Sunday, 10 July 2016

20 Days Post-Op - The Hard Yards

Hello, blog world.

Apologies for the (more lengthy than usual) absence. I've been doing my impersonation of a koala and sleeping for seventeen hours a day (on some days - no joke). It's eaten up quite a bit of my three weeks of recovery.

I have individual posts coming on my hospital bag, hospital stay and some recipes for the fluid stage and the puree stage.

This post is a little whinge about the stuff that has been hard since coming home. NOTE: Not everyone finds it hard, and I'm aware my 'hard' is not that bad compared to many.

1. Drinking. I've always been terrible at getting my water in every day. Part of it is the whole teachers-can't-leave-the-classroom-to-go-pee-for-a-hundred-minutes-at-a-time thing. Part of it is I never really felt thirsty. Now I feel thirsty all the time, but because my stomach is so freakin' tiny, I can only sip. I spend most of my waking day sipping whatever I can lay my little mitts on. It's a full-time occupation.

2. Sleeping on my side. For ten days I had external stitches so sleeping on my back was the only option. Then my stitches came out and WOOHOO - fetal position once again. Then I put my classroom back together on Friday and ow. I was reminded that my internal stitches still have a ways to go before they're healed.

3. Taking medication. Oh boy. So I'm on thyroxine, nexium, calcium citrate, hair/skin/nails liquid and a chewable multi-vitamin. I'm also meant to have a berocca every morning. I'm seriously on struggle street with this - in the morning I feel quite unwell, and trying to get all that down is tough when it feels like it's going to come back up. Pair that with not being able to gulp fluid to get everything down... not pleasant.

4. Being tired. I'm exhausted, almost all the time. I have been getting up at 7 to make his breakfast and say goodbye to the Khocolateman, then going back to sleep for a few hours, getting up and doing something, then having a siesta in the afternoon, doing something in the evening, then going to bed at my normal time (about 10). Rinse and repeat. God only knows how I'm going to get through 6am starts and full teaching days this week.

5. Food. This was bound to be hard. I'm theoretically still on puree. Unfortunately - and I'd kind of forgotten this - I'm not great with puree as a texture. I've really struggled with this. Fluid was easier - lots of milk, some juice, berocca, soup. I was HANGING for puree but after the first day I've had a run of bringing back up quite a bit of what I've eaten. So far, I have ruled out tomato soup, Aldi pate and soft cheese (but Woolies is fine? go figure), spinach dip, mushed up fish cake, and pot-set yoghurt. Things my body has liked include avocado and feta smash, palak paneer, scrambled eggs, normal yoghurt (?!), custard, hummus, taramasalata, the gravy out of the Khocolateman's chicken curry, the broth out of his liver stew, bombili (a Sri Lankan fish dish), potato anything, soft crackers, caramel, tea and pumpkin soup.

So there you go. That's where I'm at. As soon as I feel like I'm sort of back to normal there'll be other posts coming. Til then, eat something yummy on my behalf and comment with it below!

Friday, 24 June 2016

WHAT DO WE WANT? LOTS OF LIQUIDS!

When do we want it? Well, I'm assuming after surgery - I won't want much else!

When the Khocolateman came out of hospital he was on liquids only for a week. I made chicken and veggie soup and strained it (Dalek and I got the veggies and the chicken). We made pumpkin soup. We made miso. We made stock out of Vegeta. I knew some of the things I wanted to have in the house - but my gastric sleeve support group on Facebook had some great suggestions too:

...stock, Benefiber, pear juice, icy poles, jelly (jell-o for Americans out there), milk... that we had already.

This is what ELSE in the cupboard for when I come home:

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PRETTY THINGS

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:

V8 veggie juice because I know the Khocolateman got REALLY bored of sweet drinks. Plus I like V8 juice, especially the original flavour. It's taking all my will-power not to drink it before I go in.

BULK PACK OF SIPPAH STRAWS - thanks Costco! I picked it up on my food funeral weekend. It has honeycomb flavour in it too, which the ones from Woolies don't have. They're for when I have to drink plain milk, in case my sense of taste changes. Some people say it does.

Sliced Australian peaches for blending into a yummy high-protein peach smoothie as recommended in the gastric sleeve recipe book from LapSurgery.

Apricot nectar for doing something similar, because let's face it, apricot nectar is awesome. I'm not a fan of the fruit, but the juice, whoa mama. Yup. Bring it.

Tom Yum Goong soup. I love this stuff. The real thing would be better, and when I'm feeling up to it I may go and purchase one or two from my favourite Thai place, but for while I can't drive, and in case I want something with some bite (and to see how my new stomach goes with chili).

ANNNND Greek yoghurt. Full of yummy probiotic power, natural style, and some calcium, and some different flavour (tart but a bit sweet too).

I also have pea and ham soup, veggie soup, potato and leek soup and tomato soup in the freezer.

I think I'm set!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Public Service Announcement

DON'T BELIEVE THEM WHEN THEY SAY IT WILL BE EASY.

Oh, I'm not talking about the sleeve yet. I'm talking about the damn body wash!

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Observe the Chlorhexidine 4%. It's an elusive beast...

Hospital told me, Chlorhexidine, it gets you clean. Get some. Use it. Twice. Before you come in.

When the Khocolateman went in, I did the emergency dash to the hospital the day before because we forgot about it til we were going through the pre-op paperwork. It was too late for the pharmacy, so the admissions nurse hunted some down for me. This time, we thought, we'll be really organised. Cue the hunt to begin five days before admission.

