Monday, April 16, 2012

No Rest for the Wicked

Part II

From far away I hear someone saying my name.  I'm groggy and can't get my eyes fully open.  Peering out from heavy hooded eyes, there's a nurse standing beside me.  She tells me surgery is over and I'm now in the recovery room.  All I know is my face is terribly itchy. Scratch..scratch...scratch...  I fall back to sleep only to be shocked awake by the nurses yelling at me to not  roll over.  I like to sleep on my side and seemingly I was trying to get into that position in the hospital bed.

She asks if I want to see my mom.  Of course I want to see my mom!  My mom comes in with Ramon and I can barely acknowledge their presence.  I'm so cracked out I have no recollection what we talked about other than Ramon took my cell phone home with him.  Still so itchy, it's now moved on to my chest.  Scratch..scratch..scratch.  The nurse tells me to stop before she puts gloves on my hands.  Back to sleep I go.

Many hours later I'm woken up by being rolled down the hallway.  After 12 uneventful hours in the recovery room I'm finally being brought upstairs to a room.  There is no rest in a hospital.  I can see why people hate it!  What seemed like every 5 minutes someone was turning on the lights and poking and prodding at me.  Finally, I fall into a good sleep only to hear them bringing in another patient.  All night long she moans and groans and at one point is screaming because the medical team is trying to give her a suppository.  Again, I doze off to be jarred awake time and again by her moaning.

Next morning I'm up and at them bright and early.  I'm exhausted after a night of cat naps.  My back is killing me from the hospital bed, my hand is so swollen from the IV I can't even flex my fingers. I ring the bell for the nurse and no one answers me.  I ring it again and again and there's not even an acknowledgement from the Nurses' Station.  I'm annoyed.

I feel lost, no one is at the hospital yet; I have no cell phone, no tv and no room phone.  I can't even reach the room phone to use the automated system to turn it and the tv on.  Where are all the nurses that poked at me all night??  A housekeeper comes into the room and very kindly moves the cart close to me.  Hallelujah!  TV and phone is turned on. 

My sister calls and we're discussing the night before and I'm telling her about the roommate carrying on.  Well, apparently roomie was awake and full of piss and vinegar and starts screaming. I got like a loonie and told my sister I'd have to call her back.

Roomie is screaming, "I had surgery last night!" over and over. I'm screaming back, "So did I and I'm not crying like a bitch keeping people awake all night!"  Back and forth we go for a few minutes then the male day nurse walks in and that shuts her up.  About 10 minutes later I hear a low voice say, "I'm not looking to fight with you." and I said nor was I and I was not actually complaining about her disrupting me.  I really wasn't.  Long story short, her name was Erin and she was actually a pretty nice girl.  We lapped the hallways together a few times.

During all this my sister calls my dad to tell him I'm fighting with the roommate.  My dad's answer?  "Donna must be feeling ok, then." And he was right. I barely felt like anything was done to me.  Good meds??

I pretty much hung out in bed all day with visitors and staff in and out.  Day One comes to a close and everything seems to be progressing smoothly.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On the Bench!

Today is 15 days since surgery.  It's gone very quickly and most gratefully, pretty much without a hitch.  I'll give you all a very long recap of the last two weeks, and I'll be as graphic as possible.  I'm going to space it out over a couple of posts to save your eyesight (and lunch).

Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Surgery Day

I had to report to Montefiore at 8:50AM for an 11:50AM surgery time.  I actually slept well the evening before, but woke up at 4:30 that morning.  I took it as an opportunity to lounge in the tub and just try to relax.  Smoked a few cigarettes (A big no-no, I know), read some of my new book, cuddled with the dogs.

When you arrive on the surgery floor, you're brought back to the "waiting area" where you change into your gown, the nurses take some pre-op vitals and basically you just sit around.  My mom, dad and Ramon took turns spending time back there since only one person at a time was allowed.  The nurse working with me, Kathy, was just a nice, calming presence- she cracked jokes and harassed the staff for talking to me about food. I hadn't eaten anything solid in 3 days at the point, and nothing at all since about 8PM the evening before. I was HAPPY to hear about someone's jerk chicken and rice dinner.

Anesthesiologist came in to discuss what he'll be doing.  Dr. Choi, the surgeon, stopped by to see how I was and go over any last minute questions or concerns.  Back to waiting... Dr. Choi's schedule was already behind so 11:50 was now closer to 1PM.  As time drew nearer, Kathy allowed everyone to the back with me.  She attempted to "hide" my father behind the curtain.  That worked well.

Out of nowhere appears the Nurse Anesthetist and it's time to hit the road.  Kathy, the nurse, gives me a big hug and wishes me well.  Hugs all around and away we go.

You actually walk unaided to the OR.  It's a surreal experience, the halls twist and turn through the hospital like a maze and you're surrounded by all kinds of medical equipment and staff rushing about.  During this long walk I keep saying to myself, "It's not too late to say F this".  I walked in the OR and it's just plain weird.  There's huge flat screens on all the walls, a nurse is laying out the surgery tools- some looked like utensils you'd use to barbeque.  Other people milling about doing their jobs. 

In the center of the room is the table.  It seriously looks like they're about to crucify you.  It's narrow with two arm rests jutting out at the top.  Up on the table I go and they begin strapping me down.  The NA inserts my IV and starts some calming meds.  Laying there, I again say to myself, "It's still not too late".

