Family Visit This Weekend

My wonderful sister-in-law Cece came for a visit this weekend, and it was sooooo nice to see her! She was last here in July helping me pack up umpteen boxes of stuff to give away before my move. Saturday afternoon we mostly sat around chatting, first in my room and then outside on a porch getting some lovely air. We ordered take-out Chinese food from Liang’s for dinner (yumm!) which was a delicious break from institutional food. She spent the night with an old childhood friend from Houston, went to church with them this morning, and came back about 3pm for some more visiting. I took the walker for a stroll around my “neighborhood” which is about 80 feet (I think) so she could see my walk, and she brought me dinner from Whataburger. More Yumm!

I’ve asked Cece and my brother to come help me move home when my discharge date comes, which I’m guestimating to be in another 3 weeks. I’ll know more about timing after my Care Plan meeting tomorrow. But I’m definitely thinking about going home more, and what I either need to know or know how to manage. Putting shoes on in a big part of that. Yesterday I managed to get the left one on after 25 minutes, but the right one was impossible. Something must be done, because doing it myself would require 3 hands and I only have two. I did some online research and found something that I think will work. It should hold my shoe securely while I wrestle the AFO splint and foot inside. I’m going to ask therapy to include this device in the list of aids and tools they get me before I leave.

I spent a lot of time today with my legs elevated because legs and feet are super puffy with water retention. The nurse wrapped both legs in Ace bandages for compression, which should be removed before I go to bed. But since they gave me a diuretic about 6pm, I’m sitting on the bed with my shoes on for as long as possible; I know I”ll have to go to the bathroom at least once soon, and I also know I can go to the bathroom on my own wearing shoes instead of the stupid green gripper socks. I hope I’ll be able to find someone to take them off when I’m ready to actually try to sleep.

I have a busy week ahead. PT and OT every day. Care plan meeting on Monday. Home Assessment visit on Tuesday. Haircut on Thursday (yayyyyyy Malorie for making a nursing home visit!). And rest. I need to remember to rest. It’s also part of my healing – that and seeing kitties on Tuesday.

Random Friday Thoughts

My care plan meeting is scheduled for Monday at 1:30pm. It’s billed as my “admission care plan conference” which is taking place at the end of my third week instead of within the first 14 days that is supposed to be the policy, if I understood the MDS Coordinator correctly. We’ll see. “We will discuss your plans for discharge and after, the current goals set towards preparing for discharge, and address any questions or concerns that you may have.” Sounds a lot like prepping for discharge, doesn’t it? I’m guessing they’ll give me until October 15th or earlier. Will let you know how that pans out.

Yesterday and today I walked 175 feet from my room to therapy without a rest break in the middle. I’m doing more exercises involving bending. My OT tells me that by the end of next week I’ll be standing on my own without holding on to anything. That terrifies me because it’s how I fell that last time. But I’ll try because normal people can stand up without holding on to a walker with a death grip.

My AFO velcro problem has been resolved thanks to Gorilla Glue. I’m going to work on the other AFO tonight, since I think it’s also a bit wonky and I have lots of Gorilla Glue. I have a feeling I’ll need it in the future.

Have I mentioned that our meals come to us in styrofoam containers? We sometimes get little covered bowls for things like fruit or salad or dessert. We get a print out every week of the menu options for the following week so we can make our choices (tilapia or sausage, etc.). I’ve written NO EGGS and NO OATMEAL for every morning, adding FRUIT & YOGURT. Most of the time I get the eggs and oatmeal, no matter what. And tonight I got the morning fruit with dinner. I don’t really understand how this all works but am glad I’m not in charge of figuring out all the different diets and textures, since so many patients can’t chew well or need diabetic or low-sodium diets. In any case, my food is a far cry from what I eat when I get to really choose – not enough protein and pitifully low in fiber. I have a small supply of protein bars along with mini bottles of Diet Coke. They keep pushing juice and sweet tea but I get as much water as I can.

I’m going to need an adjustable bed when I get home. I need to have the head raised up a LOT to manage getting the legs on and off the bed, because I can’t really see or reach them if I’m flat. And with my feet down in the chair for so much of the day, they’ve turned into little water balloons and need to be elevated. Just not sure how I can manage with my existing bed. But I’ve never bought a bed without testing it out first, so this is new territory. On the other hand, I got a check from Emerald Bay for half of the initiation fee because I sold my house to new people, and I can use that money to splurge on something that I really need but isn’t in the budget.

