Monday, August 18, 2008

I survived...

Tuesday morning (August 12th) came and went and I'm still alive on planet earth to irritate y'all 'til the cows come home. Hopefully, from here on out, there will be less and less resemblance between me and those proverbial cows.
The day started very early. We had to be at the hospital at 6:00. So we were up at 3:30. I had to shower with dial anti-bacterial soap and have just enough water to take my blood pressure medication (more on the water situation later.) We made the drive to Gainesville, arrived at the hospital a little before 6:00 and I was in one of those lovely gowns by 6:15. My pre-op nurse was one of several hospital employees I would meet that day who were gastric bypass patients themselves. What a relief it was to have someone walking you through the process who knew how nervous you were and gave you answers to all your questions before you asked them. The family came back to the pre-op room, the preacher came by and said a prayer, my sister gave me a kiss and then my in-laws stuck their head in the door. I was surprised to see them at such an early hour - they're doing the retirement thing and doing it well. My mother-in-law told me she was proud of me and my father-in-law shook my hand. I said "thanks much for getting up so early." He said "where else would I be but here with my son?" It took every ounce of control not to cry in the man's face. My own father died many years ago and my mother has been living under the fog of Alzheimer's for several years. It was nice to be some body's son again. The last face I saw before leaving was the sweetest face I know. My bride gave me a grin and said " I love you and I've never been prouder of anyone in my life." I knew, at that moment, I was going to beat this thing like a rented mule.
The nurse that took me back was from Prattville, Alabama. I knew this because she worked hard at making conversation about anything. She was yet another former bariatric patient who had lost nearly 200 pounds as a result of this surgery. She kept my mind occupied and held my hand until I was asleep. Like most surgeries, my transition from sleep to waking up in recovery was almost instantaneous. The first thing I did was reach down to my abdomen to see if the surgery had been done laproscopically or open. I felt no staples running from sternum to waistline so I was instantly relieved.
Remember my mention of water? Well, I'd not had any since about 10:30 Monday night. Anyone who's had surgery knows how it dries you out. But add in the phospho-soda laxative I'd done for about 4 hours on Monday and I was parched. Literally there were little to no fluids left in my body. It was Tuesday night before they'd start letting me have 4 ounces of ice chips once an hour. Then, finally, Wednesday I was allowed fluids. I had to go down to radiology early that morning and - shudder- drink some contrast fluid for an upper g.i. I wasn't sure the contrast fluid would stay down, but it did. When I got back to my room there was a tray with chicken stock, decaf coffee and crystal light lemonade. I took about two large swallows of the lemonade and two large swallows of the coffee. I was instantly bloated. I felt like the end of the day on Thanksgiving, as if I'd been gorging all day. In short, I learned QUICKLY the limitations of my new stomach pouch.
So here we are, almost a week out now and ready to have my first bite of solid food in nearly three weeks. I'm to eat a scrambled egg today and I'm getting nervous all over again. Today is the acid test to see if my reconfigured digestive system works. I must say - I've never looked so forward to an egg in my life. If I never have another sip of soup in my life I'll be satisfied.

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