I absolutely love this post and am so happy that I found it (Big Thanks to the author, DougNichols). I realize that everyone's experience may be different, but it was great to get a general jist of what to expect when I finally get my surgery done. It's long, but well worth the read, and pleasantly laced with humor. If you're like me and really curious about what you may experience on your day of surgery, take a look at this...
This is my step by step guide to what you'll probably experience getting sleeved. I'm writing this because I really wanted a step-by-step experience before I went and couldn't find a detailed one. Keep in mind, this is what I experienced but written to help you understand the overall process. Your experience will vary based upon complications, previous surgeries, etc.
That said, here we go:
After not eating or drinking anything past midnight, you'll arrive at the hospital early in the morning, probably like 6am'ish. Personally although I could eat the day before, I only drank soups because I imagined the pain of pushing out a BM immediately after surgery would hurt - bad. And I wanted none of that. My plan worked perfectly. Advice: Eat nothing the day before.
You're guided to a lonely little room and given a hospital gown to put on plus some cute socks. Your family can hang out with you, and be there until you're actually wheeled away. The operating room nurse will come in, asking questions about your medical history, allergies and all that. Followed by another nurse who is charge of inserting your IV fluid line. Then the Anesthesiologist shows up, asking the same questions both other nurses did. Almost like nobody reads your chart. You might get a surgeon visit, asking if you're ready to go and telling you a little about the surgery. He can meet your family members, and after an hour or so they wipe off your belly with a pre-OR towel to clean it off and begin the cart race down the hall.
The Anesthesiologist says he's giving you something to warm you up - it'll actually knock you out LOOOONG before reaching the OR.
You'll wake up to an excruciating pain in your stomach, like someone stabbed a sword completely through your chest. You can't breathe in fully because of the pain, and might panic a little. You're in a well lit room with several nurses and other people, but separated by thin curtains. You can hear the person next to you very clearly as your nurse hooks up your morphine and hands you a little black button to press. You'll press it - A LOT. It beeps once if successful (every 10 minutes), and three quick beeps when you got nothing.
Then they roll you into your room where family is already waiting. You'll tell them that it hurts really bad, but God bless morphine as you begin watching the clock to see when the next fix will be.
Press, beep, sleepy time.
Whirrr blip bop beep leg warmers.
Press, beep, sleepy time.
Whirrr blip bop beep leg warmers.
Repeat for several hours.
Another sound vibrates through the room. A whizzzz blip blop beep every few seconds. That's the leg massager. It's attached like a bandage wrap around your knee down to your ankle, with wires connecting to the end of your bed. The funny sounding device mashes different parts of your leg, like a weak blood pressure machine, every few seconds to ensure deep vein thrombosis doesn't set in. When you're ready to walk around (which won't be for a while), you can either yank your leg up and pull the plug out or have the nurse disconnect manually. Keep in mind that it'll start beeping like a flat-lined heart monitor if you do it yourself, and they might get annoyed.
Now comes your primary nurse who'll write her name on a little chalkboard along with your "tech". My tech was Sunny, which was an awesome name! The tech rolls around a little cart containing a blood pressure machine and thermometer. You'll hear the squeaky cart roll in once every few hours, at which time she'll ask you your name. You already know my name from 2 hours ago, did you forget or what? Like someone else snuck into your room?
After she leaves, along comes the "breathing nurse" who has a third-grade toy with a ball inside. She instructs you to stick one end in your mouth and suck on it until you reach 2800. Of course, you still can't breathe in all the way because it hurts like the Jesus, but she makes you try. You say "dude I can't breathe, hurts" and she's like "whatever". This is to avoid Pneumonia so be sure to not skip this, even though you want to bounce the plastic toy off her forehead for putting you in so much pain.
Every couple hours I played with my new plastic ball toy, pressed my black button and sat around in pain. You won't be able to roll over on your sides because it hurts A LOT. The main nurse will instruct you to do it however, in order to get out of bed. After some time the marching, way too happy, morale officer of the floor will arrive with something like a cute dog. Mine was eating a candy bar, so I wanted to slap her too. She asks if I wanted to pet the dog - uh dude I can't reach down that far. Show him to my mom.
