Surgery Day and the Morning After
The day finally arrived. I had my surgery yesterday. From the minute I walked into the hospital I was greeted with amazing kind welcomes. The nursing staff, techs, phlebotomists, doctors… everyone was great! My arrival time was 8:00am and the surgery began at 10:00am. They gave me a “preflight cocktail” I said goodbye to my life partner, shared a kiss and they wheeled me back. At this point I’m not sure what I said when they gave me the “nighty night juice” but I drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
Waking up in recovery I did have some pain. The nursing staff was amazing and tended to my needs. I was on fentanyl, so the initial pain subsided. The pain wasn’t surgical, rather it was the surgical gas. It’s no joke that it hurts, but the hospital does a great job of managing it. I found lying on my side was extremely helpful. I was in recovery for about 6 hours, but that was because they had to wait for a room to be ready on the 4thfloor. During my stay in recovery, they did get me up and walking and that too helped me burp and clear some of the surgical gas. They also gave me ice chips which were amazing! At one point when I was lying on my side, I was burping loudly so the nurse ran over to make sure I wasn’t getting sick. That was a little embarrassing, but I continued the burping because it helps.
Once I was taken upstairs, I was so impressed with the room. The bed is not a standard size, it is built for people like me. It was wide, comfortable and they brought me extra pillows so I could have one between my knees and one under my arms. I again was greeted warmly by the nurses and techs and felt so confident that the level of care I was going to receive would be amazing. At this point I still was struggling with gas pain. I’d rate it about a 7 to 8. At this point they gave me a liquid Norco in my IV and that did give me foamy gut, so I was throwing up a bit. Now I don’t tolerate Norco well but decided to try it so that really is a me thing. My kind and loving partner was there waiting. With the pain he rubbed my back and with the sickness he helped get me a container to be sick in. He waited so long and was such a champ, but after a little while I told him to go home and take care of the furry babies. To make matters worse for him, we had a major ice storm, so he had to drive back home doing 25 miles per hour while avoiding downed trees and navigate treacherous road conditions.
After the nausea from the Norco, they changed it to liquid Tylenol. That was so much better.
The liquid Tylenol was my sipper… it tastes like liquid cherry Nyquil. Not great, but better than the liquid gabapentin which is on the bitter side. My advice for anyone receiving this combo, drink the gabapentin before the Tylenol. I’ve found that the Tylenol also helped me sleep, so I sipped a little for the pain but saved half to help with sleep.
Throughout the night several people came to the room. The therapist who came in with my Spirometer (pic below) was nice but woke me up, so I was a little groggy for that. Then a phlebotomist came in to draw blood. Techs came in to check my BP… etc. But every time someone woke me, I took that opportunity to take a walk. At first it was an assisted lap with a Tech, then over the course of the day I was told I could walk alone. So, my night walks were nice. I walked a lot, and it helped me alleviate the gas pain. I wasn’t sure about how far I was walking but this morning I asked the nurse, and she calculated out that 15 laps is a full mile.
When I woke up at seven, I drank a few sips of water, chomped on my ice chips, called my mom and dad and then went for a walk. I did six laps, and the coolest thing is every doctor, tech, aid and nurse began cheering me on. It felt incredible. At 8:00 I walked a laps another 3 laps and the at 9:00 I completed my mile with 6 laps.
When my doctor came in, he was impressed and said I’m ready to go home! That was a couple hours ago. My partner is now here. After the smooches I asked him if he had eaten, and he said no. So, I told him to get breakfast and bring it up here. To me I needed to know if him eating would trigger me. It did not. I am completely fine watching him enjoy an egg and bacon sandwich. It does smell good though. But the strangest thing is I just don’t want it. I like my breakfast. I have vegetable broth, decaf coffee, orange sugar free gelatin, peach crystal lite and ice chips. The vegetable broth to me is incredible, it tastes like I have a mouth full of green beans, tomato, and other delicious veggies. I think I prefer it to the chicken broth, which is good, but not as flavorful. I digress, his eating didn’t bother me a bit. I’m full and happy.
So far, I’m doing well. The pain is there but only around 4-5 tops today. Very well managed with Tylenol. If you are considering the gastric sleeve, I am living proof that it is not that bad… in fact it’s a game changer. I’m loving the new me and looking forward to this amazing journey!