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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Surgery story

I was terrified to go through with this surgery. I mean, it's not like I HAD to do this, and there are always risks associated with anesthesia and surgery. I just kept thinking that what if something went awry and I left my girls motherless. I know that the data says about 1:900 deaths for this procedure, but still.

Anyways, my husband M and I got to the hospital a bit late, after dropping our older daughter off for her day at camp. One of my dearest lifelong friends also was getting banded this morning by Dr. Ganta, and her housemate and her mom were outside, and told us that she had just gone in. So it turns out we were right on time. M and I waited for less than 5 minutes in the waiting room before we were taken back to the outpatient surgical area. At Seton, this section is divided into pods, and I guess the one we were in was a pre-op pod. I was weighed, and given a gown, PANTS (woot!), and slipper socks to change into.

M and I waited around a bit after I changed, and a great nurse came in and did some basic checks on me and I think a phlebotomist started my IV. I met the anesthesiologist (very nice guy!) and discussed some of the things on my history, all pretty normal stuff. Dr. Ganta and his assisting surgeon came in and talked with me, and I joked (well, sort of) about changing my original goal weight. See, Dr. Ganta is pretty conservative, and doesn't want his patients setting potentially unrealistic goals for themselves. So, the goal weight we'd set for me back when I'd had my original consult was 198. Now, I'd just weighed in at 224. Getting surgery to lose 26 pounds would be sort of silly. So he gets to calculating a new goal (155 or below, btw). I was only half-serious about it right then, but I get the feeling he's not the joking type. Fantastic surgeon, though, which is what matters. heh

A bit more waiting, and they come and get me and wheel me back. I only have vague recollections from here, but I remember being sad about them taking off my PANTS! and getting very nervous as they had both my arms out to either side. Then I guess they gave me the juice, because the next thing, I was waking up in recovery.

My recovery nurse was also awesome. Seton has a great staff, I felt like I mattered every step of the way. A feeling of heaviness in my chest, so I focused on getting my breathing deeper and more regular. I was a little bit cold, but not crazy shivery like the last couple of times I'd been under general anethesia. The nurse brought me some blankets and chatted with me a bit here and there. There were a couple of other patients in the recovery area having a bad time of it, so it was definitely interesting in there.

After a bit, someone else (also very nice!), came and got me to take me to radiology (I think) to do the contrast medium swallow. They were really backed up in there, and it took a bit to get me settled. My friend apparently had been waiting there for over an hour, as I'd caught up to her at this point! I'm guessing I waited there for close to another 30-40 minutes before they came and took her, then me to do the swallow. Man, that contrast medium stuff is FOUL!!
But, the radiologist(?) was very complementary about Dr. Ganta's skills, and says he always does very clean work. Yay!

Back to the holding/waiting room. The nurse or whoever they had manning this room was the only person at Seton with whom I was somewhat underwhelmed. He was obviously training someone else and didn't even really look at the patients. I did catch his attention at one point and got him to adjust the bed for me so I could talk with my friend for a bit. Eventually they came and got my friend, and then a bit later, me.

Back to the pods area, where I get out of bed and try to pee. Fail.
I come back into the room, and my bed is gone, and they settle me into a recliner. I get to start sipping on water (yay!), and give me some Phenergan for a touch of nausea I've got. Of course, this makes me sleepy and I doze a bit. I'm blind anyways, as M had to leave to pick up our daughter from camp dropoff, and he took my glasses with him. They show up while I'm all snoozy and hang in my little room with me. Linda from bariatrics (another great Seton person) comes by and gives me my post-op info packet.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon and into the evening is the I.MUST.PEE parade. Warm water peri bottle helps? Nope. Pushing (gently) on my bladder? Nope. Running water? Nope. Walking? Nope. I even attempt pushing on my urethra from inside my vaginal canal. I FEEL like I have to pee, but I just can't get it out. argh.

Finally, the nurse brings out a sonogram device that measures how much fluid is in my bladder. 436cc. I go back in the bathroom. She calls Dr. Ganta, who gives the word that if I can't go soon, I'll have to be catheterized before I can go home. Oh. Hell. No.
I've had that joyous experience once before, and that was enough.

One more round walking through the outpatient area, a new bathroom (with the sink in it) with my peri bottle, warm water running in the sink. I spray myself with the bottle, push on my way lower belly, and lo! a trickle of urine! I've convinced my reluctant urethra to let go with a combination of tricks and dire threats.

A repeat bladder sonogram thing reveals only 134cc remain. I went enough to go home! I'm pretty sure I'm the very last patient in the post-op for the day at this point, and I'm sure my nurse was glad to be able to start wrapping up her day. I get disconnected from the IV and the BP machine, get dressed, and get outta dodge.

My abdomen is a touch sore, but not bad, and the left shoulder pain has started to kick in. I have what appears to be a piece of gauze under a sealed clear plastic wrap sort of adhesive.

Once home, I immediately realize that the bed is a no-go, and get settled in to the reclining part of the sofa for the night.

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