Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Hospital Scare = Major Changes

Today I was ten minutes late to work. I also walked in with my hair, un-brushed, thrown up into a sloppy bun. I have no make up on. I smell like chicken stock.

I am a hot mess.

I also only got about 5 hours of sleep. I am a 7 or 8 hour sleep type of gal and I don't do well with much less. I am Tie-erd.

Let's back up a little.

Last Friday, while out at a mouse race fundraiser for breast cancer, I had already had more then my fair share of drinks and wasn't quite in my right state of mind. I received a text from my mom. "Dad went to the Dr today... been in alot of pain... has diverticulosis."

Let me give you a little background on my dad. He was diagnosed with chrone's disease years ago, although those symptoms have been somewhat better the last couple of years. He also has a hiatal hernia and barrett's esophagus, amongst other things.

This was alot to take in, especially given my current state, and 45 minutes away at a fundraiser. I wanted to go home, but that really wasn't an option since I went with some friends and Joe was at home with the munchkin sleeping. So I did my best to straighten myself out and then I gave my mom a call.

This is his third flare up of diverticulosis and apparently it was getting pretty bad. The doctor wanted to see how he did over the weekend and on Monday would determine their plan. It wasn't looking good though, and most likely they would want to admit him into the hospital and remove part of his colon.

I hate that my dad is always feeling so bad all of the time. It seems like he is always in some sort of pain due to all of this stuff going on. He keeps eating all of the bad foods that agitate it and things just get worse. I told my mom to tell him that we were taking over. That he was just going to shut up and eat what we give him. That was it, end of story. The doctor already wanted him on liquids only over the weekend, so it was the perfect time to bring it up. I have been reading alot about the GAPS diet over the past few months and really felt it would be the best thing for him to do. We would stick with liquids over the weekend, while I did some more research on the diet.

If you are not familiar with the GAPS diet, and most people aren't, here's a great link with a good summary of it.

The blogs and stories I have read about what this diet has done for people and their families is truly amazing.

My dad was willing to give it a try. He had to do something or he was going to end up in the hospital again, undergoing surgery and removing body parts.

So I asked my girl Amber to drive me by the grocery store at midnight on the way home so I could grab a few supplies. I called Joe and had him dig up the soup bones out of the freezer from our grass fed cow that we had bought. The were all packaged up separately and ready to go. I threw them in the crock pot along with some onions, celery, a little apple cider vinegar and some herbs and garlic. The gelatin and the marrow from the bones are especially healing to the walls of the gut and colon. I let it simmer overnight.

In the morning, my mom came and picked up the bone broth and brought it back home for my dad. The broth was strong and tasted pretty gross to him but he choked some of it down regardless. Over the remainder of the weekend he sipped on that along with some chicken broth and not much else. By Monday morning, he was actually feeling better. He was hungry and still sore but he was better. He ever went to work.

He talked to his doctor who literally couldn't believe he was at work. He told him to keep up what he was doing and to see how things went.

He sent out an email, reporting what the doc had said, and then at the end he said "GAPS here we come!" It seemed he was ready.

We had ordered the books over the weekend with more information and recipes, but we had no idea how long it would take for them to arrive. I had read alot about the diet, how it worked and why, but I hadn't concentrated much on the specifics of what all he needed to be eating and doing. It was all a little overwhelming, trying to figure it out all on the same day that he wanted to start the diet. And we needed to start it right away. He had already been on liquids all weekend, so he was halfway there and it would make the transition easier. In the intro part of the diet, all you get is meat and bone broths and soups with boiled meat and non fibrous-vegetables. No spices, but you can use fresh herbs and salt and pepper. He will also be taking a probiotic each day, along with dairy and veggie based probiotics. He can also have ginger and peppermint tea.

We started looking online, gathering info and recipes and trying to figure out what we needed to do. Thank goodness for my bloggie friend Sarah, over at Nourished and Nurtured, who was a wealth of knowledge and so willing to send me lots of good info and links through email, along with some great recipes.

Monday evening I packed up the munchkin and we headed down to my parents house (thank goodness they live less then a mile). I gave my mom a list of supplies for her to pick up on the way home and me and my dad collected the big stock pots and I cleaned them out and got them ready. Once my mom got home, I cleaned up the chickens, and got them going in the pot. I did as much as I could and then, already an hour past the munchkin's bed time, headed home. I gave her a list of instructions and headed home, hoping I had explained everything good enough.

I talked to her on the phone around 11:30pm and she seemed a little daunted. The chicken was a big mushy mess she said and it was going to take forever to pick through everything and get it sorted the way I had asked her to. I told her to relax, just set some strained stock aside for him to drink, then pull out enough chicken, throw in with the stock and veggies to make up some soup and leave the rest to worry about the next day.

I was in bed barely by midnight, trying to gather more information and figure out what we needed to be doing. The next morning I woke up to an email from my mom.

"You don't sew...... I don't cook. This is not something I do well and I almost always fuck it up!"

I felt awful for her! She was obviously overwhelmed and tired. The email arrived around 2:00 am. I wish I could have stayed to help her, but everything had to cook for several hours and I had to get the munchkin home and Joe was at school...

Luckily the next day, my dad tried the broth she had made, and the chicken and veggie soup. He told me it was really good and that he really liked it. Whew! I was so relived. Mostly for my mom. I knew that had to make her feel better. So now we had some stock and some soup, but with that being the only thing he could have for right now, it wasn't going to last long.

