Friday, October 23, 2009

My Surgery Story

Well, I'm day 5 post-op and still here. I still can't believe I went through with it. I mean, I felt at peace with my decision, but you just can't help but have second thoughts. Luckily, everything went so fast I didn't have the chance to speak those second thoughts :)

As a self-pay patient, my package included a stay at a hotel near the hospital. The hospital was only about 1.5 hours away, but my doctor requested I stay at the hotel 5 minutes away instead of going straight home. My mom, husband, and I checked into the hotel on Sunday afternoon. It was beautiful! Then the hard part - I couldn't eat after 4 pm. I was starving!! And I had to drink three water bottles before midnight. It was tough, but I knew I had to do it. Now looking back, it was nothing!

Monday morning I was told to arrive at the hospital at 5:30am. I was the first patient! My husband drove me and my mom followed a few minutes later. I was called into the pre-op room and changed into my gown and safety socks (the ones with the anti-skid stuff on the bottom). One nurse came in and put an anti-nausea patch behind my ear and gave me some "chill pills". Another nurse came in to take my blood. She had some trouble with my vein and now that hand hurts worse than my IV hand. My IV was started by a third nurse a little while later and all was good. I met the nurse anesthetist and she explained what would happen. Around 7:30, Dr. Marema came in to check on me and as he left he told the nurses "it's time to rock and roll". I handed my glasses to either my husband or mom and was rolling down the hall. I remember them having some trouble keeping the bed straight and then the nurse anesthetist said "I'm going to give you the margarita medicine now." We had talked about that in the pre-op room. That's all I remember. I was OUT before I could even do the count back from 10 thing...

According to my husband and mom, I was in recovery for about an hour and then was moved to my room by 10:30am. I remember being woken up by the first shift nurse and being in a ton of pain. She was asking me to rate my pain, yada, yada. I was still so out of it and in so much pain I just groaned. I kept saying my stomach and chest hurt. I meant the upper stomach like where a person feels heartburn, but she yelled at me for using the term chest. Whatever. That's what it felt like. Actually, I thought I was feeling extreme gas, but looking back it was definitely internal pain. My mom gave me some water and rubbed my back and I fell back asleep. I remember my dad popping in a couple of times and talking to him on the phone once (he was updating me on our cats - haha!). The next thing I knew it was about 2pm and I was still in pain and pissed. The nurse said I can't have pain meds until the anesthesia fully worse off. Oh gee, thanks. Luckily, there was a bright spot. The pre-op education class nurse warned me of a drain and catheter. But with the sleeve, I didn't need either. I can't believe she worried me for nothing!! Oh well, at least I was relieved the day of surgery. Unfortunately, I didn't get that pain button like the pre-op nurse said too.

Around 4:45pm, I was finally able to take Lortab. Liquid by mouth. It was enough to make me gag. Swallowing that soon was awful. At least the pain subsided. The pain returned around 7pm and I was given a shot in my IV along with a shot of Phenergan for nausea. That put me OUT again. I was actually more comfortable in the reclining chair next to the bed than the bed. I slept in that most if not all of the first night. The night nurse of course kept waking me up and I kept asking for pain meds every time I saw her. Around 3:30am I got another shot and was out again.

The second day was filled with nausea. I couldn't swallow Lortab anymore because I would either experience a HUGE wave of nausea or actually throw up. So I gave up on the pain meds and just stuck with the anti-nausea meds. They went back and forth between Phenergan and Zofran. I guess they prefer Zofran because it doesn't knock me out, but it also didn't work at all. They wanted me awake so I could drink a hundred of those stupid medicine cups full of water, Crystal Light, tea, broth, whatever. Easier said than done! Every sip hurt and still hurts!! Because of my nausea, I stayed a second night. By the next day my IV hurt so bad from being overused that I didn't care how I felt - I just wanted to get out of there. Luckily I felt ok, so all was good. So, on Wednesday we headed back to the hotel. Right before we left the hospital I ran into a gastric bypass patient while walking my laps and she mentioned that popsicles were in the room freezer and each one counted as two medicine cups. That would have been nice to know TWO DAYS AGO!! AH!

Once at the hotel I was able to get some solid sleep and fresh air. I ate a lot of popsicles and drank water and Crystal Light. Thursday was tough as it was my first day of the pureed stage. Oh, how I wish I could have just stayed on clear liquids!

More tomorrow...

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