Someone realizes I still have my nose ring in, I had totally forgot about it!  Groggily I hear them discussing what to do about it.  I reach up and pop it out.  A voice asks if the hole will close quickly, I slowly nod my head yes.  This calming med is good stuff, I'm barely conscious!  The nurse drops the ring into a specimen bottle and places it on the cart next to me.

Suddenly, I just need to close my eyes, more of the good stuff was pumping through my veins.  And I'm out...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Getting My Freak On!

Ok folks, official freak out mode has begun.  Woke up at 2AM this morning, feeling wired and antsy.  *Let's do this!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mourning Food

Today is the 2nd day of the 2nd go round on the clear liquid diet.  This time seems so much harder mentally than the last.  I'm seriously mourning food the past few weeks, to the point that thinking about not being able to eat anything of substance for a few weeks has made me get weepy.  I've loaded up

I've "Last Supper- ed" myself into a near diabetic coma.  The last 6 weeks we've gone out for:

- Indian
- Chinese
- Pizza

All multiple times. Plus, I ate one dozen cupcakes between Thursday of last week and Saturday night.  Hey, they were good!  I did share with the dogs so I probably had 11.795823 cupcakes in 4 days.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Eight days to surgery...

I've been thinking about little "rewards" for my smaller milestones in weight loss.  Buying clothes won't be much of a reward since I'll need new clothes (along with wanting them)... nothing like the idea of your pants falling down at work as an incentive to shop.

I've decided I will spoil myself a present for 10, 25, 50 pounds lost. At the 10 pound point, I will buy myself a small piece of REAL jewelry for under $50.  25 pounds will merit a $100 jewelry purchase and the 50 pound marker will be a $200 purchase.

I'm stopping purchases at 50 pounds because if that's all I lose after surgery I'm satisfied with that.  Now, if I ever hit the surgeon's goal weight, 100 pounds lost, I may have to buy myself something extreme- like a new car or maybe even another Bull Terrier.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I'm Your Biggest Fan

Sometimes I'm completely amazed by the sheet amount of support I have received since I "told" I'm having surgery.  Totally overwhelming.  I truly have the best friends and family a girl could ask for.

I also have the best mom a girl could ask for.  OK, I'm sure all of you think you have the best mom, so I'll revise that... I have the best mom for ME.  From the word "go" my mom jumped right on board with my plan to have WLS.

Those of you that know my mom know she's a spunky, dynamic, go-go-go little woman.  She has what seems like boundless energy and patience.  At times, her words may be gruff but her heart is always kind.

She may not like all the choices I make, but she is ALWAYS right there by my side.  I really could go on and on about my mom.  I just want her to know how much I love and appreciate her.

And my dad... he's not too shabby, either.  Maybe one of these days there will be a post about him.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back on the Horse. Pre Operative Dieting

Surgery is back on... Wednesday, March 28, 2012 which means the pre-operative diet is back on.  The joy!  Thankfully, I didn't fall off the wagon too hard after surgery was cancelled so jumping back in has been relatively easy.

Actually, it's not too tough of a diet. For the 3 weeks prior to surgery, you follow a high protein diet.  It calls for one 8 ounce protein shake for breakfast, another for lunch, a high protein snack at mid day- such as a Greek yogurt then a pretty substantial, protein focused dinner and finally another protein shake for an evening snack.

 Last night I had a 6 oz tenderloin steak, 1 cup of steamed broccoli, a 3 ounce baked potato, 2 slices of whole wheat bread, and 2 cups of salad. <--- That's a ton of food when put in front of you. Plus all the water, Crystal Light type drinks, decaf teas and decaf coffee one can drink throughout the day.  For the past 7 months I average a minimum of 100 ounces of fluid per day.  NO SODA! 

Honestly, that was the hardest part for me.  Regular soda, specifically, Wild Cherry Pepsi was my daily vice.  I drank it in the morning- hey, most of you drink coffee for your morning kick, I drank soda. I drank it all day long, I very easily put away a 2 liter plus every day.  I rarely drank water, maybe a glass a week.

Soda becomes a forever nay-nay for various reasons post op, the most important reason is your new little stomach, all 3-4 ounces of it, cannot tolerate carbonation of any sort. I never minded flat soda, but I can't let that become part of my thought process going forward.  Soda is the debbil, all that high fructose corn syrup killing you slowly.

Finding a protein that agrees with your taste buds is itself pretty difficult, 99% that I have tried either tasted disgusting or smelled wretched.  Factor in gastric bypass patients absorb whey protein isolate the best post-op, your choices actually drop significantly and the cost rises dramatically.  Protein powders are not cheap!

Week 4 I switch to just liquids plus 3 protein shakes.  The final two days is clear liquids- bouillon soup and some jello (as long as it's not red colored).  The whole process culminates with the ever loved "bowel cleanse".  Sadly, I was in the midst of said bowel cleanse when I was cancelled last time.  I have asked the surgeon, should she need to cancel me again, to please call before noon so I can save myself from the torture.

The purpose of the pre-op diet is to shrink your liver, making laproscopic access to the stomach/intestine area more easily accessible.  It's really important to follow the diet to the T as some pf the complications can include your liver literally cracking in half, going from a laproscopic procedure to an open one- meaning a 7 inch incision down the center of your stomach and a much longer surgery and recovery period, or even surgery cancelled while you lay on the table totally out.

On the way down side of the pre-op diet is it raises your sugar levels.  Being a diabetic, it's a bit scary.  This morning I tested 137 when first awake. Rarely, if ever, does my BG break the 80 range.  On the plus side, from the moment I awake from surgery, the odds are with me that my diabetes will CURED.  GBS has an 80% cure rate for type II.