# Why I Didn’t Run Today

After yesterday’s epic bike ride with Mel, I woke up expecting to feel like I’d been beaten with a bag of hammers. Surprisingly, that wasn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, I could tell that some of my muscles were tired1, but they weren’t in any way close to what I would call agony.

Regardless, after careful consideration I opted not to go for tonight’s scheduled run2. It wasn’t an easy decision, and it’s one that I’m sure I’ll kick myself for tomorrow. However, two things took priority.

First, almost the minute I sat down on the couch to unwind for a few minutes after work, the wee Fuzzball decided to snuggle. Except this turned into an epic snuggle. He lay there nestled in my arm with one paw outstretched across my chest/belly3 for what seemed like hours. I don’t know exactly how long this lasted, but it was long enough to make me second guess my running plans.

Second – and I hate to admit this one because I know my mom is probably going to be on my case – is that I’m currently suffering from a freaking ridiculous bout of acid reflux. And it has been bothering me all day. It’s reminiscent of the old time-y days when I had a hiatal hernia4. I’ve been trying to figure out if it’s a result of something I’ve eaten, or if it’s a result of eating too much, but nothing is jumping out at me as the root cause. I think perhaps my stomach is just a jerk and wants to remind me it’s there.

Stupid stomach. I want to punch it square in the face for being such an annoying jerk, but I realize that would only make matters worse for me. And I like me. So instead, I’m trying to do some yoga as that often helped alleviate some of the discomfort and pain back in the old time-y days before the doctors knew what was going on and drugs had been prescribed.

So there you have it. I opted to not run because of snuggles and a jerky stomach. I think that’s my most creative excuse yet.

1 I’m looking at you back.

2 Which was scheduled to be a 10-15km run, depending on my energy level, and the temperature outside.

3 Clearly hugging me.

4 Which freaks me out because it makes me wonder if the hernia is back5. I highly doubt it is – science, medicine, capable surgeons, and probability are all on my side.

5 The surgeon did say this was a possibility, although he suggested this as a long-term possibility, not a 11 month later possibility.

# Sometimes It’s All About The Stomach Punch

Almost 320 days ago I went under the knife to correct a hernia that had been a rather annoying health concern for approximately 2 or more years prior to surgery. The hernia was the major factor in an almost 50 pound weight loss, and led me to replace my wardrobe several times over. I went from medium and large shirts to small and eventually extra small. I went from a size 34+ pants to my current 28. It was, to put it lightly, life changing1.

So why am I bringing this up now?

Well, a significant portion of the initial weight loss could be attributed to the fact that I wasn’t able to eat large meals without getting sick. The hernia, as wonderful as it was, acted like a band on my stomach – which meant that large meals led to discomfort, nausea, and in many cases vomiting.

Post surgery, I was informed that I’d be able to eat more eventually. That is, I’d be able to have a normal person portion again. While I can’t say that my portions aren’t larger than they were 10 months ago, they are also not back to normal person portion. And it seems at times that the portion size varies by day.

For instance, tonight I met some friends at the Wooly for a pint. I was hungry – almost starving when I arrived. My meals for the day had consisted of oatmeal for breakfast, a small snack before lunch, a bowl of soup for lunch, and a coffee this afternoon. Dinner, as it was, didn’t arrive until about 9:30, and it consisted of a half order of fries. It should not have been sufficient to fill me up.

And yet, here we are. I am full. Painfully so. From a half order of fries. I realize that this is something that will take a while to correct or normalize, but sometimes I find this limitation obnoxiously frustrating. So much so, that I almost want to punch my stomach square in the face for being such a wuss. Of course, I realize that punching my stomach square in the face would likely not help the situation. I also realize that my stomach doesn’t actually have a face. Suffice it to say, if it did, I’d want to punch it. Punch it real good.

Anyway, I guess the moral of this post is that my stomach doesn’t have a face, and that’s a good thing otherwise I’d punch it, or perhaps I should have had more than a coffee post lunch, or even A half order of fries is obnoxiously frustrating.

