flavored protein drink, and some V-8 Juice. The salad too gave us the opportunity to chew something that was more solid food like. Swan did a wonderful job serving the salad so that it looked nice, and putting the V-8 in lovely crystal glasses, with candles lit, etc. She made it seem as much as possible like we were our family sharing our dinner. It felt more normal and like an evening meal for us all.

t and I snuggled some after dinner until I began feeling nauseous, and we got back up. We drank a good bit of tea last night...first regular tea....and then Sleepy Time herbal. swan gave me a wonderful massage before bed that worked to have me sleeping much better last night than I had Sunday night.

t seems to have felt pretty well yesterday although she said she had a headache part of the day and felt sort of weak and tired too. I felt really pretty sick.

But here we are at day 2. While I am hardly vibrant and sparkly, I am not feeling ill. And here are the results 24 hours in. I weighed 297.5 with blood sugar of 94. So I'm down 3.5 pounds. t is down 4 pounds. swan (who is doing a modified version of this, but whose diet mirrors ours closely) has lost 2.5 pounds. swan seems to have felt pretty much OK so far.

So it will be interesting to see how this goes. If t and I could feel as much better tomorrow and the next day as we are feeling better today we could actually be pretty well. Too, if the first day is any indication, we might actually have the 15 to 20 pounds weight loss we've been told to anticipate prior to our surgeries.

We are now committed and the process has begun.

All the best,


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Day 1

We made it through the first day of the liquid protein regimen.
None of us felt terrific. We had headaches and nausea and just a general lack of energy and vitality most of the day.
Still, we made it, and this morning?
Weight loss for all of us -- a family total of 10 pounds. Master's blood sugar numbers are excellent this morning.
In general, we all seem to be feeling better this morning, and we have encouraging early results.
So... on to day two.


Monday, March 9, 2009

We've Begun

It's Monday morning, day 1 of our 14 day liquid protein diet. I've just had breakfast: 1/2 cup of Cream of Wheat with some sugar free maple syrup, a cup of sliced fresh strawberries, black coffee and Diet Rite tangerine. swan has prepared mid morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack for me to take with me to work. I feel a little hungry but I think it is more about my psyching myself up about not being able to have more if I choose to, than real hunger.

I awakened to find I had gained two more pounds, so my true baseline weight is 301 not the 299 we posted yesterday with the pics of t and me. Even my blood sugar was higher than it has been for several weeks at 124. I guess all those brownies and chocolate ice cream last night, while sugar free and low fat, were not calorie and carb free:)

Well this begins the next phase as we ratchet up this adventure. I'm not freaked out but I can tell I feel stressed. I am sure this is just the beginning of a number of ensuing dramatic changes.

I guess you cannot change without change:)

All the best everyone and thank you to my swan and my t for your love and support. I could not do this without you two being by my side. It is our love that makes all this possible and necessary.


Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Last "Last Supper"

Well, it wasn't Chinese or Seafood....it was food we prepared and shared at home. One of the best ways to eat, if you ask me.

Grilled Lamb Chops for Tom & Sue/Grilled Steak w/sauteed onions for me
Sauteed potatoes with onions and yellow pepper
Mashed cauliflower casserole
Sugar Snap peas

S/F Brownie Pie with S/F Chocolate Ice Cream

We probably ate more than normal and are now watching "The Great Debater's" over hot tea and after-dinner cocktails for Tom.

I just finished packing my meals for work for tomorrow. And wanted to take a moment to let you know that all is good. We are doing fine today....we shall see what tomorrow brings.

Thanks for all of the support shown here over the past few days.


Pre-Surgery -- March 8, 2009

It is Sunday afternoon, March 8, 2009. Tomorrow, Master and T begin the two week long, pre-surgical liquid diet. The surgery, then will be done on March 23.

As of today, Master weighs 299 pounds, and T weighs 268 pounds.

We just now pulled out the camera and took pictures. These are our "benchmark" photos; the ones that we will be looking back to as a way to mark their progress.

They are both, darned adorable, as far as I'm concerned. So, there's nowhere to go but up from here.


