My Gastric Sleeve Journey

My Gastric Sleeve Journey

Devo and the Wizard of Oz

on January 18, 2015

I am at last back to tell my tale. It’s long so, I will break it up into two parts; Part Une will be about my time in the hospital and Part Deux will be after I get home.

Part Une – Follow the Yellow Brick Road 

Tuesday 1/13

5:00 am – I am up and getting the final things ready for my stay in the hospital. Nikki is picking me up soon.

5:20 am – Nikki is here. For the occasion, Mother Nature decided to dump a good lot of snow on the roads, which the DoT has not seen fit to clear yet. Good thing Nikki is a good driver and we pretty much had the roads to ourselves!

5:45 am – We are at the VG. Though parking is ample, it is all 2 hour parking close to the doors. Annoying but we are in good spirits. Nikki wants to stay until I wake up. So nice! 🙂

6:00 am – I am registered and the nurse is gathering my information. It is all very quick. We are escorted down the hall, where I am led to a room to change. I put my coat and shoes in one bag and the clothes I am wearing into my luggage. I put on a Johnny gown and a housecoat over that and blue booties. My bags are then tagged and placed with others in the hallway to go to my room when I am assigned. Then I sit with Nikki.

6:20 am – A nurse wants to do a final check on my vitals and weight. All is good! Then I go back and wait.

6:50 am – I and another lady are escorted by ‘Al’ to the 11th floor for surgery. I feel a little conspicuous as I have no underwear on! 🙂 But I guess it’s the same for all patients so I deal. I have to put on a blue hat and tuck in my hair. Then I am lead to the very end of the hall and asked to lay down on the gurney outside OR. Al lays some very warm blankets over me. The three different surgery team come and visit. The anesthesiologist and his intern were first. I was told to put my arm under the blankets to keep them warm. It is apparently easier to find a blood vessel for the IV that way.  Then another group explained what would happen and asked if I had any questions. I asked if they would be using glue, sutures or staples. They assure me it would be sutures. The last group made sure I was comfy and ready.

7:15 am – A lovely nurse comes and asks if I could walk into the OR. Shame. The blankets are so cosy! I get up and walk in. She introduces me to all the teams. I lose the housecoat and hop up on the operating table. It is cosy too and has lots of pillows and blankets. The nurse covers me up and the IV goes into my left hand.  Then a mask is put over my face. It is oxygen and the nurse said to concentrate on breathing in. Then they add a needle into the IV. The nurse said it is something to relax me. I keep breathing in the oxygen. Finally, the nurse said the last needle is to put me to sleep. I am out….

12:35pm – I open my eyes. I can see a clock on the wall. It says 12:35 pm. I was in recovery. My throat hurts and I cannot talk. I don’t really want to. A nurse come by and says ‘Hello sleepy head! Are you in pain?’ Getting right to the chase then.  I wasn’t, but she gave me morphine anyway. I fell back asleep.

1:24pm – I open my eyes again. I am so glad the clock is right there. I hate not knowing what time it is! I can hear the nurses chatting. I am a bit concerned. Why is it so late in the day? Where is Nikki? Are they keeping her apprised of my recovery? I fall asleep again.

2:30pm – I open my eyes. A nurse says I am ready to go to my room. I nod. My throat is really raw. I ask about Nikki. I know her back must be killing her. I hope she went home, but I need to make sure. I make the nurse go look for her. A nice gentleman comes and pushes me and my bed to my new home on 9A in the Centennial building. It was supposed to be room 81. When we get there, there is no room at the inn. I can hear them arguing and yelling at someone who approved it. Finally, there is an opening in room 84. So in I go. It is near the window, so that is nice. Everyone gets me hooked up and settled in. I ask about Nikki again. They were looking. I ask about my luggage. My cell phone is in there and I can at least tell people I was out of surgery and in a room. They said they would try to find it. I ask someone to call my mom and let her know I was okay. It was late in the day and she would be worried. Then the nurse takes my vitals and gives me a cup of water with a sponge stick in it. I am not allowed to drink anything, but I can suck on the wet sponge. I am very grateful. I take that sponge and swabbed my gums and tongue. Much better!! They give me some dilaudid. Then I fell asleep.

4:30pm – They found my luggage! Yay! I have the nurse dig out my cell phone and I start texting. Nikki had indeed gone home, but a nurse had kept her apprised of my progress. For some reason, my surgery was not even started until 8:45 am! What were they doing with my unconscious body until then??? No.. I don’t want to know. 🙂 I still can’t speak very well and it hurts like a sun-of-a gun. I keep falling asleep, but I suppose that is to be expected.

6:30pm – The nurses wake me again to take my vitals and inject dilaudid. They are so nice.

8:30pm – I have to pee. A nurse comes to unplug my IV and helps me get to the bathroom. I was in a surprisingly little amount of pain. I felt like I have just did a 2 hour core workout and that was it. My shoulder blades hurt worse than anything. I went to the washroom and discovered that Aunt Flo came to visit. Really??? The nurse hooks me up for that and I am good to get back to bed. I feel better walking, but I am tired. I do a little more texting and fall asleep.

10:30 pm – Night shift! I am again awakened by the lovely nurses (Jane & Laura – Both RNS) taking vitals. A lovely lady from the surgery team asks how I am doing. I complain about the pain in my shoulders. She explains that the air that they have to pump you up with sometimes goes to the muscles in the upper back after laparoscopic surgery. Interesting!! So all is progressing as it should be. More dilaudid and my regular medications and it’s sleepy time!

