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Archive for the ‘Health and wellness’ Category

You know how you’re supposed to drink 8 glasses of water a day, but almost nobody does it?

Well, I do it, and have been for the past several weeks.

Why, you ask?

I was at my massage therapist, getting a massage. I have a lot of crunchiness in my back and shoulder muscles, every time I get a massage the therapist comments on it. And after every massage, they tell me to drink plenty of water. Of course, everybody says that.

But this time, the therapist told me something that made me change my behavior – drinking plenty of water helps with the “crunch, crunch, crunch” of my muscles. Or rather, it helps to make the fascia (the layer of tissue surrounding the muscles) more malleable and less crunchy.

That made me think.

I have back issues, like everybody else in America (okay, only 80%). If drinking more water was going to help fix things, then I would give it a try.

I started by actually measuring how much water I drink per day, and it turns out that on average I was already drinking 7 cups. If I have a cup of water at work at lunch, the paper cups are actually two regular size cups of water (that is, 8 oz + 8 oz = 16 oz). I have a glass of water at dinner, which is another 16 oz (two cups). For breakfast, I was having a cup of coffee (which counts towards your water content) and a smaller glass of water, and that added up to three cups (24 oz). But often that would be all the liquid I would consume during the day.

I decided to bump up my morning glass of water to two cups (16 oz) and a cup of coffee which is 12 oz; so, altogether, on an average day I would be at 7.5 cups of water and would only need to have an additional 1/2 cup (6 oz) to fill up my quota. That’s manageable, so usually at work I’ll have a cup of green tea or in rare cases, another cup of water. That puts me at my daily minimum.

I haven’t noticed any health changes yet, but I haven’t been back to the massage therapist either. I’m curious to see if it helped.

I better not have drank all this water for nothing.

2017-12-26-EightGlassesOfWater

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I’m currently writing this on a Tuesday, and two weeks ago on a Wednesday, I got sick. That means it’s been 14 days. It started as a sore throat, and then a stuffed + runny nose the next day, and then a cough two days later. The sore throat and stuffed/runny nose went away the same day.

The cough has lasted 11 days so far.

When I first get sick with a sore throat, nobody notices. And when my nose is stuffed and runny, because I’m at home or at my desk at work most of the time, no one notices. But I’m feeling pretty miserable. However, after the sore throat and runny/stuffed nose go away and the cough moves in, that’s when people start getting concerned about my health because that’s when they notice. But I’m feeling much better in this state despite having a cough.

I get offered cough candies, tea, and other home remedies now that I have this cough. I could have used those before, actually. I’m not convinced they help, either. When you get sick, your body responds by lining your throat and nose with lots and lots of mucous. That’s why your nose gets stuffy and runny. After the virus has been killed, your body is still producing it in lower quantities, but it all runs down the back of your throat and makes you cough. It’s your body’s way of responding to its own defenses.

But it’s still annoying.

 

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Well, this is a brutal truth I am now facing.

I’ve had some clothes in my closet for years. Shirts, shorts, pants, you name it. I’ve been proud of the fact that I can still wear clothes from years ago.

Or, rather, I used to be able to.

About a year ago, I went to buy a new pair of jeans. I discovered I had to buy 32×30, instead of 30×30.

I wasn’t sure whether or not I had put on weight or if pants sizes had changed. I understand that cuts and styles change over time, so a size small today may not be the same today as demographics shift (people get older, more immigrants, etc.) and stores can’t just important five dozen different sizes.

But today I went into my closet and tried on a few pairs of black pants that used to fit quite nicely. None of them fit.

Sure, I could get them on, but they all felt tighter around my waist.

To be honest, I knew this was coming. I’ve noticed my waist is bigger now than it was 1 or 2 years ago. I’m not sure what’s going on, I exercise my stomach every day. I measure the amount of fat on my stomach using calipers and it’s the same. And all of my shirts still fit fine. I even use a measuring tape above my belly button and write the down the results, and it’s the same from a couple of years ago.

Yet my pants require a bigger size.

No use denying it. I have to go up in size, I am officially 32×30.

