Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I am...

Difficult, stubborn, opinionated, a trouble maker, an advocate for change, a malcontent, someone of integrity, rash, calculating, and many other things depending on who you ask.  Today was another one of those frustrating days, more so than my promotion feedback.  Compounding on the activities of today are the fact that I am still recovering from surgery, in pain, (trying to) sleep on the couch because it hurts to much to lie down, have swelling and two surgical drains, and the strongest pain med I can take is Tylenol.  Monday I took an action on principle. Tuesday, I got raked across the coals for it.

I don't agree with the actions that many of the people took in response to the incident, but specifically, it was the response that I undid because I could point to a reason that was not allowed per our rules.  This started a long argument over the fact that TPTB had made that decision and I should have consulted with them first, even though they had made no communication to us about that decision, not consulted with the team before making it, and violated our terms of use in the process.  There are still things that should be addressed there, but the action I took was actually to try and fan out some of the flames rather than feed the conspiracy theory fires.  Management did not agree.  Since I was literally in a corner, and had two people attacking me for my actions, I became very agitated which drove my blood pressure through the roof, and got me to the point of tears, shaking, and an unsteady voice, because their comments amounted to attacks on my integrity from my point of view.  I explained myself as best I could and also informed them I was moving on.  The later part was not entirely a rash decision, I had been contemplating it for some time, and had actually given myself a deadline of the end of this week to make a decision, this incident just tipped the scales in one direction.

Ironically, this all happened just days after I found out that I was put forward to the next level for promotion (yeah, that is not happening now) and got a cash award.  But I am just a lose cannon with no integrity apparently, so, explain that.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Random Blog Post is Random

For some reason, taking Percocet just before I went to sleep meant I would only be asleep for 2 hours and now I am fairly wide awake, so I figured I would capture a few things in a single blog post.  First up, sequestration.

A few days before I left work for my surgery, I drew a skull and cross bones on the dry-erase board and wrote "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter, Sequestration Looms Large" around it.  While I still don't know if I will experience any ill effect (such as furlough days) I have received word that several people I know and work with will be gone from my office very soon as a direct result of sequestration.  Well, now I feel like an asshole for writing that one the board (although we knew it was a possibility).  I actually have zero idea how this makes me feel about staying in that office versus transferring to another one.  I definitely need to get back    in the office to find out more information before I can make a decision, as well as not be on Percocet when I decide.  I continue to be very torn between the desire to see my project succeed versus my comfort working in the organization.  Who knows, maybe the decision to move to another project will be made for me before I even have a chance to come back.

This extends into what was going to be another blog post of it's own that I was going to title "Annual Performance Reviews or How I Learned to Hate Myself by Using Buzzwords." About 2 months ago I had to turn in my performance self-appraisal.  This is the horrible several page document where I have to write "Hey, look at me, I'm awesome!  Promote Me!" 5,000 times.  That is very hard for me to do and I end up asking for input from several people.  Since I turned that in, I am still sitting on pins and needles waiting to hear if management agrees with the document or if I am not good enough again this year.  If they promote me, then I guess that means I was a good enough word-smith this year, because it honestly isn't about what I did because my management doesn't know/understand.  It will be about how well I wrote about what I did.

I will also add in my "Tragedy and Gun Control Part II" thoughts to this blog post.  First off, I was wrong. I predicted that there wouldn't be any changes to gun control laws after Sandy Hook.  Well, I was wrong.  Several states have started passing legislation about magazine/clip size, "assault" weapons, and gun registration and background check requirements. Some of these I think should have been done a long time ago (such as mentally ill people not being able to purchase firearms) but at the same time, what constitutes "mentally ill"?  If someone takes a low dosage of medication for anxiety or slight depression does that mean they can't own a gun now?  If that is the case, lots of people won't seek help for their minor issues so they can continue to purchase firearms, and maybe that minor issue will grow into something worse down the road.  The information about what the guidelines are for that have to be very clear, as mental illness already has a stigma associated with it where people don't want to seek help, don't give them another reason to turn away from help.  Regardless, overall, I support initiatives like that and the closing of loopholes for gun-show sales.  I would even support a requirement of a safety class and shooting lesson for the purchase of your first weapon, but it would have to remain affordable.

