Every journey begins with one step

This was posted August 21 on the Gastric Sleeve forum at obesityhelp.com after I got home. I decided to copy it here so I could share my experience with everybody.

First, I want to thank everybody for the well wishes, they were deeply appreciated. Also thank you to sublimate for being my angel (and a great source of support when I was still stuck in the hospital last night). I’m so glad to be home and able to read this forum, it’s such an awesome source of comfort and support. It helps that others are going through many of the same issues I am.

My surgery on Wednesday (the 18th) went very well. I was in there for 3.5 hours for the sleeve plus hernia repair. I asked my surgeon about my liver and he said mine was still pretty big, but it was the smallest of the day. He actually called it the day of the big livers, LOL. I didn’t ask how small the bougie was he uses, but he had told me before he’d make it pretty tight, about 12 millimeters. Even with just sipping on clear liquids, I can feel tightness when it goes down.

The rooms in my hospital were all private rooms in the bariatric ward, which was really nice. No roommate to worry about annoying (or being annoyed by). There were other patients on the ward as they needed the beds, but I didn’t see many of them. The nurses and techs were all awesome and VERY encouraging. I couldn’t sleep too much at a stretch, but I really appreciated being ‘left alone’ during the very late night hours after the first night. The first night I was out of surgery and into my room late enough, they spent more time with me making sure there were no immediate complications.

The next day I was so exhausted. When I was finally allowed fluids to sip on, I really understood what some people on this forum meant when they were saying they were having a hard time getting them in. Finding something I could tolerate has been a real ‘joy’. My blood pressure also shot up. It was high pre-surgery and I was working with my cardiologist to find a happy medium on medication, but it just would NOT go down in the hospital, no matter how many different drugs they gave me. The nurse was a little disapproving when I was discharged today with my BP still so high, but my surgeon and the cardiologist both understood I was not going to improve much more in the hospital where I was so uncomfortable and unable to get any real sleep.

The second day I had a hard time meeting my surgeon’s goal for sipping an ounce of fluid every fifteen minutes for four hours. I was SO worn out. Getting up to walk was a catch 22. I needed to get up and walk to help speed healing and prevent blood clots but doing so left me so that I was completely exhausted. At one point I was literally sitting there with a little medicine cup of liquid in my hands and nodding off. Fortunately, I didn’t spill it, LOL. The surgeon suggested I try to get something with some carbs (gasps! Oh noes!). Our bodies do need 30 grams of carbs for energy and with the small amount of liquid I was getting, extra carbs weren’t going to hurt anything. We decided to try some gatoraid and some Isopure. The blue raspberry isopure is tolerable, so I can get some protein in. Finding a gatoraid flavor has been a bit more ‘fun’. But I think I can stand the punch flavor and there’s a pomegranate flavor that wasn’t too bad. Thank goodness I still love my cherry-pomegranate crystal lite.

I gained 8.5 pounds of fluids in the hospital. I’ve already lost six of those (and I’m not updating my ticker until the fluid weight is gone, darnit). I can still feel it in my fingers, you ladies know that bloated feeling I’m talking about. Otherwise, I was off my pain medications yesterday by noon. I had been taking one pill as a precaution because I was feeling uncomfortable and didn’t want the pain to get worse. I probably didn’t really need it and it probably only added to my exhaustion. I really just felt like I did a ton of sit ups. Achy and slightly uncomfortable but nothing I’d really classify as pain.

My surgeon did use something I’d never heard of before. It’s called ON-Q and it’s an automated pain management system. It was basically a small catheter inserted into my abdomen and it automatically delivered some pain medication and numbing directly to the site. The surgeon said it was at the site most patients have the most pain. It was really weird when he removed it today, and I assume it’s similar to what I will feel when he removes my drain on Wednesday. For anyone interested in what ON-Q is, I have their website http://www.askyoursurgeon.com/onqsolution.php.

Anyway, I’m home. Took a two hour nap. Can’t lay down in my bed, but we have a nice recliner which is going to be my friend for awhile. Glad to finally be on the loser’s bench. I honestly have no regrets at this point. Ask me again in a week if I’m having trouble with my liquids, LOL.

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