I was sleeved on 10/15/12 by Dr. Ryan Heider at Lake Norman Regional Medical Center in Mooresville, NC
This is my surgery experience:
Got there at 5:40am. Checked in & sat in waiting area for maybe 20 minutes then pre-op nurse Susan came out to get me. Dad went back with me & we went into an individual room with a door. Susan gave me the Bair Paws gown, socks with non-slip skids (you can keep these on the whole time you're there if you want so you don't need to bring warm socks or non-skid shoes to walk the halls), and a blue hair-net thingy. I changed in the bathroom there in the room (remove ALL clothing - get used to being naked under your gown for the next 2 days!) & they give you a bag for your belongings. Then Susan took me to weigh one last time (I was 243.2 so I hadn't lost much on the 2 weeks of Optifast) & then you lie on the bed (they can raise the head if you can't see your family members over in the chairs) & answer a bunch of questions from everyone involved with your surgery while waiting on Dr Heider to arrive. Dr Heider did pre-op nurse Susan's sleeve surgery over a year ago. Scrub nurse Lori (also very nice) said Susan has been doing wonderfully since her surgery. (Dr H has also done his assistant Michelle's sleeve & her emergency gall bladder removal.)
If you see a STOP sign on the front of your chart, don't worry. It COMPLETELY freaked me out. I thought it was a sign there was something wrong with me or my blood work, or who knows what, but it was only because Dr Heider had yet to fill out one piece of paper. LAWD, talk about scaring the crap out of someone. I didn't ask what it meant until my Dad left the room to go get my step-mom, & I swear my blood was running cold by the time I worked up the nerve - & the words - to ask.
Anyway, you'll meet the scrub nurse, one or two anesthesiologists, & Dr H before you go into surgery. If you get the older lady & gentleman anesthesiologists, they are very nice. Been doing anesthesia since the 80s. (Yes, I asked everyone how long they have been doing their work considering this was my first surgery). They will start the IV there in that room & give you a shot of heparin in your belly. Dr H had told me to remind him before the surgery about doing it single incision, so while we were waiting for him to arrive I asked scrub nurse Lori if he does most as single incision or multiple & she said he was doing the single for awhile but has kind of backed off doing them as much. That made me think that he's probably not as practiced at doing single so when he arrived I said "We talked about single incision but you do whatever you're most comfortable with." Then they eventually wheel you to the operating room. It was a short trip. They line you up with the operating table & help you to move over & ask you to put your feet on these 2 black pads (they may have called them pedals). Then they lay your arms out & someone says "Ok, we're going to give you some oxygen" & puts a mask over your face. I maybe took 5 breaths & then I remember being woken up from a dream to someone saying my name & to open my eyes. That was it. It was over & I was sleeved!
Dad said they told him the surgery started at 7:22 & was over at 8:20. Dr H came out & explained the surgery to my parents & then they remained in the waiting area until I was assigned a room. He ended up doing 3 incisions: One across my navel & one on either side of there, closer to my hip bones. He told my parents he did the incisions that way so if I get a tummy tuck later on that the incisions will disappear with that surgery.
The gas pains aren't horrendous but they are uncomfortable. The navel incision is the worst for me (I guess it's the one through which they pulled out my stomach). I don't even feel the other 2 incisions. You can get morphine every 2 hours if you want it. One time they gave me morphine in the middle of the night without the anti-nausea but I was calling her back in within 10 minutes for the anti-nausea. It works immediately, thank goodness!
My suggestion is to schedule your surgery as late in the day as possible if you want to be able to sleep through the night. I slept most of the day but was woken up most every hour. The night was the worst, though. I was awake a lot of the night because I had been asleep most of the day. Definitely sleep as much as you can right after surgery just to get the anesthesia out of your system, but if you get to a point where you think you can stay awake a while you should do so. Then you might have a better chance of sleeping through the night with just a few interruptions. The gas pains pretty much subsided around the 24-hour mark.
