Thursday, May 05, 2011

For The Record, I'm Totally Sick Of Sugar Free Popsicles

Pin It I have no idea how to do this anymore.

I think at some point I'm supposed to break out into a semi-hysterical splutter of capital letters but other than that it's all a little hazy.

I just wrote out the whole story of how I spent a month in the hospital and ALMOST DIED (DRAMATIC!), (gosh, it really didn't take long for that capital letter thing to kick back in, did it) but the post I wrote was just incredibly long and boring and mopey, so I will give you the Cliff Notes version instead.

In December I had gastric bypass because I'd gotten incredibly fat and it was covered by my insurance and, well, yes, it's a little risky, but what surgery isn't, and come ON it's not like anything bad will ever happen to me because I'm ME, whereas those other people who die from surgery are NOT ME, and ALSO -  ALSO, if anything goes badly, I will just FIGHT it, like a FIGHTER, like a CHAMP, like a VERY HARD WORKER, not like all of those other people who get sick and die. Clearly they have no death fighting work ethic whatsoever. Slackers.

I will emerge VICTORIOUS.  

And HOT. 

Bad news though.

It went BADLY.

(It turns out it's hard to be a fighter when you're unconscious.)

Badly as in I had an obstruction.  Badly as in I had internal infections.  Badly as in I had four subsequent surgeries, had my heart restarted three times, scared my friends and family to death, and spent 24 days in ICU.  I was in the hospital for a total of 32 days.

32 DAYS. 

While I was there I went completely out of my head insane on pain medication.  I repeatedly complained to the nurses about the people having a party in my room.  I insisted there was a hospital bed in the room that was decorated like a huge blue baby bassinet and would they please get it out of there because it was creeping me out?  I forgot how to use the phone, tried dialing my husband approximately 70 times, then threw it across the room in frustration.  I got mad at my husband for various infractions including holding my hand WAY too hard and having a confusing phone number.  I sobbed to a doctor that it turned out that my husband and I were getting a divorce! Because he hadn't been there to see me in weeks! Even though he was there every day! 

By the end of my stay I was weak, and paranoid, and anxious. 
  • I wanted to go home but also I was afraid to go home, sure I would die without constant monitoring. 
  • I was fine but also I was NOT fine and how could they even think of releasing me I am practically dead
  • I was ready to go home but also I was NOT ready to go home because I was pretty sure that was exactly what the infection wanted.
  • I wanted to see my kids but also I DIDN'T want to see my kids because hospitals are scary and besides, my kids are better off without me because I'm a horrible, weak, shallow excuse for a mother and also the baby doesn't remember me. (He didn't.)
I was a mess. 

It took a while to recover once I got out. I was still on IV meds, was very weak and threw up constantly.  I'm grateful to my husband and my mother-in-law and my mom for taking care of the kids - of everything - while I was in the hospital.  My mom stayed with us for a month after I got home, picking up the baby when I couldn't, doing the laundry, massaging the fluids out of my legs. My husband gave me IV meds every night and morning, sat with me when I was too scared to go to sleep without a heart monitor, and handled everything I couldn't. 

While I was in the ICU we moved again (long story - basically the people we were renting from decided they wanted to move back home) and we received so much help with that move.  People in our old neighborhood (the neighborhood I'd been such a snot about) helped us pack up the rest of our stuff, brought in dinners, helped us move out, and even cleaned the house after we moved out. People in our new neighborhood helped us move in, brought us meals, carpooled my kids to school, made sure the kids felt welcome - I can't even tell you how grateful I am.

I'm grateful for my friends and family and for their love and well wishes and visits and cards and emails.  I'm grateful that my kids came through the whole thing without too much emotional trauma. I'm grateful to be alive. 

Would I do it again?  No way.

I realize it's easy for me to say that now that I've gone from a tight 20 to a 12.  I've lost almost 80 pounds and have about 40 to go before I get to goal.  I can't pretend it was all negative.  At this point, I have mixed feelings about it, because a) I DIDN'T ACTUALLY DIE, and b) I feel so much better about myself now.  I realize that I should feel good about myself whether I'm a size 22 or a size 6, but I didn't. I had a lot of self-hatred going on that centered around my appearance.

