On the wagon…

Day 7

No wine, vodka, whiskey-none of my favorite things.  I’ve done it before, I wrote about it, but this time seems harder for whatever reason.  I decided to take another break for a yet to be decided length of time-but I’ll manage.

For the first couple of days I had liquor on the brain and questioned my motives endlessly.  Why am I torturing myself?  Is it even worth it?  I didn’t lose any weight last time, what makes it seem that things will be different? 

I persisted through those really hard days and here I am on day 7 and feeling better about it.  I figured I may as well share some of what I experienced through the process so far…

  • Sweating-during sleep I’d go through phases of being comfortable and then covered in sweat.  It wasn’t horrible but not the most pleasant.
  • Irritability-I was cranky, I wanted a few glasses of wine to unwind and knew that wasn’t an option so…bark bark bark.
  • Bloating-even more bloated than when I consumed a bottle of wine.
  • Lethargy-I have no energy, feel a little down,  and somehow feel the need to watch Grey’s Anatomy from the very beginning.
  • Breakouts-my face is starting to look like that of a teenager.  I know it’s temporary but I’m definitely not happy about it.
  • Sugar cravings-I realize now that the alcohol I was consuming was feeding that craving and now, in the absence of alcohol, I need ALL the carbs.  Oatmeal Creme Pies, Nutty Buddy’s, chocolate covered blueberries, breads…Gimme!!

Honestly, I’ll be even happier when I lose the bloat and sugar cravings.  I’ve already gained a few pounds from the shitty sugar foods I’ve been eating in just one week.

I hope I still feel it’s worth it next week!

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A Quick Trip

I went to Vegas with the intention of hanging out in the casino with my husband, drink free.

I arrived, stitches hot from sitting on them for the entire ride, minus one quick trip to the only working rest stop along the way.  I was sore and in need of a painkiller-it was Tuesday and I’d only just had the surgery on Friday.

We got checked in, got up to our room, Robert jumped in the shower, and as I sat on the bed looking forward to a couple of days of relaxation-my neighbor called to tell me that our oldest son left the men’s home already after staying less than 24 hrs.  That kid knows how to shit all over everything.  My relief and lightheartedness was replaced with dread.  He was supposed to be in that home for a year-they’d let him live there as long as he didn’t use drugs.  He couldn’t manage one full day.

Instead of spending time visiting with each other and having a calm two days together, we focused on the fact that he’s forced our hand.  No more coming home for showers or food, no more loading up his phone with new music or checking his social media.  And definitely no more hanging out next door in the garage where the police have been closely watching for months in order to gather enough information to raid it.

I had also planned to stay on my diet while in Vegas.

This was definitely not on my low carb diet.

At least not the hash browns and pancakes!  I tried.

That evening we stayed down in the casino until late.  We played blackjack until our luck and my wine ran out.

The next day we spent our time at the nearby outlets and walked a few laps and bickered back and forth.  The stress of having an addict for a child dominates every aspect of your life if you let it.  We’re still grappling with it-I don’t want our limited time together to be spent arguing over things of which we have no control.  It’s not our fault-we didn’t cause this.

I’ve been trying to get him on this low carb diet with me.  It’s difficult for a truck driver to follow any sort of healthy diet but he does have a refrigerator, and once he cleans out the ice cream, he’ll have room for bacon and pepperoni.  I think he thinks I’m being pushy.  I’m really not trying to be, but as (almost) every wife wants their husband to be healthy,  I do try to give gentle nudges.  He’d probably argue that they’re more like karate kicks to the groin but…I’m still me.  I’m not the nicest, I suppose.  I blame it on my humor-I have inherited too much of my dad’s sharp tongue.

We enjoyed looking at things we don’t normally.  They have a store there, Le Creuset, which happens to be an outlet, as well.  And while their entire store was 40% off,  I can’t see myself ever spending over $300 on a cast iron pot.  They were gorgeous and we had fun imagining our new kitchen full of these fancy items, and Robert loved teasing me about leaving rotten potatoes in them to sit outside until he dumped them for me (yes, I’ve done that more than I care to admit!) retching the entire time-he has a delicate stomach.

The colors were rich and I fell in love with the plum-colored collection they had.  We discussed which color pepper mill we’d want and I told him it was up to him;  I’m not the one that peppers everything.  He’ll pepper food before he even tastes it-salt, too, but mainly pepper.  He finds it strange that I don’t.  It was nice to discuss housewares and idly pass the time.  I miss him.