You'll get a menu with a number to call for some chicken or beef broth. I chose chicken my first round, along with a powdered protein packet and apple juice. No way you'll eat the whole thing, maybe like 1/4 the bowl and 1/3 the apple juice container. It was quite yummy, and I didn't realize I was hungry.
If you need to pee, they force you to use this big plastic jar to see how much fluid is coming out. Once you fill it up, they get all excited and measure it then dump into the toilet.
Twelve hours goes by, and you're bored. There's only so many reruns of American Choppers you can possibly watch on television, so it's time to get up and walk around. You beep the tech to unhook your legs, then roll onto your side (OUCH) and get out of bed like some 108 year old man in violent pain. I had timed a morphine shot before attempting this, just in case. But it made me really dizzy, not recommended.
You'll also have 2-3 new friends during your walk: Catheter, On-Q pump and Drain. The catheter is where your pee goes. Personally, I didn't need one but many people do. In that case, there's no need to pee into the large tupperware container. Second is your drain, which consists of bright red Kool-Aid looking stuff the nurse will squirt out every few hours. And finally a big ball labeled "On-Q Pump". MAKE SURE these are clipped to your hospital gown. You do not want any of those items hanging free, because they will pull out of your body over time, leaving a nasty mess on your stomach. And that's bad.
Now they unplug your morphine/IV mini-tower and you begin a journey down the hallway holding onto it in tow. Everybody leans on the tower, no biggie. Just don't expect it to carry you, or that tall monster topples over like Godzilla at the end of the movie. There's a spot to hang your pee jar on, but don't do that or nurses get really pissed off cause it might spill in the hallway. I figured everybody would be excited to measure it, so I'd take it to them as I walked. They weren't at all enthusiastic.
After two laps, it's time to return to bed. It hurts a lot, so you'll mash the black button like a Pavlovian dog until the morphine kicks in. By now, 12 hours have elapsed and it's time for bed. Be sure to get some food before the kitchen closes, which was like 7pm for me. I knew I stayed up until like 1am, so I wanted reserve food. Into the nurses' refrigerator it went to be heated up later.
Now here's an important point: Those protein powder packets turn into nasty floating white stuff in your broth when microwaved. Don't add it to your last meal of the day that you're planning on reheating.
After watching Craig Furgeson be silly on the television, it's sleepy time! Or not - the squeaky cart rolls in, and Sunny tech girl asks your name AGAIN. Honey, it's still me for the love of God. Then the nurse checks on you, ok I'll breathe into my toy now that I'm up. And finally more sleep.
At 6am yet another nurse arrives to take your blood. I'm sleepy, whatever - just hurry up. Sunny's back AGAIN asking my name. It's rush hour traffic. They unhook your morphine and switch to oral pain killer liquids. Everytime you get dosed, they ask your name and birthday AGAIN. I should have had it tatooed on my arm before I arrived. Time to eat, walky time.
BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP! While I'm laying there, my mini-tower new walking buddy starts behaving like he's having a seizure. I never plugged him in after the last walk, and his little battery is getting low. Be sure to re-plug!
How many nights you stay depends upon your insurance and pre-arrangements. I highly recommend you stay as many nights as possible. Can't stress this enough: Trying to get fluids in at home (which hurts!) vs. the IV fluids is a huge leap. Don't be in a rush to leave.
You're given a large stack of papers describing the medications they prescribe upon exiting the hospital. You'll need someone to drive you to the pharmacy to get all of them filled. You MUST have these meds, they include the pain medication which will be vital that first night out. You also need someone to drive you back to the hospital in case of any complications. Things to have at home BEFORE you arrive:
- A thermometer (mandatory). If you feel horrible and need to call your surgeon, he'll ask your temperature. "I don't know" is the wrong answer - have a thermometer at home.
- A blood pressure machine (mandatory). You can buy these for like $40 that go on the wrist in case your arm is too fat to hold a standard velcro wrap. If you've been on blood pressure medications BEFORE surgery, they will knock your BP into the very-low-danger-zone afterwards, so this is vital to keep your eye on. If this happens, call your primary doctor immediately to see how you need to adjust those drugs.
- A heating pad. Absolute God-send after you've just painfully rolled out of bed to pee.
Anyways, this was my experience! I hope this assists someone who wants more information about what happens behind the hospital doors.