Honestly, I have no idea what the point of this post is. All I know is that my belly is full, and I didn’t eat very well today. Clearly this is something I need to work on.

1 Ultimately life changing in the best way possible. I am far healthier now than I’ve ever been, and I attribute that to the hernia, hernia associated weight loss, hernia enforced diet change, and the need to get healthy post hernia surgery. It’s really all about the hernia.

# Look Out! It’s Almost The Future

In a few short weeks some of us will be getting over the first wave of holiday gluttony (also known as Christmas), perhaps by loosening our belts, or deciding to sport jogging pants for a solid week because they are just so “comfy” and not because our other pants have mysteriously shrunk. We’ll also be prepping for the second wave of overindulgence. I am of course speaking of New Year‘s celebrations. While I haven’t figured out what I’m doing yet (as I might be spontaneously jumping on a plane with a friend to go see Stevie Wonder in concert in Las Vegas), I do know that the new year will bring new and exciting challenges.

Given that, I figured I’d take a bit of time to reflect on various things from this year in order to set some new goals for the next. I’ll be doing this over the course of several posts, as I’m sure things will pop into my head that I haven’t thought to write here. Mainly this is so that I have something to measure my success and failures against. I’ll also be covering several recaps, because it just seems like the thing to do. Make sure you pay attention though, as there’ll be a test at the end.

Anyway, the first thing on my review list: fitness goals for 2011. This year I wanted to walk 1800km, run 500km, and bike 2000km. I also aimed to hit 20000 minutes of yoga. The only goal of these I actually managed to achieve was running. In fact, I’m likely going to end up about 11% higher than I initially suspected. My total mileage (erm, kilometre-age) in 2010 was 2553.9km (which includes biking, running, walking, and hiking). In 2011 I’ve managed to put in 2689.1km so far, and expect to put in 2794.1km. That’s roughly a 9% improvement. Sweet.

Overall, I’m absolutely stoked with my results. I somehow have managed to run more than 500km, topped last years total mileage, all while being somewhat sidelined due to hernia surgery (which essentially destroyed my attempt to be athletic in August, September, and October). Awesome!

Total Distance by Category & Goal (2011 to Date), and Expected Yearly Total
Item Goal Mid Year Almost End Of Year Expected End Of Year
Walking 1800 km 801.8 km  1384.9 km 1450.0 km
Running 500 km 373.8 km  510.1 km 555.1 km
Biking 2000 km 373.9 km  794.1 km 794.1 km
Yoga 20,000 min 6275.0 min  10685.0 min 11135 min

So where do I go from here? Well, of course next year I hope not to be sidelined by any silly surgery. I also fully plan on running 3 marathons (I may have just thrown up in my mouth a little bit), and finally, finally, finally completing a 100km bike ride (if not 160km bike ride). So without further ado, here are my lofty goals for the coming year:

• Walking: 1800km. Given that I lost a significant portion of walking due to my surgery, I’m sure I can hit this target. It works out to less than 5km per day. I typically walk about 5.8 per work day, so really I think this is completely within the realm of possibility.
• Running: 750km. I figure with 3 marathons on the horizon in 2012 that this might actually be an underestimate of what I could end up achieving. It does, however, represent a 50% jump from this years goal so perhaps it’s a bit high. Who knows. Ultimately it translates to just over 2.0km per day.
• Biking: 2000km. I’m guessing that surgery also majorly derailed this particular goal, so 2000km should be possible for 2012. It translates to about 5.5km per day.
• Yoga: 20000 minutes. Yes, I’m aiming high again despite the abysmal showing this year. And why not? This really works out to less than 55 minutes of yoga per day, and given all the other stuff I’m supposed to do daily, I’m going to need the time to stretch.

So there you have it folks; the first of my New Year’s goals. Assuming I spend 55 minutes walking per day (my typical slow-ass commute), run for 10 minutes, bike for 20 minutes, and then follow this up with 55 minutes of yoga, all of these goals are completely possible. Of course, this means I have to exercise for about 2hrs and 20 minutes each and every day, but stranger things have happened.

