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Taking pills after surgery



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Hi all! I take a lot of pills that I won't be able to stop after surgery. I'm wondering how hard it is to take pills right after surgery and how to do this. My surgeon hasn't been very responsive to my questions, just saying we'll get to this later, but I'm anxious because I can't miss a single day. I have bipolar disorder and missing any medication, especially when I have a major stressor in my life, could be a huge issue.

None of my pills are extended release so I could crush them, but I've heard this can be really painful or unpleasant tasting. I take about 20 pills a day mostly right before bed. Right now I can take the 14 I take at night in one gulp with Water. I don't want to spend all evening taking pills!

Also, the medications is why my surgeon recommended the sleeve; I had wanted the RNY since I have GERD.

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Posted (edited)

21 minutes ago, lizonaplane said:

Hi all! I take a lot of pills that I won't be able to stop after surgery. I'm wondering how hard it is to take pills right after surgery and how to do this. My surgeon hasn't been very responsive to my questions, just saying we'll get to this later, but I'm anxious because I can't miss a single day. I have bipolar disorder and missing any medication, especially when I have a major stressor in my life, could be a huge issue.

None of my pills are extended release so I could crush them, but I've heard this can be really painful or unpleasant tasting. I take about 20 pills a day mostly right before bed. Right now I can take the 14 I take at night in one gulp with Water. I don't want to spend all evening taking pills!

Also, the medications is why my surgeon recommended the sleeve; I had wanted the RNY since I have GERD.

I have bipolar as well and although I am not on quite so many pills now that I finally found the right combination for me, i have taken so many over the years I can swallow them without Water even if I have to. I went ahead and crushed my meds to try it before surgery to help alleviate my concerns about this and while they didn’t taste great they were palatable with a spoonful of applesauce (they sell the crusher thing at Walmart but you could probably do it with the back of a spoon just to test it).

i didn’t even think about it the morning after surgery and I swallowed two of the pills she handed me together at the same time with no issue and now I am three weeks out and I take 3-4 at a time with no issues (I could probably do more if I tried). You may be a little different and it may take a little less or more time but ultimately you will get there. I am already up to drinking half a glass of water pretty easily with only three weeks under my belt so you should be back to swallowing handfuls before you know it. 😆

Edited by ShoppGirl

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I don't think extended release pills are an issue with sleeve since you still have a functioning pyloric valve. They ARE an issue with bypass, though.

I was allowed to swallow any pill that was the size of a pencil eraser or smaller. I only had two pills that were bigger than that - those giant Calcium tablets, plus some prescription pill I was taking (can't even remember what it was). I got around the calcium one by buying chewables (although another option would have been to split the horse-sized pills with a pill splitter). With the other pill, I was told it would be fine to stop taking it for a couple of weeks. Once those two weeks passed, I was able to take it with no problem.

just check with your surgeon and your prescribing doctor to see what pills you may be able to handle right off the bat (without crushing) and for those that you won't be able to handle right away, which ones you might be able to wait a couple of weeks on. Then hopefully, you won't have to crush many (or hopefully, ANY) of them.

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1 minute ago, ShoppGirl said:

I have bipolar as well and although I am not on quite so many pills now that I finally found the right combination for mei have taken so many over the years I can swallow them without Water even if I have to. I went ahead and crushed my meds to try it before surgery to help alleviate my concerns about this and while they didn’t taste great they were palatable with a spoonful of applesauce (they sell the crusher thing at Walmart but you could probably do it with the back of a spoon just to test it).

i didn’t even think about it the morning after surgery and I swallowed two of the pills she handed me together at the same time with no issue and now I am three weeks out and I take 3-4 at a time with no issues (I could probably do more if I tried). You may be a little different and it may take a little less or more time but ultimately you will get there. I am already up to drinking half a glass of Water pretty easily with only three weeks under my belt so you should be back to swallowing handfuls before you know it. 😆

This is the combination I've been on for like 16 years and it really works for me. Not all are for bipolar, some are to prevent Migraines, some are for nightmares (but I'm going to try stopping those since I'm not entirely sure they work), and one is for weight loss so I'll probably stop that.

I'm glad I should be able to take them easily (I don't mind slowing down to 2-3 pills at once, but I've heard of people taking one pill every 20-30 minutes and that felt like a really bad situation.

Thanks!

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1 minute ago, catwoman7 said:

I don't think extended release pills are an issue with sleeve since you still have a functioning pyloric valve. They ARE an issue with bypass, though.

I was allowed to swallow any pill that was the size of a pencil eraser or smaller. I only had two pills that were bigger than that - those giant Calcium tablets, plus some prescription pill I was taking (can't even remember what it was). I got around the Calcium one by buying chewables (although another option would have been to split the horse-sized pills with a pill splitter). With the other pill, I was told it would be fine to stop taking it for a couple of weeks. Once those two weeks passed, I was able to take it with no problem.

just check with your surgeon and your prescribing doctor to see what pills you may be able to handle right off the bat (without crushing) and for those that you won't be able to handle right away, which ones you might be able to wait a couple of weeks on. Then hopefully, you won't have to crush many (or hopefully, ANY) of them.