When you get right down to it, I risked my life - and very nearly left my kids motherless - for VANITY.  I wasn't unhealthy. I had no health problems whatsoever. I had no diabetes. I had low blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, perfect lab work. I was just fat. And tired of dieting and getting nowhere. I wanted a quick fix.  Anyone who has had it will tell you that's not what gastric bypass is. 

And the medical bills.  THE MEDICAL BILLS.  Holy. Crap.  Did you know that the co-pay for 32 days / 5 surgeries is a ho-ho-WHOLE lot more than the co-pay for 2 days / 1 surgery?  Because IT IS.  And my IVs were apparently flowing with approximately twenty-five-thousand-hundred-billion units of liquid-frickin-GOLD.

I'm still working out how I feel about the whole thing. 

Can you tell?

Well then.


Before (terrible picture, which reflects how terrible I felt):

Now (in an outfit that I wear constantly now, not because it's attractive but because it's about the only thing left that fits) (I refuse to buy more clothes when I know they'll fit for approximately ten minutes) (I have exactly one Sunday dress that still fits - it's a wrap dress and it's baggy, but it stays on, which I view as a POSITIVE.  I intend to wrap the crap out of that sucker for as long as I can.):

Ugh.  This post feels incredibly rusty, but it is late and I have to leave for work at 5:30 in the morning so I will just hit publish anyway.

PS: I think I'm going to try this blogging thing again for a bit.  I have a lot of ISSUES that I need to work through and I'm thinking I could write about them here (although I should probably consider using a therapist instead of a blog and a shift key, am I right?).


  1. 1. Glad you are not dead.
    2. I love you no matter what your size and shape.
    3. Glad you are not dead.

  2. Yes, what La Yen said. I am so glad you're not dead. And SHIFTing is very therapeutic.

  3. I am glad that I had your blog in my google reader...this was a nice golden surprise.

    You look ridiculously hott. Ow, ow!

    Glad you are still here with us.

  4. Very, very glad you're here to shout at us in all caps... VERY VERY, eh? ;)

  5. No freaking way. I was *just* tonight thinking "I should email Sue. I miss her." And then, here you are. Alive. Thank goodness. Okay, I am so glad that you are alive. And looking totally smoking sexy! And what the heck kind of insurance do you have that covers gastric bypass?! My mom had it done in 2003 when most insurances covered it because it was so new and now nothing does. Nothing that I can find anyway. Dangit.

  6. Feel free to SHIFT.

    I'm so glad you are doing well now.

  7. I'll tell you a funny story to help you feel better.

    There was this one time, when I was leapfrogging through my friends' blogs and I found yours. I read some of your entries, and you wrote the story of your faith and your doubt and your relationship to being Mormon, etc, and I was literally on a cloud for like 2 days because I was so excited to read your story that was so much like mine, almost word for word.

    So I wrote you a huge long comment, or maybe an email, or something, thanking you for sharing it, even though I have no idea who you are, and I was hoping you would write more, because I think you are utterly fabulous.

    I subscribed to your blog. And then I waited like a greedy baby for more.

    Your little blog name never went bold, with a number next to it. I was sad. I thought maybe I imagined you.

    Now you're back, and it turns out that you only almost died (!!!!), and now I feel kind of stupid for wondering why you weren't blogging.

    Consider yourself excused.

    Also, you are beautiful.

    Um, maybe I should buy you dinner now?

  8. I'm so glad you didn't die, and that I didn't delete you from Google Reader when you went silent for quite a while, because your writing is so fun to read. Even though I don't know you. :)

  9. Oh my heck. OH MY HECK! (OK, I never really say that.) I mean I knew you nearly died and all. And I knew you looked great now. But I had no idea about the move in the middle and the crazy meds in the middle and all the other stuff in the middle. And also I am super jealous that you lost all that weight AND got to keep your boobs.

    Also I love you. Not that way. Sheesh.

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  11. As I only know you virtually and you don't have a clue as to who I am, the following may sound strange and I apologize for that.

