Archive for the ‘Digestive issues’ Category

So, it’s nine days following the 139th running of the Preakness Stakes. Supportive Partner Woman and I were in attendance, along with 14 of our closest friends and family members, to see if California Chrome could add the second leg of the Triple Crown to his resume.

It would be so easy to jump to race #12 (the main event) and not talk about the entire weekend. Luckily for you, I don’t take the easy route. We make an entire weekend of it.

So, Friday, SPW and I loaded up Mario the Super Honda and headed to South Jersey for the annual pre-Preakness feasting at my sister-in-law’s home. The SIL made a perfectly delicious beef tenderloin roast and there was much mirth and merriment. Various folks stopped by to join in the festivities, but eventually we all hit the rack for some much-needed shuteye. See, it’s a looooong day.

We shoved off about 7:30 AM, headed for Pimlico. For those of you not familiar with Baltimore, Pimlico is not located in what you would call an attractive section of the city. Poverty abounds and the storefronts that are not vacant are occupied by check cashing joints, chicken & trout stands, and the occasional bail bonds establishments.  Preakness is the one time of year it’s pretty safe to go there, as it seems that the entirety of the Baltimore Police Department is deployed in and around the track. It’s also probably the best time to commit a crime on the other end of town (not that I am advocating illegality). Just sayin’.

That being said, it’s an amazing sight to see that decrepit old track filled to the rafters.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was that SPW came home with a pair of high end tickets that belonged to her boss who was not going to the race. These seats were choice… pretty much overlooking the finish line and away from the cigar smokers behind our regular seats  (I don’t have an issue with cigar smoking, but there were quite possibly the nastiest smelling cigars I’ve encountered. No lie… they smelled like burning dogshit). We still opted to spend most of the day on the rail, but we went upstairs for the main event.

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin' down the stretch

California Chrome leads Ride On Curlin’ down the stretch

Not the best video, but not too bad in the grand scheme of things. I did manage to capture a pretty good still frame of the leaders down the stretch.

All in all, it was a fun day. Very tiring.

The feasting aspect went better this year, though, as my gut isn’t nearly as sensitive as it was last year. I also didn’t overdo it, so there was no issues of malabsorption. The arts and crafts were successful as well. It’s kind of funny when you have a group of 40-60 year olds smuggling booze into a venue like a bunch of teenagers at a Hoobastank concert. Speaking of concerts, though, the infield entertainment for 2014 included Nas and Lorde. In my humble opinion, the quality of infield concerts has generally declined since the first year they were done (ZZ Top), although this year’s crop was better than Pitbull. At the current rate, I expect next year’s acts to include Nickelback.

In other news, my foot is healing at a somewhat steady pace. It’s certainly looking better than it was, but it’s still not fast enough for me. I think I need to talk to the doc and see if there’s something they can do to splint the toe so it doesn’t continue to put pressure on the wound. I’m thinking duct tape or a big hose clamp. I somehow doubt that will meet medical approval.

At any rate, that’s all I have for right now. We have the dreaded yard sale coming up on Saturday, so hopefully I’ll have good stories to tell.

See you on the other side.

Yes, I'm flying the Jolly Roger

Yes, I’m flying the Jolly Roger

Avast, me hearties!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and I thought I’d get that out of the way before I got into the meat of the post.

In a surprise move, it’s about grog. Or booze, or hooch, or whatever else you feel like calling it.

I’m not a big drinker. I feel that once I turned 21, the fun wore off. As such, I haven’t minded not being able to drink on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of those things with a bypass. They do warn you that your tolerance is impacted post-surgery.

They weren’t lying.

See, Supportive Partner Woman got some news worth celebrating yesterday. After work, we adjourned into the Nerd Lair, she opted for tequila and I opted for my old standy, Jagermeister.

Normally, I’m feeling buzzed after three or four shots.

Not last night. One shot, I was lightheaded, flushed and feeling very warm.

So, moral of the story is that I have to be really careful if I opt to drink and should never drive.

