Hello fellow Bariatric pals!
I am 6 days post gastric sleeve surgery as of 04/23/2018. My surgery was performed April 18th, at St Francis Indianapolis by Dr Shamseddeen.
Some Background info on me and my choice to have bariatric surgery:
I am male, age 48 married with one adult child and two teenage children. I have been married for 21 years. We have a Noah's ark of pets but our primary pets are two cats, and three dogs (Lucretia a 6yr old female Newfoundland, Freya a 4 yr old female St Bernard, and Vivien a female 5 month old Newfoundland pup)
I am a Registered Nurse who had specialized in geriatric/hospice/long term care before having a heart attack in 2016. I switched to homecare and work primarily with special needs and medically fragile children.
After my heart attack with stent placement I started to number my health issues and I had a lot, obesity, smoker, copd, sleep apnea, Congestive heart failure, High cholesterol. I began to treat these with medicines, cpap, quitting smoking, light exercise. The one issue I did not really tackle was my obesity. With quitting smoking my weight went up as I replaced smoking with snacking. I had grown accustomed to being larger and just came to accept I was the fat old man, thats just who I was now so no use in fretting over it. Then my primary doctor handed me one more diagnosis... diabetes. I was just taking metformin, and was so far non insulin dependent. As a nurse who cared for older patients I have witnessed diabetes ravage my patients, I have prepped toes for amputation, then parts of feet, then legs... I was 329 lbs at this time and was fearful of dieting turning into yo yo dieting that would lead to greater weight gains. I began to research bariatric surgery.
My first visit to St Francis Bariatric Clinic was September 14th 2017 (From first visit to surgery was about 7 months). I started my journey with the monthly meetings, nutrition appointments, pysch evaluation, and getting numerous surgical clearances from my other doctors. I started my preop dieting and got down to 317 lbs. When I started my preop liquid diet I was my worse enemy when my friends would come over to Celebrate my surgery.... by offering me "one more for the road" foodofferings of pizza, white castles, take out chinese food, etc. I appreciated the sentiments but I should have been stronger in my resolve to say no. But even with temptations, day of surgery I was about 311 lbs.
My Surgery Day experience:
Pre-Op prep was no problem, no complaints. IV placed, skin scrubbed, some labs drawn. Basic stuff.
Rolled back for surgery, again no problem, introduced to surgical team as I was wheeled into surgical suite, moved to operating table and arms positioned at sides. I don't even remember when they administered sedation as my next memory was waking in recovery.
Waking in Recovery: I won't lie..I was in intense pain and either due to sedation or just the level of pain I couldn't say how much I hurt, all I could do was moan..loudly and forcefully. I have never given any pain I have had a rating of 10 on a 1-10 scale, even when I had my heart attack, but this rated an 11+ After a minute or so I think i was given something for the pain and I passed out again. I awoke in my hospital room.
Day 1 post op: In my room I was greeted by my wife and nurse. The nurses I had over the next 24 hours were great in treating me, as well as caring for my family. I was allowed one oz of ice chips to sip on and I had my PCA (pain medicine pump) to hit every 15 minutes as needed. I was wearing a truss, had a drain ball on my abdomen below the large incision site where my stomach portion was removed. I also had a foley cath placed. I have placed thousands of foley caths, but have never had one myself. I had an intense urge to urinate that made resting difficult. I kept joking with the nurses I was going to swipe a 10cc syringe to empty the cath balloon and remove it myself. Later that day I had two small 1 oz cups of chicken broth brought in for me to try. I was able to down 1 over 20 minutes and couldn't even start the 2nd. I had a 1 oz cup pf ice chips now and then but was not worried about dehydration because of the bags of saline and antibiotics they had running in via my IV. I started doing my inspiratory spirometer and I say this as a nagging nurse who has had many patients post op refuse to do them, now as a patient i can say that the inspiratory spirometer does help a lot. My first day I was walked a short distance, and that night I slept in the recliner as I found it more comfortable then the bed. I had still had pain but between the PCA and re-positioning it was manageable.
Discharge day: I was walked again a little farther then before. I had my foley cath removed (Yay!) which led to 48 hours of a burning sensation on urination that eventually faded. I had my IV discontinued, and started on liquid pain meds which about a little less then 1 oz took forever for me to sip. The only notable pain I had that day was when they pulled my drain tube out. I knew it was going to be uncomfortable, but the nurse didn't just pull it out quickly, or even as 1 long pull but did it in 3 Jerky pulls that sent pain rocketing from my navel down to my toes. Aside from that all was well, I had moderate pain, was sore and hurt to stand from sitting or to bend but it was all tolerable.
Back Home again and starting my new reality: Since being home at first I tried to religiously follow the instructions I was given on nutrition, being on the modified liquid diet, taking my Vitamins, and staying hydrated. I ran into several issues.
First I had no appetite, you really do have to force yourself to eat, but also to eat properly over 20-30 minutes to get down a 2 oz cup of broth or yogurt. To quickly and I would feel nauseous and full. I would not drink within 30 minutes of either start or end of eating.
I had no thirst for the first few days. Even taking small sips I found it hard to get in 40-60 oz's of Water a day.
I have been struggling to get in 70g Protein a day. First the shakes would make using the Premier dry whey protein mix would froth a lot and give me a very full/gassy feeling. The thickness of the shakeeven after thinning would fill me up quick after a few sips. The taste wasn't good, but not terrible but you won't catch me saying "Ya know what would taste good right now? a protein shake"
The vitamins. All of my vitamins right now are chew-able. Only problem I have is I have no teeth so I have to suck on them until they dissolve over time. Again not the best tasting, but they also seem to trigger fullness or nausea in me. I may switch to liquid vitamins, pills (when I can), maybe even the Patches I saw advertised here.
Some solutions I have found. I was looking over youtube videos and saw some people make Popsicles out of their Protein Shakes and I did the same with Powerade zero. Doing this I was able to get down at least half my shakes in a day (40g protein) and it really helped top off my liquid intake by sucking on the powerade pops I made but still limited the intake over time so I wouldn't get sick.
It is day 6 for me and it is a learning process. I see that we all have many things in common but that everyone's experience with bariatric surgery is very much personal and individualized. The highlight of my week has been actually going under 300 lbs for the first time in many years and passing gas on day 5 (Hey to nurses passing gas is as much a sign of life as a pulse or respiration plus shows our digestion is working)
I have been reading many of the forums and have enjoyed the stories and humor, and appreciated the advice given and I hope to read many more over the next year.
Good Spring (when it gets here, I am from Indiana after all) to all
Height: 5 feet 9 inches
Starting Weight: 329 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 311 lbs
Current Weight: 233.5 lbs
Goal Weight: 220 lbs
Weight Lost: 95.5 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 09/04/2017
Surgery Date: 04/18/2018
Hospital Stay: 1 Day
Surgery Funding: n/a
Insurance Outcome: n/a