CHF Recovery: Day 44

  • Got up at 7:45 (I had set an alarm) and got dressed in workout clothes
  • Checked the weather to see when the optimal time to go to Gibbs Gardens would be
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Spent some time online reading and talking with people
  • Ended up leaving an hour later than planned
  • Went to Gibbs Gardens

I sort of exhausted myself? I was expecting to be able to do some power walking but it was all I could do to just walk normally while stopping for photos. I was so tired by the time I made it up to the Manor House that I had to sit there for a very long time to recover. And that was after I had had lunch, which I had thought would help.

Lunch was chicken salad on cranberry walnut bread with barbecue chips and water, btw, and it was really good.

  • Came home tired and grumpy and went immediately to bed at 4pm
  • Got up from nap at around 7:45pm
  • Made myself some eggs (over medium/hard because I left them in the pan too long) and toast
  • Chatted online and read stuff
  • Went to bed around 1am


Today I went through my depression tag. Since old posts imported from Blogger don’t have the correct tags, I also searched my blog for “depression”, “depressed”, and “quality of life”, and tagged any untagged posts that were actually about depression.

I was sort of hoping to find a pattern, something I could point to as a potential reason. I don’t think I did. But I came across this:

Sean says that I tend to have periods of depression that eventually pass. I guess I’m in one of them now. I hate my job and the thought of going back in tomorrow makes me want to cry. The thought of not being able to find a new job does make me cry. I feel trapped and helpless, like I can’t do anything except commit to things I hate in order to have the money to make myself feel better by buying things and eating out.

Every time I try to start something up to better myself, I do really well at first, and then I just taper off until I’m doing nothing again.

This is horrifying because it’s from 2004. Apparently this type of feeling is not particularly new for me.

The self-loathing has obviously always been there. I mean. But it seems like I have known for over a decade that I have this cycle wherein eventually I lose motivation and feel trapped and helpless, and I haven’t managed to learn anything or do anything about it.

I hope the steps I’ve taken this year to address my mental health will help me.

CHF Recovery: Day 43

  • Got up at 10:30, weighed myself, and got dressed in workout clothes
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Poked around online and chatted a little
  • Went on a 34-minute walk

It was nice out, just under 70 degrees, and the fall leaves were really pretty :) I went up a big hill right away and when I got to the top my legs were burning very pleasantly.

  • Took shower and got dressed
  • Messed around online some more
  • Picked up lunch for me and Sean
  • Ate lunch while reading my blog
  • Basically read old blog posts all day

I got really into looking for patterns of my depression, and then I got sidetracked investigating my previous battle with congestive heart failure. I also just read random posts here and there.

I had actual things I wanted to do today. Bleh.

CHF Recovery: Day 42

  • Got up at 9am
  • Forgot to weigh myself
  • Took shower and got dressed
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Went to meet an online friend for the first time; it was fun! We had lunch at a new-to-me restaurant downtown
  • Took my car to the dealer for an oil change and various other maintenance things; sat in a room off the waiting area with my little laptop and chatted and read things (I was planning to write but it was too noisy to concentrate)
  • Went to Costco and gassed up the car and got protein shakes
  • Came home and relaxed for awhile (feeling tired)

Thanks partially to a discussion in couples therapy yesterday and some new information I received today, I am coming to terms with the bad news I received yesterday. I am not happy about it, but I will survive.

  • Read stories
  • Realized it was already 7:30 and I hadn’t done anything about dinner
  • Hemmed and hawed and then just had a PB&J, yogurt, and chocolate-covered raisins and cranberries, and evening meds of course
  • Continued reading stories
  • Took bedtime supplements
  • Worked on writing a story

Around midnight it was really quiet, the sort of quiet that is calming and focusing for me. I decided to stay up late to take advantage of it. I didn’t write a whole lot, but I wrote, and I like what I wrote.

