Big Fat Queer

August 31, 2011

Two Weeks Post Op – Two and a Quarter Miles

Last night I got a pretty solid six hours of sleep and after being up for a while I had another hour “recliner nap” so today my energy was pretty good. I felt better than I have since the surgery and took advantage of it with a nice long walk. I took some pictures along the way.

I went east to York Avenue and walked down towards the hospital where I had my surgery. It was my home away from home for a week and I haven’t been in that area since I got out. Along the way I passed by Sotheby’s auction house, which is one of the larger buildings on that path (it’s at 72nd Street and York Avenue).

Sotheby's Auction House.

Once you get further south on York you enter the hospital zone. The largest is New York Presbyterian where I had my surgery and lived for a week. It is the teaching hospital of Cornell Medical School and also affiliated with Columbia Medical School. It is a huge complex of buildings and divisions. According to US News and World Report’s hospital issue this year, NYP is rated No. 1 in New York and No. 6 nationally. They are in the top two or three in several categories. From my experience, they deserve the ranking.

New York Presbyterian Hospital Main Building

This is the main building. I have tried to find out who the architect is without much luck. If anyone knows please educate me.

Across York Avenue from NYP is Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital which is ranked as the second best cancer hospital in the United States. I hope I never need their services, but it is good to know that such good quality care is walking distance from home.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital

Across from Sloan Kettering and next door to NYPH is The Rockefeller University, which is a small research institution. There is no undergraduate school there. The only students are doctoral candidates and post doctoral fellows.

Entrance to The Rockefeller University

Close up of Rockefeller U Entrance

For a small university The Rockefeller University has large accomplishments.

Past The Rockefeller University there is a footbridge to a promenade along the East River. I walked over than and took a rest on a bench by the river.

The 59th Street Bridge over the East River and Roosevelt Island.

East River Tug and Barge

On the 71st Street foot bridge back from the river you can see the Hospital for Special Surgery which is ranked as the No. 1 hospital nationally for orthopedics and No. 2 for Rheumatology.

The Hospital for Special Surgery

With these top ranked hospitals and Rockefeller University in just a few blocks the amount of brainpower and healing concentrated in such a small area is almost palpable. I have walked this walk many times over the years and I am still impressed by the amount of groundbreaking science that goes on here.

My ankles are skinnier than they have been in a decade.

August 30, 2011

A Walk in the Park

I walked from my apartment to Central Park this afternoon. It is about six tenths of a mile (or one kilometer). I sat for a while and enjoyed the view, then walked some more in the Park. When I was ready to go home I took a bus and got out a few blocks from home and walked the rest of the way. Altogether it was about 1.2 miles.

Despite that I didn’t feel as energetic today. I didn’t sleep so well last night. Since my surgery I have had a problem with my cpap machine. My mouth comes open a lot when I sleep. This reduces the effectiveness of the cpap since some of the air pressure escapes, and it also dries out my mouth and sinuses. The dried sinuses produced a sneezing jag that woke me up in the middle of the night and lasted for quite a long time. I even began to worry that I might injure something internal (like my incision) with the endless sneezing. I eventually got control of things and went back to sleep. I have had several short naps today, but I never really caught up. I don’t know why the open mouth problem has started. I have used the cpap for a few years now without the problem. In a few months I won’t even need it any more. Here’s hoping tonight I get better sleep so tomorrow will be more pleasant.

At least my lower energy today was not due to a lack of progress in recovery, but something explainable.

For lunch I had leftovers from dinner last night, cucumber soup, sweet potato mousse and some vegetable puree. For dinner I ordered a steamed platter from my favorite Chinese restaurant with vegetables and steamed shrimp. I blended five shrimp with a little egg drop soup to moisten them and it was tasty. I also blended some vegetables but they did not taste so good so I didn’t eat much. In place of the vegetables I had some apple-apricot sauce. I always seem to be able to get fruit down. I’m getting really tired of purees. In a week I can start real food. For breakfast I had a protein shake, which I will continue doing after I start real food for the protein supplementation.

P.S. When I was just about home I passed a restaurant around the corner from my building. There is an al fresco dining area. I saw my surgeon with four residents sitting outside having dinner. I started to say hello, but I decided not to bother them outside a professional situation. He was holding court with the young acolytes hanging on every word. I did find it a strange coincidence to see them there.

September 18, 2010

Pre-Stress Test

NY Harbor, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Monday I finally have my stress test at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, who claims to have a scanner that will accommodate a 430 pound body. Since mine is considerably less than that, I should fit – and still be in Manhattan, but just barely. I do wonder though how they come up with a number like 430, when the circumference of a 430 pound human can vary depending on height. In any event, I should fit.

When the test was first scheduled, or at last re-scheduled, I had a nightmare that I would be told after the test that they must crack open my chest immediately and do dastardly things to my innards. I really don’t have time for that foolishness. But it did feed some anxiety about the test. But by the week’s end I was feeling cocky that everything would be fine. At least good enough not to require any immediate surgery. I am a bit scalpel-phobic.

So today I put my heart to a little bit of stress to reassure myself. I walked four miles, most of it at a fairly brisk pace, a good mile or so uphill, and I had no chest pains, no shortness of breath and I do not feel fatigued, but rather invigorated. My poor ankle joints are a bit strained, but if you had to carry that weight you would too.

I did errands this morning and walked about a mile in the neighborhood. During my errands I ate at a diner, having eggs and sausage. I also had potatoes, which I usually eschew, because I knew I was going to be doing a lot of walking. I injected insulin, but I thought I compensated for the exercise. Then I took a subway to Brooklyn Heights to go to the promenade to shoot footage for my river project. I’m including the Harbor as well.