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A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a podcast about a writer who has written a few books, one called War and the other called Tribe. The writer, Sebastian Junger, was originally a war reporter. During the podcast interview, he described that after his time covering the war in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s (or perhaps the second Iraq War), after he came back to the US, he experienced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

During the podcast, Junger describes the time when he was waiting in the New York subway and suddenly had a panic attack where he seized up and was overcome with a sense of dread. He had to go hide out in a corner and wait for it to pass.

When I hear these stories, I think back to my own time. I identify closely with people who have this because I, too, have had it. 10 years ago, while I was hiking in Fiji, I had a hiking accident where I nearly died. The day after my accident, I found I had trouble with my memory. I couldn’t remember people’s names whereas I was usually good with them. Days later, I kept forgetting where I would put things like pens, pencils, and even my shoes when I walked in the house (I also lost a blue recycling box somehow). I had trouble focusing and concentrating, and I also lost interest in some of my favorite activities like sponge hockey.

What sealed my self-diagnosis is a series of panic attacks I had when reading a comic in the newspaper. It was about a cartoon dog who got lost from his master, fell into a small ditch and started yelling that he was trapped and stuck. It was a joke because it was such a small ditch and he was exaggerating to get attention. But when I read that comic, I suddenly had a panic attack where my heart started racing (the same flutter you might get on a roller coast, except worse). I had the same experience watching the movie Cliffhanger when a character fell into a chasm, and a third time watching a movie and some characters were just walking through a waterfall, no danger involved. All that anxiety was real and it came over me automatically, no thinking about it involved. How does reading a comic or watching a movie give you panic attacks?

I looked up my symptoms online and it seemed clear I was experiencing PTSD.

As time passed, my symptoms started to go away. My memory returned, I could concentrate again, and I didn’t have panic attacks nearly as often. However, I still have a fear of heights and I don’t like driving along a ledge that has no railing. I freeze up when that happens. When I think about skydiving out of a plane and actually visualize it, I do start to panic a little bit. I have no idea how I went skydiving in Turkey; I think because I had dirka I was distracted.

So, yeah. PTSD is real. It sucks.

It’s mostly gone now, but I feel bad for the war veterans who suffer with it. It has entrenched my aversion to war as being mostly good for nothing.

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I found this website today that calculates how many people are older or younger than you, given your age.

I tested myself and there’s 49% of the people older than me, and 49% younger than me.  The other 2% would be the same age as me. I think this is only in the United States and not the rest of the world.

So, I’m almost over the hill, but not yet. But I will be in 7 more months!

That doesn’t bother me that much, though. I just consider myself experienced. 10-15 years ago, my ideas were narrower, I didn’t have as many life experiences, and there were a ton of things I hadn’t tried yet. The only thing I miss is not having the minor aches I have now.

But other than that… not much.

image

http://flowingdata.com/2016/05/10/who-is-older-and-younger-than-you/

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On jetlag

A few months ago, I was talking with a friend of mine about jetlag. He was saying that in his younger days, he had no trouble with jetlag but as he got older, it started to affect him more and more

I’ve been thinking about that because we’re currently in Germany and suffering from it. You know the symptoms – awake at 5 am and fast asleep by 9 pm. Or, in my case, taking a nap at 6:15 pm and up by 9 pm, and then looking to go back to bed at 11:30 pm and up again at 6 am.

Looking back over my life, I think to myself – do I deal with jetlag worse as I have gotten older?

I first remember getting it when I went to England at the end of 2000 when I went to check the place out, as I was moving over there at the end of year. I remember laying on my hotel bed, staying awake all night because I couldn’t sleep.

That was my first experience with jet lag (6-hour time zone shift).

My second experience I can remember was when I went to Singapore traveling from England in early 2002. I remember getting off the plane and thinking to myself “Man, I feel pretty good!” but by 10 am, I thought to myself “Oh, I need to go back to my hotel room to sleep.” I did, went back and slept for six hours, and felt better. This was a time-zone shift of 8 hours or so.

Every time since then, whenever I head over to Europe, I have a hard time with jetlag. I can’t stay awake past a certain time, and it’s usually quite early in the evening. And, it’s always been this way, it hasn’t gotten worse as I have gotten older, it’s the same.

My cure for jetlag – not fighting it. I just accept the fact that I’ll be getting up quite early and going to bed quite early for 7 days, and then I will adjust. Until then, I make sure that my schedule will allow for me to get back to my hotel room so I can fall over on the bed late at night.

