05 August 2010

Surgery Update

I woke up early this AM because of back pain, so I thought I'd write my what surgery was like post while I wait for the LorTab to kick in.

First, I woke up way too early! I got up at 4:45 because I wanted to have plenty of time to get ready, double check my hospital bag, etc. In the shower, I had to scrub with a special anti-bacterial soap provided by the hospital. I had to use that soap the night before, too. I scrubbed and shaved my legs, and generally enjoyed the feel of the warm shower, since I didn't know what the next one would be like!

I was ready, bag double checked, by 5:30, and we weren't leaving until 6:00. I could have slept an extra half an hour! But then, I would have felt rushed, so I'm glad I got up too early and could get around at my leisure. We (My in-laws took me to surgery, as Hubby is out of town) loaded into the car a few minutes early, since we were all ready.

I signed into the desk at about 6:20, and got called back to admissions by about 6:30. Just a few minutes there as I had pre-admitted, and they sent me upstairs to pre-op. I had to say a temporary good-bye to my in-laws and I went to get ready. They did all the things you'd expect -- temperature, blood sugar, weigh me (I really liked their scales!), a MRSA test. Then they gave me a gown and had me change clothes. I was on what should have been the last day of my period, so they gave me some funny disposable panties and a pad. The panties were very boxy and probably didn't fit anyone correctly -- but you know they didn't fit me well! They reviewed my medical history with me. Someone came to draw blood, and someone else started me on an IV. Everyone was so professional and good at their jobs. And, everyone made me feel comfortable and supported about what was about to happen. I was very impressed with the staff. Dr. Krahn came by to check on me and to flip through my chart. I just love that man!

Eventually, my in-laws could come back and be with me. My MIL is a former nurse, so she was very curious about all the technical aspects of what was going on. It was kind of cute to see her shift into medical-mode. Because I hadn't slept well the night before, I probably could have slept a bit before surgery if they hadn't been there, but we all wanted to be together while we could be. I am so blessed, that not only did I get a great husband, but I got great in-laws too! We all genuinely love and like each other. They are truly family to me, and not just legal family. We are all very close, especially since I've lost both my parents.

At 9:20, I said a last "good-bye" to the in-laws and someone wheeled me back to the holding area. I had to pee in a cup for a pregnancy test, which wasn't so easy since I'd been NPO since midnight! After that, I just laid around for a bit. My surgeon came through and said a breezy "hello" as he went to do the procedure before mine. I met the anesthesiologist and talked with him for a few minutes. There was a momentary scare for me, when the surgery assistant asked if I had a cardiac clearance, as I've already had a heart attack (about 10 years ago). I hadn't and I was a little bit panicky. How pissed off -- not to mention just plain old disappointed! -- would I be if surgery was cancelled because I didn't have something no one told me I needed!? But, Dude continued flipping through my chart and said all was well and he'd see me in a few minutes to take me to the OR.

Sometime after 10AM, they took me into the OR to prep me for surgery. The table was tiny! I felt like I was going to fall off of it. Surgery Assistant Dude had me spread  my arms out as though I were on a cross and he secured my arms. After a few minutes of listening to the staff chatter while they got things ready, the anesthesiologist came in and sent me to la-la land! After he gave me an injection through my IV, he told me that I'd have a funny taste/feeling in my mouth and I'd be asleep five to ten seconds later. I was asleep before I had a chance to have the funny taste/feeling! I was out almost as soon as he said that!

I started waking up around noon in recovery. No pain, no discomfort. As soon as someone noticed I was awake, she gave me a pain shot. I guess it was preemptive, because I wasn't having any feeling at all -- much less pain! Because I had no unusual feelings, I was afraid that they hadn't done the procedure for some reason, but a few minutes later a nurse came by and said "Congratulations! Everything went very well."

By 1:20, I was settled in my room. My in-laws joined me and we chattered a bit. I wasn't really ready to sleep more, so we talked about their plans for the next few days and their experience of my surgery. I eventually sent them home so that I could sleep -- and so that they could probably nap! After all, we'd all be on the go since before 6:30, and they hadn't had the sleep I'd had! I got up and went to the restroom and walked a few times before I fell asleep.

They came back at about 5PM and stayed for an hour. Then, a good friend of mine came for a bit. She brought me a beautiful purple hydrangea and a cute little box to keep treasures in. She stayed until visiting hours were over, then I started settling in for bed.

Bedtime was the worst part! Even though I was walking a lot, I wasn't passing any gas, other than burping more than usual. So, when I went to bed, I had a horrible pain just under my left breast. As long as I was sitting up or standing up, I couldn't even feel it, but as soon as I tried to lay down, the pain was excruciating. I tilted the bed as far up as it would go, and it didn't go high enough! OH NO!!! But my night nurse found a recliner somewhere and brought it into my tiny room. I slept in the recliner from about 10PM to 2:30 Wednesday morning. I woke up having to pee so badly that I was in pain! I filled the hat thing that they put in the toilet to measure output!