  • Went to bed at 2:30am

CHF Recovery: Day 41

Whoops I forgot to post at all yesterday. This is the update for:

Monday, October 24, 2016

  • Got up around 8:40
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Got some stressful news and became very upset
  • Went on a 49-minute walk
  • Took a shower and got dressed
  • Made lunch: a sandwich with leftover chicken from the chicken fried rice and mustard; a yogurt; and raspberries
  • Skyped with Mom for awhile
  • Chatted and read stuff online
  • Went to couples therapy and it was really good and helpful
  • Went to dinner at Benihana; I had sushi and I do not recommend doing that
  • Went home and goofed off online some more; started writing a small story but didn’t get very far
  • Went to bed around 11pm

CHF Recovery: Day 40

  • Got up around 9:45

Sean came to the bed at some point during the night. He normally sleeps on the couch because he stays up so late and he doesn’t want to disturb me when he finally goes to sleep. It’s nice when he comes to the bed, although I get used to him not being there sometimes and then he wakes me up simply by existing (the sound of his breathing, shifting around, etc.). This time, I did stir when he came in, but I got right back to sleep and he didn’t disturb me at any other point.

  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Worked on the prompt-combining story
  • Watched videos and read an awesome fanfic
  • Went on a 31-minute walk; it was the first walk I’d been on in a week :(
  • Altered a fried rice recipe to make it low sodium and added grilled chicken to it; it was yummy
  • Did more messing around online
  • Went to bed at 11:45pm

Weight stuff

My weight has been fluctuating since this whole thing began. I’m supposed to pay close attention to this because rapid weight gain could indicate fluid retention, which would be Bad. However, so far I have not seemed to retain any fluids.

I started out around 150, but since I started watching sodium, my eating habits have changed some, so my weight dropped to around 140. It has been bouncing around that level ever since. Here’s a lovely graph:

a graph of weights for September and October 2016

Weights from September and October 2016

That spike in the middle happened during the New York trip, when all dieting efforts went out the window. I think the current low is due to a days-long period of depression that I think I am now coming out of.

I’m not really…concerned about this? I just wanted to document it because it’s interesting. So here it is.

(I feel like 140 is probably where I should actually be, since that’s where I seemed to level out initially after weight loss surgery, so that will be my “goal weight” going forward.)

CHF Recovery: Days 37, 38, and 39

October 20, 2016

Still depressed, but I managed to shower and get dressed at least. I took all my meds and supplements and weighed myself, but I did not track my food intake. I also wrote a story based on a prompt. It was okay.

I took a brief nap in the afternoon, then called Kathryn. I felt better after the phone call.

Lunch was Starbucks. Dinner was a lighter take meal from Maggiano’s.

I wore my new Star Wars t-shirt, a light blue one with a print of the circus-style poster from the 1978 re-release. I love it. Kathryn helped me find it online :)

October 21, 2016

  • Got up at 9:30
  • Drank protein shake and had morning meds
  • Showered and got dressed
  • My period started like clockwork at 11:30
  • Went to the grocery store and bought a ton of snacks, as well as stuff I actually needed

When I was at the store I became upset when I saw an endcap display of fire logs, because fireplaces mean home to me and Sean and I don’t have one. Then I thought about making pumpkin pie and that made me sad too, because I do not have a big family to eat it.

I am, at time of writing, upset over a picture of a 47-year-old man who until I saw this picture I did not think much about other than “yeah, he’s a good-looking fellow.” The picture in question shows his hand, raised flat to his lips with a cigarette between two fingers. His hand is large and his fingers are thick and I was instantly struck with two thoughts: 1) This man is extraordinarily attractive; 2) His hands are like Dad’s.

Do I suddenly want a man like Dad? Do I want to replace Dad? What am I supposed to do about this Dad-shaped hole in my life?