The magazine size and assault weapons bans, I am more on the fence about those.  I can support them overall as I described in my previous post, but I just don't see them having much effect in reality.  In fact, there has actually been a run on those guns and clips/magazines. From this CBS article from December:
"I normally sell about 15-20 [AR-15s] a month. I've sold about 30 in the last three days," said Rick Friedman, who owns RTSP in Randolph, N.J.
...
Brownells, the world's largest firearms supplier, says it recently sold more than three-and-a-half years worth of AR-15 magazines in three days.
So, take from that what you will.  Like I said in my previous post, you don't need an AR-15 to hunt a deer, I have no problem with them being banned, just don't see it helping that much.

I think that is enough random stuff crammed into one blog post.  I should try and get back to sleep.

Pain, Drains, and Surgical Staples

I had my one week surgery follow-up yesterday at the surgeon's office.  He was very happy with the rate of my healing and able to remove two of my four JP drains (the ones attached to my chest).  I also asked if he could remove the staples from my one side because they kept rubbing against the bandages and causing pain.  They had only used the staples because that side was a little tight and even with the staples it had pulled away a bit but he said it was ok to remove them.  He also said the only thing at this point that determines when I return to work is when I can get off of the Percocet so that I can drive.  Since Chrissy can't drive right now, her mom had come down to take us to the Dr so we treated her to lunch at G&M before coming back to the house.

Then, last night around 7:30, I decided to try a dose of Tylenol rather than Percocet to curb my pain (that was the Dr's suggestion, alternate Percocet and Tylenol).  Well, that did not work, I was in awful pain.  Part of that might have been because where the staples had been apparently pulled apart a bit more so that was a large source of the pain.  Once I could take Percocet again last night (around 11:30/12:00) I did and was pretty good after that.  This morning, I am holding off as long as I can before my next dose (I am at about 5 -5 1/2 hours now) and if I can make it to 7 hours or so that will be a good step on the way to getting off of Percocet.  I am still REALLY sore, but I don't want to take regular Tylenol again because that will prevent me from taking Percocet if it gets bad again.  I haven't been moving much yet this morning so that might be why the pain is tolerable right now.

Will I make it back to work on Monday?  I don't know.  I do know that if I do, it will be in sweatpants because of where the scars are and my drains.  It wouldn't be possible to wear jeans right now because the waste-band would sit right on the drain locations and the surgical scars.  Even sweatpants & the compression dressing are bad enough against them right now.  Time will tell, but I am getting better every day.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Better Than I Hoped for, Worse Than I Expected

It has been almost a week since my surgery, and the results have both been amazing and depressing at the same time.  Except for a bit of swelling, my "man-boobs" are gone.  The surgeon was able to cut a total of over 35 lbs off of me between my abdomen and chest.  I am much less than what I used to be, but at the same time, I am not.

Fluid retention and swelling mean that I weigh only about 10 lbs less than before the surgery.  My thighs are swollen to twice their size.  My stomach is awkwardly sticking out (only above the scar) like I have an intestinal parasite (Think Starvin' Marvin on South Park).  Because of the swelling, it is hard to gauge how "even" everything will be once the swelling goes down, but right now my stomach is lopsided (right side sticks out a bit more).  Two of my four JP drains aren't draining much fluid and their locations make them somewhat uncomfortable (under my arms).

The pain is tolerable enough on only 1 pain killer (can two but haven't needed to) but when I sleep past their effective time (about 4 hours) I wake up very uncomfortable and it takes a while for the pain to subside again.  That is why I am writing this post now, because I woke up about 2 hours past-due for a painkiller and am feeling it right now.  I can get up and move around ok (with some pain) but I won't be able to drive until I am off the painkillers and I drift in and out of it some days due to them.  There is a chance I will start to doze off while finishing this blog post if I don't do it fast enough.

To add to all that, there was some "excitement" while I was in the hospital.  When they switched me from the pain pump to oral pain medication, a migraine was triggered.  And I don't mean a "ow my head hurts" type of  migraine either, I experienced full aura.   I had vision difficulty, and numbness/tingling on one side of my body (right) including numbness in my mouth.  So, yeah, that triggered a stroke scare in the hospital staff (rightfully so) so during the time when I am not supposed to lie down flat, and not bend strangely, I had to maneuver myself onto the tables of both a CT and MRI machine and lie flat.  That was.....painful.  Fortunately, the CT and MRI both came back clean, but that was not a fun time.