I asked Joe to pick up the munchkin from the sitter for me so that I could run by 2 stores and my parents house and be home in time to still make dinner before he left for school. I bolted out the door right at quittin' time, flew to costco, then to the grocery store, by my parents house to grab their stock pot and some of the stock she had made so I could whip up some soup for him before my stock was finished. I rushed home, got the chickens in the pot, cut the squashes in half and put them in the oven (I was making butternut squash soup, courtesy of a recipe from Sarah), then started on our dinner. I decided to keep it really simple and whipped up some shrimp scampi and green beans. As you can imagine at this point the kitchen was a huge mess. Joe helped me some before he shuffled out the door for class and I cleaned up the rest while the munchkin finished her dinner.

About the time I had the munchkin and the kitchen cleaned up, the squashes were done cooking and it was time to make the butternut squash soup. While I was getting that together, the munchkin started getting pissed at me. She was not happy that I was so busy in the kitchen and she was bored. Plus she had been teething really bad and was crabby from that as well.

I finished up the soup as fast as I could and tried to concentrate just on her until she went to bed. It was a nice break. We hung out in the living room, played with some blocks and some puzzles and I watched part of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Right after she was down for the night, the chicken finished cooking and I started getting it cooled off and then the fun task of picking everything part.

He needs to eat almost everything from the chicken. Animal fat is especially important. I was putting the bones back into the pot with the stock to continue simmering overnight and separating the meat and different parts out. I was throwing away the cartilage and some other chewy questionable bits, but everything else was being saved.

My mom came by to pick up the butternut squash soup, after some more grocery shopping, to bring back for my dad. She was not looking forward to going home to the huge mess she had left in her kitchen from the night before. I guess my dad really was feeling a little better because he had the entire kitchen cleaned by the time she got home!

I threw some meat, fat and veggies in another pot to make some more chicken soup. Joe had just gotten home and started to help me clean up the mess. Then once the chicken soup was done, he took it down to my parents house to drop it off. While he was gone, I made the munchkin's and my lunch for the next day, finished cleaning up the kitchen again and got ready for bed. I set the alarm fro 5:30am so I could get up and turn off the stove so the stock could cool enough for me to put it in jars before I left for work. I laid my head down around 12:30am.

I barely remember getting up at 5:30 to turn off the stove, but thankfully the mission was accomplished successfully. Before I knew it, it was 7:00am and my alarm was going off. I meant to hit the snooze, but I guess I accidentally turned it off. I woke up later and saw that it was 7:40! Shit!... I jumped out of bed, got ready as fast as I could, I ran into the kitchen and started straining the stock into the mason jars. This was a HUGE pot of stock and in my rush to get everything done I splashed some up into my hair and all over my neck. Yuck! Luckily there weren't many other casualties and I managed to get everything in the jars and into the fridge. I quickly fried some eggs and threw them onto a sandwich with some cheese, grabbed my stuff and flew out the door eating in the car on my way to work.

Somehow I managed to make it to work at 8:38, only being 8 minutes late. I seriously have no idea how I pulled that one off. No freaking clue.

So today, I am keeping a safe distance from anyone else, not wanting them to have to catch too big of a whiff of me. Hopefully no one will notice what a mess my hair is or that I am not wearing any make up. I am going to pretend no one can tell.

Some people prepare for weeks to start this diet. We had absolutely no time to prepare at all. So it's a little hectic right now, trying to figure everything out, but it will get better once we have a better handle on things. Hopefully we can make more food on the weekends, to have throughout the week, instead of cramming everything in on a weeknight.

I am really winging it here and kinda flying by the seat of my pants, so hopefully it's "so far so good". I want to do right if we are going to do it, so hopefully I am on track so far. I will feel better once the books arrive.

I am really excited about what is going on, though. I am feeling good about what we are doing and know that it is all going to be worth it. The idea of my dad getting better, to be able to feel good again is very exciting and I would love so much to see him not have to deal with so much pain all of the time any more.

I am hoping he can stick to this, he seems like he wants to and that he can. I am sending prayers and wishes out into the universe that things really start turning around for him. If you have any extra to send our way, I would really appreciate it. I will keep things posted on how things are progressing.


Sarah Smith said...

I'm glad to hear everything is going smoothly so far, if crazy and hectic, but at least he is feeling a bit better. Oh, one thing: really watch out for how much probiotic he is taking. He will start having crazy die-off and feel miserable if he takes too much. Many people (and the GAPS guide) actually recommend not to take ANY probiotic as the intro diet as started, then to gradually increase starting with 1/10th capsule per day. And only increase the amount every 4-7 days.

Jillian said...

I hope that everything continues to go well!

Susannah said...

Yikes! You're a good daughter for helping out so much! Glad he is listening and willing to learn. Good luck!

Anna said...

Holy crap! Well, it is a dramatic beginning, but in the long run I am sure he will benefit from it, especially since he is finally on board. Best of luck to you guys!!

Lil' Woman said...

Hope that everything continues to go well for your Dad....good luck love!

gina said...

How did I miss this post? I think we have both had hectic lives lately. You are such a good daughter and he is so lucky to have you to help him. My good friend has the same things as your dad and I am going to send her this post. Keep us updated.