04 August 2007


Know your limit

Last night my wife and I went out for dinner for the first time in about a month, since before my major colon surgery on July 6. It was both a success and a failure. Or, more accurately, it was a good test.

We hired a babysitter for a few hours and chose our nearby Cactus Club Cafe, where I had some delicious cheese toast, grilled salmon, and mashed potatoes. (I had to skip the rice pilaf because during my recovery I need to avoid high-fibre foods like brown rice and nuts of all sorts, which can create blockages.)

I also drank a pomegranate cosmopolitan martini and a mojito. Everything was delicious, and I had a great time, even though I still have to bring a pillow to sit on.

However, earlier in the day my surgeon, Dr. Phang, had prescribed me some Tylenol 3 pills with codeine to help alleviate some of the pain I'm still having. As I half-expected, just as we were paying for the meal, the combination of the two drinks and the T3s kicked in, and I felt extremely light-headed sitting at the table.

My fantastic wife knew what to do, of course. She told me to put my head down to my knees, which I did, and I immediately felt better. Then she went to the car and retrieved the wheelchair we borrowed from my parents yesterday, and wheeled me out of the restaurant. I lay down in the back seat of our car and we drove the three minutes home, skipping our planned trip to the mall. Instead I went to bed and watched TV. Later we watched The Bourne Identity and I made some plans to give a remote video talk to the upcoming Gnomedex conference next week.

I didn't find what happened at the restaurant at all embarrassing, by the way. I'm way past embarrassment at any of this stuff. It was an experiment, in a way—what are my limits right now? I know I can eat a good meal in relative comfort. I know the Tylenol 3 works. And I know it does not interact well with booze (though I was pleased not to feel nauseated). So I should lay off the drink for now, at least if I plan to stay upright.

It was a damn good martini, by the way.

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Derek, I'm glad you were able to get out of the house, but sorry to hear that it didn't go quite as well as you hoped for. I'm glad that you're not embarrassed about it though. There would be no reason to be, even if you hadn't been through all you've already been through. Most people are understanding.

I wish you the best of luck, and I hope you feel better soon!
Advice from someone with experience: one drink, one pill. Or maybe skip the pills if you want to have the drink. They're designed not to mix -)
wow, most excellent thinking from your other half!

beautiful that you got out and made a graceful exit than most people make when they don't feel 100%!
Derek, That was so nice that you went out for dinner. I'm glad you're not embarrassed ....who cares what people think anyway! You're a warrior and most couldn't handle what you are in such a positive manner. You go guy you go ....enjoy and do whatever you want, you have earned it! You know your limits and if not you will learn along the way ....the journey.........Barbra Goldman
Glad to have you back in storytelling mode, and nice to hear about enjoyable outings! Reminds me of my pre-drug days when I mixed cold meds and alcohol accidently and managed to scare myself fairly badly while at the Twilight Zone nightclub... alas, I didn't have a lovely wife looking out for me! Nice nose craters, BTW!
Man, Tylenol 3s make me so high, I don't think anyone would let me go out in public after taking one. But then again, when I took them myself after surgery, the pain was so great that I didn't get that effect. I only got this once I started taking them for (much easier) back pain.

I would've thought wheeling into the restaurant on a wheelchair would be far more useful than coming out on it. I once went to Earl's, you see, after hurting my knee, and they let me and my date jump the queue as I was on crutches. Which made me consider just bringing crutches to restaurants all the time...

Glad to hear you're up and about.
Never heard that the Tylenol - which is, if I believe Wikipedia, the same thing as paracetamol - was not compatible with alcohol.

Maybe it is a question of quantity...

JH is still on 8 Doliprane a day, which represents 4 g of paracetamol, and he can now enjoy his glass of wine.

Or maybe you had a white martini ? Or a coktail of some kind ? I don't know what pomegranate cosmopolitan means, although it sounds rather sexy. Anyway, if I were you, I wouldn't charge alcohol too quickly, maybe you should give red wine a try, it is the best. I would beware of white wine, though - I know Americans drink a lot of Chardonnay.

Anyway, great you had an evening out, we plan to go to the restaurant at the end of the week ourselves. Good thing is : older kids, no babysitters !

Today, we went for a 7,5 km walk in the forest... and shortened it in the middle, because JH felt too tired. So we had a somewhat 3,5 km walk after all, and it was fine, and tomorrow we will try a longer one.

It is all about learning patience...
When I was in college, my friends knew the value of mixing T3s and alcohol -- if someone's parents had some T3s in their cabinet, it meant you didn't have to buy as much alcohol!

And so what if it was potentially damaging to your liver -- as college students, they were (acting) immortal.

I never did it, thought -- I didn't start drinking until I started work as a journalist.
3.5 km sounds like Mt. Everest to me right now. I'm still exhausted walking a block and a half, or taking a shower and making my various medical preparations. Sometimes it's still a big effort getting to the kitchen. But I think I'm starting to gain some weight now, which is encouraging.
It's great to know you're out and about, Derek. And yes...Martinis are very good (especially the Tanqueray gin ones).
Great news that you and Airdree were able to get out for a dinner. It must have helped you both feel as though you are indeed recovering.
Hey Derek!
Great to hear about you getting out and around. I'm looking forward to seeing your video talk at Gnomedex, though not as much as I would be if you were there in person. Maybe Bar Camp? Best wishes man.
Looking forward to seeing your mug via screen at Gnomedex man! I've been humming "Gnomedex, it's geeky fun" all week getting excited, Take it slow and chillaxed amigo.