I liked these:

After the iHop breakfast that morning hit my stomach like a ton of bricks,  I found myself hurrying to the restroom on more than one occasion and I have to ask-why can’t women manage to flush a toilet?  I don’t understand it!  Is it laziness, are they in so much of a hurry that they can’t possibly spare 30 seconds to step on a lever?  These thoughts were going through my head as I tried to maneuver myself onto the seat without letting my stitches actually touch.  That’s more difficult than it ought to be but considering the location, it’s my reality.  Forget a toilet seat cover-I tried and spent too long trying to carefully remove wet tissue from my stitches when they became wet after flushing.

I lead an interesting life.

We made our way over to In-N-Out and Robert easily talked me into trying a lettuce wrapped 4×4.  It’s four juicy beef patties with four slices of cheese wrapped in iceberg lettuce.  Of course,  we made it a combo that came with fries so it completely rendered the low carb burger useless, albeit, monstrously tasty!

I inhaled my burger and Robert kindly offered to eat my fries for me.  I declined his offer.

We drove around the area imagining living in the newly built gated communities.  I joked that we could move and not tell our oldest.

I left the next day and the trip home took an hour longer than usual because of an accident.  I played cat and mouse with a Ram for many miles because he cut me off and while his big truck has a bigger engine,  my lighter badass car can quickly overtake him.  I took every opportunity to pass him.  Jerk.  I have to find ways to keep myself entertained because the drive along the 15 freeway is ugly and I can only shift my leg around so many ways to avoid sitting on my healing leg.

The kid has court tomorrow.  We’ll see if he goes and if he does, if anything happens.  I’m doubtful on the latter.

 

A Minor Procedure

 

I’ve had this bump on the back of my thigh for several years-it’s grown, as have I, unfortunately, and my doctor finally agreed that my insurance would pay for its removal.  The first time I went in to have it looked at, she said it would be considered cosmetic and therefore, not covered.  I’m not sure why;  it wasn’t supposed to be there, it was an obvious lump, and it bothered me.  So, it stayed.  And grew.  It got to the point where I wouldn’t wear swimsuits because I was very conscious of it-directly below my butt cheek for the world to see.  It started causing me discomfort when I’d spend any length of time driving or sitting, and even made lying on my left side quite uncomfortable.  My left side is my favorite side, as sides go…

I got the approval a few days after the visit with my primary care doctor.  She isn’t the most friendly doctor and I suppose it’s not necessary that they have a prize-winning personality.  After all, what’s important is that they are good at their job.  An agreeable nature is secondary, although feeling like I’m being looked at like I have hypochondriasis isn’t pleasant.  The more I think about it, I might look into switching.

My mother volunteered to go with me to my appointment.  I didn’t rush to say yes only because I didn’t know how long she’d have to wait for me but I told her I might have her go.  Just in case I was sore driving home, she might be of some use to me.  I reminded her of it on Saturday and she asked when it was again and proceeded to tell me, “Oh, I made an appointment for the dog at the vet on Friday…”  One upped by the dog.  Thanks, Mom.

I got myself to the hospital where the doctor would perform the procedure-no idea what to expect, and quite stressed, actually.  My biggest fear was that he would cut on me before I was numb.  After having each of my five large children, I had stitches like most women nowadays.  Unfortunately, I felt each stitch and no matter how many times the doctor would inject more anesthesia, it didn’t seem to help.  I felt each one.  As you can imagine,  this left an unpleasant impression on me.  Would this doctor listen if I told him I was hurting?

The nurse took my vitals and asked if I was allergic to any medication.

“None that I’ve encountered thus far.”

“On a scale of one to ten, what would you say your pain tolerance is?”

Now that’s a question I haven’t put much consideration into.  How much pain can I take-were they going to see how far they could push me?  The notion didn’t help my blood pressure, I can tell you that.  I thought about it for a minute and the implications if I made the number too high and if I’d be considered a wimp if I made the number too low…I sat there psychoanalyzing myself before deciding on five.  Five is a good solid number.  Right down the middle.

The nurse asked me to put on a gown and I was concerned about being allowed to keep my underwear on.  She said I could and so I felt some relief.  I don’t like strangers looking at my naked butt.  I was also able to keep my shirt on, which was a bonus.

