Friday, October 9, 2009

Nick goes on a diet, and other updates

Nick goes on a diet

First, some background. Nick's weight fluctuates between the 225-235 range. At 225 he's elated (though worried that an illness -- not calorie reduction -- is driving the weight loss, even though he dramatically reduces his calories) and is ready to eat. 225 is as scarce as hen's teeth, if I'm being honest. At 235 he worries that he's too heavy. All the play is in the in-between range.

When he sees one of the numbers in the danger zone, he diets. What that means to him is that he cuts back on everything -- breakfast, snacks, etc. No surprise -- he starts to feel deprived and therefore deserving -- and the whole thing goes to hell. Sometimes he can handle about a week of the dieting before he caves, sometimes, as in just this week, only a day or two. And he confesses every transgression, even though I don't ask. Day 2 of this week's diet includes a chocolate bar, a large cookie, what sounds to me like a gougere, and a chocolate milk shake with vanilla ice cream.

He'll get back on the scale today, and we'll see where we are in the cycle. The good news for him is that he loses weight with astonishing alacrity; a day or two and he's back to where he wants to be, or close enough.

Why I'm not writing about my back

I'm bored. It's settled into a pattern where every day is pretty much the same. The swelling is significantly down, and now I'm free of all the post-op pain, lethargy and discomfort. What I still have is the old pain. Not the pain I had the month or so before the surgery, but the pain of about six months before -- deep deep in my lower back and in my leg. I go back to the doc in about two weeks and I'll know what the story is: whether this is normal and will disappear, whether this will endure, whether the surgery even worked (there turns out to be a condition called "post-laminectomy syndrome", or in it's older incarnation "failed back surgery." It's more than a little disturbing that unsuccessful spine surgeries are common enough and specific enough to be considered a syndrome.) We'll see.


We're now in daily contact with our soldier. She sent photos yesterday, and today I'll return the favor. Liv and I will do some shopping for her care package, and Nick will send it off this week to Iraq. She's in the military police, doing dangerous work in a very dangerous part of Iraq. The photos show her before she shipped out and then after, in uniform. I'm really glad we started this.


He came in for the weekend, and because of Columbus Day he'll be here till Tuesday. It'll be interesting to see the dynamic this weekend between him and Liv; they will avoid each other to the greatest degree possible. The house is big but not that big, so it'll be quite a trick if they can miss each other completely. He was happy to be home. I'd made Moroccan chickpea soup the other day and he loved it, and we hung out and -- as is our wont -- watched the Newshour on PBS and talked politics. Of course he's unhappy that the President won the Nobel prize. Of course he's deeply skeptical that decent health care reform will pass. Of course he maintains his belief that Hillary would have been a far better president. Ah, to be 20 -- to be doctrinaire and completely certain, to see everything in absolutes. But it's great to have him home.

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