And now, to celebrate my setting of goals for 2012, I’m going to go have some chocolate. And maybe a scotch. Because everybody knows that scotch isn’t just for mountain tops and classy bitches; it’s also for Calorie deprived aspiring athletes.

Some other tables, for those interested:

Number of Activities by Month and Year (Excluding Yoga), Plus % Change Year Over Year.
Month 2010 2011 % Change
January 0 19 $\infty$
February 0 23 $\infty$
March 15 30 100
April 12 32 167
May 21 43 105
June 38 46 21
July 35 59 69
August 48 13 -73
September 39 21 -46
October 38 20 -47
November 17 30 76
December 6 12 100
Total 269 348 29
Total Distance by Month and Year (Excluding Yoga), Plus % Change Year Over Year.
Month 2010 2011 % Change
January 0 179.0 $\infty$
February 0 173.4 $\infty$
March 50.4 209.8 316
April 132.1 226.5 71
May 198.0 324.6 64
June 316.1 369.9 17
July 507.0 547.5 8
August 448.4 117.3 -74
September 307.5 160.9 -48
October 404.4 105.8 -74
November 139.6 196.2 41
December 50.4 78.2 55
Total 2554.0 2689.1 5

# Failure Tastes Like Hurting

Remember back in the summer, when the sun was all sun-shiny, and the blue skies were anything but grey, and the trees were covered in green leaves, and the birds were chirping, and the wind didn’t bring a chill, and our windows were left open all night, and we were sweating with just a sheet on. Those were good times.

Anyway, back in the dog-days of summer I had set out a number of goals. And now that we’ve hit November 7th I’ve realized I’ve left you, dear readers, in a state of unknowing. And I’m sure you’ve all be losing sleep over this rather crucial bit of trivia. But before I get to whether or not I accomplished my epic list of awesomely awesome things, perhaps I should review my well-intentioned goals. Way back on June 1st (yes, that was 160 days ago), I set out the following seemingly easy-to-accomplish tasks:

• a 30 day yoga challenge (starting some time in July),
• a Century Bike ride (that is, a 100km bike ride, by the end of the summer/fall), and
• a sub 4hr marathon (the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October).

Well, turns out these weren’t so easy-to-accomplish. In fact, I have to say I failed on every front. Yikes! While I attempted all of these things, none of them came to pass. And yes, I am going to blame my hernia surgery for that. You see, having an amazingly stupid brain at times – one that does not account for things like being human, and needing to heal - I had figured that the hernia surgery would simply slow me down a little bit, but not knock me out of commission completely. Gah! I figured WRONG!

• The 30 day challenge died during week 4. You know, because that was the week that I had surgery.
• The Century Bike ride died during week 4. Surgery + Biking is apparently an intractable equation. Who knew?
• Sub 4hr marathon. Again, fail. Here I blame a loss of training time, but also abs that just wanted to take their sweet ab time to heal. Gah.

In all honesty though, I’m not actually upset about any of these things. On their own, they represent a significant time commitment and challenge. Together, a rather crazy challenge. I tried, I failed. This time. The good news is that I won’t let this failure stop me from trying again. Hells no. I’m going to spend the winter training my butt off. Training so that next year I can run 3 marathons AND complete the Century Bike ride. And if all goes extra well, the Century Bike ride will actually be a 160km bike ride (or, for those imperialists out there: 100 miles).

Granted, now that I look at my challenge again – I did state that the 100km bike ride could be completed by the end of the fall. That would be December 21. Hmmm, I wonder if it’s possible to do this still? I think I have some plotting to do. W00t!

Maybe my epic fail won’t be a complete epic fail. Just a partial epic fail. Clearly, I shall keep you posted.

# For Your Reading Pleasure: Obits, Tickle Zones And Naughty Bits.

Yesterday marked my second run post surgery. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Okay, maybe that minute was for me. Because it felt so freaking good to run again. So. Freaking. Good.

My first post surgery run occurred last week. That run was short and slow – about 2.5km in 15 minutes. But it felt great. Better than great. Epic.