So, in a way, because I now come to expect the time zone spreads as an inevitable part of traveling, I deal with it better. My body gets over it in due course, and then I feel fine. But until then, I simply adjust my schedule.

Who says you have to feel worse as you get older?

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It’s been a few weeks since I got my braces off. Below are some before-and-after pictures (after = two weeks after, not today which is three months after).

You can see that the top ones in front were angled out and have been straightened, while the bottom ones which were completely crooked have all been straightened out as well but they are still not the same size which makes them look weird. Even the top ones are not the same size, either. There’s not much I can do about that unless I get more cosmetic work done.

image image
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The wife also said that it changed the shape of my face, too. Did it? Let’s see:

April 2014

January 2016

image image

That’s the best comparison I have when looking straight on into the camera. It’s hard to tell, but from what I can see it appears like my jaw and face is a little narrower, and my chin is a little “flatter” whereas before the left side of my chin came down a bit lower than the right side. Overall, my face is even less round than it was before; or rather, it’s a bit more oval now.

Of course, some of it is natural aging. Our faces grow longer as we get older, and the pictures above are 21 months apart. So that’s part of it, too. The lighting and shading is also not identical.

But yeah. My teeth have changed for sure.

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Yesterday, for the first time ever, I got the flu shot. I have never done this before because I didn’t think I needed it. But last December, I did get the flu and it was the worst sickness I ever had, at least in the past 10 years. I made a resolution right then that the next year I was getting the flu shot.

Well, this year came around and I remembered my promise and I just about chickened out, but in the end I decided to get it.

I went in for my appointment and talked to the health professional who asked if I ever had gotten a flu shot before and I said “I don’t think so.” I definitely haven’t had it in the past 20 years, but maybe I had it when I was younger.

Anyhow, she explained what would happen and the possible side effects. The shot itself wasn’t too bad, it stung a little bit but I’ve had worse scratches by the cat.

On the other hand, the possible side effects turned out to be real side effects. My arm did get more sore as time went on for the rest of the day. I also became tired in the evening, and today I have some aches in my lower back. These are all symptoms that I had with the flu last year, although they are much milder.

Still, if I don’t get the flu, it’ll be worth it.

But another reason to get the flu shot is that even though the odds of it working are not guaranteed, if it does work, it cuts down the risk of me infecting someone else with a weakened immune system such as a child, an elderly person, or someone who is sick. And, I think that all of the anti-vaccine people are a bunch of quacks, so I figured I’d do my civic duty and get the shot in order to add to the herd immunity.

So, that’s what I did yesterday.

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It has now been two days since I got my braces off and had to wear a retainer. How am I doing so far?

  • The first day I was gagging like the dickens. Today, I don’t gag quite so much. I do a little bit after I put the retainer into my mouth but now it is better.

  • I talk with a lisp when I say the letter ‘s’. For the first day I couldn’t speak without choking. Now I can talk, but not every word comes out straight. I have to relearn how to talk.

  • I know it’s always there. With braces, I didn’t really feel them for the most part except when I moved my lips around them. With the retainer, I can feel it the entire time except for when I am totally distracted or focused on something else.

So, overall there is some improvement.

When I first got my braces, they told me that the total length of treatment time would be 24 months. I got mine off in 16.5 months and I was thinking “Hey, I’m doing pretty well!” But it turns out that I have to wear my retainer all the time except to eat for the first 6 months, so I count that as part of treatment and so including all of that, it’s 22.5 months which is pretty close to the original estimate.

I put a calendar alert on my phone to let me know when it’s April 28, 2016 – no more retainer full time! I will only have to wear it at night.

I’m looking forward to that day.

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Today was the day. The day I got my braces off.

For several weeks I’ve been looking forward to this. As I walked to my car to head to my appointment, I sped up my pace and even started to run.

Get these metal things off my teeth!

I got down to the dental office and they took me in right away. This was it. I was finally getting my braces off.

For those of you who don’t have them, it’s not quite freedom when you get them off. You still have to wear a retainer for the rest of your life. But I figured that would be an upgrade to braces.