In other news, iOS 7 landed yesterday afternoon. So far, it has a lot of features I like. There’s a few that are going to take some getting used to. It’s a little more stripped down, so I’m going to miss the subtle touches, but I’ll survive. Since I’ve only had it for a day, I’m not prepared to pass judgement.

Oh, and finally, I covered over 26 miles last week. That was a goal of mine… I still don’t know how some folks can cover that in a day and still be alive afterward, but maybe that’s just me. I’m trying to break up the training between walking, the dread mill, and the elliptical. In that regard, SPW and I tried a new rail trail (to us) yesterday and got an exact 5.000 miles in. Felt pretty good, although too much walking really does a number on my ankles. Just need to get them stronger.

At any rate, hope you have a great day, ye scurvy dogs!

Song of the Day: Take Me to the River – Talking Heads

Currently reading: Atlantis Found – Clive Cussler

The lowlight of the weekend was getting the inevitable e-mail from AirTran saying that our flights had changed. I booked out of Reagan National in order to save a few bucks and because the times were perfect. Flights were nonstop and avoided the ninth circle of Hell that is Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta. Nothing against Atlanta, it’s probably a great city. I’d just never want to fly there because I’m sure my luggage would take a nice, scenic detour through the Kamchatka Peninsula on its way to Hotlanta.

So, the email stated that our new departing flight left DCA at 6:01 AM, then we had to change planes AND airlines in Atlanta on the way to MCO, getting in around 11:30 AM. That doubled the length of travel time, which was less than optimal. Same deal on the return flight… obligatory stop in Atlanta, leaving two hours earlier than desired, etc.

I cooled off for a day (otherwise Ensign Furious might’ve sailed up aboard his garbage scow and that’s never pretty) and opted to call them this morning. What a circus.

First of all, the menu. The Voice gives you precious few options, one of which is NOT “Speak to a live actual person”. God help you if you opt to press 0, because the Voice gets a bit testy almost snarling “Invalid Command!” and then restarting the menu as if to say, “Now, where was I before you interrupted me, you ignorant jackass?”

Eventually, if you say or press nothing, you get a real, live person. Maybe The Voice does not like to be ignored. Whatever the reason, I got a guy who was reasonably helpful. After a few minutes of phone wrangling, he was able to get us on a flight out of BWI (much closer to home) that is non-stop and while it leaves a little later than preferred, it beats the trip through Il Purgatorio.

The fun part was when he was surprised when I wanted to change both trips. Why wouldn’t I want to fly out of BWI and into DCA? I could have a car stashed in both places. Seriously? To make a long story short, they changed the flights and didn’t require a change fee. Gotta like that. See, it’s been my experience that when you actually get a live person, they are pretty eager to help.

In the good news department, I didn’t fall off the treadmill today. That’s always a plus. No real damage from Friday’s misadventures other than a sizable bruise. Could’ve been a lot worse.

The Ultimate Collector's Series X-Wing

The Ultimate Collector’s Series X-Wing

Other things accomplished this weekend was replacing the shocks on Mario the Honda. They were pretty well gone and once Jim and I got the new shocks on, well, it rode and handled like a new car. Had to road test it, so we headed off to King of Prussia and the Lego Store. Through a combination of VIP points, a timely 10% coupon and a few other discounts/credits we came home with the new Ultimate Collectors Series X-Wing. It’s shaping up to be a most excellent build. This was followed by a trip to Wegman’s. Saturday night, Supportive Partner Woman and I went to El Serrano for a charity margarita competition in which our favorite bartender, Frank, was a contestant. All told, I had about an ounce or two of real, actual booze for the first time since last year. I’m happy to report that it stayed down. Frank wound up winning and gets to go to Mexico, so kudos to Frank! After that, our friends came over to the Nerd Lair and a good time was had by all.

So, all in all, it’s a positive start to the week. Let’s hope it continues.

