September 16, 2015
Well, here we are, one week post-surgery! 6:45 a.m. loomed early for this non-morning person, but I was pumped and ready to go. Frankly, I was more nervous about them finding a vein for the IV than I was about the actual procedure! (My veins and I do not have a good history together!) But, as I arrived and they prepped me, God took care of even that and a vein was found on the first try (Hallelujah!) and I was ready to go! But, doctors being what doctors are, I was on time for my appointment, but they were not! (How often have you had THAT happen at a doctors appointment?!) By the time they were ready for me to go back it was 10:00 a.m. Rather than the typical tv shot of being wheeled back to surgery with Dr. McDreamy expectantly awaiting you, I was walked down the hall to the surgery room by two very nice surgical nurses. There I walked into what felt a little like Dexter’s Laboratory filled with about a half dozen scrub-clad minions busily milling about. First line of business was to get Frankenstein’s monster strapped to the table! (That would be me!)
It might surprise some of you to know (I know it surprised me when I first found out) that Bariatric surgery, at least the way my surgeon does it, is done standing up! So, the team went to work positioning me on the table in such a way that when it was tilted in an upright position I wouldn’t end up cramped up for an hour, but kept straight. My arms were supported and strapped. My neck was supported and strapped. My torso was supported and strapped. My legs – well, here was where we hit a little bit of a snag. The table has this nifty feature at the bottom where it flips up so that when they tilt you upright, instead of your legs left dangling, it makes a nice little table to support you. HOWEVER, when this nifty little table was created, it was created with the average person in mind, not someone of my “vertically challenged” height of 4’10”! (Yes, I know in my first post I told you I was 4’11” in high school, and in high school I was, but since then age and degenerative disc disease have taken over and I’ve lost an inch! You can stop laughing now!) So, this room full of brilliant medical minds went to work trying to figure out how to keep this chubby munchkin woman properly balanced for the next hour on their high tech medical table! With the help of a few blankets, pillows and velcro straps the problem was finally solved and the next time thing I knew I was waking in recovery! And in 24 hrs., with only 4 small laparoscopic incisions, I was on my way home!
I will readily admit that my first 5 days at home were NOT pleasant! Far from it! I had 5 days of the worst nausea I have ever experienced in my life. Morning sickness had nothing on this! Though the doctor gave me meds for the nausea, it was pointless. I would no sooner get them down than they would come right back up! The fact that I was only allowed clear liquids that first week ended up being no problem at all since I was absolutely not interested in food, and couldn’t have kept it down, anyway. Along with the nausea, came a non-stop migraine the full 5 days, as well. I pretty much held up in my bedroom under the covers, sipping Crystal light. However, I had no pain or issues from the actual surgery incisions at all, for which I was very thankful. Finally, by the late afternoon on the 5th day, my migraine lifted! That was a huge help. By that evening, my whole body just seemed to turn a corner and the nausea was almost completely gone! We ended the week with check ins with both my nutritionist and my surgeon. Both were extremely pleased with how I was doing!
Now you may hear how miserable those first 5 days were and think, “Oh, how awful, Ronnie, that just can’t be worth it!” But, here’s how I’m looking at it: I just had major surgery. A large portion of a major organ of my body was cut off, the rest of the organ stapled closed, and the removed part pulled through one of those tiny incision holes. It would be unrealistic not to expect my body to give me a little backlash. And 5 days?! Heck, I’ve had 5 kids, I’ve been through way more misery than that! (Just kidding!) Really, that’s nothing in the scheme of things. Especially when I consider that this could potentially impact the rest of my life. So, let the journey begin, believing the worst is behind us and looking for what God has ahead!