    OMG I missed you!! Reading your posts were the high point of my morning and always made me smile. I’m glad you are back (and ALIVE) and hope you will keep keeping us amused with your future adventures, which I hope will be less dramatic.

    I also concur with everyone else on how beautiful you are – then and now.

    BTW, I lost 40 lbs in 4 months on the Dukan Diet … not immediate, but very effective!

  12. So glad that you are alive! And use this blog as your therapy! We all love YOUR capitals!

  13. Glad you're back and that you survived. How scary!!! I can't even imagine the fear :( I'm glad you're through it and you can put a funny spin on it!! I've missed reading your hilariousness!!!

  14. I would love for you to use your blog as therapy. Your manic posts are your funniest! (for us, prob not for you.)

    Glad you're still here!

  15. Wow! What a road you have traveled recently! You are so beautiful in both pictures - but the smile in the second one shines so bright! Glad to have seen your post, and prayers for you as you rock and roll through this process. :)

  16. I'm all for blogging as therapy. I'm sorry you had such a horrifying experience but your post still had a lot of humor. My thoughts are with you as you continue through the worst part - insurance claims require a lot of pushing and fight. Just because they say no the first time doesn't mean they shouldn't still pay. This is where that fighting part actually comes in. Good luck!

  17. Oh.My.Gosh! I was just over here the other day wondering if you were ever going to blog again. I am so glad you are not dead! What an experience! Wow! PLEASE blog! I missed you. And I'm so glad you're not dead!

  18. Wow. I only know you through your blog and have really missed your writing. I've been wondering about you, and I'm so glad you are still alive after all you've been through! You look really great too!

  19. I too have missed your blog posts. What a journey you've had since January. Keep posting - it's good for all of us.

    You look terrific, by the way.

  20. Blog it all here, baby. SO, so glad to see you back!

    PS - You look HAWT. And also, I love you too. In a friendly, high-fivin', you-go-girl kind of way. Not a creepy, stalker-y, CLAREEEEECE kind of way. Or in a mullet-and-WNBA kind of way.

  21. So glad you are Ok and you are looking fabulous! Thanks for writing because you totally brighten my day every time you do.

  22. Ellen8:05 AM

    Yeah, we're pretty glad you're not dead, and we have missed you.

    Your posts really are fun to read, but that doesn't mean we don't see the tears of the clown. You've had a tough time lately, and we're all pulling for you!

  23. Love you, Sue. That's all--just lots of love.

  24. Only you could write a post about a life-threatening experience and make it sound amusing. I can't imagine how horrible that must have been to experience, and I'm glad you're recovering! You're brave to have done it, you're brave to share it with us, and I'm glad you're back to blogging.

  25. I had a dream last night that it was Christmas... and to see a post from Navel Gazing this morning... DREAM COME TRUE. ;)

    I'm really glad that you didn't die and I'm so glad that you are feeling better and I'm glad that you are blogging again!

    Bring on those issues!

  26. It's been since September since I had the last "woohoo a post from Sue". I am so glad you are going to post more. I'm so glad you made it through your terrible health ordeal and that you are looking and feeling better. (by the way, you and your smile look fabulous!)

    looking forward to reading you more. have a great weekend and we'll read you soon.


  27. I'm sorry for the hard time you went through! I'm glad to have you back. When I first found you over a year ago, I would be reading at my computer and just burst into laughter. It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud, so my husband would always ask what I was doing. "Oh, just reading that funny blog," I'd say. He knew that meant you! You are great and I'll be glad to have you back to blogging!

  28. Holy crap. What an ordeal. I remember seeing all FB updates and wondering what it the world had happened.

    I'm glad you're okay, and really glad that you had so much help and love.

    And I admit, I'm really really glad you want to blog again. I've missed you!

  29. I'm so glad you're ok and to find you back writing. I can't wait to hear more about this journey you've been on.

  30. I can't tell you how many times I clicked over from Google Reader to make sure my feed wasn't broken because, gosh!, I missed you a lot. I'm so glad you're back.

