But now it’s my turn to speak about the unspeakable, because I haven’t read this anywhere. It may be very common – but nobody’s mentioned it, and if it’s useful, I leave it to bandit readers to copy and paste it on to their blogs, or link it, or whatever they choose.
Bear with me on the chronology, there is a point to it.
On Sunday 9th May after a swim at the leisure centre with friends we had dinner in a pub and I had scampi plus what was laughingly called a Mediterranean salad. This consisted of the usual, plus some kind of beans slightly bigger than the size of baked beans, i.e. smallish, and pine nuts, in a salad dressing. I munched my way through it as carefully as I could – it was uninspiring, but fine.
The following Wednesday 12th I went down to Taunton, and had a chat with them about not having lost anything in the past weeks, and perhaps not being restricted enough, and we agreed that a fill of a quarter of a cc was probably called for, taking me up to 10.25cc. I was pleased to notice the extra restriction, and also that it wasn’t excessive. Just in case, I had (mushy) polenta for dinner when we got back, and the following day survived on Optifast while at work (and give or take a few biscuits…), and soup in the evening, and all was fine.
On Saturday morning 15th May I had cornflakes and noticed afterwards that it felt a bit stuck, but only slightly. Between then and Sunday evening I ate lightly, still feeling very slightly stuck – I thought this was probably the increased restriction. On Sunday afternoon we swam at the leisure centre again with the same friends, and this time went to a Spanish style café for dinner where the meal consists of a series of tapas. But by this time I was feeling even more uncomfortable, and only managed a couple of breaded whitebait, which are tiny. More worryingly, I really didn’t feel like drinking anything, and only managed a few sips of juice. I had to disappear to the loo three times (only the one loo, and for both men and women… lovely), and began to feel quite miserable. It seemed possible that I would need an unfill. It had been a very hot weekend - I wondered if that had anything to do with it.
The following day at work (Monday) I found it very difficult to concentrate all day, and I admit I was most unhappy. I had soup for dinner and went to bed but kept waking up drowning on saliva, and at 5 o’clock in the morning (Tuesday) I had a coughing fit which produced not what you would normally expect, but something so odd that I did what I would never do – I jumped out of bed and put the light on in the bathroom to look at it.
It felt at the time as though I was giving birth to the spawn of Satan, or at least that I had coughed up a piece of lung or a bit of the band. But no, I looked upon “it” in horror as it lay on the white enamel of the wash basin, and recognised what it was straight away - two DRIED OUT beans, sliced half way through, i.e., they had had one chew, but otherwise intact, and, I repeat, completely dry. I sat there for a long time trying to remember when on earth I had consumed them, going through meal after meal in my head, and with increasing disbelief worked out that it had been 8 days previously (I’m not much of a bean eater). I returned to bed, and after the alarm clock went off at 7 I coughed up another little beauty.
Suffice to say I had no more feeling of being stuck after that, and the slightly increased restriction continues satisfactorily enough – though as I said at the start of this post, it involves PB’ing and not sweet spots.
So, to recap (can you tell I try to be methodical?!!)
1. Those wretched beans had been stuck to the sides of my pouch for 8 days, despite the natural flushing through caused by PB's, not near enough to the band to either go through or block me altogether until the 0.25cc fill caused a "crisis";
2. Stomach juices (which surely get through to the pouch?) had had no effect on the evidently tough skin of the beans, because they were in perfect nick, except for being half sliced through;
3. Yes, you can chew all you like, but if you eat food that comes in units this size – and I would include sweetcorn within this range - by the law of averages some of these units will slip through before they’re “ready”, so this means that these are foods which can only be eaten when liquidised.
4. Here’s the (probably rhetorical) question to which I'd like an answer: is it possible therefore when bandits comment – as they do frequently - that they can’t understand why they’re restricted one day and not the next (“go figure….” etc), it could be because there is some food stuck there, not doing any real harm, just minding its own business, but effectively acting as an extra lining, taking up space and filling you up sooner than you would have expected? And then something makes them go through, so you feel less restricted and return to "normal" - and you were totally unaware that this was happening?
OK folks, I feel grossed out by all this, but knew as soon as it happened that I was going to have to write about it, as it taught me something completely new.
One last point: the people at Taunton, plus comments on specialist websites come to that, tell us that the LapBand is a relatively recent invention – no more than 10 or 15 years old I believe, and that everybody, clinicians and patients alike, are still learning. Therefore never forget, bandits, that WE’RE PIONEERS!!!!!!!!!!!! Respect please.
From Lonicera’s non-digital archives
A day out in the city of Bath - landmarks