I've been meaning to post this for a couple of weeks! But work has been soooo busy!
I called in to Graber's office today to double-check my tentative surgery date - and yes, it is set for Friday Jan 11/08. I have to be in Utica on Wednesday the 9th in preparation for a couple of pre-surgery meetings. One is with the anestheseologist (sp?) and the other is with the nutritionist. Because of the chance for bad weather, we're planning on going down on either the 8th or 9th of January. It'll all depend on the weather forecast at that time. We've made reservations at the Red Roof Inn in Utica
Now .. on to the details of consultation day ....
My husband Tony and I got up at 4AM on Monday and were leaving the driveway at 5:45 - a little later than what we hoped. We were planning on going through the border at Prescott/Ogdensburg, but ended up driving down the 401 and crossing at the Thousand Islands. No problem at all - only one car in front of us. We were through at 7AM. The drive down 81 was uneventful. I was nervous as all get-out because of bodily-function worries. I pee a lot ... AND because of some recent dental isues, I was also on antibiotics. Of course, the day before we are to go, the diarrhea kicks in as a result of the antibiotics. ARGHHH! I can't go to just any toilet - I need the handicap ones, and some of the ones they classify as handicap facilities are a joke!
Anyhow, on one of my peeing forays, a guy we met suggested that we take a different route - move over to highway 13, then highway 69 until we get to Utica. So we did that instead. It was kinda pretty - small town America. Lots of gorgeous old houses that have fallen into disrepair with the changing economy, planted next to single and double-wide trailers. I was actually quite lucky in that section of the ride wrt to bathrooms. I didn't need to go so that was a big YAY!
Utica is a funny place. It must have once been quite the bustling town, but a lot of the industry has left now. The highways that run through the city have the same roadway but are identified with multiple highway signs. For example, one road will be identified as highway 5, 8 AND 12. When you're trying to go east or west ... or north/south .. for whatever reason they don't always mark both directions. So you're happily following along the 5/8/12, and suddenly, it's only 5/8 and 12 has gone. The sign for the turn off for 12 was never shown. So you wonder on a while trying to figure out how to leave this area, you turn around, go up and out one ramp, and go down and back on another to go the opposite direction now - hoping to see the sign for the turn off. Sure enough, it's not there either. There were about 4 or 5 times as we zoomed around small Utica that we encountered this problem. City maps were a joke. Anyhow, we made it to the Dr's office by 10:15 for the 10:30 appt.
As I was getting out of the car, I recognized someone from the OH! AndriaA
!! I knew she had her surgery with Graber on Friday the 9th , and here she was to get her check-up before she was allowed to go home to Canada. She looked great and said she was feeling fine! (She's from the Toronto area, not Ottawa.) I think I also saw Candace
too - she would have been there for one of her follow-up appointments as she had her surgery in January 2007. The waiting area was really packed! I was surprised ... There was probably a total of 9 or 10 patients there for consults or follow-ups!
I was called in to the office area by one of Dr Graber's patient educators - her name was Lisa. She took me in to get weighed (with my shoes on!) and then on in to another office so we could sit down and go through their patient database and hear her spiel/answer questions. That was probably for about an hour and a bit or so. She took her time and was extremely helpful, patient and answered all the questions she could. Some she deferred to Dr Graber. Then, we had to wait a bit until Graber could see us. He was a little backed up schedule-wise.
Graber does 4 RNY operations on his surgery days which are Wed-Thurs-Fri. He does post-surgery check ups and pre-surgery consults on Monday/Tuesday. He has done about 1200 RNY surgeries himself so far - which is just a little less than three times more than the TWO doctor's together at Detroit. He operates on his Canadian patients on Friday's now. Some get released from hospital on Saturday, others on Sunday. Then on Monday, you need his check up approval before going back home to Canada. 3 weeks later, you have to come again for another check up .. then the next ones are three months, six months and one year after that. He hopes that his patients continue to come back annually thereafter so he can monitor everything. I plan to do this as there is no specialist in Ottawa that has equivalent knowledge. (Actually, there are not gastric bypass specialists in Ottawa at all!)
I feel extremely comfortable with Graber - and feel like I am in good hands. His mind is going a mile a minute - and at times he seemed distracted - but then if you listen to the next thing he says, everything is connected and he's just making sure you know what you need to know. He has strong opinions about some things, and is foreceful about what he demands of himself and others. I like that.
Some things you were interested in:
Graber has had one patient die from complications. It was because of an infection and that was back in 2004. He hasn't had any complications like stenosis/stricture (where the opening into the pouch or further on becomes too small to allow food/liquid to pass) since 2005. He changed his methodologies from what he was trained to do because of the complications he encountered early on. Since then, he's had no problems and things have worked better for the patients.
When he first started, Faxton St-Luke's didn't even have much of the standard equipment (MRI, other scanning machines) that would handle a bariatric patient. He's since made sure that has all changed. Their ICU CAN handle a bariatric patient - including any scary respiratory issues. (But he hasn't had anyone with that ARDS
thingy.) I would not be moved to another hospital if that happened to me - they could handle me there.
He will NOT put me on 100% oxygen for the 12 hours following surgery. He said that gastric patients are closely monitored for their stats and are provided the appropriate amount of oxygen - but never at 100% as that can lead them to stop breathing. Normal people that is not a problem - but bariatric patients, that is a known problem.
After his examination of me and reviewing my medical history, he says that I'm a low risk patient. He has no reservations at all about performing the surgery on me. The only thing that would delay my surgery date is if my pre-surgery tests are not satisfactory or if I come down with a fever/cough or something.
We left Graber's office just before 2 PM. From there we went and scoped out a couple of hotels. The Holiday Inn
, although close to Graber's office and the hospital, was way expensive (close to $100/night/room) and they were not accomodating at all for my requirements for a higher bed. The Red Roof Inn
, although not stately by any stretch of the imagination was economical, and the rooms were clean/tidy - included the required microwave and fridge for my special pre & post surgery diet - AND they'd do what it takes to make the bed the height I needed. YAY!
We arrived home around 10PM .. hit some nasty rainy/weather on the way home so it was a little stressful. Great to have that day behind us and know what we know now.
TWO MONTHS! I'm going to be a different person in TWO MONTHS!!