    And this might sound insincere because a lot of times everything seems insincere online, but holy wow I think you're pretty. Not like "You are beautiful inside and out" or "You are just so cute!" but dang girl are you pretty.

  31. Welcome back. From the dead, and from your blog hiatus. Your talent is too huge to be held back by trials, chores, sleep, or death. You are a writer so be a writer!! No more pansy excuses like a full-time job, new baby, mysterious infections, and the ICU?!?! You will always find excuses to hide your (borrowed) light. The blogging world needs your voice and now that you're skinny, the book/movie deals cant be far behind! You need to harness this opportunity because everyone loves a near-death comeback, almost as much as they love a weight-loss success story! This is readership GOLD, pure GOLD!! And you know Im serious because I, too, am using ALL CAPS, AND I'm typing on an iPad, which is truly an ALL CAPS committment. Cant wait to read more- you have been missed! And, yes, Id be happy to be your agent, (60/40), but first you'll have to tell me the name of your insurance provider.

  32. As to your final thought in parenthesis, I vote for the blog and shift key. Every time.

  33. You are a babe! And we've missed you. Welcome back :-)


    wow. what an ordeal. i'm so very glad you pulled through. i hope to see more posts from you, when you want to post. you look great! but what's more important is that you look like you feel great. continued success with that!

  35. Work out your issues here, liberally using the shift key. Therapists are EXPENSIVE and you don't need more of that. We, however, need more of YOU. (I think we need a shift key support group.)

    You look beautiful, but then again, you always did.

    Self-loathing is awful. Doing something to get rid of it doesn't qualify as vanity, in my book. (and my book is the ONLY book.)

    Thank you for not dying. And thank you for having totally hilarious hallucinations whilst hospitalized and then SHARING THEM WITH ME! (okay, us. You shared them with us.)

    Can't wait for the next post. There better be a next post.

  36. I'm very glad you are alive. And writing. Your beauty is and always has been obvious, at least to the rest of us. Keep wrapping that dress and hitting that shift key.

  37. I totally agree with Heather G and Tiffany! You're an awesome lady and I so enjoyed your wonderful sense of humor and candid personality when you were blogging regularly.Hang in there! You're absolutely beautiful and talented to boot!

  38. So remember the time you blogged about being stuck overnight in the car in the snow and you were joking? I read through this whole post wondering if you were joking because THIS IS SO EXTREME! (I can use caps too, apparently ;) Oh. My. Goodness. I can't believe you almost died. I'm so glad you didn't. I'm so glad you're going to blog more. I think you're adorable no matter what size you are, but I get the self-loathing since I am stuck there myself. Sigh.

  39. Don't you DARE consider a therapist instead of blogging. I will kill you! And on that topic, I'm glad you're not dead. Only you could write about nearly dying and make me laugh four times.

  40. First off, Hooray for not being dead. Second, good job for not being dead (guess you're a Really Hard Worker after all!)
    Third...I think you will find that self-loathing and depression will be a common theme with nearly ALL of your readers. When friends tell me they've never been depressed, I think they just don't know the meaning of the word. Hang in there...and we'll all stick with you!!! And, I agree with everyone else - you're beautiful either way, and thank you for taking us on this journey with you.

  41. It's so nice to see you back. I liked your style and enjoyed reading your blog.
    Good luck with those last few pounds.

  42. So glad to hear from you! And look at all the opportunities you've given people to do good works! Really - things could not have gone better!

    I get manically Pollyanna-ish when I am relieved as all get-out. Can you tell?

    Welcome back. We missed you.

  43. I am so glad you're not dead. I'm also so happy that you're blogging again. Reading your thoughts reminds me of me so it helps to know that I'm not alone in my thoughts. Please keep blogging.

  44. I was going to say I am so glad you're not dead, and then I read all the other comments. I realized that those of us who enjoy reading your blog are all on the same brainwave. Yay for the prospect of more posts.

