Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Day in the (New) Life

It seems that every day is boringly normal these days. I wake up thinking, "Shit. I don't wanna go to work...". I don't wake up in pain all over my still-large body like I used to. Sometimes my lower back is stiff, especially if I was sleeping face down. I can sleep face down now, because I use my CPAP mask about half the time, the other half, I don't have that damn thing strapped to my face, so I can sleep in whatever postion I want. Also, my ribs don't hurt when I wake up, whether I used the CPAP or not.
   I peek at the clock, decide that I do actually need to get up, and I just ...get up. No longer do I need to plan a strategy for levering my lard butt outta the sack. I just sit up on the side of the bed, take a blood pressure pill, and stand up. I walk, not lurch, to the bathroom and look at my incisions. The largest one, on the right, is a slightly bumpy pink line about 2 inches long. The others are all pretty small, maybe 3/8th of an inch. They all seem to be healed nicely, not that I really care. I'm not concerned about scars, I'm concerned about function.

   Everything feels pretty good as I scrub the moss off the teeth, etc. I walk to the closet, and try to find some pants that will fit...most of my clothes are too big now, even the stuff that I couldn't squeeze into 6 weeks ago are loose to the point of falling off. More than once recently, I have come embarrassingly close to walking out of my pants. Too loose beats the hell out of too tight any day, but I need to find some comfortable belts. I never bothered with belts before, cuz all of my pants were way too tight to fall down, but that ain't the case anymore. Shirts aren't much of a problem yet. I still have quite a few shirts left over in the too tight category. They are starting to fit very nicely these days, so I might as well wear them now - they will be too loose in a month or so. I pick out pants and shirt, then grab shorts and T shirts for the gym, and grab a towel while I'm at it. Today feels like a weight-lifting day. I'm feeling strong and loose, and I actually swagger a bit as I walk down the hallway to the coffee pot. Despite all of the advice from practically everyone, I still don't eat breakfast, not even a granola bar. I just can't be bothered with food that damn early in the day. I grab all of my pocket stuffers and head out the door.

   At work, people who know me well tell me to keep up the good work, and they can see the difference in the way my face is leaner, and my neck seems to be smaller. Other folks who haven't seen me for a while ask me if I got a haircut, or a new shirt, or if I lost some weight...I just smile and say, "yeah, I've lost a few pounds lately". I decide to be kind and not tell them all the boring details, but on occasion someone will ask, "How did you do it?" I smile even bigger and say, "I paid some guy I barely know to cut my guts out! Worked like a charm..."Sometimes they ask for details, so I just tell 'em all about it. Before the procedure, I was of the opinion that I would keep it to myself, but now, I will cheerfully explain the whole thing with no embarrassment, no holding back. I don't mind at all when people ask some pretty darn personal questions, because this might have been the best decision I ever made. One thing I have noticed, though, people always lower their voice when they ask how often I go to the bathroom, and they always wince when I tell them that it's pretty much once every 5 days. They assume I'm constipated, but I'm not, I just don't have as much stuff sliding through the pipes these days. Too much information, you say? Like I give a rat's ass. Deal with it.
   I don't need a cane anymore. That was the first truly positive effect I noticed. I got up and walked down the hall, realized I had forgotten my cane, turned back to get it, then realized I didn't need it..."Holy Crap! I can walk! It's a murrkul!" Well, no, it's not a miracle, it's just alot less painfull to walk if you can lighten the load by about 40 pounds or so. Don't believe me? Strap on a backpack full of books, as full as you can, and walk around with it for an hour. I'm pretty sure you'll feel the difference - now imagine that the pack actually weighs 145 pounds, and you can't just dump it in the corner. That is what my life used to be like. Right now, that backpack weighs about 85 pounds. I've dropped 60 pounds already, not even halfway to my goal, but the change in my life is remarkable.
   One problem that I have these days, I was NOT expecting. I have no ass. My ass has simply disappeared, and is now totally flat. There are 2 problems associated with NoAssatall Syndrome. The pants-falling-off thing I mentioned earlier would be lessened considerably if I had a perky round ass, and sitting down would be alot less painful. I have no padding on my butt anymore, so I am actually compelled to get up and move around just to get some blood flow to the cheeks. It is a bit unseemly for a middle-aged man to be seen massaging his own butt cheeks, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
   The biggest change in my life these days has been somewhat less obvious, but altogether more profound: I have hopes and plans and goals. To be honest about my attitude, I was basically just hanging around waiting until my time was up. I didn't have goals, I didn't plan trips or activities, or wonder about trying new stuff. I was just waiting to die, and trying to make myself comfortable until my days came to an end. Now, I am making plans. I talked to the owner of a local dive shop a few days ago. I bought a diving mask and some fins, and I'll be hitting the pool as much as I can - cuz I'm getting back into scuba diving! I was a diver 30 years ago, but I was convinced that those days were long gone. I simply was not physically able to even try to go diving. Now? Hell yeah, I'm going diving, as soon as I can get re-certified, which will be sometime in the spring. I am also looking for a cast net, so I can do a little wade fishing for mullet on the front beach. I live half a mile from the beach, and I haven't been wade-fishing in years...thats just a damn shame, and I'm gonna do something about it pretty damn soon. I look at certain things that I used to do, or things that catch my interest, and I no longer dismiss the possibility of trying these things, because my life is no longer over. I had important things in my life before this procedure, don't get me wrong. My family, my long-suffering wife, my kids, all gave me meaning and purpose, but it was a source of pain for me also. I could be with them, I could watch over them, but I couldn't really DO things with them. My youngest daughter asked me to dance with her one time. I had to tell her "no", because I simply wasn't able to dance. My legs hurt too much. I couldn't go fishing with the boys, or build something in the backyard with them, and a day at a football game was a nightmare. Now, all of that is changing. I am no longer stuck on the sidelines. It's time to start living again!

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