Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The surgery saga

You've been through the denture adventure with me, so how about hip surgery? Any takers?

Yesterday was The Beginning. My husband and I have been mulling over possibilities, and decided that waiting until I'm eligible for Medicare – May, 2016 – was too far out. My mobility is sooooo limited and the pain is sooooo ever-present, that we really do need to take care of this sooner rather than later.

We've talked with several friends who've gone through joint replacements – one benefit of getting old is that at least some in your circle of acquaintances will have first-hand experience – and one doctor's name came up repeatedly as The One.

I first called my insurance company to make sure he was in network. And then I called the surgeon's office and made an appointment. He's booked until December. 

So he must be good, amirite?

My initial consultation will be December 8. I explained to the staff person I didn't want the surgery until early next year, and she seemed to think I wouldn't be able to schedule anything sooner anyway.

So I'm officially in the hip-replacement surgical pipeline. The saga begins.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The month I met two Presidents

So it's been quite a month for this Democrat.

I'm pretty sure everyone knows by now that President Clinton came to West Virginia early in October and President Obama was here last Wednesday. I attended both events, and had "a moment" with each of them.

And I still can't quite believe it.

I want to record it here so I never forget it. You never know when Alzheimer's is going to hit. Heh.

The annual West Virginia Democratic fundraiser – the Jefferson-Jackson dinner – was held October 2, and President Clinton was the keynote speaker. Our county executive committee had selected our Outstanding Democrat of the Year, but she was unable to attend, so the committee voted to send me instead.

Am I a happy girl! You bet!
After what had happened at the WVFDW Annual Meeting the previous weekend, I wasn't sure how it would go, but I'd never been in the same room with President Clinton, so I was happy to represent my county.

I had a fabulous time, in the end, and when the event was over I went to the front of the room to talk with a friend. Who was standing at the VERY front of the room and urged me to "hurry, come here, quick!" Because President Clinton was coming down the "rope line," shaking hands and taking selfies with anyone who wanted one.

What. A. Thrill.

I didn't know until the night before President Obama's visit that my name was on the guest list. That friend in the President Clinton selfie? Her husband arranged for my ticket. (THANK YOU, TIM!) She didn't know she was going to be in the audience until the morning of the event. And of course, dropped everything to be there.

There were others from my town going, so I rode with them. I sat in the back of the room, breathing the same air as the President of the United States, for almost two hours, with no hope of meeting him. One of my friends texted me and said to come to the front of the room when the forum began winding down.

Another rope line.

No selfies this time, but … pictures were taken.
Waiting to get in. My friend's
husband arranged for my ticket.
We got to keep our tickets!
On. A. Cloud.
My favorite picture from the day. Totally unexpected shot. 
President Obama was in West Virginia to learn about our prescription opioid problem. West Virginia's death-by-overdose rate tops the nation's. I left the event thinking maybe, maybe this time something will be done. Over and over and over, the words "we need more treatment" were spoken. The Charleston, WV, chief of police said, "We can't arrest our way out of this problem."

Given my volunteer work at a federal prison camp, in which the majority of inmates are drug-addicted, I was most impressed by his attitude.

So October has turned out to be a pretty good month for a political junkie.

I'm approaching a significant sobriety milestone in a couple of weeks. It's simply astonishing to look back on my life and see that I've gone from a hopeless, helpless, poor excuse for a human being, to a woman who tries to give back, savor the moment, and be the person I was meant to be. I'm so grateful to be alive, grateful to know the people I know, grateful for both of you who still read this sadly neglected blog.

Thanks for indulging me.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Breakfast of Champions

A tiny serving of apple crisp
to start my morning off today.
Okay, not really.

I told myself (and you, I think) that I was going to get back on that primal horse and whip my nae-nae back into shape before the hip surgery.

Well, that hasn't happened. Probably because I don't have an actual date for the hip surgery.

I work better on deadline. Heh.

Which isn't really true.

Here's what's really going on in my head these days.

Back when I did my first Whole 30 and lost a bunch of weight, I also felt better. The result of eliminating grains, sugar, dairy and legumes wasn't just a lower number on the scale. It was reduced inflammation and more energy and a general feeling of well-being.

Because I now know that my hip pain is not related to food, but is instead a cartilage deficiency, I'm more than slightly less inclined to eliminate all those things that taste good.

Pass the cheese, please.

I still want to lose weight. I still actually need to lose weight. The less extra lard the surgeon has to cut through to replace that hip joint, the better for both of us.

So I'm going to approach this project as if I were quitting smoking. I'm setting a date, winding down, gearing up, working on my head before I settle in to work on my body.

Here's the thing: Not walking, facing surgery, being in pain all the freaking time – it wears you down emotionally. It saps your energy. It makes you just not care all that much. Grabbing something easy trumps making something from scratch every damned time.

Eating primally takes a lot more work than grabbing a sandwich. I know at least one of you who agrees with me. I can think of other ways I'd like to spend my time than standing at the kitchen counter prepping food.

Like … resting.

But I stood at the kitchen counter most of the morning yesterday, processing a half-bushel of apples, AND I LIVED.  (A paleo apple coffee cake, two gallons of non-paleo apple pie filling, four quarts of sugar-free, cinnamon-spiced applesauce, and a pan of apple crisp – not paleo.)

So I'll build on that small success and plan the plans to get back to more cooking, less snacking.

My husband's birthday is tomorrow, and I'm surprising him with his favorite decadent, delicious, cheesy, creamy onion soup. I'm also making a blackberry cobbler (instead of cake) – another surprise. His gift of several books came in the mail already, so the only way to mark the occasion is with food, amirite?

I'm shooting for November 1 to get back to paleo for good. Maybe not a strict Whole 30, which eliminates paleo-fied concoctions, but definitely ditching grains, sugar, dairy and legumes.

In the meantime, apple crisp makes a lovely breakfast. Maybe not the breakfast of champions in the title, but at least the breakfast of what happens to be handy that doesn't need to be cooked.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Time for a reset

I've announced the intention out loud and in writing to a few people that I need to do another Whole 30.

Intending and doing aren't exactly the same thing.

I have a big dinner to go to tomorrow night. I'm not sure what's on the menu – in fact, I'm not even sure I'll get to eat. As my county's Democrat of the Year, I'll be in a long line for a long time, waiting to be introduced. Last time this happened, there wasn't much food left by the time I found my seat at a table again.

So if I don't get dinner, that can be part of a fast. According to an article at Mark's Daily Apple, fasting is a good way to get back on a primal track.

The article also mentions walking. And I've been thinking about this. My hip hurts, all the time, but I've been assured I can't do any more damage to it than what has already been done. So why not take a short walk two or three times a week? Not the daily four-milers I used to do … but a mile? I could try that, and see how bad the pain is afterward.

I need to do something to get back on track, and to lose some weight before the surgery. So I'm putting it out here. The most successful I've been at dropping pounds and feeling good/healthy/energetic as an adult have been when I've followed a paleo/primal plan. It may not be for you. But it's worked for me, and I've every confidence it will work again.

And I know that losing weight now will have a positive effect on the success of my surgery and ease of recovery.

Here I go.