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2nd Last Supper

One of Tom's favorite restaurants is a nation chain called "Abuelos". Yummy Mexican food that is galaxies above Chi-Chi and Taco Hell. They have this platter called the "Grande". It holds a sampling of almost every best-loved Mexican yummy treats...chicken & beef & cheese enchiladas, tamale, taco, chili relleno. All served with (In Tom's case) spinach casserole and rice...(Sue's spinach casserole and cheesy potatoes). I always go for the chicken fajitas. We shared a pitcher of Margaritas and guacamole while waiting for the dinners.

We got there late, after 9:30pm, and it was as if we were having a private family dinner in a public place. Very tasty and very nice.

Tonight is the LAST Last Supper. Tom is leaning to PF Changs (Chinese) or Red Lobster (Lobsterfest). Either will be delightful....especially when shared with my family.


Saturday, March 7, 2009

1st Last Supper

As previously posted, Tom has a series of "Last Suppers" planned. These are places that we will not be able to eat at (or at least enjoy our present "Favorite") in our futures.

Last night was Italian. And we had a BLAST! Our dear friends, Tangerine Tease and her Squeeze met us at the local Carabbas and had a wonderful dinner. A couple of appetizers, salads, good wine, and pasta all shared with good friends.

Then we all came back to our places and visited until midnight. Normally on a weekday night, the 3 of us are wiped out. But with the combination of good food and great friends, we were rarin' to go.

Our thanks to TT & Squeeze for making one of our "Last Suppers" fun instead of mournful.

In our futures we will probably be sharing water and a walk instead of pasta and wine, but we know they will be there, supporting us all the way!

You both are the BEST! Thanks for everything!!


Friday, March 6, 2009

Tom Has Clearance!

We have all been silently holding our breath awaiting Tom's cardiac clearance. No clearance? No By-Pass Surgery...simple as that! It has been a long time coming. His cardio-Doc was rather negative last visit. "You are changing the way God made you" sort of comments. And was tossing Tom through 2 different Stress Tests to find out that his heart is PRECISELY the same as it was 4 years ago when he put us all through a cardic catheterization that found NOTHING WRONG!

We all appreciate a cautious Doc. We don't want Tom doing surgery to have a cardiac event on the operating table.....but I was ready to take a stick to the guy!

Today, it was as if Tom was seeing a different-Doc. Pleasant, agreeable, and says this will be great and it was especially good that we were both doing it together, supporting each other. Where the heck was THIS Doc last week??? I am wondering if there is an Evil-Twin somewhere that was locked in a closet today.

But, anyhoo.... we are good to go! "Last Suppers" are occurring. I have done a big-shop for most of the food-stuffs we will need over the next few weeks, months, etc. One of my co-worker's brought in Pizza today for everyone...Very tasty...guess it is my "Last Lunch"!

Look out Heidi Klum! Here I come!!!!!


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Saying our Goodbyes

We seem to be quietly, and almost privately, each saying our personal goodbyes to life the way we've lived it up until this point. There is so much that is about to change for all of us in the next weeks and months. Beginning on Monday, the liquid protein diet phase of preparation begins prior to the actual surgery. Except for a few minor additions to the regimen (applesauce, sugar-free pudding, small amounts of fruit, oatmeal and cream of wheat) meals will consist of liquid protein shakes for two weeks. We'll be eliminating caffeine, carbonated beverages, and all alcohol.

During these last few days, we are more and more consciously choosing the things that we are eating in a sort of "farewell" mode. One last Italian pasta meal -- with a good hearty red wine. One final trip to our favorite Mexican restaurant -- Grande platters and margaritas. Probably a big seafood feast on Sunday evening... And then, whoosh -- right into the final whirlwind that will radically and forever change the way the world of food IS for our family.

It is a little overwhelming; a little scary; a little tiny bit exciting. Mostly it is just hard to imagine what this is going to be like in six months or a year.

It is my intention, insofar as it is possible to do, that I'll eat right along with Master and T as we progress through all of this. There is NO WAY that I'm going to sit with them, as they drink their protein shakes, and munch down on stuff that will cause this process to be more difficult for the two of them. Master is concerned that, since I am not having bypass surgery, eating like they do may be actually harmful for me. I don't have any idea how it is going to go, and I likely will have to eat at least a bit more than they do, but that needs to not be something that makes it miserable for us all to eat together. We'll just have to see what happens here.

Anyway, as one friend has dubbed it, we are in "Last Supper" mode around here. Every meal is the "last" of its kind. Sigh.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


One of the greatest concerns for Tom seems to be the holidays. How this drastic change will forever change our ability to enjoy the holiday meals we have shared in the past. One of the most enjoyable things about cooking, for me anyway, is taking a recipe we USED to enjoy and modify it to fit our present dietary requirements. I have been hunting all over the web for recipes to utilize the protein powder "Unjury"....AND I HAVE FOUND Thanksgiving Recipes!! Certainly not dressing, potatoes, and pecan pie (yet), but here is the beginnings..... (all for you, my Darling Man!)

UNJURY Protein Pumpkin Pudding
1 Package (1.4 oz) Sugar-Free Vanilla Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix *
3/4 Cup water 2 scoops Vanilla UNJURY®
2 tbsp canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2-1 tsp teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Measure 3/4 cup cold water (package directions calls for 2 cups milk)
Add two scoops of Vanilla UNJURY to the 3/4 cup of water
Mix thoroughly the dry UNJURY in water by shaking or stirring
Next, follow pudding package directions.
Empty the Jell-O Sugar Free Instant (Not Cooked) Dry Pudding Mix into a bowl.
Add pumpkin pie spice to dry pudding mix
Blend spice and dry pudding mix thoroughly with a fork
Pour in the previously-mixed UNJURY-and-water.
Add 2 tbsp canned pumpkin
Stir/Beat until thoroughly mixed (a wire whisk or mixer works best)
Place in small container and chill in the fridge. Top with 1 Tablespoon Fat-Free Cool Whip. Enjoy!

Makes about 3 servings Nutrition Facts per serving: 107 calories, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g sugar, 14 g protein, 0 g Fat

UNJURY Protein Pumpkin Cheesecake
2 Packages (8 oz) Fat Free Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Fat Free Sour Cream
1 tbsp Butter
¾ cup Splenda 3 scoops Vanilla UNJURY®
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
4 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
¼ tsp Ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Grease cheesecake pan with butter
Mix cream cheese, Splenda and vanilla extract in medium bowl until smooth (an electric -- mixer works best)
Add sour cream and pumpkin blend until distributed
Add eggs mixing after each one
Add Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cloves mix until distributed
Measure 3 scoops of Vanilla UNJURY (be sure to mix thoroughly after each scoop)
Pour batter into greased cheesecake pan
Bake for 1 hour

Makes 12 servings Nutrition Facts per serving: 116 calories, 8 g carbohydrate, 3 g sugar, 3 g fat, 14 g protein

UNJURY® Jell-O Delight Cranberry Flavor

Use Sugar-Free Cranberry Jell-O *, 4 serving package Follow package directions for dissolving Jell-O in 1/2 - 3/4 cup of boiling water.
After dissolving, set aside to cool for 3 to 5 minutes.
In a different bowl, measure 1 cup of cold water. Add two scoops of Unflavored UNJURY to cold water, one scoop at a time, stirring slowly to dissolve.
Stir UNJURY mixed in cold water into dissolved Jell-O. Chill quickly.
The protein will settle somewhat to create a smooth cloud at the bottom. The taste is unchanged.

Nutrition Facts Per 1/2 cup Serving: 10 g Protein

.................Not bad, huh? More to come!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Upcoming Events

We are on a roll.

We had our final pre-surgery appointment with the surgeon and his staff yesterday (3/2/09).

We have an appointment on 3/16/09 at the hospital for pre-admission testing.

We have an appointment on 3/19/09 at our PCP for the pre-surgical exam.

And then we are at the hospital at 5am on 3/23/09 for surgery.

Finally!!! I feel like we have been chasing Doctors for weeks. And if I am stress out over keeping track of our shared schedule, Tom's individual schedule has been even more hectic. On top of our shared appointments, he has been to the endocrinologist, cardiologist, neurologist, orthopedist, has had 1 stress test and is scheduled for another tomorrow, has an appointment for back injection the week before surgery. Then there are his father's appointments, that we share then handling of. And my weekly grocery shopping for Dad-in-Law, as well. And within all of that, we have had to maintain our work schedules, Tom's additional meetings (Day & Night ones), and try to find some down-time to get a break and recharge.

I think we are going to have to be hospitalized to get a break (g). Maybe they will give us big enough beds so Sue can crawl in with us an nap.

Sue mentioned that we were going to need a calendar to keep everything straight.....It better be a HUGE calendar, I'm just sayin'!!!


Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Today was the pre-surgery appointments with the dietitian, physician's assistant, and surgeon.

Long day.... Lots of information.....many answers.

Starting next Monday, March 9th we begin the pre-surgery diet, designed to shrink the liver before surgery and to give us a healthy start to our new US!

We need to have 4 servings (Tom) or 3 servings (Teresa) of Unjury protein powder (chocolate, vanilla, unflavored, or chicken flavored) in skim milk or non-milk liquids (2 of each).

We are to include,only, 6 servings daily of approved food list:
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce or fresh fruit (if berries, it can be a full cup)
1/2 cup sugar-free, fat-free pudding
6 oz. light, sugar-free, fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup cream of wheat, cream of rice, or oatmeal
1 cup tomato juice or V-8 juice, or sugar-free V-8 Splash
Small salad (lettuce, tomato, onion) with fat-free dressing
Small Vegetarian Vegetable soup (ie. Amy's or Hain)

Drink water or sugar-free (caffeine-free, uncarbonated) beverages as needed during day (6-8 cups of additional fluid daily)

Not much, huh? Well, here is an example meal plan:

Morning Meal - 1 serving Chocolate or Vanilla Unjury powder mixed with skim milk
1/2 cup Cream of Wheat or Oatmeal
1 cup V-8 or Tomato juice

Snack - 1 cup sugar-free pudding or Unjury High Protein pudding

Midday Meal - 1 serving unflavored Unjury powder mixed with 8 oz Crystal Light
6 oz Fat-Free, Sugar-Free Yogurt

Snack - 1 cup sugar-free Jello or Unjury High Protein Jello

Evening Meal - 1 serving Chicken soup flavored Unjury mixed with warm water
1 cup V-8 or Tomato juice
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Bedtime Snack - 1 serving of Chocolate or Vanilla Unjury powder mixed with skim milk
6 oz Fat-Free, Sugar-Free Yogurt

Vitamins will be forever part of our lives.
Centrum Silver Chewables - 2 daily
Calcium Citrate Chewables - 6 daily
B-12 - depending on delivery system, either daily or weekly
Actigal - daily for 6 months to eliminate potential for gall stones

Usually, people having this surgery have private rooms at the hospital. They are making arrangements so we will share a room. This way, the 3 of us can have eyes on each other and Sue will have less traveling. She says she is going to sit between the 2 of us and push our pain medication plungers for us. We have stressed that Sue is part of our family and she is to be informed about our care. We have listed each other as being able to get info about each other.

We are to arrive at the hospital at 5am on March 23rd. All the prep stuff and a shot of heparin in the tummy (ouch!) before surgery and each day we are in hospital. Originally, they planned on doing Tom first and me 2nd. Tom doesn't care about the order, but I do. I really prefer going first so I can get it done and not sit and stress over BOTH surgeries of a couple of hours. Yes, I am being a wimp...but this is about the only thing that has me a bit wigged.

We will be in surgery for about 1 1/2 hours... in recovery for about 2 hours.. and in hospital 2-3 days after surgery. If one of us is ready to leave before the other, they will keep us together so we can come home together. Again, this will make Sue's life easier, too.

They says we should expect to be off work 6 weeks, with the potential of returning earlier if we feel like it.

Today, it seemed more "REAL". I mean, I have known for days that this was approved and scheduled....but today it seemed more like we are steaming on to a new life. Exciting and scary at the same time.

I am 5'2" tall and (today) weigh 268.2 lbs. Can't wait to see where I am in 6 mos.!