We walked back to the surgery room where I was asked to remove my underwear and lie down on the table.  Man, just when I was starting to relax a little.  So up I went, feeling very exposed, and they quickly rubbed iodine on my thigh and cheek.  They were nice nurses and understood my desire to have a bit of modesty and laid the sterile cloths so that only one cheek was exposed and nothing else extraneous.  They laid a warm blanket over me, afterward.

The doctor came in, checked that everything was as it should be, and let me know he was going to begin numbing my leg.

“This will sting, I guarantee it.”

He went slowly and I didn’t mind it at all.  It felt like little pinches and were only a slight irritation.  He asked if I was doing alright and I said I was.

“You’re not a guy, that’s for sure!”

I’ve been told that women have a higher pain tolerance;  it would make sense, of course.

He asked if I felt this and did I feel that, and thankfully, I did not.  He proceeded to cut and I noticed that I was suddenly feeling warm and slightly nauseous.

“Gosh, it’s really warm in here.”

“I told them to turn the temperature down in here so it should be cooling off soon,”  said the nurse.

“I’m worried that you’re feeling that way because you’re about to pass out,”  added the doctor.

They brought me something to vomit into, just in case, and after a bout of the sweats, I started feeling a little better.

I’m not sure how he was able to cut into my leg when I know I had both butt cheeks on super-clench the entire time, but he did it and asked if I’d like to see what he retrieved.

“Yes, absolutely!”

He brought around the growth that had been causing my discomfort for well over seven years and it looked like what I can only describe as a baby octopus from the Korean BBQ place up the street.  I wish I could’ve taken a picture.

“That’s about how I imagined it,”  I said.  “I’m glad it’s out of my leg.”

He asked me if I wanted stitches or staples and that there was no wrong answer.

“I think I’d like stitches.  I’ve never had staples and the idea isn’t the most appealing.”

Stitches, it is.

I got seven on the outside, I don’t know how many on the inside and I’m not sure if he counted, anyway.

He went over all of the ways I should care for my wounded thigh-no shower until Sunday, no hot tubs or jacuzzi for three weeks.  Come back and have the stitches removed in two weeks.  He was naming all of this off as I laid there light-headed hoping I’d remember everything.

“Thank you for being patient,”  he said as he was about to leave the room.

“Thank you for numbing me!”  I responded, as they were applying the gauze.  Truly, that was the greatest gift-a doctor who listened when I said I could feel something and he promptly gave me more anesthetic.

As I got dressed and was directed by the nurse which direction to go, she said to go one way if I had anyone waiting in the waiting room for me.  No, I didn’t.  Thanks again, Mom.  Then go the opposite direction to get the elevator.

I picked up the pain pills the doctor prescribed and then hiked what felt like a mile out to my car.  I made it.  I had my first in-office surgery and it wasn’t horrible.  I also realized that my doctor was someone I could picture my husband and I hanging out with at karaoke.  He probably liked Neil Diamond, too.

I went to the grocery store directly from the hospital and bought some ice cream.  Yes, I’m on a diet, but I figure a little pistachio almond ice cream is better than a glass/bottle of wine and it’ll make me less upset with my mom for ditching me.  Right?

By the way,  I told my mom that I was giving up the alcohol for a bit.  My brother and his wife took her wine tasting tasting for Mother’s Day weekend and, being the wino they’re used to, they found this mug and unanimously agreed it was perfect for me.  Obviously she’d forgotten about my abstinence, but it was nice to be thought of, I suppose.

I broke my liver

After drinking every day for the past, say, ten years, aside from the occasional hangover recovery day, I haven’t been able to bounce back.  I haven’t had any alcohol for nearly 30 days and I assumed the weight would melt off of me in puddles.  No such luck, sadly.

I allowed myself nearly two weeks to eat ice cream and other fatty, sugary foods in an effort to be a little kind to my system during its detox.  Obviously there’s no medical necessity for this but my brain needed a break.  Cue expansion of butt.

I’ve tried quite a few different diets over the years but I seem to be happiest on a low carb, Atkins style diet.  That doesn’t mean I actually lose much, but I love bacon and can have it eating low carb.  I’m not sure I’ve actually done this diet and gone longer than one week with no alcohol.  Why?  I’m all about instant gratification and if I gave up something I loved, wine, I expected to see some results.  Fast.  Since I didn’t lose while not drinking, I’d decide Why suffer? If I’m not going to lose anyway, might as well enjoy some wine.  And the cycle continued of dieting, drinking, and not losing.

