There was a blizzard on Sunday and clean up took place on Monday so the roads weren't too bad leaving on Tuesday morning. We arrived early.
I checked in at the information desk in the lobby around 8:00 am (told to arrive by 9 am), received a number and was sent to the little pre-admissions waiting room just to the left of the information desk. I was registered at the same place as when I did for pre-admission testing. I was sent up to the 3rd floor which was the palliative care unit (but you're only there for a short time). I was given a paperish johnny shirt to put on after I stripped off. The johnny shirt was double layer with cut outs on the outside layer; this was then hooked up to a heat pump to help eliminate infection post-surgery. Vitals were also taken and an IV inserted.
I was finally wheeled down to surgery around 10:50 am (surgery was scheduled for 11 am) where I was asked a number of questions (this happens many times). I had a red bracelet on (in addition to my hospital bracelet) alerting them to my intolerance to morphine and codeine. I was wheeled into the hall along with others and Dr. Ching stopped by to talk to me about my what she would be using to keep me asleep. Dr. B. stopped by to see if I had any questions which I didn't. I was wheeled into the surgery suite shortly after (around 11:20 am) and the ladies there starting getting me prepped and moved me to the surgical table. I was finding it all very emotional and tears were falling down my face while inhaling the gas. The ladies were so kind, I just remember them wiping my face and telling me everything was going to be fine and I was doing great.
I then woke up recovery around 1:30 pm, with the gas mask still on and a nurse asking me if I had pain, I nodded and she asked me what it was on a level of 1 - 10. I said 10, she gave me Dilaudid and then something for sickness. One of the first things I remember when waiting for her to get my pain and nausea meds was 'I made it, I'm alive' and 'I'm so happy that it's over!' and feeling such gratitude. I remember thinking the discomfort I felt wasn't as bad as I expected for surgery. I slept off and on and was taken up to ICU around 5:30 pm - it took this long to get a bed on the unit. My sister, who was with me and who's an RN (formerly ICU) was relieved as she hadn't seen me since 11 am and neither of us had expected that wait.
The nurses managed my pain and nausea. The air from the surgery was contained to my stomach so I was given Dilaudid to help with the discomfort but it made me nauseous so it was a vicious cycle. I tried water that evening but I just dry heaved and the nurse said we'd try again the next morning. I slept poorly but dozed off an on. I hear of many who walk, walk, and walk the first night but I was never encouraged to and was feeling fine (because of the meds) so I didn't. I wasn't necessarily in pain but because of the gas, I was uncomfortable.
When I sat up on the side of the bed the next morning, it was just before my dose of meds for nausea so I felt like crap and that's when Dr. B. came in (around 9:50 am). He wanted to see me to drink some water that morning (I hadn't yet) and would check back with me later that day. He told me if I wasn't feeling up to it, it would be no problem, I could just stay another night (but on the normal med-surg unit). I was devastated and was not interested in staying another night.
I drank one bottle of water over the course of a few hours and was onto my second. I was sitting up and feeling much better by the time Dr. B. stopped by the second time (around 2 pm) and he asked how I was. I said MUCH better. He agreed and released me with instructions to call his office if ANYTHING came up. He then left a prescription for Dilaudid and another for my time off work.
The ride home was uneventful and I was happy to be going home. Recovery just goes so much better once home. It was time for more pain meds and Gravol when I got home which put me right to sleep. My bedroom is on the lower level and I had no problem with stairs or sleeping in my own bed (some find it more comfortable to sleep in a recliner for the first few days). I've had no pain from the actual surgery or my incisions to date, which I find amazing!
The next day (Thursday) was much better. I still found it hard to drink the water but the projectile air release from my stomach had stopped, so no dry heaving. I had a nap in the afternoon and continued to feel better as the day wore on, especially after a shower. My sister noted that I should use a hairdryer on a low heat to dry my incisions after a shower just to make sure they're good and dry and prevent infection. She also noted that since it had been well over 48 hours since my last bowel movement that I should take a Senekot (stool softener) that evening and another in the morning. This would hopefully prevent getting too constipated and having to exert with too much pressure. This seemed to do the trick as things started semi-back to normal the next day. I took pain meds this morning for the last time. I woke up semi on my side (I usually sleep on my side or stomach, never on my back) and it didn't hurt.
I felt great on Friday and started on full fluids. It took 30 minutes to eat 1/2 cup of cream soup but it tasted pretty good after days of water and two weeks of protein shakes. My mom dropped me off an electric candle warmer so I could put my soup bowl on it and it would keep my meal hot. I would HIGHLY recommend picking one of these up since my soup was initially cold after 5 minutes ($7 at Michael's craft store). I was able to lay and sleep on my side tonight and slept much better.
I'm day 6 post-op (Sunday) and feel back to normal and have for a few days. I was able to sleep on my stomach the last two nights and am having no issues with that. One thing I did mention to my sister today was that I kept having this feeling like something was on my tongue, like micro hairs. I had the feeling for a couple of days but thought nothing of it. When we looked at my tongue there was a whiteish residue, not quite thrush or a fungal infection but she thinks it's because I've only had liquids for 3 weeks, thus, no roughage to remove this normal residue. For now, I'll gargle with salt water 4 times a day and will scrape my tongue with my toothbrush and also gargle with Listerine to help it. This may not happen to others but I'm mentioning it just in case others reading this newly pre-op do experience it.
I'm looking forward to driving on Tuesday and to getting my staples removed in two weeks after that. I'm also looking forward to starting the pureed stage and then of course, real food! I haven't been able to weigh myself at home so I can't wait to see what my weight is at my 3 week check up.