My surgery experience on June 29, 2007 7:22 pm
It's probably time I write down my surgery experience before I forget it - so here are all the gory details.
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Tuesday morning. I got up at 6am, showered and dressed in comfy clothing that I knew would be easy to wear home. I had picked my mum up at the airport the day before so she could stay with me for a week. I had been NPO since midnight and Mum's coffee smelled SO good! My friend Karen picked us up at 7am and drove us to the hospital.
When we were waiting in line to check in, my surgeon was coming in the building and I pointed him out to Mum. She thought I was joking because she thought he looked way too young - lol! I checked in and Mum and I were led to a "short stay room". I was given a gown to change into and the nurse (Mary - super sweet!) asked me a ton of questions. She gave me a bag for my clothes, labeled it and my backpack and locked them up. I kept my glasses until the last minute, then I gave them to mum for safekeeping. I had instructed mum to take lots of pictures - and she did! The first vampire (blood taker - lol) came. She had quite the challenge finding a good spot. Tried the left arm, then the right arm, then the right hand, finally struck gold with the left hand. OUCH! The anesthesioligist (sp?) came and set up my IV. Again - lots of pokes, finally got a good stick in my left hand. I had been horribly nervous up until this point - once the IV was in, I relaxed!
My friends Karen and Sue arrived and kept mum and I company. At one point Dr. Pitchford (the surgeon) came in and spoke with me. Nurse Mary also came and gave me some "joy juice" which helped me relax. Then, it felt like we waited forever. Surgery was scheduled for 9:30 but I didn't get wheeled back until 10:30. I asked the 2 women who were wheeling me back to surgery if we could do some 'donuts' - they didn't think that was a good idea. :~)
Once in the OR, I was introduced to the nurse and a student nurse who was observing. They slid me over on the table and someone said I was going to go to sleep and have a great surgery . . .
This is where anasthesia and morphine take over to cause lots of holes in my memory. . . Someone is asking me to take deep breaths and it HURTS LIKE HELL to breathe deeply. . . I can hear people saying that the sheets need changed before I go to my room. They roll me one way and then the other to accomplish this. I am moaning and crying the whole time. . . I am on some kind of inflatable mattress that cycles air in and out - so comfortable . . . Someone is putting a cold cloth on my head and it feels sooooo good! . . . Nurse Russell explains the morphine pump to me and puts it in my hand . . . I've come out of surgery with an NG tube (tube from nose to stomach); a catheter; a drain from my left rib and 2 huge cold sores on the inside of my bottom lip.
At some point, later in the afternoon I learn that the doctor was able to do my umbilical hernia repair along with the RNY. I'm able to keep my eyes open for longer periods of time and actually have conversations with Mum, Karen, Sue and Cindy.
Wednesday - The vampire comes at 6 am and it only takes her 2 tries to strike a vein. I'm given a glass of ice chips and a sponge thingy to wet the inside of my mouth. My mouth is SO DRY I'm nearly losing my mind!At some point in the morning it is time to get out of bed and take my first walk. I couldn't walk long distances before surgery because of my weight, so the distance the CNA wants me to walk causes a panic attack. I walk a very short distance and then go back to bed.
The surgeon stops by at the end of my walk. My white blood count is 18,000 (12,000 is normal) and he is concerned I may have a leak. An upper GI is scheduled for the afternoon. (Although this freaks me out now, at the time the morphine kept me quite calm!) I walk again around noon. At 2pm I'm wheeled down for the upper GI. My mouth is so dry by the time we get there I can't even talk. I'm set up in the machine and am told to drink the contrast (not barium, just some contrast) from a straw. I do so and am able to watch it go down my esophagus and into my new pouchie on a screen. It is so cool. The contrasts taste like crap but I try not to think about it. The good news is . . . there's no leak! YEA! Wheeled back to my room where I take a nap - it's been an exhausting afternoon!
Later in the evening the nurse comes to take out the NG tube - I don't feel anything! I also get my first meal: 1 oz beef broth; 1 oz jello; 1 oz juice. I hate jello - everything else goes down just fine!
Thursday - The vampire comes again at 6am to take blood and nails it in one poke - YEA! The contrast I had on Wednesday has woken up my intestines and I have to deal with a bit of a diarrhea problem. I'm walking a bit more easily and my catheter comes out in the afternoon. I'm also taken off the morphine.
Early evening I notice that my hand with the IV in it is swollen. I bring it to the attention of the nurse, who finds the IV has "gone bad" and takes it out. I argue with her over the necessity of starting another IV since I'm going home the next day and am off IV painkillers. She checks with the surgeon and I'm relieved to learn I DON'T have to have another IV placed!
I'm quite surprised that in the evening I'm offered my first Vicodin . . . in pill form! For some reason, I didn't think I would be taking any pills. They go down just fine! At this point, I've been off oxygen pretty much all day, but I get awoken in the middle of the night because my oxygen stats are around 87% and the oxygen goes back on.
Friday - The vampire comes again at 6am . . . and gets blood in 1 hit. Dr. Pitchford comes in around 7am and clears me to go home. The nurse comes and removes the drain that is in my left rib - again, I don't feel a thing. I take more Vicodin about an hour before going home - and I'm wheeled to the door about 10am. My friend Karen drives Mum and I home. I sit in the back of her minivan and hug my pillow and it's really not a bad trip. Once home, I'm comfortably situated in my lazy boy chair . . . and the sipping begins!
A better day on June 18, 2007 7:21 pm
Today is a better day. I'm feeling better physically and emotionally - though I'm still taking painkillers on a regular basis. For some reason, I thought it would be a badge of honor to NOT need pain killers - this is a BAD IDEA!! Now that I've gotten the pain under control, my emotional upheaval has stabilized :-)
The really wierd thing I'm noticing? My psoriasis (which is moderately severe) is getting dramatically better. Huh???
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I survived! on June 16, 2007 8:24 am
4 days post-op!
Well, I survived. In fact, I survived so well I've reached the "what the hell have I done" stage a bit early. The good thing is, I knew this was coming and I know it will pass. I know it will get easier and less overwhelming. I know I will be glad I did it. I know I will celebrate my courage. But just for today I'm scared, a little bit whiney and having a pity party for one. I'll get over it soon.
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A matter of faith . . . on June 11, 2007 7:14 am
A year ago I made a bracelet of gold beads, garnet beads and letter beads that spells "Faith". I have worn it every day as a reminder that even when the doubts cloud in, I must have faith. Though I can't wear the bracelet into surgery, I'm taking the sentiment in with me - having faith that I will come through surgery just fine. I truely feel I have been led here, to this exact experience and I know my God will be with me every step of the way. I do have some nervousness about surgery, but I'm beginning to realize that it's nervousness about the unknown rather than nerves about the surgery itself. It's quite comforting to feel so at peace about the surgery!
I'm going to pick my mum up at the airport. I'm so glad she is coming in today so we can have time to laugh and gossip before surgery. What a blessing it will be to have her by my side when I am at my most vulnerable!
The next time I write here - I will be post-op. Wow.
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Time on June 10, 2007 4:22 am
2 days until surgery . . .
Time is moving so fast. I'm not sure if I like that or not. I was reading entries I made into this blog over a year ago and I was frustrated with having to wait. People kept telling me that time would fly by and I wanted to smack them because they weren't the ones a year away from surgery. Well, they were right! Here I am 2 days from surgery and I can't believe it!
I have been quite busy finishing up my summer class and getting my house cleaned before surgery. I think this has kept me distracted enough that I haven't gotten too worried about surgery.
It will be nice to have my mum get here tomorrow. I know she will be a good distraction on the last day before surgery!
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