This little sucker was harder to find than I was anticipating. I am very lucky to live close to a late-night pharmacy (I know, right? In the middle of the suburbs!) which stocks just about everything - except Chlorhexidine, it turns out. For people living in Melbourne, the following places do NOT stock Chlorhexidine 4% pre-op/pre-surgery body wash:

Amcal Stud Park, Chemmart Rowville, Pharmore Knox, Terry White Knox, Chemist Warehouse (ANYWHERE INCLUDING ONLINE), Amcal Wheelers Hill, Amcal The Glen (Glen Waverley), Nova Pharmacy Waverley Gardens, Brady Road Pharmacy Dandenong North. They have the handwash in abundance. The body wash, not so much - it seems to have been a recent thing to have been struck off the list.

For people living in Melbourne, the following place DOES stock Chlorhexidine at $9.95 for two tubes - Slade Pharmacy at The Valley Private Hospital. Yup, those suckers have the market cornered. Good job guys - and thanks for not price gouging.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Slow Cooked Roma Tomatoes

This recipe is pre-op diet friendly for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and Roux En Y Gastric Bypass patients according to Lap Surgery Australia. Please check with your surgeon and nutritionist that it conforms to the pre-surgery diet THEY recommend. I hope they say yes for your sake. These are delish.

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ohsogood and ohsohealthy

YOU WILL NEED: 6 Roma tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme and dried rosemary.

HOW TO MAKE: Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and cook on low (about 150) in a tray brushed with your two tablespoons of oil for the day. Keep an eye on them but they should be okay to let just sizzle for ninety minutes. Enjoy!

Makes 12 halves, or enough for three meals.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Sorta Salsa

This recipe is mostly pre-op diet friendly for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and Roux En Y Gastric Bypass patients according to Lap Surgery Australia though I'm not 100% sure about the jalapenos. Please check with your surgeon and nutritionist that it conforms to the pre-surgery diet THEY recommend.

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Ole! Look at all those colours!

YOU WILL NEED: A bunch of coriander (washed), three red capsicums, three medium sized tomatoes, a small onion, minced garlic, lemon juice and jalapenos (optional).

HOW TO MAKE: Dice the coriander, capsicums, tomatoes and onion and toss in a salad bowl. Add a heaped teaspoon of minced garlic and about two to three lemons worth of juice (or a really big squeeze if you're lazy like me and using the bottled kind), salt and pepper to taste and toss until mixed thoroughly. Add the jalapenos before serving - do not leave in with it or the salsa becomes quite bitter.

Part Eggplant Parma, Part Ratatouille

This recipe is made up of ingredients approved by LapSurgery Australia for patients about to undergo the Roux En Y Bypass (gastric bypass) or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (gastric sleeve).

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It's like two recipes in one...

YOU WILL NEED: An eggplant (sliced into 1cm rounds), a zucchini, an onion, eight button mushrooms, 1TBSPN of extra virgin olive oil and a cup of passata.

HOW TO MAKE: Salt and drain the eggplant (lay the rounds on a plate, salt them, then elevate one side of the plate) for about half an hour. Cook it on about 180C for about twenty minutes. Dice the zucchini, onion and mushrooms and fry in the oil until the onion goes brown and the zucchini is soft. In two ramekins or individual-sized pie dishes, cover the base with eggplant, spread it with a layer of passata, then a layer of the fried veggies. Repeat until the containers are full. Place in the oven for another ten minutes so it is warmed all the way through (cold passata = not great with warm veggies).

Serve with a side of wilted spinach for a flavour contrast.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

PREPARE THE LIQUIDS! Part 3 - Making Water Less Watery

I know, I know - living in a developed country I am very lucky to have access to fresh, clean, healthy, more or less unlimited drinking water. And I'll preface what I'm going to say next by saying - I've lived in drought-stricken areas. I know I'm lucky. I know not everyone has this commodity that I, living in a city in a very wet part of the country, am priveliged to have. Don't shoot me for saying this - but I really don't like drinking water.

I talked a bit about why drinking three litres of water each day is not feasible for me in PREPARE THE LIQUIDS! Part One. But I'm nine days from crunch time, and I know my life of being able to skate by on just a little bit of water each day is running out. I've watched the Khocolateman force himself to drink two litres of water at home each day after drinking Coke most of his adult life. It's a hard change to make.

SO. NOW I MAKE IT PALATABLE.

Behold my infuser, in all its majesty

I've been hunting one of these babies for a while. Apparently I'm not the only one as they always seem to be sold out at Stud Park Woolies (and I'm too lazy to go to Wantirna just to get one). I did find them in other places, but quite often they had parts made of glass - and I'm a) crazy clumsy and b) in a profession where breakable (and sometimes theoretically unbreakable) stuff does actually break. This plastic one = 100% right for me in that way.

Allow me to demonstrate how it works.

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Step one....

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Step two...

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Step three...

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Ready to go!

The night before, you stuff the middle bit with whatever you want the water to taste like. I like lemon and lime chunks, but I know people who put cucumber, berries or stone fruits in it too. Then you snap the filter into the top of the water bottle, fill it about 3/4 of the way up with water, screw the top onto the bottle and let the infusey bit do its thing (I usually leave it in the fridge). Voila - the next day you have yummy healthy tangy water to drink. Refill during the day, though it may be a bit diluted taste-wise. Rinse and repeat (literally) when you get home.

Experiment number two - Cottee's Squirt Flavouring

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My Dad picks the fruit that goes to Cotteeeeeeee's... to make the cordial - that I like best!

Theoretically, this should work a bit like cordial - but with less sugar. I chose the blackcurrant one as I have a bit of a love affair with Ribena (mmmmm ribenaberries) and I was hoping it might taste like that. SUCCESS. And with a bit of warm water in there as well it's perfect for the cold mornings we're having here in Melbourne at the moment.

I'm aiming to get through a bottle of either of them each day to start with. Wish me luck!