  • Brought in groceries and put them away, feeling self-piteous
  • I don’t remember the rest of this day to be quite honest but I know I did not go for a walk or anything
  • Oh that’s right we went to AJ’s for dinner and I had the grilled grouper salad
  • We also had key lime pie
  • I stayed up until 1:45 am but I wasn’t doing anything productive
  • I also did not track my food intake, and I ate lots of the snacks that I got from the store

October 22, 2016

I got up and had my protein shake and meds and messed around online until it was time to go to therapy. I did not shower.

Therapy was good. I think I learned something about myself and how I communicate (or, rather, don’t communicate).

After therapy I came home and made myself lunch: PB&J, yogurt, and strawberries. Then Sean and I went to Alpharetta to meet William for a one-day-only screening of Shin Godzilla. It was actually the first Godzilla movie I had ever seen, so I don’t know how it compares to the old ones, but it was pretty interesting. The pacing and the focus on people doing things in conference rooms would probably bore a broader western audience. (To be honest, I was in danger of falling asleep a few times, but I wasn’t feeling well.)

After that we ate at a restaurant right next to the theater called Kona Grill. I thought it might have Hawaiian food but it was more like Japanese-American fusion. I had their fish of the day, grilled sea bass with white rice and mixed vegetables. Sean started with edamame and then had clam chowder and a Cuban sandwich. William had a chicken caprese sandwich. Their sandwiches came with sweet potato fries, so I nicked a couple of Sean’s. For dessert I had a huge passionfruit creme brulee and Sean and William watched me eat it ;P (It was amazing.) After that we all went home.

I was feeling pretty good by this point, so I solicited prompts from people to combine into a single story. While I was waiting for prompts I called Kathryn and we talked for about half an hour, and it was really nice. Then I worked on writing the story until bedtime (while eating an entire sleeve of Oreos >_<). I went to sleep at around 11:45.

This was the third day in a row that I did not track my food intake.

CHF Recovery: Day 36

  • Awakened at 9:30 by my calendar alerting me of an event that I had put on the wrong date
  • Got up but did not get dressed
  • Had protein shake and morning meds

I am feeling tired and down on myself today.

  • Sat around doing nothing
  • Ate some yogurt
  • Spent some time with Sean
  • Ate a tuna fish sandwich, some blackberries, and some mixed nuts
  • Sat around doing more nothing (reading)
  • Sean brought home dinner from Ted’s with a steak made with no added salt
  • Watched 30 Rock with Sean while eating dinner
  • Got back on my computer to continue reading and doing nothing

I had a to-do list for today but I didn’t do anything on it.

CHF Recovery: Day 35

This is the update for October 18, 2016.

I don’t know if I will remember everything correctly because I had a panic attack, and that kind of threw me off for the whole day.

I think I had only ever had a panic attack once before? If it was even a panic attack. That’s what Sean said it was, anyway, when I was gasping for breath and sobbing and listing all the things I was worrying about. He pulled me away from the mess on my desk and had me lie down until I could breathe normally. I didn’t completely calm down until he went to make me lunch, because eating (meal planning) was one of the things I was worried about :P

After I calmed down I watched 30 Rock for awhile before finally getting back on my computer. I didn’t really accomplish anything yesterday, so I won’t use the ta-da tag.

Here’s a rough timeline of events:

  • Awakened at 10:30 by a phone call I missed
  • Got up, had protein shake, took meds
  • Returned the call; the conversation was upsetting (nobody is hurt and there’s no change in my health status, it’s just paperwork-type stuff relating to me)
  • Started trying to address the action items from the call as well as other items related to the same subject
  • Became overwhelmed and had the panic attack
  • Spent some time recovering in bed
  • Went back to my desk and sorted all the clutter to sort of clear my mind
  • Went to the couch to watch TV
  • Ate a lunch of a yogurt and a tuna fish sandwich carefully made with measured ingredients, put together for me by Sean
  • Eventually went back to my desk but didn’t really do much the rest of the day besides read stuff and chat
  • Took shower with Sean
  • Went out for sushi with Sean
  • Had Swiss Rolls at home
  • Went to bed earlier than usual, at 11:30

Being with Sean was nice and he was very sweet to me. It made me wistful for reasons I don’t really want to get into.