On my bottom teeth they affix a permanent retainer which is a metal wire than runs from canine to canine. This will make it a pain to floss my bottom front teeth, but at least not my back teeth. The process of getting them on was difficult as I feel like it took forever, and then getting all the glue on to bond it to the teeth and then removing the excess wasn’t pleasant. I was happy I wasn’t getting one put on the top ones, too.

Then, I had the braces taken off my bottom teeth, and it hurt a bit. Then they came off my top teeth.

Freedom!

Next, the dentist removed the cement bonding off my teeth. That hurt. A lot. My teeth have shifted and more of the root is exposed now, so blowing cold water, cold air, and whatever the whizzing sound thingie is caused some pain in a few of my teeth.

But the cement came off.

Whew.

The last step was the top retainer. You’d think this is the easy part. But it’s not, it’s the part that makes me angry.

So very angry!

I was never given a choice in retainers. You can either get a permanent one which I got on my bottom teeth, or a clear retainer that runs around your teeth like the below:

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They are less noticeable although more fragile but those are the ones I would have wanted. I never got to pick them.

Instead, I got traditional Hawley retainer that looks like this:

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The above one is less prone to damage. However, I hate wearing it. Hate it. It makes me gag. The dentist had to make it smaller twice because I kept gagging on it so violently. And even then it still isn’t good.

On the drive home, I started gagging again and had to pull it out quickly. I scratched the inside of my cheeks because I pulled it out so fast, and got a bunch of saliva all over my drool. I shook my head and reinserted it.

But a couple of minutes later, I started gagging again. Again, I had to pull it out and again I got a bunch of my own slobber over me.

It’s gross.

When I got home, I had to pull it out again.

And just now, again.

And that’s what makes me angry. At the dentist, I said I would have preferred one of those clear ones because they just wrap around your teeth, but I was told they don’t like those ones (because why?). Yet I’m the one who has to wear it, and I have a strong gag reflex. And this retainer makes me gag.

And that’s why I am so angry.

I know I have a strong gag reflex. I try to control it but I can’t (and I’ve tried a lot of tricks; I’m not as bad as I used to be). I’m angry because I was never given a choice and I may not be able to hack it, wearing this retainer, and if I don’t wear it my teeth will shift back.

And then getting braces will all be for nothing!

Why wasn’t I given a choice? Why do I have to wear this retainer? I said I’d try it. But I am not optimistic, I feel like going back to the dentist and saying “Figure out something else. If you won’t give me a permanent retainer, or clear retainer, I’ll find a dentist who will.”

So that’s wear I am today, not a happy camper.

Steaming mad

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This afternoon, I went for a massage. I have a membership but I don’t go as often as I should. But today I did.

I always go for a deep tissue massage which usually isn’t relaxing. The reason is that I ask them to work on my shoulders, upper back, and neck; and those three regions have a lot of tension. The massage therapist today went over them and every time he worked on my upper left neck, it went “crunch, crunch, crunch” as we rubbed it back and forth.

The “crunch, crunch, crunch” sound is not normal. It means that I have a lot of knots in my neck/back/shoulder and the connective tissue has lost some elasticity. I attribute this to doing a lot of office work sitting at a computer for long periods of time, doing the same thing at home, inadequate posture, and lack of stretching at home.

I really need to fix that. I need to stretch more and self-massage more. I have all the tools and I do it, but not regularly. It should be every single day, or at least every second day and alternate with exercise.

Even though doing office work is less physically strenuous than having to dig ditches, what I find is that the micro-trauma of having poor posture or sitting in stress positions adds up over time and is hard to correct.

I’ve had a bad shoulder for a decade but over the past 2-3 years I’ve noticed it a lot more in my neck and upper shoulders.

I’ll repeat it to myself one more time: I need to fix this.

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I don’t know what’s going on this year, but during the month of May my seasonal allergies have been acting up, nearly the entire month. I had a sore throat to begin with which took a while to get better, and then returned and disappeared every few days. I had sinus problems and watery eyes, only for them to disappear and then recur yesterday and today. It’s something I can’t shake.

I saw on the news that this is the worst year for pollen and allergies ever, and that it’s been getting worse each year. I’m lucky enough to live in a city where it’s not as bad as the rest of the country, but I’m still feeling it.

I’m looking forward to the pollen going away. That’s the one advantage of living in cold weather year-round, you never have to deal with the problem of pollen.

