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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Movin' and Groovin'

Post-Op Day Five

My surgery was on Thursday, February 24. I arrived at the hospital at 2pm, was in surgery at 3pm, in recovery at 5pm, was in my room by 6:30pm, and the nurses had me up and walking by 10pm.  I was on a morphine pump so the pain was tolerable.

I tried to sleep but it is darn near impossible to actually get sleep while in the hospital. Nurses are in your room every hour taking vitals or giving you medication. One of the sensors I had taped to me kept coming unplugged and one time the nurses thought I had flat-lined but instead of rushing into my room, they called me to see if I was OK. The nurse said, "We got a flat-line reading out here and wanted to make sure you were OK". So glad they cared enough

Another hard part about my hospital stay was the poor 93 year old woman across the hall from me. She suffers from Dementia and had no idea where she was and didn't know she had surgery. All night long I kept hearing her yell "Hello! I need help". Although annoying, I felt really bad for her. It was so sad.

Between the nurses and my neighbor, I slept in 10 minute increments that night and gave up trying to sleep around 7am.

I couldn't have anything to drink until after I had a "leak check" to make sure my remaining stomach didn't have a leak anywhere and after not having anything to drink since 7am the previous day my mouth (and throat) was extremely dry. They took me downstairs around 10:30am for the barium swallow. Now...a barium swallow after this type of surgery is TOTALLY different than one you have while doing a normal Upper GI (which is typically chalky tasting). This toxic tasting crap made me think I was drinking a mixture of the world's worst cough syrup, really bad vodka, and a hint of flat Sprite and it was blue. Praise Jesus I only had to take two swallows.

I passed the leak test and was finally able to drink some water. Lunch time came and after I had four spoonfuls of the mystery flavored broth, one tiny spoonful of what I assumed was Jell-O, and a sip of juice I was full. I thought for sure it was because I was tired and still thinking about that barium beverage I had earlier but when dinner came it was the same thing.

I was finally released at 10:30pm and was home by 11pm. The Hubs got me settled in at home with my 17 year old son "supervising" me while he went to go pick up my pain medication from the 24-hour pharmacy halfway across town. I tried to lie in our bed but I ended up on the L-shaped couch because it was easier to sleep against.

The next three days were spent relaxing, walking around the house, and just trying to get my head back on right after being under anesthesia. Today is the first day my head feels totally clear and I didn't need a nap.

I am thankful to have had this surgery and can't wait to get on with the recovery. I have broken down the negatives and positives of the past five days below.

The Negatives

After having four previous abdominal surgeries, I had mentally prepared myself for the healing process of this surgery. What I didn't (and really couldn't) prepare for was the JP drain I would go home with. I hadn't had one in the past, so I wasn't prepared to deal with this new "appendage".

If you do not know what a JP drain is, it is a surgical drainage device used to pull excess blood and fluid from the body by constant suction. Using a JP drain after surgery may help you heal faster and decrease your risk of getting an infection, so I am not completely against having it. It just limits a few things I want to go back to work when I wanted or sleep on my stomach (which is comforting for me after abdominal surgery).

I am also having an allergic reaction to one of the medications I was given in the hospital (not sure which one since they gave me multiple at the same time) as well as the paper tape used to keep my bandages in place, both causing an itchy rash.  Doesn't make relaxing or sleeping any easier when you feel itchy.

One side affect to having any type of abdominal surgery is it slows down your digestive system as well as your "plumbing". I won't go into the painful details of this but I will say that after four days of struggling, things are finally movin' and groovin' again.

The last negative I have really isn't mine. It's the Hubs. With all this time I have on my hands right now and since I am stuck at home, I have been watching a lot of QVC and HSN. Hey, I only ordered one thing today...

The Positives

One of the benefits of having the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is you have a large portion (about 85%) of your stomach physically removed from your body, unlike Gastric Bypass or the LapBand where the stomach stays in your body. With having this portion removed, the hormone Ghrelin is removed as well. Ghrelin is the hunger stimulating hormone that tells your body you are hungry. This is a positive thing because of the obvious reason BUT you have to tell yourself to eat and drink so you don't get dehydrated and sick. You also want to make sure you get your protein in first before anything (which in the liquid stage means you drink a lot of protein shakes). I have lost eight pounds since Saturday (four of which were from the IV fluids pumped into me at the hospital).

I received three beautiful flower arrangements from well wishers. One from my parents, one from my office, and one from a group of my really close co-workers spread across the company (Edmonton, Ottawa, Seattle, Tampa, and Hawaii).

The Hubs and my son have been doing their best to take care of me. I am not one to sit around and let people wait on me but they are quick to respond if I do ask for something. They each cooked dinner for eachother and last night I ordered them pizza.

Now, even though my body doesn't think it is hungry, my nose still works and last night it told my brain that it wanted that pizza really bad. My brain suggested it to my stomach but the thought was rejected. Not only because I can't eat solid food right now but because my stomach said "ummm, you aren't hungry". This will be interesting once I graduate to real food. I will have to re-train myself how to eat and to make sure I eat the proper nutrients in the right order (protein, veggies, then carbs).

As soon as I get this darn drain out, I'll be able to get movin' and groovin' on the Wii and with Spring on its way in I'll be peddlin' away on my pink beach cruiser as well.

The last positive I have right now is...with all this time I have on my hands, I can watch as much QVC and HSN as I want and the new craft item I ordered today will be delivered next week...


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