CHF Recovery: Day 34

This is the update for Monday, October 17, 2016.

Sean is off this week, and I’m still on leave from work, so we decided to vote early today.

  • Woke up at 5am; poked around online for a couple minutes and then went back to bed
  • Awakened at 10am by loud pounding that I thought was the door; Sean went to check and it was actually hammering coming from the upstairs guest bathroom, the one with the leak
  • Went ahead and got up
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Messed around online for awhile, including researching local election candidates and discussing them with Sean
  • Took a shower and got dressed
  • Went to J. Christopher for brunch with Sean, where we discussed the four proposed amendments to the Georgia state constitution

I sort of created my own meal from their a la carte menu: one poached egg, one grilled chicken breast (no salt), one English muffin, and one fruit cup. I had to leave some of the English muffin and fruit as I got really full. It was a great meal.

  • Went to the Cobb County Civic Center for early voting

This actually took awhile; there were far more people there than I expected. First we sat down at a long table and filled out the application for early voting. Then we took our forms with us and got in a very long line. We were in the line for maybe 45 minutes. It zigzagged twice, ran across a room, zigzagged again, and then went into the actual voting room. A man at the door checked everyone’s application and ID.

We walked down a short hall to another door where a woman pointed us to check-in stations at the center of the room. There, a poll worker took the form, checked ID, and generated the voting card. Then we could finally vote, at any open station. This procedure wasn’t different from the other times I’ve voted in recent years, but it took so long to get to the end! But finally we got our Georgia Voter stickers and headed out.

  • Stopped at Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte (Sean) and a chai tea latte and protein bistro box (me)
  • Spent time with Sean at home
  • Poked around online some more, reading, messing with some works-in-progress, and rearranging my files on Google Drive
  • Picked up chicken tenders and fruit cups for dinner
  • Continued doing that online stuff
  • Had a late snack of Swiss Rolls
  • Went to bed at around 2:30am (what is with my sleep schedule lately?)

CHF Recovery: Day 33

  • Got up at 8:30
  • Got dressed in workout clothes
  • Had protein shake and morning meds while reading a bit online
  • Started an assignment from my therapist that I have to hand-write
  • Went on a 38-minute walk (35 minutes walking, 3 minute cooldown)

It was warm, but not overwhelmingly so. I tried to go a different route than I have been, by cutting through the forest, and then cutting through the swimming pool area in my branch of the apartment complex, then going all the way down the second branch of the complex, then exploring a path I’d never noticed before on the way back up. It was pretty fun.

When I got back I had to shower immediately because I’d gotten pretty sweaty.

  • Showered
  • Considered dressing in PJs, but then figured I’d need to go shopping so put on regular clothes (shorts and a Star Wars t-shirt)
  • Started a load of laundry
  • Made brunch for Sean and me

I was going to just fry some eggs and have waffles on the side, but then I asked Sean if he wanted some and he said yes, so I decided to try poaching the eggs, since that’s his favorite, and putting them on top of the waffles. The eggs I used were a little old; you’re supposed to use fresh ones. So they did not congeal nearly as well as one would have hoped. Still, they came out fairly well, with nice runny yolks and firm whites! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do them right so I gave the first ones to Sean, but then the second ones actually came out looking a lot better. Usually I like to give him the best-looking cooking result. Whoops.

Sean put maple syrup on his, which sounded weird to me, but he said it was good, so I put it on mine as well. I…am not sure I will ever do that again. It’s just kind of weird. Possibly because I used whole-wheat waffles? It was just a lot of flavor going on that didn’t quite harmonize for me.