I’m going to try my hand at patience-it’s certainly not one of my strong suits, but I don’t have much choice.  I’m not happy with how I look so I need to do something about it.  Only I can fix Me, right?

So here we are, adjustment time.  No sweets, no breads or pastas, no liquor…No fun.  I’m kidding, I’m not feeling as though I’m missing out on anything, really.   I know I can do this, it’s the waiting that kills me.

My scale has been broken for about a year-it seems to be stuck at the same weight without budging.  Well, until this morning, that is.  It was about five pounds less than it has been shouting at me for months.  Thank the Lord!

Here are some low carb foods I enjoy eating:

  • Eggs
  • Beef
  • Butter
  • Half and half
  • Avocados
  • Nuts

All of these full flavored and full of fat foods are acceptable on this diet and if I feel hungry, I go back for more.  It’s pretty simple. If I were to try a complicated diet, I’d never stick with it.

Do I see myself ever being 120 pounds again?  Only in my dreams where I have a fantastic super charged metabolism and waif like figure-a time in my life where I could eat whatever and whenever I wanted and only needed to sneeze to lose five pounds.  Life was good!  But I was also only 19 and I wouldn’t go back there for anything.

We’ll see how it goes and all I have to lose is, oh…30 pounds…!

The kids wanted me to make a stir fry for dinner and while theirs had hoisin sauce in it-which contains sugar,  I made a separate batch that used only soy sauce.  It’s fairly easy to make modifications in order for us to all eat the same meal.  We can all be happy!


Wino more wine…

Day 15

I’ve done it.  I’ve gotten over the hump.

The “hump”, as I call it, is the first three days getting my mind adjusted to the fact that there will not be overflowing glasses of wine while I cook dinner, or two or three martinis while I watch a movie before falling asleep for the night.  The hump is hard.

I have to constantly remind myself that I, in fact, do not have to have a drink.  That there will still be opportunities for drinks in the future, if I so choose, and the world hasn’t suddenly depleted its wine reserves.  It’s a whole body transformation.

My Navy son has come home to visit before joining the fleet and I’ve been his chauffeur.  Normally, I’d have to gauge when I could pop open the wine bottle by when I’d be done driving for the day. “Just three more hours, then I can drop him off and relax with some drinks.”  I’ve had to alter that thinking completely.

What I’ve noticed since I’ve quit drinking:

  • I have more energy
  • I wake up earlier
  • I sleep better
  • I can drive whenever I want
  • My memory is improving
  • I’m able to be fully present in the moment
  • I’m able to deal with my problems-my head will NOT implode
  • I’ve developed an obsession for iced tea

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure I could do it-I did not set a time frame as to how long I’d quit.  I just let myself go with the flow and that seems to be working for me.  So far, the benefits outweigh my desire to have a warm comfy buzz and I love that!  I feel the need to become healthy, and I will go back on a diet once my son leaves at the end of the week.  I wanted to be kind to myself so I’ve had ice cream twice and a couple of other treats.

I think the biggest misconception I had about not drinking is my weight-I thought for sure I’d be dropping some pounds.  Sadly, no, this hasn’t happened.  On the contrary, I’ve been gaining and it’s not the ice cream.  Somehow, I think because alcohol dehydrates the body, I’m showing what my actual weight is on the scale.  I weighed more while I was drinking but since I was in a constant state of dehydration, I was less on the scale.  Well, now that I’ve replaced alcohol with iced tea, I’m no longer dehydrated and now find myself faced with the fact that I’m just plain fat.  But that’s alright!  I can do this!  I can face obstacles better now that my mind is clear.

I draw on the strength of my grandma.  She was an alcoholic who drank throughout the day, everyday, to deal with my grandpa’s health issues.  He wasn’t alway kind to her, and quite often would say hurtful things to her.  She drank more and more until she found herself in the hospital with her doctor telling her to quit the booze or die.  She’d developed diabetes and her numbers were sky-high, as well as her blood pressure.  She decided then and there that she’d quit drinking and never go back.  I admire my grandma for so many things and this is one of them.  I do think that there was a certain determination that one only achieved after having survived The Great Depression.

