Friday, February 11, 2011

Surgeries


I seem to be obsessed with food lately.  It’s very frustrating and disconcerting, let me tell you.  I will be nice and relaxed and then bam! all of a sudden I'm consumed with thoughts about food.  And it’s not like I'm hungry.  Oh no.  No sir.  Not even remotely.  In fact, I may have just finished eating not 30 minutes before and be completely satisfied and all I can think about is food.  Sure, I'm forced to pay extra close attention to what I'm putting in my body now that I use Weight Watchers’ food tracking program every day, but it’s not like I'm obsessing about food consumption.  What I'm doing amounts, more or less, to data entry.  I no more obsess about my food than the dog does.  I won’t say the cat, because he does obsess about his food.  He is very quick to let me know that his food bowl is nearing empty and when it IS empty.  The dog, however, will walk away from her food if I leave the kitchen while she’s eating, so I know she isn’t obsessed with it.  The problem comes from boredom I think.  I'm somewhat of an emotional eater, which for me means I eat when I have nothing else to do…when I'm bored out of my skull.  So when I have nothing else to do and nothing else to think of, my thoughts always seem to turn to food.  Like, “I could be eating something right now” or “I wonder what I have to eat?”  Why, oh, why do my thoughts turn to food?  No wonder I gained so much weight last year if all I can think of in times of boredom is stuffing my face until I burst.  And let me tell you, I can overeat with the best of them.  I will gorge myself long past the point of satiation and long past the point of being full.  I just love food.  I love the way it smells, the way it feels in my mouth, and especially the way it tastes.  The better it tastes the more of it I want to shovel into my mouth.  Also, the yummier it is, the faster I will consume it.  And that is never a good thing.  You will eat yourself silly if you eat too fast…I know I do.  And I'll pay the price afterward too.  I once ate so much of something that was absolutely delicious that it literally hurt to move at all for 5 hours after I’d eaten.  You would think I’d learn, but I didn’t.

So, herein lies my issue with losing weight.  I am my own worst enemy.  And here’s the kicker…if I hadn’t gained so damn much weight so fast, those 2 discs in my lower back may not have herniated and caused me so many problems.  Of course, then my luck would have been that they would have herniated later down the road after I’ve moved to Oregon and am working at a job whose insurance plan isn’t as good and that doesn’t have any kind of restrictive/light duty allowance for employees.  So, I guess my weight gain was somewhat fortuitous in that way.  Otherwise, it’s just a huge pain and a heavy burden (pun intended) for me to carry around with me every day. 

The main issue of my boredom is that I pretty much lack a social life right now.  While I will desperately miss the small handful of very excellent Texas friends, once I’ve moved to Oregon, I will actually have a pretty active social life and won’t ever want for human contact again.  I will have my fill of it.  Also, if I don’t have anything social to do, I can always pop in on my parents and have dinner with them.  Something I know I will greatly look forward to is doing my grocery shopping on Saturday mornings with my mom.  I have missed our weekly trips to the market to stock up.  In fact, our weekly shopping trips are the very reason I absolutely LOVE to go grocery shopping and find it not only relaxing but also pleasurable while most people abhor it.  So, at least once a week, I'll get to hang out with my mom, which will be awesome. 

I will have so many friends nearby that I probably won’t have enough time in a week to spend with them all.  We will have barbeques and potlucks, girls nights and karaoke and bowling and picnicking and hiking and camping, oh my!  I will be in love with life.  I will be so active and involved with things.  I want to take a monthly or every other monthly trip up to northwestern Oregon to spend the weekend with my very best childhood friend, Patricia, and her family.  And she’s already said that she wants to come down and visit and spend the weekend with me at my home.

I'll get to spend time with my brothers and their families.  I'll actually get to know my nephew and my niece.  I have never met my niece and she is 13 months old now.  My nephew will be 4 years old in April and I’ve only met him twice.  This is completely unacceptable to me.  This is my family.  I should know my family.  On that note, I do not know my mom’s brother, my Uncle John, and his family.  Sure, he, his wife and their oldest daughter “met” me when I was 6 months old, but I don’t count that.  I was a screaming and colicky baby that spit out pacifiers if you stuck them in my mouth.  I don’t really care to ever meet him.  As previously mentioned, he’s a trophy hunter.  That is something that brings feelings of utter disgust to mind. 

My grandma told me a little while back that my brother, Alan, wanted to video tape interviews with my grandpa about his time in World War 2 and save them for posterity.  I want to do something somewhat similar with our dad.  Sort of.  When we were little, our dad used to play his guitar and sing for us.  Our favorite song was Puff The Magic Dragon.  I want to video tape him playing and singing this song so that I will always have this memory.  So that when he’s gone, I will still have a piece of him.  So that when I'm missing him, I can be with him in that moment again.  So that when times are rough, I can watch it and be transported back to childhood when everything was less complicated.