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Long time readers of this blog will know that last June I got braces put on my teeth. I did this because I had known for years I should do it, and I noticed that my teeth were getting worse.

I got braces put on to correct the problem. Below is a timeline of how my top and bottom ones have improved during the past 10 months.

The angles and lighting aren’t identical in each picture but you can still tell what’s going on.

image One week
image Three months
image Five months
image Seven months
image Ten months
Capture Thirteen months
 teeth_Sept_2015 Fifteen months

My teeth are straighter but they are also not the same size. I’m not sure if they are going to fix that. From the pictures above it is not noticeable other than the top tooth, but I notice when I look in the mirror.

I only need to have my braces on for another 6-12 months.

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I’ve been going to physical therapy for over a month now. I had been going twice per week but the physical therapist said I could reduce that.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing exercises either every day or every other day and in that time I discovered that my right leg – the one that had surgery – is much weaker than my left leg.

Now, you may be tempted to say “Well, no kidding. You had surgery on it.” And, that’s true. But I think it’s been true for a long time before that.

I can remember doing rehabilitation before with my other surgeries and I always had a more difficult time doing load bearing exercises with my right leg. Now that I am forcing myself to do it more often, I can tell it’s weaker. I can’t dip it as far, I can’t hold as much weight, nor can it take as much tension.

I’m not sure why that is. I’m right handed and my right arm is stronger than my left, I am unclear why the bottom half of my torso is the opposite.

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Last November, I had hip surgery on my right hip to correct some movement problems. A lot of it worked but my hip is still sore – I have limited mobility when I rotate, and I still cannot do a deep thigh bend. For example, I can’t ride a bike uphill because I can’t push down at the top of the stride on my right leg. It’s too painful.

So, I went to get some advice on my hip and hopefully they can also do some deep tissue work.

But I also went because I am sick and tired of having a sore neck. It comes and goes with and without massage, but my neck muscles are too stiff. The wife goes to a physical therapist for her back so I figured I can go, too.

I had an evaluation yesterday, and it turns out my hip muscles on both sides are too weak – or as the therapist said, they are growth opportunities.

But my neck is also too weak. He gave me some exercises to do, and I have to go back twice per week.

Hopefully this works.

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Yesterday marked the seventh month I’ve had braces on my teeth, and in the past two months progress have accelerated. Below are a couple of pictures from the past.

Below is six months ago (July 2014). You can see on the bottom that there is one tooth that is majorly out of place, basically behind the others:

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Next is from five months ago, the bottom tooth is hidden behind the others:

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Today, I took a picture of my teeth from close to the same angles. You can see that the tooth that was out of place is now more or less inline with the others and only needs a slight adjustment:

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The tooth looks a little crooked because both teeth are slightly chipped in front at angles making it look like it is more out of line than it really is.

I literally cannot remember the last time my bottom teeth were not crooked. As far back as I can remember that bottom tooth was out of place. I never worried about that tooth because it’s been like that forever, it has never been straight.

But now it is almost straight. I run my tongue over my bottom teeth all the time. Indeed, my earliest memory of that tooth is 25 years ago or so when I was maybe 10 years old, possibly younger, and I went for a dental cleaning and after I was done, I pointed out to the dentist that tooth was kind of crooked. The dentist replied that we would keep an eye on it.

I can’t recall anything before that. I must have been when the adult tooth first came in (after my baby teeth fell out) that I noticed it was not straight.

But now it almost is.

My teeth still have a ways to go, and you can see that they are not the same size nor are they level. But I never would have thought that tooth could be saved when I first got my braces on.

I guess it could.

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A couple of weeks ago, I bought a stretch trainer. This is a device that helps you stretch by applying the use of gravity to pull muscles that you might not normally pull:

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You can use it to stretch your shoulders and back, as well as inner and outer legs.

There’s no stretch on here that you couldn’t do without the machine, you could simply do it at home on your own. So why did I buy this and put it together all by myself?

First of all, it was free. My company gives me $800 of fitness credit per year that I can spend on exercise equipment and I still had $550 left in my budget in November. I have Amazon Prime so shipping was free. So, I ordered it and I didn’t pay for it (other than it being a taxable benefit but no matter what I buy, it will be a taxable benefit).

Second, I like this machine. When I was going to the gym, this was the one I liked the most. Now that I don’t go to the gym, I can just do this one at home.