I don't really remember what size a pencil eraser is, but I know some of them are definitely bigger than that, and I won't be able to stop at least 6 of them for even a day. 3 are for Migraine prevention, so I would prefer not to stop those, but I could if I had to. I think splitting the ones I can't stop is probably an option. Thanks!

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1 minute ago, lizonaplane said:

I don't really remember what size a pencil eraser is, but I know some of them are definitely bigger than that, and I won't be able to stop at least 6 of them for even a day. 3 are for Migraine prevention, so I would prefer not to stop those, but I could if I had to. I think splitting the ones I can't stop is probably an option. Thanks!

I think the best way to look at it is for a couple weeks at least after surgery your life WILL mostly revolve around your surgery and the fact that you’ve had surgery (getting in your meds, Protein, fluids, etc). You will be inconvenienced for a short while but that won’t last forever and it will be worth it in the long run. Each day it gets a little easier and you figure it out as you go. The important thing for me was to know that worst case even if I had to spend all day taking my meds it WAS possible to get them down...somehow.

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I may have been in the lucky minority here, in that I never had any problems swallowing pills post-op—except for the huge Calcium pills I tried to take. Those are put away for a day in the future, I’m sticking the chewable on those for now. Anyway, I have OCD with intrusive thoughts so I have medications I could NOT be without for more than 24 hours, or else very bad times indeed. So I can relate to that, however I’m only on two meds daily to keep it under control.

Anyway, like others said, you can get a pill crusher for pretty cheap, and you can try mixing the crushed pill with something like a small bite of applesauce or even into your beverage of choice, if it has to be. Our son has ADHD and we give him his adderall in his chocolate milk every morning (he’s also autistic, so has issues with medication/swallowing pills).

Best of luck!

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I had no issues taking my pills after surgery other than I took them one at a time instead of all together like pre-surgery (and one of them is a pretty large pill). I probably waited 30 seconds between each one at the beginning but now I can take up to 3 at a time. I do take my Multivitamin separately at night because of the size and it kind of has a weird taste, but then take my Vitamin D and nighttime med right after that - no waiting.

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I can't add anything regarding pills that hasn't already been stated.

I want to talk about surgery choice.

If you have good reasons why you prefer one surgery over the other and your Doc recommends another, then YOU have a choice to make. Doc works for you, not the other way around. This is your body and your innards you are changing. The choice is yours.

Think carefully, be sure you understand the risks and benefits of each and choose accordingly.

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Just now, The Greater Fool said:

I can't add anything regarding pills that hasn't already been stated.

I want to talk about surgery choice.

If you have good reasons why you prefer one surgery over the other and your Doc recommends another, then YOU have a choice to make. Doc works for you, not the other way around. This is your body and your innards you are changing. The choice is yours.

Think carefully, be sure you understand the risks and benefits of each and choose accordingly.

Oh, the doctor made it clear that it was my choice. But after talking to him as well as my psychopharmacologist, it definitely seemed like the way to keep my mental health steady after surgery was to do the sleeve. That is more important, even though GERD is not a great outcome. The surgeon doesn't think what I have is really GERD, but we'll see.

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Posted (edited)

3 minutes ago, lizonaplane said:

Oh, the doctor made it clear that it was my choice. But after talking to him as well as my psychopharmacologist, it definitely seemed like the way to keep my mental health steady after surgery was to do the sleeve. That is more important, even though GERD is not a great outcome. The surgeon doesn't think what I have is really GERD, but we'll see.

Are they going to do an endoscopy prior to surgery? That was a requirement for me. I wanted the sleeve and the doctor wanted to do the sleeve based on my starting point when I first saw her (BMI was around 40 then) but she wouldn’t make the call until she did the endoscopy. She said if there was a lot of evidence of GERD she would most likely go with bypass. Endoscopy was clear so sleeve it was.

Edited by Crick

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Just now, Crick said:

Are they going to do an endoscopy prior to surgery? That was a requirement for me. I wanted the sleeve and the doctor wanted to do the sleeve based on my starting point when I first saw her (BMI was around 40 then) but she wouldn’t make the call until she did the endoscopy. She said if there was a lot of evidence of GERD she would most likely go with bypass.

I have asked my surgeon what tests I will need before surgery and I have not gotten a reply (sent two messages through the secure system). I'm pretty frustrated but I'd rather he be good with his hands than good at replying to email. The problem is that my work schedule is usually set three months in advance, so scheduling tests that require a whole day can be a problem if I don't get them in my calendar.

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They gave me pills (and not that small I might add!) in the hospital post surgery. You have to be careful with crushing some of them as they can irritate your esophagus or stomach if crushed. I was lucky and tolerated swelling them very easily. It seems as if many people do as well. If the pill is very large, you may want to look into splitting if you can or seeing if they have a different size available for RX.

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Surgery was on 3/31. I took a bunch of meds. They added more meds after surgery and some went in via IV and not pill form. Six days post op and things are look well so far. Although I do seem to be consuming quite a bit of pills. Pills almost make a full meal for me.

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