Ultimately, the purpose of that run was to test whether or not my body, more specifically my abs, would be up for the challenge of training for, and running another marathon in just over 4 weeks time.

Another marathon? But you just had surgery!

Too true dear reader, too true. But do you remember way back in the old time-y days of June ’11? I had just finished running my first marathon and was on a bit of a running high, and I also didn’t fully understand the seriousness of my hernia surgery (what with the moving of the stomach and the stitching up of my esophagus). Well, I may have decided at that point to throw caution to the wind and sign up for a second marathon; the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th. Clearly I wasn’t thinking straight.

Anyway, I won’t lie. I was tremendously nervous and uber cautious for my first post surgery run. Having just had my hiatal hernia fixed (via 5 incisions – depicted right), there was a small part of me that wondered if the stitched up bits wouldn’t become unstitched, allowing my insides to become my outsides in a very messy treadmill related death.

Eviscerated post surgery via treadmill.

Now that’s an obit! The only obit that I can think might be better (?) is this one (thank you Rick for sending me this news gem).

So, back to my second run. That one still wasn’t as fast as some of my runs, but it was a solid run. I decided to double my distance by running slightly more than 5km. I also picked up the pace – running it in just over 25 minutes. By the end, I had managed an average pace of 5:02 per kilometer. Not quite my fastest pace, nor anywhere close to a pace require to break the 20 minute mark for a 5km run, but still pretty sweet for post surgery, if I do say so myself.

Even better, my legs felt good, my lungs felt good, I still had energy, and my body didn’t hate me this morning.

What does all of this mean? It means that I’m going to continue my marathon training. I’m not saying for sure that I will end up running a full marathon on October 16th, but it does seem that it’s still within the realm of possibility. And that also means that my weekly long distance run will be increasing in length a bit faster than normal. Of course, I will be doing this as safely as possible. I don’t want to get close and then have to drop out because of a stupid injury that I sustain from running stupid. Running stupid is the worst kind of running.

I shall keep you abreast of my progress. Regardless of what happens, I’m just stoked to be running again.

# Thank You Mr. Oxycodone

Yesterday was another step forward in my recovery. How so? You see that delicious looking platter of sushi over there? Ya, it’s so inside of me right now. Okay, not all of it, but a few pieces. Plus some miso soup, 2 gyoza, and a bit of Perrier to wash it all down.  Clearly I have a very happy belly.

Of course, for the two steps forward I took with food (both in quantity and substance), I took one back. That of course was a step back in the form of sneezing. Sweet mother of pearl, that shit ain’t fun. No matter how hard I try to hold on or brace for the impact of the sneeze, it just doesn’t stop the pain.

It may also have been worsened by the fact that I managed not one, not two, but three laps of the mall yesterday – insert Count Von Count laughing maniacally – three, three, three laps of the mall, muah-ah-ah-ah.

Not to worry folks; the pain was promptly kicked to the curb, thank you very much Mr. Oxycodone, and then I took a most excellent nap on the couch. When I woke, my mom was watching something-or-other, I was still rather stoned from my meds, and I was painfully exhausted. The clear solution was to amble off to bed. And that is what I did. Yes folks, my Friday night was just that exciting.

Anyway, given that it has been just over a week since the big slice and dice, I really need to take a moment to say thank you to some people (other than Mr. Oxycodone).