  45. Oh my goodness, I had no idea! How scary. I am so glad you are okay.

  46. So glad you are well, and back. You are Beautiful, inside and out.

  47. So so glad you are alive. Hope that you continue to heal & that you'll recover physically entirely.

  48. So happy I'm a stalker, ahem, follower and was alerted to a new post. yea! Also happy that 1) you didn't die; 2) apparently all those years of hypochondria and paranoia were well justified; and 3) your posting again.

    (BTW - you're smokin' hot!)

  49. I'm so glad you're back, and not dead!

  50. You guys, thank you so much for your comments - many of them really touched me and made me feel all verklempt. (Yes, I'm a big dork, but you already knew that.) Thanks for taking the time to say hello and for your good wishes. It meant a lot to me.

  51. I'd be so happy to read more of your blogs! I've missed. Also, most Bishops are happy to pay for therapy. That's what I do. And not, pay for it for a little bit until you can get back on your feet, but long term forever pay for it. I hope that doesn't come off as rude, I just have testimony of therapy and try to convince everyone I meet that they should go. Really, EVERYONE.

    But don't do it if it means you'll stop blogging!

  52. Also, thanks for the compliments. I'm feeling incredibly insecure about my appearance. I'm sagging in places that never sagged, I don't know how to dress myself, and it's amazing how many new wrinkles you get when you no longer have as much fat puffing them out. I think I've aged ten years in three months.

  53. HIIIIII!

    I can't believe this, Sue.

    (I mean that you almost died, not that you blogged...but that too)

    I'm really really glad you're okay now because I like it when you're alive. The whole thing must have been so awful and scary.
    Please no more nearly dying.

    Welcome back. :)

  54. Sue, I cried just to see a new post. I have missed you in a very blog stalker kind of way. Then I cried again because I am so glad you are not dead.

    My heart goes out to you. While I have been dealing with the same issues, I have spent the last five months fighting deep issues that have severely affected my children as well. I did finally buck up and get some help. When I could no longer care for my kids' basic needs it was time. I pray that you can find some peace as well be it here with us and the shift key or with someone to listen to you.

    You have been greatly missed. Best wishes moving forward.

    BTW, we had to move to Utah a few months ago (stupid downsized economy) so now I really do have a chance of just running into you someday. :D I can't promise I won't knock you down as I rush up to hug you, but I'll try so you don't think I'm a freak.

  55. Heh. The paranoia accompanying the end of your hospital stay is only funny because I can relate. :]

    In other news, I hate that you are feeling this way about yourself, especially considering how gorgeous and talented and loved and admired you are.

    If you thought just then "Yeah, but if people REALLY knew me..." give yourself a kick in the hiney for me.

    Oh gosh, how I wish I could kick your hiney out of this thinking.

  56. Oh, and yes, go ahead and blog the shift out of this funk.

  57. It turns out its hard for me to think of what to say to someone who came so close to dying. But I don't want to not comment because, YOU'RE ALIVE TO READ COMMENTS, which is a wonderful thing.

    Your blogging again is a nice bonus.

  58. So happy to see your blog update; I'm looking forward to many more! And you look awesome, by the way... but then, you always did. :)

  59. Sue, you need to move to MY neighborhood. Talking with me would be SO therapeutic. Also, we went through Horrible Suffering at exactly the same time, which makes us SISTERS or something.

    You're gorgeous! Look at you!

  60. You had me at "not dead".

  61. Also, your skin will cooperate again, just give it a little time.

  62. You are SO bad. Here I am, cranking out the material day after day - well, week after week most of the time, while you're off on this wild journey - and suddenly, here you are, (still alive and kickin' - nothing will take the kick out of you for long) and you STILL rack up ten times more comments than I ever will. Not that I'm counting - ha. You've kind of got to think about that, dear one. Because not that many people are so followed by so many people. There's meaning there, if ONLY we would see it and believe it.

    My sister-i-l went on that journey, too. And ended up with problems - not quite as awful as yours, but sick, sick, and back in the hospital twice. In the end, it has been good for her, too - and changed so many things. Including saving my brother's life (he sailed through with no - count em - NO- problems). It isn't the path I suspect is the best - but in this case, I am willing to let the ends justify the means.