Song of the Day: Not the Same – Ben Folds Five

Hunger

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Bariatric surgery, Digestive issues, Hunger

Hunger is a strange beast. As a fat guy, it strikes me differently than a lot of people. I’d love to say it’s not as bad now since I had the bypass, but suffice it to say, I’m still hungry.

It’s not physical hunger, though. Most of my hunger is mental… whether it be boredom, habit, or whatever.

I tend to eat when I’m bored. It’s been my MO for quite a few years, and I seem to be bored. A lot. This has lessened, mainly because I don’t act on it anymore. I know if I eat too much, it results in barfs, and, well, that’s nobody’s idea of fun.

Habit is a little harder to nail down. I still feel that temptation to graze if there’s food sitting around. Granted, I’ve been avoiding all the high carb snacks and trying to stick with high protein stuff, but the temptation is real.

Somebody asked me how I dealt with hunger post-surgery. I’ve been wrestling with it for some time. After all, it’s not like you can just simply stop eating. I know I’ve discussed this before… you don’t need to smoke to live or drink alcohol to live, but you do need to eat to live, and that makes it hard for those of us addicted to food. Somehow, you have to teach yourself how much is enough. Whenever I face that question, I can usually count on Joe the Pouch to let me know, sometimes in spectacular fashion.

It does make me try and understand how I got to this point. How did I, a somewhat zany, but mostly rational person, ever let myself get in the position where I needed to have much of my belly rerouted?

That’s going to take a lot of soul searching, but I think the short answer is a distinct lack of mental fortitude. I’m not always as strong-willed as I should be. The worst times are when I am not getting in my workouts, because if I slide on that, I tend to slide on other things. That’s when I try to eat too much and the digestive fireworks start. If I’m going to the gym and getting my work in, I find I can focus better and accomplish more. Take yesterday… I got up, went and got a couple miles in on the treadmill and felt pretty great (other than sore ankles), after which I went and hit golf balls (I know, not crazy on the active scale) for about a half hour, then dragged out the table saw and built my yard sale sign. After that, I still had enough energy to do laundry, clean the kitchen floor, do the ironing and stay awake to pick Supportive Partner Woman up after work.

I didn’t even need to take a nap.

That would be me with longer arms, but still just as futile.

So, that brings us to today. Given the fact that the ankles were misbehaving, I’m thinking I might hit the pool for some laps today. I’m not the world’s strongest swimmer, but I enjoy it and it will be a nice change of pace. I technically should lift weights today, but that schedule messes me up with the boys, so I’ll probably lift tomorrow morning and be ready to go on Wednesday and Friday. At some point, I should probably go more old school and do some pushups… I’m not sure how well I would do, though. I’m thinking it would be like T-Rex trying to do them. The only difference is that I have more proportional arms and smaller teeth.

At any rate, whatever I decide to do, I should probably do it. Hopefully my surgical scars and freaky feet don’t bother anyone if I do opt for the pool, but even if it does, it’s something I need to do.

Hope you all have a great Sunday and I’ll be back with you later in the week.

Song of the Day: Thunderstruck – AC/DC

Greetings!

It’s been good to be wearing a regular shoe. The Toe. That. Will. Not. Heal. is now the Toe. That Would. Not. Heal. That’s right… the Boot of Shame has been put back in storage until the next time it’s needed.

My first stop after leaving the foot doctor on Tuesday was at Inside Track. This place is apparently THE running store for central PA and I can see why. The owner, Mark, took one look at me and knew I was dealing with overpronation and hammer toes and knew which shoe would work for me. I picked up my Brooks Beasts today and I can’t wait to start breaking them in. He was able to fit me up, knew exactly how these shoes ran in terms of sizing, and was able to get a pair of size 13 EEEE shoes in just two days.

Speaking of our upcoming 5K, I’ll be posting some information regarding fundraising in the coming weeks. I’ll be raising money for the Avon Walk through Team All Ears. Too many of us know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer, whether directly or indirectly, and it’s my hope that we will have a cure in my lifetime. Keep your eyes peeled.