It’s Friday and I’m tired. Thanks for reading.

Therapy Notes – Saturday, 8/28/21

I have the weekend off from therapy. We get 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. Last week I arrived on a Tuesday so had therapy on Saturday because I hadn’t had all my hours for the week. This week, though, it was empty of things I had to do except get up, get dressed, and spend time in the chair. My therapists left me exercises to do for arms, hips, knees, and feet, but mostly right now I’m just cold.

The food here is pretty good and definitely better than the hospital, but my appetite has decreased and I’m no longer snacking (because there are no snacks) or drinking as much as usual (because when you drink, you have to pee, and that becomes a bit of a project). We usually get two choices for lunch and dinner; breakfast has evolved for me into fresh fruit and yogurt with wheat toast and cranberry juice, which is close to what I ate at home. I’m working to remember my Noom lessons and staying away from excess bread and carbs. No one needs potatoes and rice at the same meal.

My lunch companion and I had a lively conversation today about being church secretaries, how we managed newsletters and bulletins, Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes and other Christmas plans, and dynamics of relationships. And we also talked about what was the point of our being in our current circumstances, concluding that God has a way for us to use what we’re going through so we can be resources or lead by example. I already had a conversation with another friend who told me she is working to be sure she is stronger, more flexible, and in better shape than she was before because of me and things I need to be building on here. If my experience helps just one person, then maybe that’s what it’s about.

Many of you have called or texted or sent Facebook messages, and I know I’m behind in responding to you. Please know that I appreciate each of you even if I’m slow to get to you. We’re busy in the mornings with therapy and in the afternoon, I’m resting as much as I can. Therapy tires me out, and healing takes a lot of energy.

For those who asked, the address in therapy is: Olympic Rehab Center, 701 Olympic Plaza, Tyler, TX 75701

I don’t have any specific needs or wants; I’m just getting through each day. There WILL be things I need and ways you can help but I don’t know what they are yet. I promise that I will ask for help in very concrete ways when I know what those needs are.

Fighting Inertia

When things are going well or I’m doing something interesting, I tend to write. When things are overwhelming me, I have no time and don’t write. When I’m stressed, whether overwhelmed or not, I eat. Guess what I’ve been doing lately?

I worked hard to lost the weight that seemed to come off fairly easily last year. But that was during COVID time, when the world was contracted and I did little more than be home or go to work in the mornings in an almost empty office. I made trips to the store once a week, so my shopping was carefully planned and I bought less random stuff. And since there were no social outings on the schedule – no parties, no lunches, no restaurant visits – I ate more carefully and was more faithful in planning and writing my food.

I’ve gained 8 lbs of that hard-won weight back and I’m not happy about it. But at the same time, I’m not UNhappy that I’m 55 lbs down from where I started. On the other hand (and I have lots of hands to juggle things), I don’t want to stay where I am. I know all the things to do, I just need to do them. Yeah, I say that a lot, don’t I?

But I have a plan. I’m not starting ALL of these at once because that will set me up to fail. So this week I’m working on the first three:

  • Re-upped with Noom and asked my Goal Specialist to reset me to the very beginning. I will set aside 20 minutes every morning to read the articles and make notes for myself.
  • Plan to eat 1450 calories/day and NOT eat any exercise calories. They get out of hand too fast.
  • Go to the gym three days a week for 30 minutes, twice during the week and once on the weekend.
  • Emptied the pantry of the snacks, even portion controlled ones, that have snuck in there. — DONE
  • Plan my weekly food and shop from a detailed list WITHOUT picking up the extra random stuff (unless it’s produce).
  • Eat at least one meal (lunch or dinner) per week from the club or restaurant. Favorites: Jersey Mike’s #2 mini sub on rosemary parmesan bread, pizza or mini-slider basket from the club, or Chinese food from Liang’s (now open in a new closer location – yayyy!).
  • Switch my Diet Pepsi to cans from bottles as part of cutting back.

