Take Care of Yourself AND Give Back With Vitamin Angels!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #100MillionReasons #CollectiveBias
vitamin angels
We all want to help others, don’t we? And how many of us need to take better care of ourselves? Most of us. What if I told you it was possible to do both at the same time? I know it sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. It’s a beautifully simple project called Vitamin Angels. Walgreens and Centrum have partnered to help mothers and children receive the vitamins and minerals they need to lead healthy lives. You can help by buying Centrum vitamins for yourself and your family at Walgreens. For over twenty years Vitamin Angels has been helping at-risk populations (pregnant women, new mothers and children under five) gain access to life changing vitamins & minerals.

How many times has your doctor told you to take a good multivitamin? Ladies, haven’t we all heard and read that we need to start taking Calcium supplements long before menopause to prevent osteoporosis? And that if we’re of child-bearing age we should be taking folic acid, whether we’re planning to conceive or not? Magazine articles and news stories remind us about the vitamins and minerals our bodies need, and that we aren’t getting in our diets. Study after study has been done on how important Vitamin D is, for example. We’re not spending as much time outdoors in the sunlight as we used to, as children or adults. And lack of Vitamin D decreases Calcium absorption and makes both depression and chronic pain more difficult to treat. Vitamin Angels gives you 100 million reasons to take your vitamins – you can help bring 100 million mothers and children the essential nutrients and vitamins many of us take for granted.

Here’s my favorite local Walgreens. You’ll notice the vitamin aisle is right there next to the pharmacy.
vitamin aisle
That’s not accidental, folks! Vitamins and minerals are just as important as prescription medications for maintaining health and preventing illness. And your local pharmacist will be glad to talk to you about which ones are right for you. To start with, here’s a “nurse tip”. When your doctor says “a good multivitamin” he or she means a name-brand one. Over-the-counter dietary supplements aren’t overseen as carefully as prescription medications. I love a good bargain, but knock-off dietary supplements are not a good deal. Buy the good stuff – your body will thank you! And so will 100 million children. In fact, 1% of all sales of Centrum vitamins at Walgreens will go to Vitamin Angels!

I found most Centrum products right at eye level when I started shopping. They sort by formulation, so be patient as you search.
location on shelf
I had a bottle I’d intended for my use, but when I looked carefully it was the one designed for men! Here’s the Women’s version.
centrum for women
There’s also a plain Adult variety if you like to share. There are, of course, a variety of Centrum children’s vitamins, Centrum Silver for ages fifty and up, and specialty mixtures for Vision, Energy, and Heart health.  If you get overwhelmed, just ask the pharmacist.

This made me laugh, but I do live in Louisville, Kentucky – the allergy capital of the United States. There was no way to get close to the pharmacy without dodging this big display, which I’m sure they are now re-stocking at least twice a day:
Pretty sad, right? *sniffle, snort*After I’d selected vitamins for myself, my husband, and my teen son I headed for the register and came across this fabulous bargain:
laundry detergent
The money I saved there easily made up the difference between knock-off vitamins and the “good stuff”. And odds are I’ll find a similar bargain next month when I go vitamin shopping again, especially with my Walgreens Balance Rewards Card! Oh, and did I mention that when you spend $30 or more on eligible Centrum products you’ll receive 10,000 Balance Rewards points? WOOT!
walgreens card
My husband is a few years older than I am, so when he and our son, John, came home I reminded Michael that this was his personal bottle
Centrum Silver
(on the mantle where he drops his car keys) not to be confused with John’s (next to his toothbrush) or mine (in a tub with all my other meds) since I am not yet fifty :) I am close, though, and will probably switch over soon. I just won’t tell Michael!

Speaking of age, one of the things I am continually thankful for is that all my medical issues and the financial woes we are still dealing with did not start when I was younger and the kids were small. It all began with a huge herniated disc that I have no idea how I got, so it easily could have happened decades ago. Thankfully, I was healthy and working full-time when each of the boys were born, so buying good prenatal vitamins for me and children’s vitamins for them was not a concern. These days every single thing has to be budgeted for, and some things just don’t make the cut. I’m so glad to hear about a program to help young families in that situation. Believe it or not, food stamps do not cover vitamins or other dietary supplements. Crazy, right? But thanks to companies like Centrum and Walgreens we can all help remedy that oversight. Just keep that in mind next time you vitamin-shop for your family. I sure will!

What NOT to Do When You’re on IV Pain Meds

PCA pump

— 1 —

First off, you’ll notice I said “pain meds” in the title. I have no flippin’ clue what I was being given when I pushed that button. Morphine, demerol, some experimental drug that’s going to give me super-powers? I didn’t ask. For a nurse not to ask what medication she’s getting for a full twenty-four hours . . . I can’t even imagine what was going on in my mind. But you don’t just push a button injecting yourself with some unknown medication without asking – no matter how fabulous it makes you feel. But I did.

— 2 —

 As a nurse and as a veteran patient of multiple major surgeries, I felt fairly sure that by the evening of the day of surgery I’d be able to unhook my oxygen, turn off and unhook the inflatable compression devices on my legs, unplug my IV from the wall, and walk to the bathroom. Thus, someone could take my catheter out. Everyone who came to see me (other than family) has a medical background and wouldn’t think a thing of a bag of urine hanging from the bottom of the bed, but for my family’s sake I wanted it out. I could pull the oxygen tubing off, but that was as far as I got. Everything else was much too complicated. I explained my plan to my nurse when she came in and saw my oxygen tubing in my lap, and she just smiled. I ended up needing her help to put the tubing back in my nose, something I’ve done for myself or others about a million times. But I’d tried.

