I was released from the hospital late last night. The surgery itself went very well. I was scheduled for surgery at 3pm, but it was delayed. I found out later that I was the 3rd surgery of the day, and the first guy showed up late which pushed us all back.
My dad took me to the hospital and sat with me for the 5 hours until surgery. He was cracking jokes and showing all the nurses my childhood photos on his iPad. It was a little awkward at first because he came into the pre-op room with me. This was a big room that had beds separated by curtains. They told me to go in and strip off everything and put on my robe. My dad, trying to be courteous, wanted to wait outside the curtain while I changed. Unfortunately they told him that he needed to come into the room with me. So my dad held my gown up high enough to cover his face while I was changing to give me a little privacy. He said it was funny because as he was standing there holding the gown, all of a sudden my arms came thru it. He helped get me all situated in the bed. I also had to put on TED hose, which are like think nylons but each leg is individual, meaning there was no crotch to them. This made it awkward to walk since they kept falling down. The stockings are to help avoid blood clots.
They hooked me up to an IV and basically it was a lot of “hurry up and wait”. The nurses were all very nice and having my dad there really helped pass the time. He regaled me with stories and photos. I was nervous while I waited and he kept telling me that I could leave at anytime if I was having second thoughts. I knew I wanted to go thru with it, but it was nice to know that even though he had driven me there and waited for hours with me, he was still willing to take me home if I said so.
Around 6:30, the nurse came by and gave me a heparin shot in my stomach. This is a blood thinner to help avoid blood clots. I had a visit from the anesthesiologist and the doctor, and then they wheeled me into the operating room. I remember transferring myself to the operating table and the lightly strapped my arms down. The anesthesiologist gave me some oxygen and told me to start thinking of a nice vacation place like Hawaii. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the recovery room.
While I was out, they inserted a catheter, did the surgery, and inserted a JP drain. They also inserted a tube in my mouth to my lungs, but this was removed before I woke up. The catheter didn’t hurt like I was expecting it to. The drain was the most irritating thing. When I woke up, Jeff was there with me. I kept asking if I could lay down flat but they kept me propped up some. It was putting some pressure on the drain and was uncomfortable. I also was asking for a mouth swab because my mouth was so dry. Jeff just sat there holding my hand and telling me how much he loved me. I was a little worried about him seeing me like that, but he said it just made him love me even more and was even more realization of how much he cared for me.
They wheeled me to my hospital room. I was connected to a morphine drip with a trigger that I could push every 10 minutes. Let me tell you, I just kept pushing the trigger as much as I could! If you pushed it too soon, it would beep at you letting you know you hadn’t waited long enough. If you waited the 10 minutes and pushed it, it made a noise that sounded like a coffee pot whirring away. I loved that sound!
Monday night overall was a pretty rough night. I didn’t get much sleep since there were nurses coming in at all hours. Plus I wanted to stay somewhat alert so I could keep pushing my trigger. On Tuesday morning, I had to go in for an upper GI test to make sure there were no leaks. I sat up for the first time and felt nauseous. They gave me some medication for the nausea. I’m not sure if it was the anesthesia or the morphine that made me feel sick. Plus I was having all of this on an empty stomach, which I’m sure didn’t help the nausea. They also removed my catheter on Tuesday. I really didn’t mind the catheter at all and it was really nice not to feel like I had to go the restroom at all. When they removed it, the best thing I can compare it to was it felt like a long tampon being taken out. It didn’t hurt, it was just slightly strange.
Tuesday and Wednesday I spent resting and trying to take in fluids. On Tuesday, they wanted me to drink 15 ml every 15 minutes, alternating water and protein drink. On Wednesday, they up-ed it to 30 ml. As a point of reference, 30 ml is about the size of a measuring cup that comes with a medicine bottle.
My main issue that I was having was my drain. The drain came out on my right side, but it was attached inside under my left breast near my lung. Every time I tried to move or breathe, I felt pressure on it. On Wednesday, they finally let me put on a sports bra which helped that my breast wasn’t putting as much pressure on it. It was still painful though. My roommate, who had gastric bypass, didn’t seem to have much trouble with her drain, so perhaps it is an individual thing.
The doctor finally came on to the floor around 8pm on Wednesday to release me. Jeff had come over a few hours earlier to spend time with me and to drive me home. He watched as the doctor removed my bandages and removed the drain. It felt really weird to feel it being pulled out of me. Jeff said it reminded him of Conan the Barbarian, and some scene where a snake is pulled out of a woman’s body. I just felt it twisting and unraveling inside my chest.
The doctor said that everything looked good and gave me a prescription for proposed and tylenol with codeine. Because I have Kaiser I was worried about finding a pharmacy that would be able to fill it so late in the evening, but I remembered that there is a CVS around the corner from my house that will fill first-time prescriptions for Kaiser and they were open 24 hours. We stopped by there on the way home, which was nice to get up and stretch a little. Plus I had to use the restroom.
I was also worried about the stairs at my apartment. I live on the 3rd floor of a building with no elevator, and I was worried about how I was going to do on the stairs. They were much easier than I had anticipated. I just held on to the railing and walked slowly with Jeff right behind me. He kept his hand on my back and was ready to catch me if I started to fall.
Pixie was VERY happy to see me when I came home! Jeff said that she was kinda mopping around while I was gone, and she would jump on the bed and look at my side. Seeing it empty, she would go over and snuggle with Jeff. When I came home, she started running around the house like crazy and started scratching the tree, which is what she does when she is excited. She jumped into my lap and started purring. I spent a little time with her before going to bed.
I didn’t sleep too well. I ended up getting up after only a few hours and came out to sit in the living room. Pixie thought I came out to sit with her, so as I was settling into my recliner, she jumped into my lap and made herself comfortable.
Today, I feel pretty good. I have some mild pain that fluctuates between a 2-4 on a pain scale of 10. My sister-in-law came over and sat with me today so I would have some company while Jeff went to work. She was quite impressed that I was up and about. I’ve been trying to take it easy on the pain medicine because I don’t want to overdo it. My intake goals are 2 bottles of water and 80 grams of protein. Because my stomach is still swollen, I’m having a hard time getting all the fluids in. I had about 45 grams of protein so far today, but right now I have some unflavored protein powder mixed in to my iced tea, so I’m getting both my fluids and my protein. Once I finish this, I will be at about 70 grams for the day. I’m sure it will just get easier every day. My stomach is making lots of strange noises and I’m burping throughout the day, but I feel good, and I feel like every day is getting better.