• First and foremost, thank you to my parents. Not only did they come down to deliver my sorry butt to the hospital, they also returned to pick me up. Crazy. Better yet, they made me food, fixed a leaking faucet in my bathroom shower, cleaned my house, took care of the wee fuzzball (a.k.a. Elliot), filled up my fridge, did the laundry, and joined me on several of my mall walks.
• Speaking of mall walks, in addition to my parents I have to thank Dr. Gerarda, Dr. Victoria, Dr. Mark, and Dr. Julie for being so awesome and shuffling along with me. The company was very much appreciated.
• Alan and Gerarda – thank you so much for the KenKen puzzles. EPICALLY AWESOME FUN. I also thoroughly enjoyed the crossword puzzle at the back of the tabloid magazine. I remember chuckling about things in the magazine, but I have no idea what I read anymore.
• Thank you to Dr. Phillips, my personal nurses Pam and Mary, the anesthetist (whose name I did not catch – he probably gets that a lot, given that he’s always drugging people up), everyone involved in the surgery, and anyone else that might have come in to check on the machines that go bing.
• An extra thank you to Dr. Phillips. You are a machine! Thank you for not slicing my tattoos, but more importantly, thank you for fixing me on the inside.
• Thank you to Dr. Beth, Rick, Carolyn, Nancy, all the Twitter-nerds, and everyone else that sent me emails, texts, tweets, and facebook posts about all the best that the interwebs have to offer, to keep me from going insane.
• Thanks to my friends for offering to help me out. I shall give each of you an appropriately sized hug when I see you next.
• Thanks to my brother Aidan for bringing me the best onion rings I’ve had in a very long time. Plus the deep-fried zucchini – so good.
• Also, thank you to Sandy, Aidan, and my Dad for enjoying pizza, wings, garlic bread, and beer while I got to sit by and drink apple juice. Jerks. Ha. I kid. I was stoned, what did I care? But really, thanks for keeping me company.
• Thanks to the rest of my family for sending well wishes and such like. T’was very much appreciated.
• A special extra big thanks to Steph for sending me the following card. Best. Get. Well. Card. Ever.

• Hez – thanks for dropping by. It was awesome to see you even if I might have been stoned a bit.
• And finally, a giant thank you to Dominic for the awesome soup, the chocolate, and especially the company. Also – thank you for the spelling lesson. LOL.
If I’ve forgotten anyone, please forgive me. I was stoned most of the week after all.

# Squirrel!

Can you keep a secret? Clearly I can’t. At least, not right now.

Anyway folks, I’m totally stoned on the oxycodone that my doctor gave me to manage my post-surgery related pain. Which means I have to write this post quickly before I slip off into an oxycodone related nap.

Not to worry though – it’s not like I took more than I should have. I’m allowed up to 4 per day, and I’ve only had 4 (prior to this morning) since being released from the hospital. Today I took my first pill as soon as I got up. Why? Well, please excuse the highly scientific reasoning behind my morning dose of awesome; but it was because my stitched up bits were feeling stitched up and ouchy. Best scientific reasoning ever.

I digress. Oxycodone will do that to you. Make you digress. I sort of feel like the dog in the movie Up – you know, the one that is distracted every time he sees a squirrel. That was the movie Up, right? Maybe it wasn’t. Anyway, where was I? Right. The squirrel. Er, the dog. I feel like the dog – easily distracted. By everything and anything. Except I also feel high. I’m not sure if the dog felt high; the movie really didn’t get in to those types of details. Probably best, given that a lot of kids would be seeing it.

SQUIRREL!

Uh – sorry. I had to re-read my intro because I honestly forgot what I was writing about and where I wanted to take this post.

I really was trying to figure out why I was so high off of the drugs this morning given that they didn’t affect me in this manner the other days that I took them. Sure, they made me feel a little slow/stoned, but not like this. This is crazy stoned.

The best reasons that I can figure are the following:

• I’ve not eaten anything solid since Thursday
• I’ve not consumed nearly close to the Calories I should be consuming (about 400 Calories Friday, 1000 Calories Saturday, and 1200 Calories Sunday)
• I took the pill when I woke up – thus on an empty stomach
• I’m a light weight
I can’t quite figure out if this post really has a point. Or if it did, if I managed to make it. Whatever. I’m going to go have a nap now.

# 48 Hours Later

So it has been just over 48 hours since I woke up post hernia surgery. Crazy stuff.

What have I learned since then? A few things, which I present to you now in list form – because who doesn’t like a list? No one, that’s who.