My new Brooks Beasts

My new Brooks Beasts

I’ve always struggled with shoes… I think I kept trying to squeeze my feet into smaller shoes, not for any reason other than I hated trying them on. Plus, the last time I tried a size that was a little wider then what I was sued to, I could feel my ankle grinding. Not a good feeling. But, I figure if I’m going to do this 5K, I’d better have decent shoes for it. Mark assured me that while my trusty New Balance trainers were fine for general use and working out, these would be a far better option for any serious roadwork. I was sold the second I slipped them on and walked around outside (Could you see Foot Locker or Dick’s let you wear the shoes outside?). These have plenty of cushion and the motion control insoles really cradled my feet. I was concerned about the length difference in my feet, but they seem OK to start. If there’s a problem, Brooks will even create a mixed-pair order for me. Good to know.

So, speaking of shoes, I’m in a wedding on Saturday. I went to Men’s Wearhouse to get fitted and was presented with the dreaded rental shoe problem. Is there nothing worse than rental shoes? I mean, they don’t fit, they feel cheap, and they want to charge you $20 extra to torture your own feet. I was worried that I would have issues, so I went in search of my dress wingtips, which I might add I wore to my wedding almost nine years ago. They aren’t the greatest fit ever, but they should be enough to get me through the day, and Lord knows they are a better fit and quality than the rental shoes. I mean, seriously, bowling shoes are much more comfortable and don’t cost $20 to rent.

Other than that, I’ve been managing to keep food down today. My lunch was a crab burrito that we found at the store last night. It’s pretty spicy, not too much rice and loaded with beans, crab meat, and salsa. Oh, and Supportive Partner Woman (Still the bestest wife ever!) located some Copper River salmon and picked up a small piece. If you’ve never had this salmon, it’s easily the best you can find. It’s wonderfully red with no added dyes like the farm-raised stuff. (Also, I love seeing “Atlantic salmon – product of Chile… guess nobody ever looked at a map to see exactly where Chile is) I’m looking forward to plank roasting it and just having it melt in my mouth. The season only runs about a month, but,  well, damn.

We also attended the Friends of the Library book sale at Franklin & Marshall college. Gotta love when you can score three big bags of books for around $35. Plus, all the proceeds benefit the library. After we read the books, we wind up donating most of them back to the library, so they can be sold again. I would prefer to keep them, but storage space becomes a premium in a townhouse.

At any rate, I have an appointment with the boys tomorrow. I think I’ll be breaking out the Beasts and seeing if they get Ryan approval. I’m also going to invest in some decent socks that should help the blister conditions. The guys at Inside Track said that cotton socks are a bad choice because of how much moisture they hold. We will see what happens.

Hope that you all have a great day!

Song of the Day: Nineteen Forever – Joe Jackson

So, there is some progress on the Toe. That. Will. Not. Heal.

My podiatrist, recognizing that the toe pretty much has no chance to get better if it keeps rubbing, decided to perform a tendonectomy. Basically, this involved numbing the toe, making a small incision in the base of the toe, then cutting the tendon that was causing the hammertoe. It was pretty quick and painless, and so far, the toe has extended to its normal length. Now, instead of rubbing on whatever footwear I’m wearing, the ulceration is on the tip of the toe and has greater opportunity to heal.

This does not mean I haven’t changed my mind about switching podiatrists. This is the only one of my medical team I’m not 100% sold on, and he was recommended by my wound care doctor, who is top notch. So, I’m going to open the search and see what happens.

The weekend was pretty good. Train Day didn’t pan out, but since I was feeling festive, I went to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. It’s a nice facility, located in Strasburg, PA, and there’s a wide selection of rolling stock to view, not to mention a display of railroad themed art, not to mention a substantial archive. I’ve been there a few other times, but this time I was able to take my time and really appreciate the engineering that went into building the locomotives. These are some incredibly massive machines, many weighing over 200,000 pounds. It’s even more impressive when you consider the technology to build them relied on manual labor.