— 3 —

I think my nurse found me fairly entertaining. She didn’t call me on the Chloroseptic I’d snuck in, but did ask me how much I’d read of the book on my bedside table. I’d actually brought two books, and had another two downloaded to my iPad. I was going to be in the hospital from Monday until Wednesday, after all. And my friend Lisa brought me another one! She knows me, y’all :) I didn’t even read one page. But I tried.

— 4 —

I had plenty of visitors on Tuesday. I’m not sure if they could understand anything I said, but they smiled and nodded. I hadn’t gotten the official OK for even ice chips, so my tongue felt like beef jerky. I tried to speak slowly and enunciate carefully, which probably just assured them I was very heavily medicated. I even had a nice long visit with my father-in-law. God only knows what I said.

— 5 —

Best of all, I’d seen this hospitalization as a great time to share the wonderful world of Nerium with everyone who walked into my room, and I’d brought samples with instructions and my business card attached. I have no clue who I gave samples to, who I talked about Nerium with, or what I might have said. I did have the presence of mind to have my Day, Night, and Firm on my tray table at all times, and all four of the samples I packed were gone when I got home, so I did what I’d planned! Just not exactly the way I’d planned. I do remember one sample leaving my room in the hand of a man with a full beard. His sample will probably last three months if he actually tries it :)

— 6 —

One reason I’m fairly sure I did not clearly explain Nerium to anyone is that I couldn’t find the right words to explain my manicure and pedicure. They were super-cute and I’d put a lot of thought and effort into them. When you’re unconscious on the OR table it’s hard to make a good impression. And I, personally, always want the people scrubbed in on my surgery to like me. If all the power goes out and the generator doesn’t kick in I want my team to be like, “We’ll use our phones for light and take turns with the ambu bag! We can’t let her die – she’s got such a great mani-pedi!”

— 7 —

Anyway, when people complimented my nails I nearly always managed to get out, “Jamberry.” I thought I was the last kid on the block to try Jamberry nails. Well, evidently not, because most people had no idea what I was talking about. After much rambling, I settled on, “Like stickers. But they last longer.” It’s not a very good explanation, but people usually smiled and nodded instead of looking more confused. I tried.

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Early Days Post Gastric Sleeve

dr mccoy

In general, I can’t believe how great I feel and how easy the adjustment has been so far after surgery! I even forget for periods of time that I had surgery until I stretch at an angle that pulls on my little laparoscopic incisions. . . or until my pants nearly fall off in Walgreen’s. I’ve had a few little blips, all of them my own fault, but I thought I’d share for anyone considering bariatric surgery.

The more food allergies or intolerances a person has going into surgery the more difficult food selection will be afterward. Some make it more difficult than others. I’ve been lactose intolerant for many years, and artificial sweeteners give me a nasty headache and visual problems if I have more than one teaspoon a day (for my coffee). Unfortunately, those are the two intolerances that are the most limiting after bariatric surgery.

I was ready for the lactose issue. I know that I can mix a little yogurt or a little cottage cheese with something else and I’ll do fine. And I know (from trying Slim-Fast and similar products) that I can’t tolerate a milk-based protein shake. And protein is important. Because the weight starts falling off immediately. It’s like the Doctor Who episode where cute little one-kilogram blobs of fat fall off and run away down the street in the middle of the night every night. It’s one of my favorites :)
But in a real human body, especially a sedentary one like mine, lean muscle will hop off just as easily as fat. To keep that from happening there has to be plenty of protein coming in. Ideally, 60 grams a day. There are 6 grams of protein in a large egg. My stomach will hold 1/2 cup. See the problem? It’s easy to identify the supplements I can use, though. I just look at the list of ingredients. If one of the first few isn’t “milk” or “milk proteins” I’m good.  But if you mix a scoop of that with 1/2 cup of water you get a pudding-like substance that sits in the tummy like a concrete block – ICK.

And I’m so used to automatically replacing “sugar-free” with “regular” in recipes that I didn’t give it a thought. Until I left the hospital with a whopper of a headache from that scrumptious banana popsicle and orange jello :(

Then when I got home to my “regular” popsicles and jello my body didn’t like that, either. Too much sugar! For patients after bariatric surgery the body has one simple solution if you put in too much sugar. It dumps it right out the other end. And it will always do that, just in case I forget (not likely).

And even though I had heard and read at least a dozen times that I must stop eating at the first sign of being full I didn’t think it mattered if I ate one more teaspoon of the delicious peanut butter and greek yogurt shake I’d made. It did. The nausea was so bad I had to take a phenergan tablet, which knocked me out cold for about 12 hours.

So that’s a run-down of my mistakes so far :) I’m sure there will be plenty more, I can only hope they will be equally minor. I’m down 25 pounds, 10 of that in the 9 days since surgery. I’m going to switch from using Nerium Firm (tightens and smooths skin) once a day to twice a day – trying to stay ahead of that loose, flabby skin that’s the natural result of rapid weight loss. And I still use Nerium’s Night Cream on my face and neck every night, so my skin’s still nice and snug there, too. More updates soon!

BTW, I get double-bonus geek points for working Star Trek and Doctor Who into a weight loss post, right?!


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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!