• I could have used more morphine during recovery, but apparently I do not listen well when I’m under the influence of morphine. It’s not that I needed the morphine, but it was available and I didn’t use it. I would call that a great big fail on my part.
• Oxycodone and Percocet are essentially the same drug. Except for the name, and a few additives.
• Trying to pee while lying down is very, very difficult.
• Trying to pee when a nurse comes in to check your stats isn’t nearly as difficult. Also, it’s not as embarrassing as one might think.
• Further, having one’s bare ass hang out when one attempts for the first time to walk to the bathroom post hernia surgery is very much not embarrassing. I felt bad for the nurses who were forced to endure my lily-white butt, however, I was not embarrassed. I’m sure that comes as no surprise to anyone.
• Peeing standing up is far superior to peeing lying down.
• I really, really, really want to go for a run. Clearly I’m an addict.
• Same as above, but replace run with bike. Or yoga. Or pretty much anything that isn’t lying on the couch watching stupid movies.
• Speaking of stupid movies, I really do not like the channel Turner Classic Movies or whatever the hell it’s called. My mom does. A lot. It might not be that the channel is in and of itself bad, I have just been fortunate enough to only watch a string of really, really, painfully, awfully, stupid movies. I mean, really stupid.
• My cat is the biggest suck and clearly missed me (which I love). I also think he senses the fact that I am ‘injured’, as the amount of kitty hugs he is offering seems greater than normal. And he loves to cuddle.

• While I wasn’t overly concerned that my tattoos would be damaged during the surgery, I am uber stoked that the doctor avoided all of them. Clearly I’m more attached to them than I originally suspected.
• One uses their abs for a lot of things that one wouldn’t think they would.
• Chocolate almond milk makes everything feel better.
• Swallowing when one’s aortic sphincter and stomach have been moved about, stitched up, and such, is weird. Not painful, just weird.
• When my belly swells (which it has for obvious reason), the part above my belly button swells more (clearly a function of where the incisions were made) than below the belly button, hence it looks like I have a sad belly.

• I really, really, really want something solid to eat. I’ve been on a fluids-only diet since surgery, and will maintain that for about a week. I can start introducing soft foods (pasta, pudding, etc.) over the next couple of days – but no major foods like meats or breads (things that would require serious stomach churning) – until a week has passed.
• I am in far less pain than I would have suspected. The worst pain so far has been attributed to the discomfort caused by the air that they used to inflate my abdomen. Some of that is now residing in my back and shoulders – annoying. It normally takes 24 to 48 hours to dissipate apparently; clearly I’m not normal.
• I am a mall walker now. It’s about the only exercise I can do, so I have to suck it up and take it. I can also walk outside, or on the treadmill, but I figured walking the mall in an air-conditioned environment might be the best way to start out.
Anyway, that’s about it for now. I’m sure in the coming days I will discover new things due to this little adventure I’m on. I’ll be sure to share those observations with you as they happen.

# So Long Morphine, Hello Oxycodone

And just like that, I’m home. I was given my discharge notice around 8:30 this morning after a visit by my most awesome surgeon, Dr. Phillips.

My night in the hospital was smooth, and in fact I was off of the morphine by about 11:30 pm. When my breathing seemed shallow and such, the nurses had my Morphine reduced. There was a fear that I wasn’t oxygenating enough as I was breathing both shallow and slow. Anyway, when they reconnected me to a lower dose of Morphine, I was half asleep. That means I missed the instruction informing me that I was still supposed to be self-administering the Morphine. But instead I just rolled over and watched some t.v. and then went to bed for a few hours. No pain. Wild stuff.

The IV was officially removed from my arm at 8 this morning. I then had a lovely breakfast of juice, coffee, and apple sauce, cleaned up a bit, got dressed and waited for my dad to pick me up.

Afterwards, we headed to Metro so that I could pick up my painkillers. I thought I was getting Percocet, but in reality I got Oxycodone. Now, I had thought these were different drugs, but the almighty Wikipedia suggests that they are essentially the same, except Percocet also has Paracetemol in it. Who knew?

Anyway, now I’m all dopey on Oxycodone. But, at least I’m dopey at home. I have a tall glass of chocolate almond milk next to me, and Elliot is purring on the ground next to me. All seems right with the world.