Wednesday 1/14 

12:00 am – I have to go to the bathroom again. The male nurse helps. His name was Jordan. I get back into bed. The IV machines beep an awful lot at night and kept walking us all up (I was in a ward). So this pattern continues every 2 or so hours until morning.

6:15 am – Jane and Laura come in to take my vitals. A surgery team comes in and asks how I am doing. None of them are my surgeon, but I am sure Dr. Ellesmere is around. They check out my incisions and state they look good. My wet sponge is exchanged for a new one. It tastes a bit like peppermint to me. My back and tail bone. Hurt. The bed is uncomfortable and I am not a back sleeper. I text my friends and family some more. I get up and call a nurse to unplug me so I can go the bathroom. (By the way, while I am in there, I have to pee into a ‘hat’ – a lovely plastic device that is placed along the lip of the toilet bowl to catch urine. Then the nurse can measure how everything is functioning. You’re welcome. 🙂 )

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I notice that my hand the IV is in is starting to swell, but not much. Otherwise, I don’t look bad. I put on a big sweater and go for a walk! I feel better walking. When I come back, I get more pain killers.

7:00 am – Shift change! I am quite used to shift work at the hospital, as my mom was a nurse my whole life. Christine (LPN) and Rorri (RN) were the day shift lovelies. Christine was who I saw mostly. She helped me get up and walk and got my luggage when I needed it. She brought me my day medication. I <3s her! Back to sleep.

9:00 am – Time for the swallow test! This test comprises of me standing in front of an x-ray machine and while I drink the most vile solution on the face of the earth (think very bitter and metallic at the time), the doctor moves the table I am standing on around to watch its progress into my stomach. Congrats! No leaks! Awesome! Now I need something to take that taste out of my mouth. I cannot wait to get back to my sponge!

9:20am – I am back in my room and taking my medication. My hand and arm are swelling up a bit more. No one seems that concerned about it. They are pumping so much fluid into me that they feel it is normal. Okay then! Nikki is coming to visit. Yay!! I start sipping water like I have been in the desert for a month! I still have no real pain in my stomach or incisions. It is all in my back and now my left arm because of the swelling. Christine brings me some Tylenol.  I text some friends and family. I still cannot talk for a long period of time.  Sleepy time!

1:35pm  – Drat! I fell asleep and Nikki here! Not long though. Whew! She stayed for a while. I was nice. She went for a walk with me.

4:00pm – Tests are back and they have confirmed that there are no leaks! Whoot! I get lots of water and a popsicle for supper.  My arms are really starting to ache and they are both starting to swell up.  I decide that some more dilaudid is just what I need. Lots of texting. I read for a bit as well.

8:30 pm – More medicine. My left arm is starting to hurt and has really swelled. Still no real concern from any of the medical staff. My incisions look perfect. I continue to walk and then decide to lay down. The good news is I get to go home tomorrow. The bad news is I have to stay one more night.  This bed is torture. My arms are really starting to hurt instead of ache.

Thursday 1/15

12:00 am – I wake up in agony. My pain level is about a 7. My arms, back and tail bone hurt. My IV is unplugged (it has a battery reserve) so I get up to go the bathroom by myself. Unfortunately someone already has and the ‘hat’ is still there. Yay! Walk time! I head on down to the nursing station and meet Jordon. He comes back with me and cleans up so I can go.  When I get back to bed, I just sit on the edge for about 20 minutes. If there was a chair, I would sleep there. Everyone is snoring. Good thing I brought ear plugs! Jane brings me more meds for my arms and plugs the IV back in. I cry to myself for about a minute. I am in pain and very tired. But I remember I am going home that day and it would soon be over. I fall asleep.

5:00 am – up again. Might as well stay up. Jane and Laura are doing their rounds. Somehow, I fall asleep.

7:00 am – I awake to someone dropping off food. Well, in a manner of speaking. It is a box of Boost peach flavoured complete meal replacement and a little container of cranberry cocktail. Looks like manna from Heaven to me. It marks another improvement in my recovery. Rorri checks on me and sees my arms are so swollen. She saline locks the IV (basically, she blocks off the needle in my hand with a plug instead of the IV drip) and releases me from the IV.

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Yay! Now I can go to the bathroom without dragging it around! Best morning ever! I am officially released a short time later when Dr. Ellesmere visits and is super happy with my progress. I sit on the edge of the bed and enjoy my breakfast. Christine brings me soap, washcloths and towels so I can clean up. I do so gleefully.

9:00 am – I text my friend Amanda and tell her I am cleared to go home whenever. Christine come back and removes the IV needle from my hand. My poor arms. They feel better already! I ask Christine to bring me my bags. I get dressed and clean up a bit. I notice for the first time that my tummy has been marked on. Hmm. It won’t come off with soap very well. May take a few tries. I have my rx for the gallstone stopping meds and lots of dressings. I also find out that my incisions have staples after all. Bastards!! My family doctor has to take them out.  Christine also left me with a staple removal kit for my doctor. That should be fun…

11:00 am – Amanda and Dale are here to get me! I said goodbye to everyone on the way out. So glad to be going home. Props to Dale’s mom for the loan of her car. I like it! We stop at the pharmacy closest to my home and get the Ursodiol. My doctor’s office is right there so I stop in and leave a message for Dr. Murray about the staples.  I get the rx and we go home.

I think that is more than enough for now. Part Deux – There’s No Place Like Home tomorrow!

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4 responses to “Devo and the Wizard of Oz

  1. sharonisin says:

    Glad to hear from you and that things went well. Look forward to part deux, Devona!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lana says:

    You are so right about the stuff we had to swallow for the x-ray! It is really nasty! My boss came to visit me and I threw it up while she was there! ooops!

    Liked by 1 person

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