I’ve been acting from inertia for the last months. It’s as though I forgot how to handle social and work stress during COVID time, and I’m finding it hard to make decisions. My world seems to revolve around my cats, going to work in the mornings, eating unplanned things on my own, and not getting enough sleep or exercise. Where do I want to go on vacation? Dunno, and am not motivated to figure it out. When am I going to ask for a few days off? Later, always later. What am I doing about landscape changes? Procrastinating. Have I worked on my big genealogy project of publishing sourced histories for each grandparent? No. Do I have a plan to do it? No.

Sometimes I wonder if my part-time job is helping or hurting. I know I don’t want to be working full-time now, and the “full time part-time” job at the church seems ideal – close to home, easy hours, chance to play with new technology, time with other people, work not that difficult. But at the same time, I really like the few days when I can sleep until I wake up. It’s never LATE, but it’s later than I’m doing now. I have fewer options for doing things with friends who aren’t working and who take day trips or meet for lunch or other outings. I’d have more time to work on genealogy and putter.

But I would be lonely, I think. And as a single retired person living alone, that matters a lot. I might be peopled-out by the time I get home, but at least I have time with other people every day. There’s no pressure for me to change anything and I have the power – and am the only one WITH the power – to decide to do something differently. Like, make a plan for taking time off and then actually doing it.

Right now, though, I’m going to focus on getting myself back on track with eating more carefully. Not dieting, I’m not doing that. But carefully and with intention. I can do this.

Going for Option 3

My weight loss journey is stalled and I’m annoyed. But then I’m annoyed at myself for BEING annoyed, which is not very productive or helpful. It’s only really a plateau if you’re trying hard to lose and just are stuck in the same place or small range for more than 2 weeks. Well, how about 6 months? I’ve basically been within the same 4 pounds since January, going down to 243 and back up to 247, then down, then up, then down, then up. Of course, I’m not exactly trying very hard to lose but I’m still annoyed when I don’t.

So I see a few options:

  1. Give up completely and eat whatever I want. This not really an option because I refuse to allow myself to be that fat and out of control again.
  2. Buckle down and eat a lower calorie target, weigh and measure, move more, and eliminate all the things I’m enjoying as “treats.” I know, this is extreme. I can have things I enjoy in small numbers. Who really needs 3 donuts just because they are there? I did all of this when I started, going great guns and losing a lot fast. But it never keeps up at that rate and I knew it wouldn’t. I just really don’t want to do this.
  3. Relax and decide to keep doing what I’m doing as early maintenance. Without working overly hard at it, I seem to have found a weight range that I can stick to without too much trouble, where my body feels pretty comfortable (except the knee), and that I can sustain while giving myself permission to have a Jersey Mike sub (always #2, the Mike’s Way) or a Dairy Queen kid’s cone just because I want to, without going crazy.
  4. Beat myself up for failing to lose.

I’m just torn. Because I feel as though I am failing if I’m not actively working to lose weight. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. I’m really bad at maintenance, or at least my history with it is. I’m great at losing huge amounts, then gaining it all back again. And I so do not want that to happen. I cannot let it happen again. That is a definition of failure more profound than failing to lose more.

I’m great at beating myself up for eating something “bad” even though I know in theory that no food is bad. There are just some foods that are better for me to stay away from, generally food with lots of carbs. But beating myself up just makes me depressed and sad, reaching for food for comfort. The whole “go to the gym and get those endorphins going” thing isn’t ingrained to replace it.

But since giving up is Not An Option and working hard to really lose doesn’t seem to be one either, I am choosing to commit to maintaining in the little range where I am now. Saying it is one thing. Doing it is something else, and it’s really all up in my head. I know how to do this – I’ve been doing this for months. I just need to give myself permission to choose Option 3.

The reality is that I have maintained a loss of 65 lbs for 9 months. For someone who doesn’t maintain well, this is huge. I haven’t been at this weight for over 7 years. There’s damage in my body that I can’t change from carrying massive amounts of excess weight for most of my life. But although I am still morbidly obese, my blood pressure is normal. My A1C, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels are normal. My BMI dropped 11.2 points. I’ve made significant changes that will make my life healthier and easier. I need to give myself permission to celebrate those changes and to recognize that the only person judging me right now is myself. It’s time to get over it.