Third, I need to stretch. My muscles are tight – every single one of them. This gives me a visual reminder everyday that I should loosen up. I can use this machine for about 20 minutes every day and there is a routine I follow. Even though I could do it without the routine, I don’t. And, the best exercise is the one that you do. I do this.

 

So there you go, that’s the addition to the household. I have felt my legs loosen up somewhat. My left hip never healed but it was feeling a lot better today and I credit this machine.

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Last week at work was one of the most difficult weeks I’ve had in a long time, maybe even ever.

I was on-call last week, which means that I am the first responder for all events that go wrong in the system, and we have a lot of alerts that fire – most of them non-actionable. This is hard for non-experts like myself to diagnose and it can be very frustrating.

When you’re on-call, you’re pretty much giving up your life for the next 3-4 days. And that’s what I did – I had alerts and issues firing all day, every day, and on the Wednesday it went until 2:15 am and there was nothing I could do. I then went to work the next day. When Friday came around and I was no longer on-call, it was a huge sigh of relief. I was beat down from the sleep deprivation and stress.

I strongly dislike being on-call. It’s frustrating, I get no other work done, and it’s very stressful.

 

And that stress led to me getting sick AGAIN! The day after I was on-call, at around 10:30 am, I noticed I had a minor sore throat. “ARGH!” I groaned. “Not again! The last I was on-call I got sick the day after, and now it’s happening this time, too?”

I was not just frustrated, but angry. The stress was getting to me physically.

But unlike last time in September when I caught a cold, this time it was worse. I had trouble sleeping and by Sunday afternoon my symptoms because much worse:

  • I had minor sore throat, cough and sinus congestion (but oddly enough I never really got a runny nose)
  • Fever (this was awful)
  • Chills
  • Sweating
  • Extreme fatigue – I couldn’t move
  • Headache
  • Light headedness – I had a hard time even typing
  • Loss of appetite – I ate less than 2000 calories in 3 days and lost 3.5 lbs
  • Diarrhea (despite not eating anything)

I looked up my symptoms and I figured out that I didn’t have a cold, I had the flu. It was terrible. I hope I never have it again.

Maybe next year I’ll get the flu shot.

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It has now been 16 days since I had my fourth hip surgery (but first on my right hip). I can only remember bits and pieces of my recovery from the first three so I thought I’d write down this time what it has been like.

First, I was never really in that much pain. True, I was walking a lot slower than normal and I took the occasional Ibuprofen, but it hurt a lot more when I got my braces put on my teeth earlier this year. I still can’t do a lot (i.e., have to walk slowly) but I can get around just fine.

Second, the first week I was walking around on crutches and I had to adjust my posture. That ended up putting a lot of strain on other parts of my body because it was unnatural for me. Thus, I felt uncomfortable in my back and in my left leg because of the awkwardness in how I was standing. I was anxious to get off of crutches because of that.

Third, I sat around on the couch for a long time each day. That wasn’t good for me, even though I had to rest. This couch of ours is starting to lose its cushion-firmness and as a result, after a long day of sitting around, my back got sore. Turns out sitting around all day is not good for you.

Fourth, and for the first time, I was seriously dehydrated which made my bowels “move slowly”. That was unpleasant; it felt like I had something in my stomach for hours after I ate and that my pants were too tight. Also, bowel movements were kind of painful. For the first time in my life I had to buy stool softener.

Finally, after my other surgeries I shifted a lot of my weight to my right leg which was my “good” leg (in reality, my better leg). But after this one on my right hip, I have to transfer a lot of the work to my left leg which never really got better. That means that my left leg still hurts and the additional weight and movement and strain twinges more than I ever had in the past because the three surgeries didn’t really get rid of all of my left hip pain.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to after my latest surgery.

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Today, I had my fourth hip surgery. However, the previous three were on my left hip but this was the first time on my right hip. People sometimes ask me what happened to require me another surgery. The answer is that even three years ago I knew I had to get it done; indeed, my right is my “not-as-bad” hip, not my good hip. I decided that this year was the year to get it done because I was getting tired of it hurting so much. They told me after that they shaved away a bump on my hip bone and that I probably had it as a teenager.