# Na Na Na Nah, Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye

So I’m writing this post in my semi-private room (thank you University health insurance), on my iPhone that I’m not supposed to have. Thankfully my parents left it behind completely by accident. I’ve never written a post with my iPhone, so I’m not sure how this will turn out. Regardless, i thought I would give you an update.

Of course, this might be more a ramble-y and morphine induced post than most, so please be patient with my lack of grammar, coherent thoughts, and maybe spelling.

My morning started earlier than expected as the first scheduled surgery of the day was canceled. Yay me?

After admitting myself, my pre-op nurse wanted to go over a few things, and then I was whisked away to get the party started. The party of course meant whatever deliciousness the anesthetist decided to pump into my body. So. Freaking. Good.

Then some stuff happened. In my head, I was likely flying through the sky on the most amazing adventure. I’m sure it involved ambrosia and coffee and chocolate and all things fantastic. In reality, Dr. Phillips was kicking my hernia to the curb. He is my new hero.

I awoke several hours later in a substantial amount of discomfort, and to a most obnoxious moaning that I eventually determined was me. Mainly though it was the pain that woke me. But not the pain I was expecting. You see, the morphine was masking the pain from the surgery – it was the pain from having air pumped into my abdomen. And it was rather annoying.

Eventually I was moved to my semi-private room, hooked up to several machines, and then was able to visit with my parents. Good stuff.

At some point in the eve, the morphine was reduced because my breathing became to shallow. That, and apparently I was down to 6 breaths per minute – which is low I guess. I was also put on another drug – this one to assist my breathing. I guess it worked because my breathing has normalized. Woot.

Eventually, I had to get up from my bed. Honestly, laying in bed all day is not my idea of fun. One of the nurses helped me out. I slowly lifted myself from the bed and came to stand – albeit with a bunch of wires hanging every which way. Good times.

The other issue with laying in bed all morphined up is that it’s rather difficult to pee. I tried using the plastic urinal, but not very successfully. So being upright, I took the opportunity to deal with that issue. T’was not easy, but I managed. I feel for the nurse who had to help me out though, as I stood there with my lily-white ass hanging out.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. Still waiting on proof that I can process solid foods – granted, that might be tough given I’ve only had water and juice.

For your entertainment, I offer you some pictures. Woot.

# Despite What You May Have Heard, I Am Not A Gremlin

Today is the big day; the day that my hiatal hernia gets kicked to the curb. But don’t feel bad for it; it has been an unwanted, obnoxious, and unruly resident of my torso for the past 2+ years, clearly over-staying its welcome.

In prep for surgery, I was informed that I had to stop eating solid food after midnight (which I did). Apparently the doctor feared that I might actually be a gremlin in disguise, and I guess operating on a gremlin is not covered by his malpractice insurance. Plus, that means I would have had to make a pulsating green cocoon for myself such as seen in the movie Gremlins, and I’m all out of pulsating green goo for which to build said cocoon.

I was permitted to consume clear liquids such as water and tea until 5 am. After that, however, I wasn’t allowed anything, not even water. Because clearly dear friends, a large bowl of air is truly the breakfast of champions.

If you happen to be reading this post around 9 am, I will be in the process of getting prepped for surgery. As far as I am aware, this includes getting hooked up to various IVs, heart rate monitors, and other machines that go bing. Machines that go bing are the most scientific of all machines. They are the ones to pay the most attention.

The big show – also known as the grand slice and dice – doesn’t occur until 11 am. What exactly does surgery involve? Well, I could get all technical and describe the details of moving my stomach, stitching up a few things, and performing various other acrobatics with my innards, but it’s much easier to point you to this link to get all the gory scientific information. Plus, I’m feeling lazy. That happens when one is only allowed to consume air after 5 am. But I digress.

Following surgery – and that could be as late as 1:30 pm – I shall be moved from the operating room to recovery. There I will slowly make my way from the magical land of anesthesia back to reality. And likely this is when I will realize that my abs have just been sliced and diced. From there, I will be moved to my room where I shall stay until the doctor is convinced that I can process solid food. That’s fancy medical jargon for a number 2. I’m sure there are other things that will determine when I can leave the building, but that was one of the main criterion the nurse told me about during pre-op last week.