  • Put laundry in the dryer; as Sean was getting in the shower, did not start the next load yet
  • Did some reading and chatting online
  • Watched last night’s SNL cold open with Sean
  • Made voting plans with Sean
  • Took first load out of dryer; started second load
  • Folded and put away first load (a ton of whites)
  • Cleaned up kitchen from brunch and started dishwasher

I want to strip the bed and wash the linens. It’s been awhile. I also want to wash the couch cover and quilt. Right now, though, I am feeling tired, and I might just lie down for a bit.

  • Did not actually lie down but did sit and rest for awhile, reading
  • Unloaded second load of laundry (dark clothes) from dryer
  • Put third load (sheets) in dryer
  • Put fourth load (towels) in washer
  • Folded/hung and put away second load

I want to list all those things out because it’s time consuming!

  • Ate some trail mix because I was hungry
  • Sean said he was hungry too, so we ran some errands and then went to dinner at our Thai place
  • Then we went to Dairy Queen and I got a mini M&M Blizzard
  • Came home and ate our Blizzards
  • Pulled sheets out of dryer and put towels into dryer
  • Put sheets back on bed
  • Changed into pajamas
  • Poked around online
  • Folded and put away towels
  • Read stuff online for like, hours
  • Went to bed at 1am

CHF Recovery: Day 32

  • Got up at about 9:50am due to staying up past 2am
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Wrote and posted a story
  • Took a shower but put clean PJs on instead of clothes
  • Had a PB&J, a yogurt, and some blackberries for lunch
  • Wrote a letter and carried it out to the mailbox in my PJs
  • Ate some chips
  • Goofed off online
  • Copied some stories from a social media platform to a story hosting site
  • Put on a bra but did not change clothes otherwise; went out to deposit a check and pick up dinner
  • Ate dinner with Sean and watched this week’s Designated Survivor

Dinner was Arby’s. I could only eat half my deli sandwich because the whole thing contained nearly all my daily sodium, and I had already had about 1000mg already today. I factored in one potato cake and ate a few curly fries. I also got a seasonal pumpkin cheesecake shake, but I only had a couple sips of it.

Designated Survivor was pretty heavy this week, with decisions made that are going to have some huge consequences. It’s such a good show.

  • Goofed off online some more (checking for comments on my stories)
  • Ate Swiss Rolls because I had calories left and I was hungry

I am not sure I’m actually getting enough calories, but I’m getting enough protein so maybe that’s all right? It’s just that I don’t absorb all the food/nutrients I take in, so I’m supposed to go over the normal recommendation. But limiting sodium makes it hard to get a lot of calories. The Swiss Rolls put me over on sodium but I’m still below MyFitnessPal’s automatic calorie limit for today, which is 1660. I dunno, man. Generally I only pay attention to sodium and protein and I don’t worry about anything else. I might ask my doctor about this, though.

  • Went to bed at 2am again because I am ridiculous

CHF Recovery: Day 31

This is the update for October 14, 2016 but I am only just now writing it, after midnight

  • Got up at Ridiculous O’Clock (6:30am)
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Made myself eggs and toast with blackberries
  • Goofed off online
  • Watched a 1995 speech by Hillary Clinton (it was great)
  • Watched a couple episodes of Kyou Kara Maou
  • Ate a bowl of cereal (my first milk in quite some time, may have been a mistake)
  • Watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Snuggled with Sean
  • Cooked dinner

Yesterday I made steak; tonight I made teriyaki chicken. Rather than buy a big bag of frozen chicken breasts, I had purchased two refrigerated breasts. I marinated the chicken in half a tablespoon of teriyaki sauce (to cut down on sodium), started the rice cooker, grilled the chicken, and stir-fried some veggies. I don’t have a wok anymore so I just used a big pot. It worked fine. The chicken came out pretty well; the veggies and rice were awesome.