I always like to write down how much I remember from surgery because I remember so little of my first two. So, here goes, here’s the sequence of events today.

  • I couldn’t eat anything today before surgery. That’s to prevent you from having a reaction to any medication and throwing up while unconscious and then choking on your own vomit. I was hungry by the time I got to the surgery center. I wanted a hamburger.

  • We got to the doctor’s office around 12 pm, and after waiting for 20 minutes in the lobby they took me into the back, along with the wife. They took my blood pressure (116/69) and then had me change into a hospital gown with a robe.

  • Next, they inserted an IV into my hand and hooked up the saline solution. It hurt when they put it in. It did get better after some time but I thought to myself “Sheesh, they put this in my cat’s paw earlier this year when she had surgery? How did she handle it? She must be a tough cat.”

  • The wife and I yammered for the next hour or so until 1:30 pm rolled around but a nurse popped in every 15 minutes or so. Finally, at 1:30, the doctor came in and explained what was going to happen in the procedure as well as what medications I would be given. He also put his initials on my right hip to ensure that he wouldn’t accidentally work on the wrong one.

  • The anesthesiologist came in next and explained her role in the surgery and we went through and answered the same questions. They had me describe my procedure in my own words, and on what body part.

  • A nurse came in and once again ran through the checklist. After that, I said goodbye to the wife and the nurse led me into the operating room. I was carrying my IV solution and bag in my other hand (without the IV inserted).

  • In the operating room, they had me get onto the table and I got adjusted into the correct position; I had to scootch around a bit. They put on a heated blanket onto me which was so comfortable. Next, they put an oxygen mask on me but I found it hard to breathe. I coughed a couple of times but kept the mask on.

  • They explained they were then going to add the anesthesia and that it would hurt a bit. They were right, it did hurt and not just a bit. I couldn’t figure out why, is it a super thick fluid that’s so viscous? They said it would hurt for about 30 seconds before it would take effect. I started counting to 30. I don’t recall how far I got, maybe 7 or 8 because the next thing I remember…

  • … I was in the recovery room. I woke up and I felt super sleepy, like I wanted to go back to bed. I wasn’t nauseous, I wasn’t dizzy, I simply felt like I wanted to sleep. Oh yes, I was also itchy on my nose or face (I think; I don’t remember what part was itchy, I just know that I wanted to scratch something). I was kind of lying on my back but partially inclined.

  • Here’s where I have some missing time. I was taken from the recovery room back to my original prep room but for the life of me, I can’t remember how I got there. Did I walk? Or was the chair was in on wheels? This part is drawing a blank. Even as I type this, I am making up memories that I did indeed walk there, but I also remember being taken there in a large wheelchair-like device.

    Dang, this one I am not sure about.

  • They asked me if I wanted anything to drink. They ran down a list including multiple options but the only ones I remember are tea, Coke, Diet Coke and Ginger Ale. I said I wanted Coke; they misunderstood me because they repeated Ginger Ale, but no, Coke is the one I wanted.

    They also ran down a list of things to eat including animal crackers, soda crackers (saltines), pretzels, or a few other things. I would have wanted Ritz crackers but since they weren’t on the menu I took saltines instead.

  • I got my Coke and crackers and finished them; I was hungry as I hadn’t eaten all day, but surprisingly not too hungry even though I hadn’t eaten all day. After my first chow down, the wife came in and sat with me. They brought me my second Coke and crackers which I wolfed down, too.

  • I then got dressed. I put on my undergarments and pantaloons, and then the wife put on my socks. I put my T-shirt on and thin jacket, and then the wife put on my shoes. They then brought in a wheelchair, I got in, and then they sent me out a side door.

  • Oh, yeah, during this time I was in some pain. My hip hurt, it felt like someone had punched me there. Most of it was in the front of my hip but some was in the side. It was hard to walk and impossible to tie my shoes.

    They gave me some painkillers for it. They took a while to kick in but they did help.

  • The wife rolled the car around and I got in, then she went back inside to get my parents. We then proceeded home, roughly 5 hours after I got there.

  • I currently feel okay, just a little sleepy. But I’m not sick (like the first surgery), not sore in the legs as much (like my third surgery) and my throat is mostly okay (not like my first surgery). I will probably go to bed early tonight.

And that’s what I did today for my fourth hip surgery.

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