Sunday, Supportive Partner Woman and I made the trek to visit our mothers. My mother was thrilled, as she hadn’t seen SPW since Christmas, so that really made her day. On the way, we got caught up in the Mother’s Dsy truck convoy for Make-a-Wish. That was kind of cool.

Other than that, there’s not too much going on. I can’t work out for at least a week, since the foot won’t fit in a show right now, but if all goes according to plan, I’ll get back to my six days a week soon enough. This has given me a shot of something I was rapidly losing… hope.

Hope you all have a great week.

Song of the Day: Convoy – C.W. McCall

20130514-182729.jpg

Good morning!

I write this after a long night. No, that does not mean that I’ve been up all night. It just means that it was a learning experience.

See, my office recently celebrated a milestone. Some two million work hours without a day-away case. Basically, that means we are working safely. That’s saying something… we’re a printing company and there are presses, tow motors, basically all sorts of heavy stuff that can do serious bodily harm if not respected. To go two million hours without anyone being maimed or killed or worse is pretty good. As such, they decided to throw a “make your own sub” party to celebrate.

Now, given more former girth, I don’t have to say that I was always a big fan. Think about it… piles upon piles of unhealthy meats and carbs, not to mention that you could thrown some lettuce and tomato on top and kid yourself you were making it healthy. Don’t get no better than that.

Of course, just because I’m embracing a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean I don’t like lunch meats and I wanted to participate, because, well, it’s like a bonus. So, as I trudged down to the party site (step… thump, step… thump) I concocted a strategy for making the most out of my sub experience. I obviously couldn’t have the roll… a little too much bread, but I thought why couldn’t I have some meat and cheese? After all, it’s protein and protein is important.

This wasn't how I planned it, but it was my reality

This wasn’t how I planned it, but it was my reality

So, I picked up a slice of provolone, a slice of American, and one slice each of bologna, salami, ham and turkey. The cheese and turkey went down fine. One bite of the salami was enough to make me pitch it… nasty. The ham, though, was very fatty. VERY fatty. And, well, it didn’t stay down long. So, lesson learned. Stay away from fatty meat. In this case, advantage: Joe.

In other news, the toe that just won’t heal has caused me six weeks of issues. After multiple visits to the podiatrist, I’m not feeling confidence that it’s helping. I understand that he thinks Betadyne will dry the wound, but it doesn’t seem to be healing. I dug into my bag of tricks and discovered some prescription stuff that the wound care doctors had given me for a prior toe issue and have opted to go that route. So far, it seems to be working pretty well… if I don’t show marked improvement by my next appointment, I’m ditching Mr. Foot Guy and going back to the wound care doc, who is named Paul Rogers. And no, he doesn’t periodically tour with Queen. Different spelling. Either way, I have to do something, because this is killing me to be so inactive. Plus, sleeping with one foot hanging out is kind of a pain in the ass.

It’s funny, though… even the boys have noticed my frustration level. I was at the fitness center yesterday and although they keep telling me to not get down about it, it’s so hard not to. The wearing of the boot, coupled with the uncertainty of when I’ll get it off just really wreaks havoc in your mind. If I knew that I had “x” number of days to go, well, it would really do wonders in making life a little better. Or, at least, give me an idea of how long my sentence will be. I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but that little voice is there in the back of your head saying, “Remember, Brian, thou art mortal.”

So, this upcoming weekend is National Train Day. I’m planning on meeting up with a friend at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and touring the equipment they will have on display. It’s always nice to ride the rails and since I’m an equipment geek, I like to walk through the various trains and private rail cars they have on display. We had discussed going to Washington, since they are offering excursions on an Acela trainset, however, given my new eating reality, we thought it best to just make it a day trip. Should still be fun.

At any rate, hope that everyone has a fun weekend and that you can kick back and enjoy some weather that will supposedly be very nice. Talk to you more after Train Day.

Song of the Day: She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult