Rev. Kate J Meyer, LPC
Updated: Apr 4, 2020
If you're a follower of this blog, then you know I started off 2020 with a whole new life, the impetus of which was endoscopic gastric sleeve surgery on January 2.
Though I've had some quiet NYE's and New Year's Days, 2019 certainly was the most unique; it was on those two days I was required to change to a liquid only diet in preparation for the upcoming surgery. That was a very interesting challenge! My stomach then was its usual size and trying to convince both it and my brain that liquids would suffice to carry me through each day was, well, challenging. But, I did it. After all, I put in 6 months of hoop jumping for my insurance company to approve my bariatric surgery, so I couldn't let 48 hours derail me.
I was actually calm on the morning of surgery, all through my second shower using the special soap, the drive there, and the round of special wipe down with heated wipes complete with picto-gram directions. I remained calm during the IV hook-up, the nasal swabs and mouth rinse for additional protection from all things evil (ie: bacteria), and the dose of preemptive antibiotic. I was especially calm when two of my ministers came to talk and pray with Chad and I before surgery.
And then, what felt like without warning, it was time. I was wheeled out of pre-op and into the OR where I could do nothing by lie still as I watched a flurry of activity around me and tried to focus on the voice of the people who would send me to dreamland. During that, calm is not the word I would use to describe my being. I have terrible memories from a surgery as a child, it must have been the removal of my tonsils, surrounding the anesthesia. Between olfactory memory and memories of sickness, I just can't seem to get over the fear of being ill from anesthesia--despite all the efforts they now take to prevent it and the fact that I've not actually vomited from a surgery in many, many years.
Next thing I know, I'm in recovery with flashes of awareness when I'm saying, on repeat, "ow" and "I don't feel good". I also remember that nurse, who I never saw because I didn't open my eyes, shushing me. Shushing me! Can you believe it? Thankfully I wasn't awake much down there or I would have said something inappropriate. That being said, the hospital might still get a letter about her.
Anyway, I basically remember repeating those same two phrases in my room. I remember my husband being there and know I talked with my parents at some point. But most of what I remember of that first night was the nausea and the pain. So much pain. I was prepared for hysterectomy pain (see linked posts), but this was something very different. The first time I got up to use the bathroom and walk I truly doubted how I was going to get through recovery.
Then, right around 2 in the morning, my wonderful nurse came in and said: "I have a steroid here. I can't make you any promises, but most people feel a lot better once this gets through [the iv]." She was right! I talked with my nurse and aide about their frustrations it isn't offered sooner because it really did make that much of a difference. I certainly still had pain and the gas pain wasn't going anywhere, but at least I finally could tolerate walking and, well, being.
I stayed two nights in the hospital (in room 2020!!) because I just wasn't ready to go home. I wanted more time to adjust to the oral meds and the new med I advocated for. If a med has worked for you after a previous surgery and you aren't getting it because it isn't their standard, don't accept that--explain why you want the change and fight if needed. I didn't need to fight. My doctor was great and the change was immediate. Also, in case you have surgery in your future that will require filling you with gas that takes its own time leaving your body, ask for gas drops. They're bubblegum flavored and will change your life. Ignore the cute infant on the cover--I promise, you won't care they're made for infants.
So, now I'm home. I've watched a lot of t.v. and am increasing my walks everyday. Pain is controlled and, to put it nicely, all systems are finally functioning. The downside at this point is I'm still on that liquid diet. This was not an issue until yesterday when I began actually feeling hungry again. But, I'm learning how to take small sips and get in as much protein as possible. I'm also looking forward to January 16 when I return to work and, more importantly, begin the soft food phase of recovery. Cottage cheese has never sounded better!
2020. The year I turn 40. The year I get control over my body. I don't know about you, but so far, I'm looking forward to it.
#gastricsleeve #bariatric #2020