My surgery!

Jul 11, 2011

Wow, the surgery went really well!  Of course I had pain, but I didn't know what to really expect (never had surgery) and I was glad to not know ahead of time.  Seton on 38th (my hospital) was great.  I was told to be there at 6:00am and I arrived at 5:45am.  They took me back for all the pre-surgery things at 6:30am.  The nurses and anesethesiologists were great and very calming.  The bariatric coordinator also came to see me which was nice.  I am apparently a "hard prick", i.e. can't find the vein in my hand so they had to prick my arm.  Apparently, they had difficulty with this as well as I have a silver dollar sized purple bruise still to this day.  When I woke up from surgery I had two IV's and arm and a hand one.  Anyway, so I was wheeled back to surgery and told me parents, "please make this a quick goodbye because I don't think I can handle more".   They were very good about that.  Once in the operating room I was asked to move myself over onto the table.  I remember it was so cold in there and messy!  I remember talking to all of the people in the room about how I hoped they were all having a good day.  And, I had said something that made them all laugh.  I can tell you it was just the nerves talking!  I hoisted myself over on to the table and remember thinking, geeze, this is cold too.  Then I remember my back being ramped up and my head falling back down.  This could NOT be good for my back. I never have back problems, but I also never lay like there is a triangle underneath me either for a long period of time!  And, to make matters worse, they want you to stay on your back in recovery to not hurt yourself.  Geesh, that was bad.  Next thing I knew I woke up in recovery, the nurse was kinda yelling at me, "so, Catherine, what level do you think your pain is on a scale of 1-10".  I said, "well my back is just as bad as my front at the moment so they are both an 8".  She said, "do you want to try and roll over?".  I said, "um, no, but thanks".    I am not sure what happened after that but the next thing I knew they were rolling me to my room.  I got to see my parents.  They both kissed my forhead and squeezed my hand.

I was in and out of sleep until about 6 that evening.  I remember having these squeazy things on both of my legs and feeling really comfortable in the bed.  The nurses kept telling me about the pain pump and how I could push it every ten minutes.... so I did!  My throat hurt and the chloraseptic spray was great to ease the hoarseness.  Also, my mouth was really dry.  They had these sponge on a stick things that were dipped in water.  They were great for my dry mouth.  I also had to wear socks, which I was so not impressed with.  It's Texas, 100 degrees outside and I had to wear socks (the kinds with the rubber sole things)!  Ugh, oh well, it wasn't THAT big of deal!    The first nurse had a learning "helper" with her.  I am glad as I am a teacher and favor learning otherwise this would have been unnerving.  But, I will tell you that the first nurse gave me the most information.  She wrote everything planned for me on my white board.  She wrote the nurse's name and clinical assistant's name.  It changed every 6-12 hours depending on everyone's shifts.  I did walk from the bed to the door that night even though my nurse actually didn't want me to.  She kept saying, "are you sure?".  Um, yes, I want to, I need to, AND it's written on the board!   I then got back into bed and told my parents that I wouldn't mind if they went and stayed in the hotel again instead of my room.  I felt they would sleep better and to be honest, I wouldn't have known if they were there or not!  All night long, the nurses, CA's, checked my blood sugar (not diabetic), blood pressure, and everythinng else so it was kind of hard to sleep but I did.  

