sunflowery's Diaryland Diary


A LONG entry about my surgery...consider yourself warned

I want to use this space to write about my surgery, my feelings, my recovery, and what not. If you're not up for reading about medical issues, then pass on by my friend.

I will start with Monday, the day of the surgery. Supe and I got up at about 4am. We needed to be at the hospital by 5:30, and neither one of us slept all that great. So we got up and got ready to roll. Supe took 2 before photos of me...both terrifically hideous...but you have to have a before photo, right?

It was really weird. Saturday and Sunday were hard for me. I kind of freaked out a bit and ALMOST cancelled the whole thing. But instead of doing that, I persevered.

By Monday, I was all calm and peaceful and not worried at all.

We got to the hospital and I joked about how they were going to think Supe was the patient as I was pushing him in his manual wheelchair.

We walked to the ER entrance and I went with the gal at the desk to fill out some paperwork and sign in. She then directed us to a floor on the lower level where I would be prepped for surgery.

We got down there and noticed several other people ahead of us already. I filled out more paperwork and then Supe and I waited in the waiting room for them to call me to pre-op prep.

One of the cool things about this hospital (maybe many these days) is that they put a braclet on me that they would scan as I passed through pre-op, the operation, and post-op. Then, they would post my location on a computer screen posted in the waiting room. That way, Supe and my family would know where I was and when.

Not too long a wait and my name was called. A very nice nurse took me back and weighed me. I lost 10 of the 15 I was required to lose and felt pretty good about that.

After that, the nurse took me and Supe to a desk to go over the paperwork and risks and whatnot, then it was back to pre-op to get ready for surgery.

This is where I got nervous again. There were 3 of us women back there. I am assuming, each of the 3 docs from the clinic had a woman to operate on.

I donned the gown, the sockies, and got into the bed. My blood pressure was taken and a little bit later, my anethesiologist came by to introduce himself. He was a BIG man who said he had 5 daughters and he wasn't going to take any sass from me. Hee. He explained that I would have EKG patches put on me to monitor my heart rate and there would be a tube put down my throat. He said they would move me to an operating table and he also told me lots of other things, but I don't remember them, so I can't add them here.

He did say that they would put a mask over my nose and give me something to relax me and then I might feel some pressure on my throat for a bit.

My surgeon was about 10 minutes late. But he came in all chipper and cheery. Nice for 7:30 on a Monday morning. Supe liked him and felt he was leaving me in capable hands.

They began to wheel me away from Supe, so we got our kisses and goodbyes in. They forgot my surgical cap, so a nurse went back to get it. I put it on and they wheeled me into a room. I don't remember recognizing it as an operating room at all. They put the mask on me and the Doc told me I should begin feeling a little sleepy in aout 10-20 seconds. I remember laying there a little bit thinking, "Yeah right, I don't feel sleepy at all! What is he talking about?" And that's the last thing I remember.

While I was in surgery, the family of another woman having surgery adopted Supe. I will be forever grateful to them. They wheeled him to the cafeteria for breakfast and lunch and sat with him in the waiting room.

Supe said he was worried about me when the surgery passed the 2 1/2 hour mark and still no signs of me going to post-op. My surgery took over 3 hours. The surgeon told Supe that my liver wasn't small enough for him to see around, so he had to make a larger insision and he had to open me up wider so he could get everything done that needed to be done. Because of all of this, they didn't do the leak test with the blue dye at that time.

They wheeled me to my room in the bed I was recovering in. I can't remember what the first thing I remembered was. Monday was so blurry and fuzzy for me. Here is what I sort of remember.

The first thing I do remember thinking was, "What have I done?" I remember regret. I remember someone taking off the ace wraps on my legs. I remember the nurse trying to get me out of bed to walk down the hall. I got as far as the nurses station and had to turn around and go back. I slept and slept. I remember a man bringing flowers into my room. (They were from Julie, a gal my dad had introduced me to who had had this same surgery a year ago or so.) I remember them giving me a shot in my butt for the pain. I remember hearing my parents' voices for the first time. I remember Supe trying to rub me and me brushing him off because I was so sore and uncomfortable. And that's about all I remember.

Tuesday was better. I was able to get up and walk around a bit more. Everyone kept saying how great I looked. How surprised they were at how great I looked.

A nurse came to take me to the showers. Nothing has ever felt so good!

They had to test my new stomach for leaks, so I was wheeled down to radiology and given a nasty, vial thing to drink so they could track the progress of the liquid with an x-ray machine. was NASTY! I had to stand on this machine while they watched the liquid and at one point, I got kind of fainty. So I sat for a bit, had a cold compress and felt well enough to go on.

Turns out, my new stomach was so swollen, the liquid was just sitting in my esophegus (sp?) and a tiny little bit was trickling through the opening.

