Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The sleeve and me

In some ways, it feels like it's been a month instead of just over a week. That's been mostly due to the panic that has come along for the ride on this journey. For as prepared as I thought I was, I wasn't prepared for this. That's the thing about control. When you have control, everything is as fine as a summer breeze. When you are used to having control and you lose it...well that's a whole different ball game, isn't it?

In the grand scheme of things, this has been a very easy surgery for me. I've had little to no pain. I spent one night in the hospital. I'm eating. I'm drinking. I'm functioning.
I guess maybe I should turn this into two blog posts or this is going to be one GIANT post.

Let's start with surgery.
I had my surgery again at Columbia St Mary's on Monday Jan 7th. I'm not a fan of them. I think that hospital leaves a lot to be desired as far as the nursing staff goes. Other than the bariatric center, I wouldn't make it a choice to see any doctor there. A great and beautiful state of the art facility with a wonderful view, though. Cosmetically, if that's what you're looking for, it's great.

I arrived at the hospital at 7 where they admitted me and did all the questions about previous history and medication. The anasthesiolgist tech came in about 845 and I immediately started crying when I saw him. At one point, mom said there was still time to back out, and I briefly considered saying "You know what. Forget this. I don't know that it's worth it." He started my central line no problem, the doctor came to visit, and they wheeled me to the OR. They put the mask on me and I remember him saying "Just take a deep breath" and then I woke up in the recovery room. *I might get a little gross if you keep reading. Fair warning.

I was HOT. Like burning up. I remember telling the nurse I was in pain and that I was on fire. She gave me a dose of pain medicine I think? And got me a cold compress. I was super nauseated. I expected a little bit of nausea because anasthetic and I don't usually get along. I couldn't get over the nausea hump and* (stop reading if you aren't ready for a little bit of gross) I threw up. It was brown. Which led me to blood. I got real nervous because when people throw up blood after surgery it's not usually a good sign. The nurse in the recovery room told me it was just "old digestive material" and not to be concerned which eased my fears.

My room wasn't ready for HOURS. I didn't get back up to a real room until 3pm. Nils and mom were there waiting. I was terribly nauseated, kept throwing up and I said to the nurse "This is making me really nervous." She called the doctor and he said it was totally normal. They did take out part of my stomach and apparantly with this surgery there comes a lot more nausea and they just don't know why.

They prescribed me every nausea medicine known to man so I wouldn't go without and yet the nursing staff only came in when I called or when they heard me wretching so terribly that they probably couldn't stand it any longer. *disclaimer* I have many nurses in my family. It's a thankless job. However, I've had some great nurses and I've had some shitty nurses and I kiiiind of feel like this nurse wasn't great.

The rest of the night was more of the same. I had a panic attack when my husband left at 9pm, which bless his heart for even staying that long.  They had prescribed me ativan for the panic attacks but I'm pretty sure that made me worse.

I felt better in the morning. Less nauseated. Doctor came and saw me and said I should probably stay another night and I told him that certainly wasn't happening and he said he'd check on me in the afternoon and we'd decide then.

Then my IV fell out.

I don't know. It just came out of my wrist. I am pretty sure it was as done with me as I was with it. I mean, could they have put it in a more awkward position on the inside of my wrist?
I told the nurse that I was planning on going home in the afternoon and to just give it a minute. If I could get my nausea under control and not vomit, then we didn't need to waste time putting another one in just to take it out again.

Luckily, the nausea had subsided. I went home about 3pm and it was glorious. I was still nauseated which didn't clear up until about that night, but it I wasn't vomitting and was so good to get some ACTUAL rest in my own bed.

I often wonder about that. Hospitals are the place you are supposed to get rest and get better and, yet, who actually gets any rest in a hospital?

Anyways. All was pretty normal until Friday night when I thought I was going to rip my skin off because it was itching so terribly. Turns out I had an allergic reaction to benzoin which is what they use to help the steri strips stick. Then I had an anxiety attack. I wasn't supposed to take the steri stips off...but the STERI STRIPS HAD TO COME OFF. I pulled them off and my skin was red and blistery around the incision sites and then I thought about what if the incisions got infected and then I thought about what if the wounds opened up and then I called and tweeted anyone in the medical profession that I knew and I was able to calm down a bit.

In case anyone is wondering, the use stitches to sew your incisions now a days so, like, even if I had pulled the steri strips off the day of surgery it probably wouldn't matter. Modern medicine. Who knew.

I forced the doctor to see me yesterday just to look at everything and he said everything looks fine. The incisions look great, the skin is getting better, and everyone lived happily ever after.

I'm at the point where I'm going the normal course of action that happens after you do something like this...the wondering if it was all worth it and if I made the right decision. My nurse told me that they just had a patient die this week from obesity related complications before she got to have bariatric surgery.

I've had two now. I'm pretty lucky. And it's a lot to put my body through, but I'm making a future for myself. I clearly am not able to do it without help.

Here's an animated video of what they did to me. It's not gross, I promise. It's like School House Rocks but with a stomach.