  • Ate dinner while reading online; took evening meds
  • Sean and I watched a speech President Obama gave in Ohio, which was quite good
  • Ate some dark chocolate craisins
  • Spent time with Sean (whenever I say this it is code)
  • Got back on the computer at around 11 and read some more
  • Ate some yogurt raisins and potato chips
  • Still am somehow 251 mg below my sodium limit; not so great on calories though!
  • Stayed up until after 2am writing a story

CHF Recovery: Day 30

How has it already been 30 days since I started working on rebuilding my heart function? Looking back, I have done pretty well overall. My weight has stayed pretty consistent and I have been good about getting exercise, with the exception of a few days after I got home from New York. I’ve been eating pretty well too (again with a vacation exception). In general I think I am okay. I will keep working.

Sean had to use my shower this morning due to the hole in his ceiling. I was sort of already awake at that point, drifting in and out of the fuzzy well I could get up now I suppose haze. So I went ahead and got up.

  • Got up at around 8 and dressed in workout clothes
  • Drank protein shake and took morning meds
  • Poked around online

It was pretty chilly outside when I got up so I sort of wanted to wait until it warmed up to go on my walk. I have probably waited long enough now.

(The Rogue One trailer came out this morning and I may have gotten just a wee bit excited. Just a tad.)

I waited so long that I could not have gone any later. The walk was fine; it was sunny and clear and there was a nice coolness under the trees. My knees and ankles were complaining last night so I didn’t jog at all today. They felt fine after the walk.

  • Took shower and got dressed
  • Bolted down some yogurt and trail mix
  • Went out for a facial and a massage

I have a membership at a massage chain because I went there one time and they talked me into it while I was in happy massage afterglow. This month I had three services built up from not going for three months, so I used two and a half of them in one shot.

The facial was interesting. Some of the treatments burned my face a bit. I liked having my face massaged, and my hands, forearms, and shoulders. But I’m not sure I really want to do it again. The esthetician said she thought she had removed 10 years from my face, but I really do not see a difference.

The massage was great. I asked for whatever the masseuse recommended for someone who had just started walking and jogging and had sore legs, along with occasional pain in the knees and ankles. I also asked for a neck and shoulder massage, since I cannot get enough of those. It was all wonderful. She massaged my feet and it felt so great. The leg massage was great too.

I was a little dazed when I finally left, after two and a half hours!

The plumber arrived almost as soon as I got home. It was a different plumber from yesterday. He kept running back and forth from the upstairs neighbors’ apartment to ours. It was Very Exciting. ;) Eventually he left to get a different truck. I was heading out to pick up groceries for dinner when he got back, so I rolled down my car window and told him he could still get into the apartment, as Sean was now home.

  • Went to Kroger and got groceries for two dinners

Rush hour traffic was absolutely stupid coming home. At one big intersection, cars turning left across my lane kept blocking everything so that we were all stuck and missed the green light. After a couple turns of this, a bunch of cars just swung out to the left and went all the way around the obstructing cars. Since I was in the middle of these cars, I went with the flow rather than be an obstruction myself. It was crazy.

When I got back, the water had been turned off, so I settled in at my computer to wait for the plumbers to be finished. (The original plumber was here, and so was his little brother, with his own van.) They finished up sometime after 6 so I started on dinner then. I asked Sean if he wanted steak or chicken and he chose steak.

  • Seasoned the steak with pepper and salt substitute
  • Peeled and sliced a russet potato and put it on the stove to boil
  • Started a pot of mixed vegetables on another burner
  • Put the steak on the George Foreman grill
  • Watched everything, flipping the steak when necessary
  • Plated our dinner

Sean cleaned his plate and brought it to my office to show me :D “What?” I asked. “It was good,” he said.

I am really impressed with how low my sodium count is today. Only 662 milligrams. This doesn’t even seem possible, but I’ve logged everything. So that’s pretty awesome. (All I had for lunch was yogurt and trail mix, so that probably helped!)

  • Went to bed at 10pm