First, thank you all for the comments and email you sent after my last post. Things are looking up over here. I’m off TPN (for now) and am allowed to eat real, actual food. Like, the kind you chew. I’m allowed lean chicken and fish, fruits, and veggies. Unfortunately, it’s actually extremely difficult to get enough calories on that diet, so I’m still losing an average of a pound a day. Not good. We’re trying to sneak in extra calories with sauces and protein drinks. The nutritionist wants me to eat between 1500-1800 calories a day. We’re just trying to fit in 1200. My stomach is practically the size of a walnut, so I take two bites and get full. So fingers crossed for no more weight loss. As of this morning, I’m down 29 pounds since March 1st.
Still, there are good things happening. I’m down to just ONE drain in my body (sorry, but drains are the new black) and it’s barely putting out any fluid, which could mean it maybe could come out before the next surgery. OR it could mean the fluid is going elsewhere but I’m choosing to remain optimistic about this.
One way I’m finding my optimism is by looking for the perks of this new reality. To that end, I’d like to introduce you to Super Awesome Perk #1: My PICC line.
Y’all, this thing is seriously amazing. I mean, sure, it’s not my first choice in spring accessories, but it does a good job of helping me get what I want. Case in point? Mother’s Day.
See, my favorite restaurant in Seattle is Chaco Canyon Cafe. Back when I was a normal person who ate normal things, I was probably their best customer. Seriously. Best lentil burger you’ll ever have. And also smoothies and juices. And cookies. And everything else. On Mother’s Day, Chaco was having a special promotion. Bring your mother to the restaurant and get a free “mother” (a kombucha starter in a jar). My sister saw the sign last week and got so excited because she’s been wanting to brew her own kombucha forever. She wasn’t able to join us for Mother’s Day, so Mom and I thought we’d stop by Chaco and pick up a mother for her.
We did not anticipate the line that was nearly out the door. Normally we’d just wait it out, but I get tired so quickly and we had a movie to catch (the new Oz movie; highly recommend if taking a nap in the theater is your jam) in 30 minutes. At first, I was discouraged but THEN I REMEMBERED MY SECRET WEAPON. I shrugged off my sweater and went directly to the front of the line, bumping people with my PICC line and apologizing. I grabbed the first employee I could find.
Me: (waving my arm weirdly, so the PICC line was clack clack clacking in the breeze) Hi! Sorry, I don’t mean to bother you. It’s just we needed to pick up the kombucha mother and are in a bit of a hurry. (Still waving my arm. Like a crazy person. With a PICC line.)
Uncomfortable Employee: (staring at the tubes coming out of my arm) Um, what? Oh. Okay. A starter. RIGHT. Okay. I’ll grab it.
Me: (clack clack clack crazy person) THANK YOU SO MUCH! (emphatic PICC-style gesturing)
UE: (grabbing the starter and shoving it into my hand, the one not connected to the PICC arm) No problem? Thank you?
Me: NO THANK YOU. (clack. clack clack.)
It was 100% awesome and I feel zero guilty.
Today, though, bigger guns were needed. Meet Super Awesome Perk #2: My Drain Bag.
Do you like the kicky gray bag with the pretty yarn? My lovely sister made it for me. I’m too nice to show y’all the actual drain. Because I can’t even really look at it. Since it grosses me out so much, Ceci actually sewed this lovely accessory and gave me iron-on narwhals with which to decorate it. I’m considering saving those for a sweatshirt though. Like, my very own I Had Drains But Now I Don’t celebration sweatshirt. Hipsters everywhere will be SO JEALOUS.
A few days ago, I realized that I probably needed to see if I could freeze my gym membership. I can barely walk to the mailbox without taking thirteen bazillion breaks. It will be awhile before I grace another spin class. So Mom and I loaded up in the car this morning and drove to the gym to see what our options were.
Me: (dressed in a normal dress with a sweater covering my PICC line) Hi! I need to speak to someone about putting a hold on my membership dues.
Michael the Gym Guy: Why do you need a hold?
Me: Well, I’ve been pretty sick lately, in and out of the hospital, and won’t be able to exercise for another couple of months, at least.
MtGG: We can probably do that. Do you have documentation?
MtGG: You know, proof of your illness?
Me: (giddy inside) Oh. I actually DO have documentation! (pulling off my sweater to reveal my glam PICC line clacking in the breeze) THIS IS MY DOCUMENTATION! I eat food through these tubes sometimes! And this is how they take my blood EVERY WEEK.
MtGG: (shocked and uncomfortable) Um…
Me: (maniacal laugh inside my head) Oh, do you need other proof? (lifting up my skirt a little) HERE LOOK. THIS IS MY DRAIN BAG. IT IS CURRENTLY DRAINING BILE FROM MY ABDOMEN. LIKE RIGHT NOW WHILE WE ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER.
MtGG: (looks away immediately and cannot make eye contact)
Random Other Employee: (WIDE-EYED SHOCK)
Smoothie Girl Across the Room: (looks disgusted and glares at me the entire rest of the time)
MtGG: (still not making eye contact) Um, more like a note from your doctor.
Me: (holding my drain bag and my PICC line) Oh. I thought you meant documentation like this. Like, you know, these tubes in my arm or, you know, this bag of bile? Right here? That I’m holding?
MtGG: (hating my existence and wishing he’d gone into sheep shearing instead of kinesiology) Yeah, no. Just a piece of paper.
Me: Oh, that’s all at home. We’ll come back tomorrow.
And we will. Because he said they couldn’t retroactively freeze my membership, even during the time I was in the ICU but I think that’s bunk so I’m going to fight them a little bit. Because what good is it to be on a ventilator if you can’t get FREE GYM CREDITS.
Moral: When life gives you a drain bag, try to get free shit.
**This lesson brought to you by PICC, Drain Bags, and Slowly Returning Optimism. Sorry if I grossed you out. But actually not sorry because it’s entirely awesome.**