Monday, December 22, 2008

No Drains!

Okay, I know that this is going to sound weird, but damn, I am happy to have those drains out!  Let me backtrack.  

After the Lower Body Lift, the surgeon places a set of duel drains under the skin that encircle the body.  The drains are soft, flexible tubes, each 18 inches in length that act as a wick to remove fluid that accumulates between the skin and the muscle.  They exit at the mons through two holes and the tubes are stitched to the skin to hold them in place.  So basically, every time you move the drains shift a little, but the major movement happens at the mons where the tubes exit, pulling, not only the tubes but the mons as well.  There is no way to stand, sit or lay down without being uncomfortable.  (Just use your imagination.)

Today at 9:30am the drains were removed, a sensation similar to something sliding under your skin.  Not really painful, but really disquieting.

I’m so happy! 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

New Math


If you don’t like potty humour, do not read further!

This is the new math

Iron supplements + Codeine = Constipation

Friday, December 19, 2008


I recognize the need for sleep. Just plain, old every day sleep. I certainly know the value of sleep when sick or trying to heal. In fact, to my understanding, one heals best when they are asleep due to the peak release of growth hormones. Therefore, I am in complete agreement with my surgeon's assessment that I should take sleeping pills to help me sleep during the first week after my Lower Body Lift (due to the fact that normal sleep is disturbed by pain). But this is my slippery slope.

I have a food addiction. I know, therefore, that I have an addictive personality. I know that my addictions have never spread to pain medication. However, my body responds to sleeping pills like Snow White responded to the Wicked Stepmother's poison apple. I drop, dead asleep. Man, do I sleep.

Once before, in a time of great stress, I asked my Doctor for sleeping pills and she gave them to me. Why wouldn't she? We both knew at that point that I did not abuse pain medication. She prescribed, Lorazepam, which did the trick. However, if I missed taking the pill even once, I would have psychedelic dreams that were certainly not conducive to restful sleep. So, I decided to kick the habit. It was not easy. In fact, to my surprise, it was impossible. I tried every trick in the book; taking ½ pill, taking the pill every second day, going from Friday to Sunday without. Anything I could think of to get off the damn things. Nothing worked.

Now luck was with me on this one because, over a years use of Lorazepam was wiped out by a week of a Morphine/Demerol cocktail that I was being given after my gastric by-pass surgery. I just didn't take the Lorazepam while I was in hospital. I was able to use one drug to kick the habit of the other. I believe happy was a good way to describe what I was feeling,

My sleep cycle went back to normal and I have not had a problem with it since. Until now. Yup, the sleeping pills that I have currently been given to help me sleep, included Lorazepam. I took them right after the Lower Body Lift. I confess, I needed them. The ability to sleep through the night had been completely stripped away by pain.

And now, one week later, there is a small plastic bag on my night table, here in San Jose that still holds several little white, harmless looking Lorazepam pills. I knew that I had to stop now. I already could feel that they were a problem and they are because, here I am, laying in my bed at 4:22am blogging.

The adventure continues.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It hurts! But not where you'd think.

As you may recollect, the lower body lift is a removal of a "belt" of skin that encircles the waist. My belt ended up weighting 10lbs with the removal of another 2lbs by liposuction. (Brenda's husband, Eric, called it a body circumcision LOL). Not a small amount of tissue loss by any stretch of the imagination.

I really thought that the incision that encircled my body would be the thing that hurt the most, but I am here to swear to you that I don't even notice it. What is killing me is a combination of couching stitching and a deep cough that I have developed. Let me back track.

When they remove the belt of skin they liposuction away the extra fat that is between the skin and the muscle on the upper abdominal wall so that the new “tummy” lays flat. However, in order to make sure that the tummy stays flat (and to reduce the area in which fluids can build up between the muscle and the fat), the surgeon places hundreds of stitches holding the two layers together (kind of like when you see a pillow with a button holding both sides together). Now that alone doesn't really hurt either, and let's just say, I freely use my pain medication. The problem is that I have a dog allergy and the recovery centre has three dogs. I did not not know about the dogs until I got here (and really, it has been years since this particular allergy has caused me a problem). Anyway, my allergies kicked in; the itchy eyes, itchy throat, itchy ear canals, a runny nose and a deep, deep phlegmy cough. This cough is the killer because I am using the low abdominal muscles jut above the pubis that is all stitched to the underside of my skin! Let's see, on a scale of 1 – 10, when I cough I hit a nine.

I have started taking allergy pills and codeine (which is a natural cough suppressant) in efforts to control the coughing. I must say that this has been working. However, the other concern to me is not just the coughing. Because I am so sedentary and I have all this fluid in my lungs, I run the risk of phenomena, So I am trying to make sure that I cough, but in a more controlled way that doesn't cause so much pain. I will be seeing the doctor on Friday to confirm that all is going well.

In all honesty, I can say, to date, that this has been the most uncomfortable thing I have had to deal with. Count you blessings when the come, I say. It could have been a lost worst.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We are alive, and speaking in coherent sentences. However, we are also falling asleep about every 30 minutes or so. The care here has been great and we both don't how we would have done this at home even with the help of loving families and friends.

Keep us in your thoughts and I will update you as soon as I can stay zzzzzzzz.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

First Day Here

So, Brenda and I got up early, 6am! Way to early for any type of real functioning. We grabbed breakfast at 7; sweet coffee, beans & rice, toast and a really neat tasting sweet butter. We ate outside, it was a little cloudy, but nice. Then Brenda went out for a little walk while I took a nap (since 5 hours of sleep doesn't work for me). We met up again for coffee at 9:00 and discussed what we are going to do for the day. And this is how it looks:
9:00 – 12:30 Hang out and chat
12:30 – 2:30 Pre-op appointment at the clinic
2:30 – 10:00 Going the Gold Museum, going to a Peruvian restaurant for dinner and preparing for tomorrow's surgery.

