My life since Tuesday? Different but certainly not as drastically changed as one might expect following the removal of 80% of one's stomach. Through amazing technology, once we got the ball rolling, the deed was done in under an hour. I woke up in the recovery room wondering when the procedure was going to start. Nothing more, nothing less. The excellent, breezy care that had started with my pre-op....fun nurse, cutie-pattottie anesthesiologist who wasn't more than fifteen years old, and my nonchalant surgeon, continued from Moment One post-op.
Tobey Hospital is very small. It does not rank up there in people's minds as a "hospital of choice" It does not have fancy new wings and departments. It's been on the same footprint with very little change in appearance, since the thirties. But, it does hold the rank of "Center of Excellence" in Bariatric Surgery and for that, there are many, many good reasons. A Center of Excellence title is earned by institutions that have concentration of knowledge, experience, resources and research. One of the hallmarks of COE's is the existence of teams. I was in very good hands the entire time . I cannot emphasize how comforting that was.
Evening One was not a comfy one. There was pain but there was a morphine pump and it worked. I'm not a good sleeper under the best of circumstances so under the worst - noisy patients with visitors, night shift nurses who for some reason don't realize that their voices are LOUD, in and out with vital signs, lights on, lights off, infusion alarms beeping every time I twisted my body. If not mine, then my roommate's. No sleep
Post-op Day One. More of same noise, interrupted naps and now....time to start sipping fluids. I don't want to discourage anyone who may want to have this surgery one day but the desire to eat, sip or have anything whatsoever enter the body through the lips can be daunting. I had a tough time when the meal trays arrived. Especially since, each shift of nurses need to account for what has gone into that body. Very hard getting 32 ounces of ANYTHING in during an 8 hour day.
The only way to do Bariatric, non-invasive surgery is to blow up the abdominal cavity with air. Once it is inflated, the surgeon can see, through tiny cameras, what's going on inside there. Think of those pictures we see from the Moon. The astronauts scooting about on the moon surface. That's what happens inside there. Punch 6 holes in the belly, enter with the cameras through some of the holes,lift things, poke things and then quickly staple the length of the stomach, clip it off, and pull it through that hole in the right side of the abdomen. No wonder that hurt so much when I was walking only hours after I woke up! The air that gets shot in there, Nitrous Oxide, has to come out and the only way to get that moving is to keep moving. Lots of small walks, dragging an I.V. pole, holding onto the back door of my gigantic hospital gown, down the halls and back. Move out air! Burp. Burp. Remember, it's in my abdominal cavity, not my intestines.....not for a few more days.
My diet for the next two weeks....liquids only. Not only clear liquids. I can have a range of not-so-clear liquids and that includes yogurts and creamy soups. My taste for sweet things has vanished and that has made it a chore on top of a chore. Perhaps that will return. No real sugar allowed. Real sugar and too much intake of anything will cause results that I will not care for. Low-sugar or no-sugar. I'll do what it takes and I'll just keep on sipping. I have to. I can't let my doctor down. He told me he did not want to see me in his E.R. for 30 days. He's afraid I will suffer dehydration. That's why he wanted to keep me tethered to that uncomfortable bed another night. Little doe he know, I no more want to visit his E.R. than he does and a return to the hospital.....well, that's not an option. Isn't that precisely why I put myself through all of this in the first place? I intend to be the healthiest contributor to society that I can possibly be and hopefully, that will include being a strong arm to someone else who needs it in an hour of darkness.
For now, sip, sip sip and thank you to everyone of you who have contributed to my success thus far. Without supporters, this job could be a whole lot harder.