The incentive barometer (breathing thingy) isn't fun but it does help clear the mucus out of your lungs. Bedside nurse Beth is admittedly very talky & explains anything you want to know in detail. She says the mucus buildup is your lungs' way of fighting against having the tube in there during surgery.
I don't remember Denise coming in the room on Monday afternoon but apparently she did & talked with me & my parents about what to expect over the next 24 hours while I was still in the hospital.
Walking does help a good bit, just like everyone says. So go make laps every chance you get. And take that opportunity to pee as well. And be sure to take a small travel pillow to the hospital with you if you can. It helps immensely by holding it against your incisions while getting out of bed, while walking, and when sitting down on the toilet to pee. And also as a buffer for the car seat belt when headed home.
They will give you at least 2 more heparin shots in the belly while you're still in the room but they aren't bad at all. Tiny, tiny needles that are barely noticeable.
The next morning they finally came around 9:30 to wheelchair me down for the leak test. It was tolerable. 3 sips of nasty flavored stuff. I had to ask for a wet washcloth to wipe the taste out of my mouth & off my lips. I probably should have taken the opportunity to brush my teeth when I got back to the room but I didn't think about it. But shortly afterward they came in to say I could eat & drink!! No leaks!!
Denise & Amanda came in to go over the next week with me & my parents (my parents took notes of when I was checked on, what shots I got, when I walked, when I peed, everything....). The nurse brought in a tray with chicken bouillon, unsweetened tea with lemon flavor, & 2 flavors of sugar-free jello. I told them I wasn't going to eat the jello because I'm allergic to aspartame & they were ok with that. So they bring you some of the one-ounce shot cups & leave you to eating your first meal! I just ate it while sitting on the side of my bed. Eventually they brought a fresh tray because the broth gets cold & the tea gets warm.
They said I could leave once I had taken a Percocet & was sure I wouldn't have a reaction to it. They brought it in about 1:00 so we waited until 2:00 to start the release process. So I think we finally left around 2:30?
I got the Percocet prescription filled on the way home but I only took 2. We got the generic & it's oxycodone & acetaminophen. I had taken it at 1:00 in the hospital so I took another around 5 at the house. An hour later I took one of my anxiety meds (my regular prescription) & I was handling it so well I took another in less than an hour (I have to take 3 total) but that made me sick. Ugh. It was horrible!!! That was the first time I thought to myself: "Why did I do this??" I admitted to my parents I had thrown up & they were supportive. Stepmom laughed & said "I can just hear Denise saying 'that's what I told you would happen!'" But I'm feeling MUCH, MUCH better now. Even got to take my first shower on the first morning at home!
Oh, speaking of showers, the pre-op shower antibacterial liquid is pink & will stain the washcloths at the hotel. I didn't stress over it, though. It probably comes out with bleach. And I had a hard time figuring out how much was half a bottle during the my night-before shower so just know that there's enough in there that it should foam up when you're washing with it. DON'T get it on your face or head, or in your private areas.
Like I said earlier, the only time I have questioned having done this is when I was nauseous & threw up the first night back home. And throwing up didn't hurt. I just held my hand on my belly really, really tight. Don't know if that helped me physically, but it helped mentally!! :-)
I wasn't feeling up to talking on the phone (draphram pressing down on gas-filled abdomen hurt too much), and I had a hard time concentrating on typing emails (anesthesia fog?), so I suggest setting up a few email drafts the night before you go into surgery. Then you can go back in & hit send on the one(s) most relevant to how you're feeling. That way you're not struggling with what to say. BTW, LNRMC has free wi-fi.
Height: 5 feet 6 inches
Starting Weight: 254 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery:
Current Weight: 176 lbs
Goal Weight: 145 lbs
Weight Lost: 78 lbs
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 06/25/2012
Surgery Date: 10/15/2012
Hospital Stay: 1 Day
Surgery Funding: Self Paid
Insurance Outcome: n/a
Susan 2.0's Bariatric Surgeon
123 Professional Dr.
Mooresville, NC 28117