I have a lot going on.  I’m dealing with a criminal/drug infestation in the property next door that seems impossible to overcome.  My husband had just pulled into the driveway and heard a commotion in the garage so he shouted at them to shut the fuck up and as soon as those words left his mouth, several people ran out of the garage and towards the alley where one guy started beating on his girlfriend.  My son and his macho buddies with their crowbars, knives, and various other instruments just stood there while they waved their objects but didn’t do a damn thing.  This “friend” of theirs continued to wail on the girl as my husband ran up, pulled the guy off of her, and proceeded to go Marine on him.  He didn’t need to lay a finger on him-the drill instructor shouting as he was nose to nose with this piece of trash was enough.  He told him to get out of here and never come back and the punk said  he was taking his girlfriend with him.  Robert said that, in fact, she would not be leaving with him and that he’d better take a hike.  I’m paraphrasing, of course.

This is just one of many instances of the activity I deal with on an almost daily basis.

The oldest son’s court date has been pushed back until May 30 because the D.A. brought in a new prosecutor.  It’s basically starting from the beginning and I’m so frustrated with the state.  The county is willing to bend over backwards to help him get on some sort of aid-a phone, housing, etc., but they aren’t willing to make him have some real consequences.  The kid needs rehab.  I refused to pay for it with our insurance because:

  1. Kaiser has ridiculous rehab services
  2. Our particular plan is outrageously expensive
  3. If the county wants to support him, let them pay for rehab
  4. He’d be better off in a Salvation Army rehab where he has to work to earn his keep
  5. I’m not going to be his damn taxi

I talked to his social worker/assessment coordinator yesterday-I didn’t care for her tone.  You’d think with a degree in Social Work, a person might develop skills to be social.  She failed that class, apparently,  because she basically ordered me to call Kaiser and find out what the insurance would pay for as far as drug rehab services.  I obliged, but when she called back to find out what I’d discovered, I told her forget it, I’m not paying for it.  She told me she had a long list of places she could try to as she said this I’m thinking to myself,  Bitch, why didn’t you just start there instead of me doing your damn job? I wasn’t feeling especially social, either.

With alcohol, I can numb my mind, relax my body, feel less inhibited.  I’m finding that I don’t need or want that as much.  I need to be more aware, especially when finding myself in a den of thieves and addicts-I need to keep my wits about me.

I poured out the remaining contents of the wine bottle sitting atop my counter.  Then I made some bacon.

I haven’t had one drop in 2 weeks.

None

Wino

Day 4

I haven’t had a drink since Monday night when I decided that I really need to let my liver have a vacation.  I came to that conclusion after my second martini.

Wine is my favorite drink;  red wine, to be specific.  I follow wine people on Instagram-they’re always cheery with a full glass in their hands wearing their fancy dresses and high heels that I’d break my neck in.  There’s a certain alluring quality to the image.

The reality is, I don’t have occasion to wear the fancy dresses or high heels.  I drink to quiet my mind and have a sense of peace, even if it only lasts until I refill my glass.  I’d like to say it hasn’t become an issue.  I’d like to say that I don’t think about it a thousand times throughout the day.

I’m overwhelmed with the chaos my oldest son has brought to my house.  His drug addiction and the “friends” who follow him are inescapable.  I have mothers and aunts showing up at my door looking for their kids.  “I have no idea where they are,”  I say.  Because I don’t and I really don’t care.

His drug addiction has infested my house like a bad case of roaches and no matter what I do to try to rid myself of them, they multiply and hide in the shadows.

Have you ever heard what comes out of an addict’s mouth?

“Fuck the police.”

“I stabbed my mom’s boyfriend in the head.”

“I’m not afraid of guns.”

“I hate you and wish you’d never been born.”

One of the many reasons I’ve become so fond of having a glass in my hand-It settles these conversations;  quiets them enough so I can get through my day.  But lately, the drinks have become the louder voice and infiltrate any quiet I manage to get.

So I’m taking a break.  It’s hard.  Real hard, I won’t lie.

I have a restraining order against my son and between that and everything else he brings, I’ve been a bit stressed.  Understatement of the century, folks.  But I have other kids and they deserve more than a mom too buried in guilt and intoxication to take them out to dinner or to go buy book 4 in the series they’re reading.

I’ll do it because I can and because I don’t like to lose.