Then, I tried to get in the bed (instead of the chair) and that worked. I slept like a baby until the nurse came and woke me up for vitals. At about 10:30, someone took me downstairs for a barium swallow test. That went well. The barium was kind of chalky, but not too gross. Then, back to my room for more walking and vital signs. The surgeon's nurse came to visit and talked with me a bit. She looked at my wounds and showed me where my port was, because I couldn't feel it. It's just above my belly button, to the right a little bit. She went and gave her report to the surgeon, and then my regular nurse came in to tell me that as soon as they got the written report from radiology, I was good to go.

She got the report a little bit before 1:00. I called my in-laws to come get me, then we did my discharge paperwork. I was back at the in-laws house by 2:20 PM.The surgeon has taken me off of my diabetes medication (unless my blood sugar reads over 150, then I'm to take half a dose of one of the medications), and he reduced my insulin by half. WOW! That means I'm down to nine units of insulin and maybe half an Actos. This time in July, I was taking 45 mg of Actos, four 5-500 mg of Glucovance spread through the day, and 24 units of insulin at bedtime! I'm already seeing great health results, so am fully expecting that my diabetes will go into remission when I begin to lose weight. I'm hoping my blood pressure stabilizes, too.

Some miscellaneous things I didn't mention:

  • At some point, I bit my lip something awful! It's swollen and hurts! 
  • My throat hurts where I was intubated. It even hurts from the outside, as though my glands were swollen, but they're not.
  • As you might expect, my meals were pitiful. Six ounces of watered down broth (either beef or chicken), a can of lite lemonade or a bottle of Diet Snapple, and a cup of hot tea. I always drank a good bit of the hot tea, and all my lemonade/Diet Snapple (well, actually, I saved it and drank it throughout the day). I only ate a bit of my broth. For one thing, it wasn't yummy, but for another thing, I just wasn't hungry.
  • I can drink normally. 
  • I'm not having any pain at the incisions. I barely know they are there, in fact. A little pain in my left shoulder, but that's all. 
  • My blood pressure got pretty high (174/79) but when I took my pain medicine regularly, it went down a bit, even though I wasn't conscious of being in pain. I thought that was very interesting! They were giving me a different blood pressure medication than I usually take, so maybe it just wasn't as effective.
  • Less than 48 hours after surgery, and the only pain medication I'm taking is what I would have taken before the surgery -- back, hips and knee pain. I'm taking a bit more than usual because all the time I'm spending in bed is hurting my lower back.
  • For the first several hours, I was really aware of a heaviness below the lower part of my breastbone. I'm assuming that's where the surgery took place and where the band is. Now, if I really concentrate, I can kind of feel that, but mostly I'm back to normal.
  • I was on clear liquids while I was in the hospital; full liquids start today! I'm glad Fudgsicles are considered a liquid, because the No Sugar Added ones are pretty damned YUMMY!
That's all I can think of right now. I am to call my surgeon's nurse on Friday for a check-in before the week-end. Then I have my post-op appointment on Tuesday, 10 August. I don't know when my first fill will be. Probably five to six weeks after that.

Thanks again to everyone for your support, encouragement, and healing thoughts. I thought of you guys while I was in the hospital and missed you! I'm back to bed for a bit more sleep now. I'll try to check in with your blogs later.


  1. im so glad you made it thrue surgery okay! good luck to you, happy for you. takecare

  2. I'm glad it went well! Welcome to the other side!!:)

  3. So glad everything went well. It sound like you are doing well - get your rest.

  4. Sounds like a good surgery experience overall, and everything went so smoothly! Congratulations and welcome to Band-land! ;D

  5. Glad you made it through well!

  6. YAY!!! Congratulations. Well while you're having your post-op appointment, I will be getting banded.

    Thanks for the update. It lets me know what to look for even though I know everyone is different.

  7. I'm so glad you're doing well and made it through without complications. How exciting that you are already able to reduce your medications! That's amazing. I just read a blog of someone who was just diagnosed with diabetes. I don't think she is considering WLS and I really wanted to say something, but I didn't.

    So welcome (officially) to Bandland! I can't wait to hear about all the weight you're losing and bandster hell and all the other fun experiences!

    I didn't have any incision pain either. Since this was my first surgery, I assumed they would hurt. Weird huh?

  8. Great to hear you're feeling well...now let the games begin chicka.

  9. Welcome to he Band Life!! Thanks for the award! I'm glad you did so well!

  10. Glad to hear everything went well. It only gets better from here!

  11. So glad to hear everything went well. Welcome to the otherside.

  12. Glad to hear you aren't having too much trouble with your incisions and pain.

  13. Yay!! I'm so glad everything went well for you!! Glad you're not going through any pain, and I can't wait to see your progress!! :)

  14. Thank you so much for posting this detailed info.. I get banded Aug 23, and so excited and really nervous.. never thought my insurance would approve so now I am wishing I had a little more time.. Thanks so much for all the good info