    I think these are the clearest pictures I've ever seen of your face. I love the humor in it. A complicated face driven by sharp intelligence. I am sorry for the experience you have been through. It's been a hell of a couple of years for you and the fam. And that scripture just popped into my head: Be still. Just popped in there. Because it insists on a knowledge that is hard for some of us to grasp.

    Your laugh is also complicated.

    But under it all is this willingness -

    Pffff - I guess when people almost die, it makes me think. We, ourselves, lost someone during those months. He didn't come out the other side. I have a great deal of respect for the tunnel you had to fight through. And your children are so blessed that you came out the other end of the thing.

    You are a fighter. There is no doubt about that. Shadows or death, veils or popular sensibilities. You were formed of spunky stuff. You can't help yourself, you know. Any more than I can. Or my daughter can. Sometimes I just envy the quiet ones.

    Glad you made it.

    Glad to see your lovely, ironic face.

    Glad you'll be writing. I've missed envying you.

  63. La Yen stole my comment. I, too, am glad you're not dead.

    Also, I talked to an agent from the Kristin Nelson agency. And I really think you have a story to finish. Just sayin'.

  64. does it annoy you when you close comments on a post and then people still want to comment on it?

    because i just wanted to say... my mom bought me The List a few months ago, and i freaking loved it. i've already loaned it out to every member of my family. so, good call. had no idea that the author had a blog. going to peruse that now...

  65. And yet you can still pull 60+ comments OUT OF YOUR ASS, no matter how small it may have gotten.

    I may have a few clothes I could pass on your way if you're interested? Stuff that is too short for me (I am tall remember?), shirts that are too short (again, tall), that sort of thing.

    I owe you an email.

    Working on it.


  66. All I can say is WOW!
    I had no idea.

    Oh my crap, the whole story scared me to death.
    I'm thankful that you are on this side of it.
    So totally scary.

  67. Question just came to me.

    Was there at any time a blood clot involved?

  68. What a story. WHAT A STORY. I am SO glad you are not dead and that you can still write after that ordeal.

    Wow, wow, wow. I am glad that you lost weight but not so glad you stayed in the hospital, on your death bed, to get there.

  69. I was watching your story develop on FB with absolute horror. (Yet I didn't comment because I didn't want to intrude. Real friends versus blogging friend? Am I real?) I am overjoyed with the ending to the story. (And you look FABULOUS.) But I am sobered for you.

    Glad you are doing well, The One True Sue.

  70. Blogging is soooo much cheaper than hiring someone who will just ask you questions to cause you to write what you end up writing anyway ;). And for the record you look GREAT!

  71. It's very nice to see a picture of you, regardless of your weight. And SO glad the worst is over!

  72. Don't you just love insurance. I'm glad you didn't leave. And thank you for effectivly endding any of my plans for the quick fix to what was so easy to do and so stinking hard to undo. You look great though. And your kids are pleased as punch to have their mom back.

  73. Angie F9:15 PM

    Oh my gracious it is good to have you back. And alive. Alive is very good. Blessings!

  74. Hmmm. So maybe I have some kind of internal clock -- in my recently posted comment on your latest blog, I said I hadn't checked on you for a while and ... well anyway, here you are again. I can relate to a lot of what you went through -- hospital, drugs, crazy, almost dying. I did it in less time, though. Still on drugs and hating it. (see previous comment about being psychotic). Amen to all others who are glad you are still with us. Bless you for using blogging to work out your issues. Bless you for still being alive. I think you look a bit like Julia Stiles.

  75. The blog is a lot less expensive than a therapist, and the therapist probably wouldn't even have a sense of humor. A actually like both of your pictures and I'm very glad you're still around to show them. I have known a lot of people with similar gastric bypass experiences-it's scary!!!

  76. I'm so glad you're back.

    And alive.

    You're one of my very favorites, and I'm not even Mormon. ;)

    You look great - but mostly I'm just glad you feel better about yourself. Hating yourself is some kind of misery. I know it well.

    Thanks for being alive. And for coming back. You're a champ! :)

  77. You look amazing!!! Now you need to treat yourself to something pretty :)