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Gastric Bypass: Day 1

SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 | PAULA WRAY

Thursday, September 15, 2011

After 9 days of protein shakes (which I could hardly choke down any longer), the day had finally arrived. It was dark and drizzling as Mom, Don, and I headed for Danville at 5:30 am for a 7:30 arrival time. I suggested we stop at McDonald's for breakfast, but nobody was buying it. I had fleeting thoughts of backing out, but too much effort had gone into this, and I had told the world on my blog.

After registering, the LPN led me and Don to the pre-surgery area. As we went down the hall and up the elevator (full of people), she was already asking questions in a low voice.

(Nurse) Dentures?
(Me) No.
(Nurse) Implanted devices?
(Me) No.
(Nurse)[mumble]
(Me) Excuse me?
(Nurse) [mumble, a little louder]
(Me) What?

Don started to laugh.

(Nurse) HEARING AID?
(Me)No.

And we all cracked up.

In the prep room, the anesthesiologist and surgical fellow stopped by, and the nurse-anesthetist told me I look like I'm 40. This completely tickled me and took my mind off the surgery, which I'm sure was her plan. It's so hard to get a vein on me, and they had to bring in their best man for the job. He tried 2 sites before settling on the third. I hate IVs!

gastric bypass

In the OR, they strapped my arms to the table extensions so I could not escape, and still my surgeon did not appear. I was disappointed; I wanted to ask him to whack off a few skin tags while he had the scalpel in his hand. I know what you're thinking; it was the fellow who did the surgery. But I had been assured the actual surgeon would do it.

This was the point of sheer terror and questioning my decision. What kind of masochistic nut-job asks for surgery? If I could just get out of here, I'd never eat a fattening food again.

Next thing I knew, I was waking up in a warm, cozy room attended by a host of angelic nurses. I was on a comfortable bed that they adjusted to my liking. I was confused about my whereabouts.

Is this recovery?

Indeed it was, but not like the cold, austere, frightening recovery rooms at other hospitals. After my gall bladder surgery, I asked the nurse to hold my hand, and taken aback, she allowed me to clutch her limp, gloved hand while she continued her work. This was so much better!

When they moved me to my room, I didn't have to switch beds, but stayed in the same one from recovery. Sweet! Don and Mom came to visit, and to my surprise told me it was 5:00 pm. I had slept to my heart's content in recovery.

That first day I had a marvelous nurse named Marie who had been through bypass surgery herself. She promptly attended to my every need. I felt pretty good that day except for the nausea and dry heaves upon getting up to walk a couple of times. Not pleasant.

My first intake goal was to sip 1 ounce of water in 1 hour. I kept falling asleep between sips. When nothing horrible happened (like water shooting out of my belly button), I downed 3 ounces in an hour.

My roommate, Nancy (if I remember correctly through my narcotic fog), was on day 2, same doctor and procedure, and she knew all the ropes which she generously shared.

Time for sleep and my CPAP, which they put out of my reach. I had to call someone to keep moving it warmer (more humid) as my mouth was so dry my tongue was sticking to the roof. The nurses were fantastic! They came in nano-seconds when I rang, and never seemed the least irritated. Man, do I hate to be a pest.

And thus ended day 1.