Monday, March 18, 2013

Surgery Day

Today is the first day I actually feel like starting on my surgery story.  Lots and lots of sleeping, being woken up to take my liquid vicodin, drifting off again, having weird dreams and snuggling with my feline nurses.  I need to be more patient with my body...I keep thinking I'll wake up one morning and just feel better.  It drives me nuts to be out of commission.  The worst part is that now I'm feeling a little better, I am having all these cravings for REAL FOOD.  It's been a week since I've had anything other than clear liquids and I feel like I would punch someone in the face for a grilled cheese sandwich...or meatball sub...or pizza...or even something completely good for me, like stir fry veggies with chicken.  AGHHH foooooooooooood.  Not like I'd be able to eat it anyway...I barely got down 6 ounces of protein shake today.

Anyway, I logged on determined to share my surgery story with you, so here goes...

We checked into the hospital at 7:30am Friday morning.  They took me back to the same-day surgery holding tank and got me into my hospital gown and gripper slippers, and then I had to wait for about 20 minutes while people occasionally stopped by to get a urine sample, tried (unsuccessfully) to start an IV and asked me repeatedly for my name, doctor and the procedure I was having.  Then I just sat back and waited for them to bring my BF and mom back to say goodbye before I was taken to pre-op.

At 9:30 I was taken to the pre-op waiting area, where someone from anesthesia placed my IV and they gave me a shower cap thingy to keep my hair in place.  It was freezing, but nurses kept layering warm blankets on me.  I just did my best to think calm, happy thoughts, because at this point I was getting a little panicky.  They took me to the OR at 10:30 and had me transfer to a narrow operating table.  The last thing I remember was someone putting a plastic mask over my nose and mouth, and I was gone.

According to my family, my surgeon came out to talk to them when I first came out of surgery at noon.  They didn't wake me up until closer to 1 or 1:30, and I was CONFUSED. AS HELL.  I remember thinking that it must be over though, because that was the only explanation for all the pain I was in.  They kept barking orders at me to cough and take deep breaths in order to expel the anesthesia and the air they had pumped into my abdominal cavity.  In addition to getting my band, I also had a hiatal hernia repair, so my pain might have been a little more intense than if I'd just gotten the band.  As it was, all I could do was wish that they would knock me out again.  

Before I knew it, they were asking me to stand up and move to a wheelchair so they could take me back to the same-day surgery holding area, where I could see my family.  The thought of actually standing up sounded crazy to me!  I think I just looked at them like, "you bitches clearly have no idea what you're doing."  But by some miracle, and with a lot of assistance, I made it into the wheelchair.  Standing up for the first time is REALLY WEIRD.  I felt like all of my incisions (seven, as I later counted) were going to rip open, but the logical part of my brain told me that probably wouldn't happen.  

As soon as I got settled in the recliner with some fresh warm blankets, they said they could give me some pain meds but that I would have to get something in my stomach first.  Fine.  Whatever.  I want those pain meds and I'll do anything to get them.  They put a cup of apple juice, a cup of water and 2 saltines in front of me.  I started drinking the apple juice and one of the nurses told me I'd need to eat the crackers before she could give me anything.  Having been on a clear liquid diet for the past 4 days, with a full week still ahead of me, I was a little skeptical, but not really in any place to question the nurse, since I was totally disoriented and in a lot of pain.  As I started eating the first cracker (oh my god, the hardest thing to choke down EVER.  No liquid in my mouth and it was like eating drywall), my boyfriend, mom and dad came in to see me.  I think they were expecting me to be drugged out and feeling little to no pain, so it was hard for them to watch me writhing around and wrestling with this cracker.  After a few minutes, I'd managed to eat both of them (the crackers...not my family), and my mom flagged down a nurse and told her that I'd eaten both crackers and I was ready for pain meds.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said "You're not supposed to be eating solid foods!  You're on clear liquids!"  I said yeah, I know, but a nurse told me I had to if I wanted the pain killers.  She was like "That was me.  And I never would have told you to eat anything solid."  Okay...part of me is really pissed off and scared that I've maybe eaten something that my stomach can't handle, and part of me has just stopped caring because JUST GIVE ME THE DAMN PAIN KILLERS ALREADY.  Which she thankfully did.  They didn't make me feel totally better but they did take the edge off.

By 3:30, I was being helped into the car...luckily home is only 3 miles from the hospital.  Mom and BF helped me up the stairs to the bedroom and got me settled in bed by 4:00, at which point I slept for like 24 hours straight.

One piece of advice that someone gave me (unnecessary, because there was no way I WASN'T going to do this) that is so so so so super important = be sure to take your pain meds every 4 hours (or whatever your instructions are) no matter what.  Stay ahead of the pain.  It sucks way worse to have to wait for them to kick in once you're already hurting.

Today is my third full day after surgery, and I think I'm doing pretty well.  Definitely not going back to work earlier than planned, as I originally thought might be an option, but I can see myself making progress every day.  By Sunday (yesterday) I was able to take a shower and I felt like a whole new person after that.  I had a little setback last night, when I got the bright idea to try and make dinner for BF.  I filled a pot with water and when I went to pick it up, it felt like something ruptured inside.  All I could do was crawl back to the couch and collapse.  I barely made it up to bed later that night...I just had to move REALLY slowly with a pillow clasped tightly across my belly.  It feels a lot better now but I definitely learned my lesson.  

I am in need of my bed and some sleep, so I'll end here.  Just one thing first...Luka Beth over at Bariatric Bellyaching is getting her band next Monday, and she needs some support!  Be sure to visit her blog this week  :)  

Good night, all!!!



  1. Yikes, I'm sorry you have had a pretty rough time of it! And the crackers??? That just sounds nuts! I hope you are feeling much better soon!

  2. wow, crazy experience! why would they give you crackers? WTF is that nurse thinking? This is why my boyfriend does not trust nurses and will be refusing to leave my side once I am out of surgery.

    I'm glad you made it home safe and are on the road to recovery! I hope that our journeys are worth the pain that we have to endure now!

    Thanks for the well wishes, also. After the months and months of research, reading, classes, and doctor visits, I'm ready for this to start! Countdown to the first day of the rest of my life! :)

    you can also email directly if you just want to chat:

    just take out the <'s : <turt<leso<up21<230@g<mail.<com

  3. So sorry you're having a rough time. But like you said, it gets a little better every day. I remember that sharp, searing port pain if I twisted or pulled the port stitches the wrong way - no bueno!

    And WTF with the crackers? Somebody obviously gave them to you, it's not like you had them hidden in your hospital gown in case you needed a wee snack. Ugh! I'm sure you're fine, though. You would have known IMMEDIATELY if those crackers were not going to cooperate. But I can't imagine having to eat crackers right after surgery! Sorry you had to go through that.

    Speedy recovery! :)

  4. It's frustrating how slow it takes to recover, but eventually, it'll all be a vague memory. I had the hiatal hernia repair too, and it made the displaced gas/shoulder pain last longer. Try gas-X if you get that one. And stop lifting heavy stuff. Enjoy being an invalid! Hoping you feel better soon!

  5. Gas X Helped Me Sooooooo Much! I can't Recommend It Enough. This Makes Me Want To Go Read My Surgery Story To Remember. It Feels Like So Long Ago Now... 72 Pounds/7 Months Ago.

  6. So glad you are feeling better every day. I cannot believe the cracker incident! That is just crazy. Rest up and try not to do too much. Hugs from Little Rock!