Speaking of family and the chance of them not being there anymore…my maternal grandpa is set to have open heart surgery to replace his aortic valve with a pig’s heart valve.  They opted not to have the mechanical valve.  My grandma wasn’t the one who told me.  My mom did.  My grandma is extremely stressed out and spooked.  My grandpa is basically in perfect health except that his kidney function is a 3 on a 1-5 scale, so there’s a chance that he could go into kidney failure during the procedure.  If that happens, he would probably not make it and then my grandma would be all alone.  This stresses me greatly for 2 reasons: (1) I haven’t seen them in over 2 years and I selfishly want to be able to see him again if he’s going to be passing, and (2) they’re in Washington and I'm in Texas.  I'm so far away I wouldn’t be able to help her out at all.  So I feel guilty about that.  I think my grandma didn’t tell me because she didn’t want me to worry.  I have my own upcoming surgery to worry about, afterall.  Please.  There isn’t really a chance of me dying in my surgery…unless the anesthesia goes horribly wrong.  *shudder*  Okay…I don’t need to feed my anxiety here.  But, seriously, my grandma offered to put me on the prayer list at their church.  That’s very touching and all, but I think my grandpa’s predicament is so much more precarious than mine is.

I haven’t lost a family member since 2001.  That was my paternal grandpa.  He was one of my favorite relatives.  Yet, we hadn’t spoken for around 3 years when he passed away.  Why?  Because I was a stubborn little bitch, that’s why.  I don’t remember what the stupid disagreement was about, I just remember we had a disagreement and I talked back to him and he rightly felt offended and then we just didn’t talk for 3 years.  I was actually in the process of putting together an apology letter to him when I heard the bad news.  What made it even worse was that I was thousands of miles away and subsisting paycheck to paycheck so I didn’t get to attend the funeral.  I have a wonderful picture of me, my dad and my grandpa all in our military class A’s together.  I love that picture, even if I do look like Vampirella in uniform.  I was a little too liberal with the pasty white face powder, in case you didn’t quite catch that.  There really isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.  He was a wonderful man.

I'm not the praying type, but I'm inclined to at least beseech a higher power for consideration in my grandpa’s case.  I don’t know what I’d do if I lost him now.  I'm in no way prepared for that possibility.  And I’d feel completely awful for my grandma.  My parents are the closest family to her and I don’t think my mom would be able to take enough time off from work to really help her out and I really don’t see my grandma moving to Oregon to live in the spare room in my parents’ home.  So I really don’t know what she’d do.  I guess she’d probably sell their house and move into a retirement apartment complex like my other grandma lives in.  Not that she’s even in any kind of state of mind to even want to consider the possibilities if he were to not make it through the surgery.

All this just makes my moving to Oregon that much more urgent that it actually happens.  I want to spend time with the people in my family that don’t have much time left in this life.  I want them to know just how much I love them and just how much they will be missed when they’re gone.  I want to have good memories of them that I can think of and remember them with.

So, anyway, my own surgery is set for February 24th at 8 in the morning.  I’ve already let Eileen know so that she’s prepared for it.  She’ll have to pick me up right at 5am if we’re to be at the hospital on time.  I’d really rather make sure we get there a little early just in case.  Sure, I'm a little nervous, but I'm mostly nervous that the lead won’t be in the right place when all is said and done with.  I'll be going under for the implantation portion of the surgery, which will take about an hour.  They’ll be making 2 incisions in my back.  One up near my shoulder blades and the other in my lower back at hip level.  I guess the thing I'm mostly concerned about with the incisions is that the lower one will mar my tramp stamp tattoo.  But, whatever.  I can’t worry about that.  The success of this surgery completely outweighs my need to have a pristine tattoo on my lower back.  Besides, the stoned tattoo artist messed it up anyway, even though I'm the only one who can tell.  Oh! And talk about a small world.  One of the office staff at the neurosurgeon’s office is a lady I know from a payday loan place I used to patronize. 

After surgery, I'll be off from work for about 3 weeks.  Then, I'll have about 3 weeks of restrictive duty at work and then I'll be back to full duty!  I'm so excited.  I'll actually be able to do cardio that will actually be able to help me lose weight instead of having the sole purpose of passing time.  I'll be able to be active again only 8 weeks from now!  And I'll be basically pain free.  It will be so amazing to be free like that again.  I’ve dealt with lower back pain constantly for the past 3 years, going to the chiropractor off and on.  After I'm recovered from the surgery, I want to start getting acupuncture treatments.  I think those will help me greatly with so much.  Hopefully they can help me with my anxiety.  That will be my main concern once this surgery is done.

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