What a difference a couple of weeks make

Today was the first day that I felt totally “normal”.  Well, minus the physical agony, but we’ll get to that shortly.  The munchkin was discharged from the hospital on the 16th.  Nowadays they discharge you as soon as possible, which may or may not be a good thing.  For those of us that are a certain age, remember when during our parents’ time having a baby, or an appendectomy, meant staying in the hospital for a week?  Yeah, not anymore.  And just to give you an idea how sick the kiddo was, she wasn’t able to climb up the stairs on her own until the 25th.  Did I mention school started the 27th, and requires going up and down stairs multiple times during the day?

She had her first followup appointment and the doc gave her a note for no physical activity, sports, PE until the end of the month.  Recovering from pneumonia is no easy feat.  Not only does the increased rate of breathing cause dehydration, but it burns calories like crazy.  The body trying to heal from pneumonia is the equivalent of running a marathon – – daily.  The munchkin lost an alarming amount of weight.  Not only did she have little appetite when she first got sick, she went four days without anything besides IV fluids and sips of liquids.  Add on top of that the recovery time…ugh.  One of her nurses said she had gotten pneumonia when she was in high school and had ended up losing 20 pounds.  That’s a quarter of the munchkin’s body weight, and she soooo could not afford to lose that!  The doc said to go high calorie on everything–add ice cream to whole milk, real butter, breads, and make sure all the ingredients were the real deal.  These last two weeks have been spent making as many things as I can from scratch–homemade bread with 100% butter and fruit preserves I had canned myself, pancakes, chicken dishes, fish, tamales, milkshakes, pasta, etc.   And in the vein of finding the “real deal” in ingredients, I became an avid label reader.  That alone was un-f’ing-believable.

Do you know how many things have high fructose corn syrup in them?  Seriously?  How many “premium” items contain that crap?  Do you realize most HOT DOGS contain high fructose corn syrup?  Chili?  Sloppy Joes?   Iced tea?  Hamburger and hot dog buns?  The supposedly “premium” Blue Bell ice cream?  One store brand’s “original 1905” recipe for vanilla ice cream?  Sorry, Charlie, but I know for a fact that in 1905 there was no HFCS in the darned ice cream!  On a lark I picked up a few glass bottles of Mexican Coke because that was the only Coca-Cola made with cane sugar (U.S. produced is HFCS all the way).  Do you know how GOOD that Mexican Coke tasted?  If you want to relive your childhood and the pure pleasure of soda from days gone by, get your hands on Mexican Coke and drink it ice cold out of the bottle.

It took a while, but I found items without all the fillers and crap in them.  Real, old-fashioned ingredients.  The munchkin’s appetite kicked in big time – – by the end of the first week her average breakfast consisted of two eggs over easy, three strips of thick sliced bacon, two slices of toast with butter and jam, three pancakes, a banana along with two glasses of milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast and a scoop of Breyers Natural Vanilla ice cream mixed in.  There wasn’t a crumb left on the plate.  This from someone who normally eats a small bowl of cereal for breakfast and is good until lunch.  She’s doing her incentive spirometry exercises and the cough has pretty much disappeared, though she’s still breaking out in a splotchy rash a couple of times a day (thank goodness for Zyrtec).  Her next followup appointment is on Friday, and if her blood pressure and lungs are back to normal the doc ought to give her the okay to resume normal activity.

During this time I learned a couple of things.  Stress exacerbates perimenopausal symptoms.  Exercise helps lessen the symptoms, and if you’ve been exercising and suddenly stop, it’s like pouring gasoline on a fire.  Hot flashes rival the temperature of a volcano, and there’s a bright red hue one’s skin turns when they hit that bad.  When the hot flash is over, one gets so cold it’s like having a chill and you start to shake.  Lovely.  Add in nausea similar to morning sickness, but it happens whenever it wants to.  Trying to listen to the nurse or doctor talk to you while trying NOT to hurl on their shoes takes great concentration.  Sleeping is next to impossible with all the tossing and turning going on.

Once the munchkin was back home and her breathing was close to normal, meaning we all could get a fairly decent night’s sleep, I realized I needed to get back to my exercise routine.  We used to have a gym membership at this little mom and pop gym near the house, but when it came time to renew this year, we decided to invest that money into some exercise equipment instead so we could exercise at home.  No excuses about not having enough time when the stuff is in the next room, right?  Craigslist is awesome for getting things at incredibly low prices.  We became the proud owners of a Gold’s Gym treadmill, adjustable dumbbells, and a nifty little torture…eh…exercise apparatus called Jillian Michaels Ultimate Body Shop.  I was used to the treadmill, so getting back to that was no big deal.  The Ultimate Body Shop?  That thing is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

It’s such an easy thing to use; you don’t even feel like you’re exercising.  The motions are smooth, the illustrated exercises simple to perform, and you can go online and download workout charts http://www.jillianmichaels.com/ultimatefitness.aspx and specifically for the Body Shop http://images.agoramedia.com/jillianmichaels/cms/UltimateFitness/BodyShop.pdf.  I’m on the third day of the Body Shop workout, and I’m in agony.  I have soreness in muscles I didn’t even know existed.  It started out as mild soreness, but doing normal daily activities changed that.  I swear I didn’t overdo it, either.  On the bright side, since it’s an all over soreness I know I’m getting a total workout.  The plus?  Since I started back on the treadmill a week ago and added in the other workout, my hot flashes have completely disappeared.  No more nausea, no chills.  And I’m sleeping through the night again.  This morning after getting the munchkin off to school, hubby and I sat in the front room, had our coffee, watched the squirrels and birds and had our usual morning conversation time.  That was SO nice.  I’m definitely a creature of habit, and it was nice to get back to our little routine.

Things are starting to look up, and fall is hopefully just around the corner.  I made an apple pie this evening–it was a request from hubby and the munchkin after I plugged in an Air Wick air freshener yesterday.  The limited edition Warm Apple Pie smells EXACTLY like apple pie.  They both thought I had made a pie when they came in yesterday.  After that tease I had to deliver the real thing, lol!  Hubby was sweet enough to sit at the bar and peel the apples for me while I got everything else together.  It was definitely an aromatic hint of autumn as it baked in the oven.

Here’s hoping things continue on a good path for a while…it would be most welcome!


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