Anyway, I’ll do my best to keep you updated on my progress (I have a few posts pre-written just in case I’m too smashed post hernia to write). Since I’m not allowed to bring any electronics to the hospital, I will try to take pen to paper to record my deep thoughts, my profound observations, and my life-changing experiences. Or I’ll just record whatever gibberish that comes to mind while I’m floating on a self-administered morphine cloud. Either way, I’m sure it will be entertaining.

# File Under Naiveté

Apparently I’m rather dumb. Or naive. Likely both.

Anyway, I’m sure that I’ve mentioned that I’m going to be getting my hiatal hernia fixed. Specifically, next Friday, August the 5th I’m going under the knife. And while this has been a long time coming, I was still a bit floored today when I went for my Pre-Op meeting.

Before we get to why I was floored, understand that in my head, hernia surgery is not a big deal. In fact, it’s a non-issue what with modern medicine being all modern and medicine-y like. Knowing that, it should come as no surprise that I had assumed that this would be a day surgery event, followed by a few days of feeling like a big bag of smashed hammers, and then a slow but steady return to fighting form (read no running and biking for a week or so).

Flash to me in the nurses office discussing the procedure. It was today that I learned (or maybe finally understood) that I could be in the hospital for 3 days – depending on how the doctor believes I’m healing. It’s not so much to monitor the incisions (although that is part of it), but it’s to make sure that my stomach is functioning properly and that I can actually eat solid food. Keep in mind that my stomach has decided to migrate through my cardiac (or lower oesophageal) sphincter. Hence the doctor has to pull it down, perform some funky acrobatics with it to help prevent future migrations, and then return it to its rightful place. I guess that might upset it, and make it not function the way it should. Gah!

Not only that, but the nurse informed me that I might be off work for up to 6 weeks. Six. Weeks. What the what? Anyone who knows me will realize immediately that I have a really hard time sitting still for any length of time. It’s not that I can’t relax – I can, and I do, and I love it – but this won’t be sitting around in a relaxing manner, and that is going to drive me bat shit crazy. I repeat, bat shit crazy!

Even better; I naively informed the director of my department that I’d be off Friday and maybe Monday. How stupid did I feel this afternoon when I sent him a follow-up email to inform him that my maybe 1 or 2 days off might turn into a few weeks. Gah!

Ultimately, this is going to throw a wrench in a lot of my summer goals. The yoga challenge, the marathon, the century bike ride, climbing more mountains, travelling every month. Gah. Gah. Gah. Gah to the freaking Gah.

Clearly the universe is trying to remind me that I am in fact human. And that I should probably listen to the best advice out there and take the time to fully recover so that I can get back to training and doing the things that I love instead of pushing myself too hard and screwing my body up further, thus prolonging any necessary down time. Stupid universe reminding me that I have limitations. You do not amuse me. In fact, this reminds me of something my very wise friend Aqleema recently wrote (and when she writes, one should read, because her writings are often hilarious, profound, thought-provoking, and full of awesome):

‎When the universe tells you ‘No’,

there is only one thing left to do.

Bitch slap it.

I really want to bitch slap the universe right about now. Instead, I’ll take my medicine and be a good little patient and be stronger for having done so. But that doesn’t mean I won’t still hope that this is all just a ‘worst case scenario’ situation, and in the end I’ll heal up super quick, super strong, ready to fight in no time at all. Then again, if that shan’t be the case dear readers, be comforted knowing that I’ll likely post more ramblings as I’m going to be undoubtedly bored to tears.

Oh, and for those who have asked – I’m going to do what I can to film or photograph whatever I can of the surgery. Be prepared :)

In somewhat related news – the Pre-Op visit has provided me with confirmation that my resting heart rate is in fact 48 beats per minute (as documented here). This however does not answer the question as to when one is considered a Zombie. Further research is clearly needed.