I had to go back down there twice so they could monitor the progress. The good news is, I never had to drink the gross stuff again. The bad news is, every time they took me down there, we went passed the kitchen and it smelled soooooooo good! Torture!

At this point I was on IVs and not able to drink anything.

Two of my sister in laws visited.

The bariatric unit of the hospital was undergoing remodeling, so they put all of us on the maternity ward. It was nice, while on one of the 8 daily required walks, to go past the nursery and see all the little newborns. So cute!

One of my visiting sister in laws brought me flowers. Another bouquette was delievered to my room from my brother and his family. I had 4 total bouquets. Lovely! Have I mentioned that I LOVE flowers?

That's about all I remember about Tuesday.

Wednesday I felt more normal. I was awakened around 8am by the construction on the floor below me.

Wednesday should have been the day I was released, but because of the complications, they told Supe I would most likely stay until Friday. That was not good news to me.

Wednesday was very boring for me. The bed was uncomfortable. I was sore. I wanted to go home. The other women I had come in with were all discharged that day and I felt left out.

Supe was amazing. He visited and was my advocate. He got me a clean gown and robe and sheets and just overall looked out for me.

My folks were awesome as well. They visited every day and helped keep my spirits up. They called my sister-in-law, Belle as it was her birthday and I got to talk to her and my oldest nephew, Peat. It was fun. Peat/Pete kept asking me when Supe and I were coming for our next visit. Poor buddy! I kept telling him I didn't know as I was still in the hospital and I didn't know what our schedule looked like this summer.

This day I was given a lunch of jello, broth, juice and water. It was heaven! But it didn't go down all that great. Still a little swollen.

At this point, I have to say the nursing staff was simply amazing. I had the best nurses. Yemi, Veronica, Jill, Janelle, and so many others I can't remember. They were kind, caring, patient and willing to stay and chat a bit with a bore patient.

On Wednesday, the only time I asked for pain meds was before bed, which amazed everyone.

I stayed up pretty late, hoping to sleep in a bit in the morning.

At 6:30, I was awakened by the construction noises on the floor below. I got up and took my first walk for the day.

I got a shower, new linens, new gown and robe and just felt like a million bucks.

I went for another walk and on my way back, I ran into my surgeon. He checked my vitals, asked how I was feeling and gave me the OK to go home.

Once I was given the release, I got scared. I mean, I was monitored in the hospital...what would happen at home?

But I packed and did all the stuff I needed to do before being discharged.

Mom and dad carted all my stuff to their car while I attended a nutritian meeting. Nothing I hadn't heard before or read in the booklet provided.

I was out of there by noon.

I got home and was exhausted. Mom, Dad and Supe unpacked the car as I went through the "mom" box to see what she had brought me. Also, there was a delievery for me from my work...a very nice plant that I will most likely kill because I have a brown thumb.

Soon after mom and dad left, I went back to bed. It felt good to be in my own bed, but so uncomfortable to move around. I wanted to lay on my tummy in the worst way.

I got up and felt pretty good. I got all my liquids in for the day without too many problems.

Since coming home, I have felt better and more myself each day. The hard part is all the sipping of liquids all day long. To be properly hydrated and nurished, I need to sip a half ounce of liquid every 15 minutes throughout the day. What a pain.

Also, the better I feel, the more I crave real food. Not from hunger at all, but the taste, texture, smells, and feel of it all. Commercials are the worst...especially pizza and pasta commercials.

I had my first taste of skim milk post-op and did just fine with it. Some people will become lactose intollerant after surgery. That does not seem to be of yet anyway. So good because I love me some dairy.

Last night I dreamt about food. So not fair. I dreamt about hot dogs and potato salad and I don't even really like those foods. They are not my faves anyway.

I have to be on this liquid thing until June 17th. Doesn't that just sound like forever? It seems a long way off. But I do meet with my surgeon next week and will talk to him about when I can add cream soups for some variety. Right now my diet consists of Jello, Gatorade, Propell Fitness Water, Water, Cyrstal Lite, and occationally a sugarfree popsicle. Oh, and in the mornings I do have a little skim milk with a bit of sugar free Carnation Instant Breakfast. That's a nice change. Are you jealous?

So, anyone who comes to me and says I am taking the easy way out? HA! I laugh in your general direction. There is NOTHING easy about this. NOTHING!

To be honest, there are times I wonder if I did the right thing. Why do I care about my size? Why couldn't I just have enjoyed my food and lived life as a large women, trying to diet every now and then.

Then I remember that I have no energy. No strength and no fun shopping for clothes. I hate my body. I don't feel sexy or beautiful. Yes, I like food...but I am hoping to use this surgery as a tool to put food in its place.

So, that's where I'm at right now. Still sore, still have the bandages on, still wondering about this road I'm on. But ever hopeful as I fell better and better every day.

5:35 p.m. - Saturday, May. 29, 2004


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