I am sure that there will be little bits of things to fill in later, but for now that is the plan.

By the way, we just found out that it is -13 in in Ontario. Ha-ha! It's a balmy 22 here.

First Day ~ Part Two

So where do I start? Okay, after our coffee break, Brenda and I packed our stuff that needed to go to Casa del la Mariposa (from here on known as Mariposa) and left for a walk. We trundled through a park that had these really cool trees that had no bark on the trunks. It's not that the tree didn't have bark, it's just that the bark peeled off and left a green tinge on the remaining smooth wood.

From there we went to Rosti Pollos (a Costa Rica version if Swiss Chalet) for lunch. We tried the Aztec soup and something else that was yummy (it was a hard, flat tortilla with refried beans, chicken and veggies), but we can't remember the name of it. We then headed back to the hotel to meet Andi, the owner of Mariposa. She and her driver, Charlie, drove us to the Mariposa to drop off our bags. We tried to pay her but ran out of US money. This was due to the fact that we were unaware that there is a 16% tax, plus a 3% tourist tax. But more about running out of money later.

From there we went to the Rosenstock & Lieberman Clinic (from here on know as R&L clinic) for our pre-operation appointment. They drew blood to have to typed and matched, just in case we needed a blood transfusion (which is $200/litre used). We then both went through the procedure expectations and costs. (pant, can't breath to go)

I have just now finished hyperventilating. On top of the price quoted, I decided to have additional liopsuction done on my upper abdomen, thus increasing the cost of the operation by $1761.50 CAD. (Can't breath! Panic setting in! ......Okay)

After much consternation, Brenda and I left the clinic with Alvaro Mesen, a taxi driver/body guard/tour guide. He drove us around San Jose to the heart of the city where there tons of little markets, bakeries, restaurants, and banks (lots of very big banks). We saw some really cool stuff made of rose wood, but decided that, in our current financial situation, to buy nothing! By the way Alvaro was great. His English was excellent and he was not hard on the eyes either! I would highly recommend him if you are every in San Jose.

Now in reference to our running out of USD, we stopped at three different banks trying to get a cash advance. The first bank would not let us do it because we didn't have our passports (we had left them in the safe for safe-keeping). The second bank that Alvaro took us to, would not do it for us because we were using Mastercard and they only delt with VISA. The third bank would not do it because we didn't know our PIN. We spent a lot of time running around, going to banks, with no success. But that running around gave us a good chance to see a huge chunk of the pedestrian boulevard. We never made it to the Gold Museum, though we did walk by it.

We wandered around for a few hours and ended up at a restaurant called Nuestra Tierra (which is not the Peruvian resturant that we thought that we were going to). They made this great coffee that was filtered, in what looked like a sock, with hot milk. Damn it was good. We ordered a meat and vegetable soup and the sea bass. Both dished were fabulous Brenda really liked the beans & rice, and some kind of root vegetable, that there was no translation for , but her favourite was the pico de gallo. My favourite was the sea bass. We chatted and bolstered ourselves as best we could and eventually Alvaro's friend, Alex, picked us up at 7:30 and we headed back to the hotel.

There we prepped for the upcoming day, took “before” pictures, took sleeping pills, (because we a both really nervous) and are now getting ready for bed. We head out tomorrow at 6:45 to arrive at the R&L for 7:00. Our surgery should take place at around 7:30 – 7:45.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The First of Many Updates

Brenda and I left for Costa Rica this morning at 10:30am. After waiting for a while at the Toronto airport, we flew without incident to Miami, which is where I am updating this blog from. Isn't technology cool!
Anyway, the trip so far has been without incident, however, I have discovered that I am a bit of a nervous traveller. (Brenda is laughing her ass off right now!) Brenda keeps threatening to drug me or give me more booze. Personally, I am going for the latter.

Stick around. It can only get better!

So it is 12:57am (local time) and we have finally arrived at Apartote La Sabana, 3 hours late. Aaaaggghhhhh!

Apparently there was a "problem" on the plane that was suppose to bring us to San Jose and since it was delayed, we were delayed. The best part is that the taxi that was suppose to pick us up at the airport was not there and, of course, everybody was trying to give us a lift. At one point two guys decided that we were a lost cause, lent us a phone to call the hotel to request a taxi. 15 minutes passed and still there was no taxi. By this time one guy had another fare and left. The other guy was still hanging around. I guess since Brenda and I looked tired (and the guy was sick of waiting with us) he popped us into some other guy's taxi and assured us that this guy knew where he was going! Can you tell what is coming?

You got it. The taxi driver had no idea where Apartote La Sabana was. He took us to the sister hotel, got directions and finally, after driving around in circles, got us to the right place.

We checked in, changed into our pj's, and remarked on how we were like two little old ladies travelling to Florida for the first time. We have a bed, we are tired and now we are off to sleep.
See you in the morning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Second Thoughts and Thirds and Fourths and so on

Nothing like a panic attack on Friday night to sharpen ones focus! Honestly, once the thought that I was spending way to much money on something so frivolous entered my head, I started to reel. If I could have found a way to cancel my flight and surgery, I would have bailed out sooooo fast!

It's not that I don't want to have the surgery done. Rather, it is the idea of spending so much money on it. In the grand scheme of things, $15,000.00 is not a lot of money. But damn, it is a lot of money! I just have to keep in mind that I have to amortize the total cost over the next 40 years of my life.

Right! Now where the hell did I put that paper bag.