Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pureed Stage

Ah, the pureed foods stage...also known lovingly as the "don't even think about getting anything accomplished" stage. I was so looking forward to eating my new smorgasbord of mushy food options that I had ever so slightly lessened my "absolutely not" stance on pureed meat. Little did I know that these two weeks would be frustrating, time consuming and contain my first strains of buyer's remorse. Remember how, at my 2 week post-op appointment, I had posed the idea of going back to work early? Well, those dreams were quickly dashed to the rocks...

That weekend, after my mother went back up to Boston, I hit the grocery store for some pureed-approved items. Chili beans, cottage cheese, greek yogurt and hummus soon filled my fridge. Although the list of items that could be considered pureed texture was long, the list of those that also contained enough protein to be worth my while was considerably shorter. My plan called for 3 meals and 2-3 high protein snacks per day. I assume it's written this way to promote people to eat at the correct times and intervals because, honestly, it's more like 5-6 snacks. PB2 (powdered peanut butter minus fats and calories, mixed with water to reconstitute) was delicious at any time of day, and a chocolate protein shake made a fine dinner. Whatever sounded the best (or, more frequently, the least gross) was what I had for that time of day.

The greatest challenge, and the reason I was glad that I took my full 4 weeks off from work, was that each of these meals was supposed to take 30 minutes to consume, plus I wasn't allowed to drink for 30 minutes on either side of them. That's 6-7.5 of prohibited drinking time out of the day (one meal/snack was still a protein shake, no drinking restriction there). Assuming that I slept 8 hours/night, and given that I was also supposed to be active for 45-60 minutes/day, that only left about 8 hours to drink 64 oz of fluids (factoring in minimal time for personal care, etc.). That's 1 cup/hour. It might not seem like much, but when you're consciously forcing it down to meet a quota, it seems like torture. If I had also had to perform my job duties, there is no way it would have all happened.

Meanwhile, I was still taking the liquid colace twice daily (a.k.a. puke juice, due to its wretch-inducing taste) and following my regimen of vitamins. The frequency wasn't the issue, but the taste of the chewables started to get near unbearable. One of the next questions that I wrote on my Appointment Questions page was whether I could start regular vitamin pills at 2 months, which was also when I could stop crushing my other medications, a date that I looked forward to with great anticipation.

To keep my sanity through all this, I focused on positive aspects that were already coming out of surgery. Aside from the drastic weight drop, my liver enzymes that had before been inexplicably high were back to just above normal ranges, almost overnight.

Look at that, back down near Summer 2011 levels!

My pulse rate and blood pressure were down to where I didn't have to peek through my fingers at the results. And, I had started at the newly opened Planet Fitness nearby, and was kicking major ass on the treadmill. Tracking everything through LoseIt was actually fun, rather than a chore, and I really enjoyed getting email notifications that I had earned a new badge. Electronic kudos, meaningless in the real world, but strangely motivating, and a great way to take my mind off the tedium and repetition of the pureed foods menu.

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