There's Always Something…

Writing, Movies, Books and the Unexpected

Low-Carb High-Protein Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 1-cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
  • 1-cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1-cup liquid eggs or 6 egg whites
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ½-1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*you can omit the protein powder and the recipe will still turn out; if you use the protein powder, you don’t really need the vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. blend all ingredients together in a blender
  2. allow batter to rest for 5 minutes
  3. cook in waffle iron (or make pancakes if you’d like)

Protein Waffles

Source: http://www.melasandmovesblog.com

Minor Disappointment

On Friday, I called the doc’s office and told the nurse I had a the majority of the week of less than 15 cc’s of fluid in my right drain. Could they fit me in today to get that drain removed? (They will not remove both drains at once). She asked if this happened three days in a row; I told her no. She informed me drain removal required three consecutive days of less than 15 cc’s. She said the hematoma lengthened my recovery (see Day of Surgery) .

Hematoma side

So another handful of days with two drains…when I consider the big picture and want to avoid anymore complications, I can handle that!

Day of Surgery

I must admit I was a nervous wreck the morning of surgery—mostly because I was about to subject my good health to four hours of surgery and I was a little apprehensive about how bad the recovery was really going to be.

Here’s what to expect before going into the operating room:

The doctor will mark up your body as a cut-by-color roadmap. He took quite a bit of time doing this with different-colored markers. At that point, all you can do is surrender and trust in the experience and wisdom of the doctor.

Once in the operating room, you will be naked and completely rubbed down with warmed Betadyne. Then you are instructed, with your arms above your head, to carefully navigate your orange-tinged body onto the operating table. Your arms are strapped to boards, reminiscent of death by lethal injection. You spend the next three hours in complete darkness and when you wake up, you’re told that everything went well. The first thing you do is ask for something for the pain.

Complication

Eventually, I woke up long enough to eat and drink and I am delighted to see my white compression garment and convince myself I see a difference already around my thighs.

The nurse and I engaged in conversation about parenting, working and the inevitable guilt plaguing working mothers. She told me if she could have a do-over, she would have gone into teaching to allow her more time with her children.

The time came for me to stand up and take a few steps. My pain was intense despite exhausting the allotted morphine. My left side felt remarkably worse than my right side. I sat on the edge of the bed and with the nurse’s prompting and support, stood up, but recoiled as exquisite pain and nausea weakened my knees. But I am stubborn, so stood once again, only this time, I collapsed. I couldn’t open my eyes but was aware of the nurse’s distant voice calling my name. When I did wake up, my head was back on my pillow and the nurse told me I had fainted.

The next thing I knew, the doctor was at my bedside. He said a blood vessel burst and that he would need to go back in and clean it up. Fear and disappointment worked its way through my morphine-clouded head.

This procedure took another 45 minutes, leaving my left thigh and leg viciously bruised. The doctor ordered the nurse to give me a prescription for a stronger pain medication. Oh boy!

Here is what the compression garment and drains look like.

Drains

Drains

Pre-Surgery Preparation–Two Days Out

I thought that I would be super-productive this week in terms of completing my coding courses in web development; however, I am surprisingly distracted by thoughts of surgery and the “unknowns” of the aftermath. There has been a fair amount of preparation, some of it dictated by the doctor and more so because I don’t want to be a burden to my husband. I want to make sure all of the laundry (this includes bedding and towels) is done, the lawn is cut and edged, and the house is clean. My increasing anxiety is the underlying drive to complete these tasks.

If you are considering a lower-body lift, there is more preparation and cost because this is elective surgery. Listed are need-to-know items:

  • You will have to get blood work and an EKG. Fortunately, my GP put in orders to have this done, but if for some reason, your doctor refuses to do this, the cost of these tests will have to come out of your pocket. 
  • You have to purchase TED hose to prevent blood clots in your legs.
  • You will need Polysporin and hydrogen peroxide.
  • Purchase medication before surgery:
    • Antibiotics
    • Pain medication
    • Anti-nausea medication
    • Muscle relaxer
    • Blood thinner (these are injections)
  • The day before surgery, you will be restricted to a clear liquid diet only.
  • The night before surgery, after midnight, no food or drinks.
  • You definitely must arrange for somebody to give you a ride back home and to be your caretaker for 48 hours after surgery.

This is a big decision and it is very easy to start feeling guilty and selfish about going through with it, so it’s a good idea to have a before picture to put things in perspective.

This is me at 5’6, 115-pounds:

Before

Before

Before

Before

Before

Before

Before

Before

Reactions from my Daughters

As I stated in a previous post, I had been dreading telling my daughters about this surgery because I did not want to convey the wrong message about body image and self-worth. What I didn’t say is that I am feeling a tremendous amount of guilt about the cost of surgery in that this money really could be used elsewhere, but seriously, short of winning the lottery, when in my life will that not be the case?

The moment to tell my youngest daughter presented itself while we were in the car and she took it very well. Days later, I emailed my older daughters detailing my fear of being judged and justifying my reasons for the surgery in several paragraphs. My daughters didn’t reply right away, so I had a couple of sleepless nights, anticipating the worst reactions you can imagine. Their much-anticipated replies warmed my heart, made me proud and brought me to tears. It was remarkable how similar their replies were despite different words and style. Both conveyed it made them sad I felt I needed to justify my decision and that I felt they would be judgmental. They indicated I raised them to have the kind of confidence and self-esteem that transcends physicality; they get the body-image message. Most importantly, they agreed this decision was mine to make and that they trusted I was doing the best thing for me. What more could you ask for from your kids? Woooo-hoooo! Their messages lifted the extra weight around my heart I didn’t realize I was carrying. I can now go into surgery with a clear conscience.

My middle daughter closed her email by saying, “Well, I really don’t know what else to say, except Happy Butt Surgery!” ;-)

Big Decision

So I have been on this low-carb diet for a while now (enough that I don’t have to THINK about it too much, although preparation is an effort) and I have been Zumba-ing and Core Rhythm-ing faithfully for some time now. I am extremely pleased with the results in terms of my legs (except for those bothersome spider veins!) and my abdomen (those exercises really do target your core) and my arms are fairly toned, which is good for me because if I lift weights, my biceps actually get too muscular for my taste. What has been a huge disappointment though–and has solidified the FACT that the big FIVE-OH is approaching is that my bottom area (aka buttocks, rear-end, butt, arse, ass) looks like it belongs on a much larger, unfit female.

Since I hit puberty, that part of my anatomy has always bothered me because it has always been disproportionately big. I was on the receiving end of many cruel comments from my family as well as friends (kids will be kids!). Up until now, I have always been a voracious runner and watched what I ate, but gravity, three pregnancies and age are REARING their ugly heads. I consulted with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see what, if anything, could be done. I put on the little “panties” the nurse supplied and felt humiliated as I stood in front of the mirror while the doctor squeezed my thighs and areas of my buttocks. I couldn’t stand to look at that area of my body in the mirror. He asked me if I had ever lost a lot of weight. Just with my pregnancies and even then, I didn’t gain a whole lot. He said what I had was a huge amount of excess skin, probably genetic, and that a lower body lift would result in the look I’ve been wanting (just a normal one, really). I also have a bit of outer thigh fat, that he said he would liposuction.

This isn’t me, but gives you an idea of what I’m facing. I’m sure this young lady looks fine in jeans, but that’s not the issue.

So the price of this procedure was a bit daunting, but I read somewhere that you’d spend a certain amount on a car, but not on the vehicle that you will be residing in for the rest of your life. I grappled with the sentiment that God made me a certain way and that my husband said it wouldn’t make any difference to him whether or not I had the procedure. He pointed out that a lot of women would kill to have my body–but I don’t see it that way, because nobody is in my body but me.

I’ve got three grown daughters who don’t know about this yet. I do need to tell them though because it is a 4-hour surgery with risks and I want to make sure they understand this is totally my decision alone and that this has always been an issue for me, since I was in ninth grade. I just don’t want to send the wrong message. Ugh.

Yesterday, I paid in full and my surgery is scheduled two weeks from tomorrow. I still have to get lab work and a bunch of prescriptions filled. I need to purchase TED hose to avoid thrombosis and antibiotic ointment for after surgery. I understand I will be wearing a compression garment for 6 weeks post-surgery. This is serious stuff, but I’ve done my research, reflected on this endlessly, and believe the procedure will be worth it in the long-run.

Until the next update…

Sandy Hook Tragedy

This is how I processed the Sandy Hook school tragedy the following day. Please excuse the tense and POV changes; this is essentially stream-of-conscious first draft stuff. Although this act will NEVER make sense, we do our best to understand–it’s what we do. This is just my version. 

When he went to bed Thursday night, Adam knew it was the last night he would spend at home—and that’s the way he wanted it.

         He’d deal with his mom first and that would just be the beginning.

He knew exactly what he was going to wear the morning of—black military gear. He was an instrument of death. After today, everybody was going to know the torment that was his life and what he was about to do this morning was to insure that nobody was going to forget.

He was going to do that most horrendous act of violence that he could possibly imagine—thanks Mom! She always said inflicting harm on the helpless—animals, the elderly—children—absolutely outraged her.

He couldn’t relate—it was all the same to him—like squashing ants or swatting flies—it didn’t make a difference in his life.

He loved the thought that his mother, who thinks she is in complete control of EVERY situation including his life, will realize in the last moments of her life she isn’t in control of shit. He cannot wait to see the look on her face (turns out he shot her while she slept) when she finally realizes her last moments were unplanned—were out of her hands. It’s going to be sweet.

Then there’s Ryan, Mr. Golden Boy, can do no wrong. He’s going to feel some hell when they find his driver’s license at the scene of an elementary school shooting. And the parents of the dead kids–the chosen—will think twice now about bringing innocents into this corrupted world. He hopes they have many sleepless nights and question every parental decision they’ve ever made. Perhaps their grief will push them to sterilization.

On Friday morning, Adam killed his mother who had recently left her career to take care of him full time. We now know that she had looked into committing him to a psychiatric hospital and I’m sure he was aware of this. Probably not coincidental that he acted out before this happened. My thought is that he had exhibited some disturbing patterns of behavior—maybe even dangerous and he needed constant supervision. A babysitter said he was instructed not to leave a room Adam was in. evidently, very smart, but with behavioral problems. Suspect he may have had Asperger’s syndrome—NOT an explanation in of itself because there is no correlation with proactive violent behavior.

Adam kills his mother at the home formerly shared with his father and brother. He takes her car and at least three weapons and drives to Sandy Hook Elementary where he parks in the fire lane. Knowing he must force his way in, he uses the rifle to blow a massive hole through the door. The principal and psychologist enter the hallway and he immediately kills them and heads straight for the classrooms. He has studied the layout. Children and teachers in the hallway scramble like nervous chickens and disappear into rooms, but he barely notices.

He crashes through the door of the first classroom and guns down the teacher—shooting her twice and then shooting twice all the children within range. Adam hurries to the next room and does the same. Some of the kids get away, but it’s a messy business. He pounds on the third classroom door—a little panicky with sirens becoming increasingly louder followed by approaching footsteps. He is out of time—it wasn’t enough—but that is the story of his life, never fully realized. He shoves the gun in his mouth and shouts “fuck you!” and pulls the trigger.

Word spreads immediately and quickly like brushfire. CNN is on the story before essential facts are verified. Frantic parents flock to the school and are redirected to a nearby fire department. Fortunate parents intercept their children leaving the school in snaking lines. Parents hug their children like never before and don’t quite release them.

Those waiting at the fire station collapse with relief at the sight of their children until finally, the welcomed influx of children slows, then stops. The remaining parents exchange horrified glances and are told all of he children have been accounted for and that there would not be imminent reunions. The governor will inform next steps.

Clergymen intersperse themselves among parents, offering prayer, hope and perspective. Parents cannot absorb these words until the governor finally makes an announcement. There are no survivors. Animalistic howls and wails erupt and shake everybody within earshot.

Identifications still need to be made. There will be no reunions of the deceased children with their parents Friday night. Parents will not be tucking in their children tonight, no Saturday morning promises of pancakes and cartoons. Confused siblings will be confused, mad and then utterly sad. At moments, the first few nights feel like the child is visiting grandparents. And then the time will come when they should be home by now and a deep despair clouds everything.

Town residents take down Christmas decorations. This is not a time to celebrate. Turns out our children are not safe. It isn’t just the high school crowds where bullies and cliques run rampant. These children accept each other because they just want to play. There is no underlying agenda, no malice. These children still believe in Santa, still think the opposite sex is gross. For some, this was their first year of school. Most of them were dreaming about what they were going to get for Christmas. They were still babies.

“Bernie” Movie Review

Just finished watching “Bernie,” starring Jack Black who plays an altruistic assistant funeral director in a small town in Texas. Marjorie (played by Shirley MacLaine), the wealthiest, meanest woman in town, establishes a close relationship with Bernie who serves as servant and companion. Two years worth of Marjorie’s increasing possessiveness and bullying breaks Bernie down until he can’t take it anymore. Bernie snaps and pumps four bullets into Marjorie and stores her body in the garage freezer. In time, her body is discovered and Bernie goes to trial 100 miles away from his home town. He is found guilty of first-degree murder.

This is a true story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybxn6fOyAuw

The movie employed actual residents of Carthage, Texas, who lend undeniable intimacy and credibility to the story.

Jack Black met with the “real” Bernie in prison to gain insight and observe his mannerisms. Black’s portrayal is     moving, however at times, I found myself waiting for a punch line. I remember watching Robin Williams play his first dramatic role and experiencing the same thing. Jack Black can sing! And he sings a lot in “Bernie.”

“Bernie” was a pleasant surprise and the fact that it is a true story made it haunting and compelling.

Pumpkin Soup

IMG_0336

I made this last night and it was surprisingly savory and filling. Pumpkin is considered one of the “super foods,” because it is nonfat, fiber-rich, and bursting with antioxidants. In addition to pumpkin, the soup is a blend of carrots, apples, onions, leeks, and spices. I topped mine off with a dollop of sour cream (although yogurt is preferable) and sliced almonds.

Shadows and Delusions

My husband and I took a walk today around 2:00 in the afternoon when I studied his shadow and started laughing. Look carefully!

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Turns out the bouncing protrusion was his cell phone!

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