The next thing I knew, it was 6:00am.  I tried to sleep on and off but I wanted to be fully awake at 8:00am because that was when my barium swallow was scheduled.  I feared what everyone had told me, "they'll force you to "chug" it", "it'll make you throw up", etc.  This nice kid, who graduated from Texas State in Finance but couldn't find a job, rolled me down to the scanning area.  I didn't wait long.  They rolled me back and then asked me to get up.  Um, I can't do that on my own!  Don't you guys know this is a bariatric patient that is not feeling so steady on pain meds?!  I actually had my head about me and asked for phenegram (or whatever it is called) to make sure I wasn't nauseous.  This was actually a pre-emptive measure for during and after the barium swallow.  So they helped me up and into the scanner thing.  The nurse or coordinator in there was not nice, she had NO bedside manner, well that was until I told her I thought I was going to throw up.  Then, she was super nice!  Ha!  I had to take swallows of the stuff, and it tasted like lysol but it wasn't as bad as I thought.  She then asked me to turn sideways and I barely fit in the machine.  I am not even that big.  I asked her what she did for bigger patients and she said, "well, we just squeeze them in there".  WHAT?!!  Are you kidding me?!  Ugh, she was horrible!  Then the nice kid came back and rolled me to my room where my mom and dad were.  The rest of the day was resting, medicating, drinking broth/crystal light, etc. I walked again that afternoon and again that evening.  Dinner time rolled around and I still hadn't seen Dr. Ganta.  I was wondering where in the world he was!  Was I leaving tonight or tomorrow?   My parents were less than thrilled wtih the unknown of staying another night or not.  I couldn't control that.  They kept calling Dr. Ganta the "Phantom".  Oh, I forgot to mention, that for the past 6 hours I had had a BRAND NEW nurse (on her own!).  Oh my, she was so timid, scared, asked a ton of questions of my Dr.'s office, etc.  I know she was trying and she was super sweet but dang, I needed someone who knew what they were doing!  Finally, Dr. Ganta walked in at  about 7:30pm and I was sitting in the chair instead of the bed.  He was quite impressed and couldn't believe it.  I was glad my parents were at dinner because I didn't think they would be "nice" to him!  He said that I could decide to go home or stay but that he was taking me off the pain drip.  Again, I was sitting in the hospital chair sipping my soup and crystal light. I probably didn't look all that bad.  I didn't feel all that bad either!  I said, "o.k. then I am going home!"  He was very nice but we were frank with each other.  I like that about him.   Then the oh so new nurse came in and gave me the liquid hydrochodone, it was nasty.  I got dressed, rolled out of the hospital and headed home. 
My mom stayed with me the first night (Wednesday). I attempted to sleep lying on my back in my bed but by the first time for pain meds, my back was killing me so I had to move to the recliner.  I will tell you about my back problems on my blog (they started in surgery).  I have NEVER had back problems until Tuesday, July 5th! That night at 11:45pm (time for next dose of meds), I moved to the recliner, and continued my pain meds every four hours.  Thursday I spent the day in the recliner.  This was the day with the most pain from about 2-4pm.  I couldn't shake it.  It was all gas pain, not incision pain though.  I spent the day in and out of sleeping, and watching tv.  My friend brought my dog back home.  It was great to see him, but he desparately wanted to get into my lap and that was not going to happen!  I slept in my bed all of THursday night.  I just slept on my back and kinda turned my body to the right and to the left to give my back a break.  Oh wait, I forgot to make a note... I started my cycle today.  Oh the fun.  Thank goodness I was still able to use a tampon.  

I am on the road to recovery and feel like I am healing faster than I thought I would.  I am still on liquids.  My doctor is rather strict.  Sometimes I appreciate it and sometimes I don't.  I know this is different for everyone but my post-op regimine is 2 weeks clear liquids, then progressively adding these things for the next couple of weeks.  2 weeks full liquids, 2 weeks pureed foods, 2 weeks soft foods, and then regular food.  I can't wait to see where this journey takes me!           

Things to pack for the hospital (my experience only):
Mouth Spray (chloraseptic or something of the sort)
Gas X
Robe (so people can't see your butt, even though I really didn't care who saw what while I was there!)
Comfy clothes- something you can wear into the hospital and back out of the hospital
Pillow for the ride home (hold it against your stomach for the bumps)
Toothbrush and Toothpaste
For The Ladies- Pads (just in case), a front close sports bra without underwires, and hipster panties (the full briefs may rub your steri-strips)


About Me
Surgery Date
Nov 28, 2005
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