I snapped a morning-of "before" photo in the hotel room Monday morning, and I will eventually post that along with an after shot (in all my pasty-white shirtless glory), but the swelling could take 3-4 months to fully go away.  I will make sure to put those pictures behind a link so I don't subject anyone to my blubber unless they really want to see the photos.  I may also take an intermediate after photo in the next  day or so to show the swelling, but that requires me to do that when we are changing the dressings which in and of itself is an ordeal.

Speaking of the dressings, I now know how a sausage feels.  I have to wear a compression dressing around my abdomen and an ace bandaged wrapped around my chest.  This is to help keep swelling down, and promote the expulsion of fluid through my JP drains.  That is not exactly comfortable, especially where the compression dressing crosses paths with the JP drain entry points.  Back when I played little league baseball, I wore compression shorts, and I actually was very comfortable in those.  This is different though, because the compression dressing is directly on top of very long scars that are still healing.

Speaking of very long scars, the tummy-tuck scar actually wraps around onto my back on both sides.  I can only imagine how much "fun" that must have been during the surgery.  The scars extend probably one-two inches onto my back on each side.  Also, my five-six hour surgery ran SEVERAL HOURS long because of how much I was bleeding and how many tiny blood vessels the Dr kept having to tie off.  Fortunately, while I came very close to needing one, no transfusion was required.

Only time will tell if I am truly satisfied with the results, and I will never look like a model or anything, but I can say it is very odd looking at myself in the mirror now without there being the giant skin fold in my stomach or my man boobs.  The difference, even with the swelling, is already amazing, and I look forward to seeing the final result.  On that note, my percocet is kicking in and I am starting to get loopy, so I will close out this blog post by saying that "I don't always drive on painkillers, but when I do, it is on XBox and is hella fun"

Monday, March 11, 2013

There is no emoticon for what I am feeling now

Quick recap for those who haven't been following along. I once weighed 595lbs. I am now about 300 after gastric bypass and today I have surgery to remove excess skin from my stomach and chest.

I am just a few hours from surgery and I have already been awake for a few hours. So many thoughts are racing through my mind. I am anxious, nervous, excited, scared, optimistic, worried, tired, energized, hungry, thirsty, hyper, subdued.  I am a walking contradiction, much like Starburst...lol.

I took a before photo, but I won't scar you all with that photo...yet. I need to remember to ask for a photo of what they remove if possible. I know I won't suddenly have a six pack or anything. In fact I will still probably have a good bit of a gut, but it should be a significant improvement. My only remaining major problem area after today should be my thighs.

My next blog post will be somewhere the other side of surgery but I may tweet some more this AM.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

T-6 Days, and things got complicated

Less than a week from now, I will be getting ready to head to St. Agnes hospital for surgery to remove excess skin from my abdomen and chest.  For a couple of reasons, I have almost had to cancel my surgery.  First, I developed a new ulcer.  I am now on medication to coat my stomach and sooth the ulcer and after talking to my bariatric surgeon, he didn't see any reason to postpone the surgery.  Then, yesterday morning, since I was leaving the house later than usual to get my blood work done pre-op, I was still home to witness Chrissy having her third ever seizure.  For anyone who hasn't witnessed a tonic-clonic (formerly termed grand-mal) seizure, it is very disturbing.  The emotionally hardest part for the witness is the time immediately after the seizure ends because of the condition of the person who experienced it.

My immediate plan was to cancel my surgery as Chrissy is now forbidden from driving for 3 months.  Fortunately, my Mom is coming up the day before surgery and will be able to drive us to/from the hospital.  Once I am home, I won't really be going anywhere anyway, so as long as we have everything we need in the house, we will be set until I can drive again.  The only exception might be the post-op follow up with the surgeon, but if I can't drive at that point, I have already made alternative arrangements.

Now the problem becomes leave.  I had enough leave to cover the anticipated two weeks off from work, but then I developed a cold and worked a short day Thursday last week and was off Friday.  Then yesterday I was planning on making up some of those hours (after going in late due to getting my blood work done) but obviously a wrench was thrown into that plan.  So, now I need to go to work "late" today (around 8), AND try to make up some hours.  Going to be a long (short) week. (4 day week now, but will be working long days).  Oh, and Chrissy has 13 hour shifts Thurs, Fri & Saturday and can't drive.