After Brooklyn Heights I intended to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan. You get a much better view walking towards Manhattan rather than from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I got about a quarter mile up the ramp to the bridge and started feeling a little wobbly. I tested my blood sugar and it was 110. I ate my emergency Snickers and walked a bit more, but still didn’t feel too strong. I tested my blood sugar again and it was 98, still going down despite the candy bar. I didn’t think it wise to continue as on the bridge there is no place to get anything sweet to eat or drink and I was also feeling a little dehydrated. So I re-traced my steps back to the entrance to the ramp where there is a diner and I sat for a while and had a grilled cheese sandwich with a Pepsi (a rather flat Pepsi, but it had sugar). After resting and getting some carbs I felt fine to continue on. So I did and completed the trip across with no problems. I got some really good footage and a few still shots as well, including the one in this post taken from the bridge looking toward the harbor with the Verazzano Narrows Bridge in the background.

After I post this I am going to have some Greek yogurt with peach slices and fresh raspberries.

After my transgression earlier in the week, I have been pretty responsible with eating and moving. Thursday I worked in another office from my usual office and ate some Vietnamese spring rolls and salad at a restaurant nearby. When I got home I made a gumbo from the breasts of the rotistterie chicken I had eaten part of (the dark meat) the night before. It was tasty, but later in the night I had stomach cramps and cold sweat. Everything cleared up by Friday, so I don’t know what it was, but I threw the gumbo away just in case. I didn’t want to eat anything I had eaten the day before.

Friday I had lunch with a colleague at a tavern near Madison Square Park. We split an appetizer plate with wings, chicken fingers and sliders (I had one slider). The small bun on the slider and the breading on the chicken finger (not all that much) were the only carbs. My entree was a grilled shrimp salad with avocado and hearts of palm. For dinner last night I had shrimp and walnuts with no rice from a Chinese restaurant.

I have had a lot of salty animal fat today, so I may eat only vegetables tomorrow. I can’t have any caffeine until later Monday and I don’t tolerate caffeine well late in the day, so probably Tuesday. I may have to get up early Tuesday just for a caffeine fix.

I will let you know how the stress test turns out.

August 4, 2010

Dinner With Friends

Last night I met up with friend and regular reader of this blog, Laurie and her friend (and my new friend) Dennis. They had just gotten tattoos!

We went to Brooklyn Heights and walked around the neighborhood, stopping for dinner at a diner (nothing could be finer). I had chicken souvlaki over a greek salad and some chicken wings.

Earlier in the day I had granola with cherries (I went back to the Kashi. The Familia Muesli was inedible). I also had a roasted chicken leg and thigh and a salad. Altogether during the day I walked two miles, some of it here:

Click the pic for the big beautiful version 🙂

August 1, 2010

Better Red Than…


I made borscht tonight. No golden beets to be had I went to the produce stand around the corner and bought red ones. I know it’s summer, but I made hot borscht because I like it. In my younger days in South Carolina you could find bottled borscht and the occasional deli would have it but it was always cold and never home made. I discovered hot borscht thirty years ago at the Vaselka, a Unkranian diner in the East Village and fell in love. Here is how I made it:

I browned some stew beef chunks and set them aside. Then I sauteed red onions, leeks, celery, carrots, garlic and cabbage. I added some beef stock and cut up a Granny Smith apple for tartness and sweetness. Then I washed and cut up four medium to large beets and added them, then added back the beef and a little distilled vinegar. I simmered that for about an hour then adjusted the seasonings and let it steep.

I also made a salsa from the remaining ripe tomatoes from the Green Market and some onions, jalapeno, lime juice and cilantro. I ate that with the remaining chips from my Mexican dinner last night. Borscht and salsa. It is how I imagine they celebrate Cinqo de Mayo in Kiev.

Speaking of Kiev the best cold borscht I ever had was at the Kiev, another Ukranian favorite in the East Village, but it is no longer there. The Vaselka lives on. In fact I saw Ted Allen extolling The Vaselka’s hot borscht on TV Food Network a few days ago. I concur. Mine wasn’t bad either.

This morning I had granola and skim milk with slices of apple and some pitted fresh cherries.

I will have my video up in a day or two. I thought I was finished rendering it, but when I played it back the audio wasn’t well balanced so it won’t go up tonight.

April 24, 2010

An Afternoon in Union Square

I spent the afternoon in Union Square, mostly taking pictures. What else would I be doing? I also bought a few things at the Greenmarket, which is, to quote Joe Biden, a Big Fucking Deal in New York. It’s like a farmer’s market where farmers from New York and surrounding states come and sell organic fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese, flowers, meat, chicken, bread and other baked goods, preserves, pickles, etc. I was hoping to get some fresh tomatoes, but it is still a little early. I bought a couple of beautiful organic apples, one Winesap and one Macoun. Fresh tree-ripened New York State apples are delicious. I also bought a dozen jumbo organic eggs for seven dollars !!! – but they were gathered this morning in upstate NY. I bought some fresh Colby cheese made with goat’s milk from a farm in Pennsylvania. And I bought a bunch of ramps, which are in season locally now. Ramps are sometimes called wild leeks. They have a scallion-like bulb and broad leaves, and they have a garlicky flavor. I sautéed the greens and chopped the bulbs for pasta sauce.

Ah, the pasta. I had my weekly Dreamfields pasta (low carb) fix, angel hair, with a sauce of ramp bulbs, garlic, olive oil, red pepper and split grape tomatoes sautéed and mashed. Ramp greens and Colby cheese on the side.

I have not counted calories today. I will have a little peanut butter and maybe one of the fresh apples a bit later.

I am very pleased with some of the pictures I took today. I shot nearly 300 shots, so it will take a while to sort through and select and edit. But here is a teaser.

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