Sarah’s Weight Loss Journey – Blog #5 – Sleeve Surgery Experience

Monday, 11/21/11 Day before surgery:

Starving…. A little bit nervous. I drove up alone to Decatur…hubby had to work.  I had appointments with everyone it seemed like, but I met a lot of the people in the hospital that were going to be involved in the surgery.  They did an EKG, blood work, and chest X-ray.  Finally they put me up in a really nice motel across the street from the hospital.  Clear fluids all day today… it is kind of amazing to me how depressed you can get just knowing you won’t be ABLE to eat for several weeks. I put a lot of my life into eating. I love food.  This is going to be hard but it really is what I want to do.  Up at 5am in the morning. I am the first surgery tomorrow.

11/22/11 Surgery day. Tuesday: 

I got there at 6am.  The pre-op nurses were so sweet!  Met the anesthesiologist… he was great too.  He actually put caffeine in my IV! This place rocks!!! I didn’t know they did that. He said it decreases the amount of pain meds you need.  Hmm. Learn something every day.   I couldn’t have my coffee this morning so this is the next best thing!  Sat around for about an hour waiting for all the nurses and the surgeon to come in…then it was time.  They rolled me in the freezing cold operating room, and told me to think of a happy place.  Sadly, the happy place I thought of instantly was around the dinner table with my family eating.  Ironic huh?


I wake up from surgery and was told everything went well.  Details sketchy obviously, but I was moved up to the fifth floor where I slept and slept, and slept some more. I had a Demerol pump since I am allergic to morphine.  That was a great thing.  Demerol dose every 10 minutes… I was feeling GREAT.  But then learned I could still have NOTHING by mouth for that entire day.  They were going to do a Barium swallow the next day so I had to wait until that was done to start drinking anything.  Torture!  They asked me questions and I couldn’t even answer them because my tongue is literally stuck to the roof of my mouth.  More sleep!  It was a long night with all the docs and nurses in and out and the itching from the Demerol, but finally made it through the night.

11/23/11. Day One Post-Op. Wednesday

I went down for the Barium swallow finally about 10:30am.  The taste of that stuff is not even describable. They tell you absolutely, positively, do NOT throw up or it can mess things up, but then they make you drink THAT?   I drank a few sips and they said it wasn’t going down like it should. Too much swelling keeping things closed off.  It felt like when things were stuck with my lap band.  Brought back some bad memories.  They sent me back to the room, again with nothing to drink and said they would be back in an hour to do another xray and make sure it went down. .   Incision sites still didn’t hurt much. I felt like I had done about 100 sit-ups, but it wasn’t too bad.  I have six incisions total.  Belly kind of looks like a target with my navel the being the bulls eye.  I’m pretty swollen around the middle, but still, it’s not too bad.  I just need water!!!!!  X-ray folks came back about an hour later and did another x-ray . Good news. It all went down.   I can go home today if I can start drinking enough liquids to make them confident that it will go down.   Scott and Zach came about noon. It was so great to see someone and have someone to talk to.  I took my Kindle with me but all those pain meds made the words drift around on the page.  I apologize now to anyone I tried to email. I’m sure it was entertaining if nothing else.  So, I started sipping on water. Wow… water never tasted so good!  They gave me one ounce, got it down, then two… got it down.  No problems.  I was finally ready to go home to my own comfy bed!!  However, I learned pretty quickly never to judge how great you feel while you are still attached to a Demerol pump.

On the way home:  As soon as I get in the car, I started to get nauseous!  We had to go to the pharmacy down the road to pick up my anti-nausea and pain medications.  I hurt all over and really thought I was going to throw up.  Where is my Demerol?????  This was not going to be a  fun trip home.  Every tiny crack in the pavement hurts going over it.  My hubby brought a pillow along thank goodness, so that helped a little.  So we set off for home with the AC blasting in my face to keep me from throwing up. I finally got one of my pain pills and the anti-nausea meds down.  It should be okay from here.  I think I slept most of the three hours home and don’t remember much about getting into bed.  But I must have made it.  I woke up about 3am in my bed searching for more pain meds.  It wasn’t horrible pain, just kind of annoying.  I was still a little sick to my stomach too, but after another round of medication,  I finally slept through the rest of the night.

11/24/11 Day two Post-op.  Thursday.  Thanksgiving Day.

Woke up feeling pretty good actually. Not too much pain. I was up walking around the house.  Scott was worried I was going to get dehydrated so he gives me some water to sip on.  OUCH.  This pain was totally unexpected and very scary.  Every time I swallowed anything, water or even my own saliva, as soon as it got down to my stomach there was an excruciating pain!!!! Nobody mentioned this before I left.  I was afraid something was horribly wrong.  I fought Scott all day…he wanted me to get meds and fluids down, but honestly, I would rather die of dehydration at this point than have to swallow one more time.  It was THAT bad! This continued all day.  I was to the point of tears but I managed to get a couple ounces of water down and my pain pills…then off to bed again.  Enough of that!  I was up and down throughout the day. At this point I was honestly wondering if I had made the right decision. This was exactly the same thing that happened after my surgery last year when things totally fell apart.  Decided to just go sleep some more.  Scott made Thanksgiving dinner for him and Zach. I sat with them while they ate, but I don’t think either of them really enjoyed their Thanksgiving since I couldn’t eat.  It really wasn’t too bad, I can honestly say I have not been hungry since the surgery.  The only thing that got to me was the pie.  I didn’t realize how much of a comfort food pie was to me. I LOVE pie!!!!!!  It actually made me sad, which to most people is silly I’m sure.   The ham and everything else didn’t bother me, but I was pretty upset about having to miss my pie.  I can tell this is going to be a major change, not only for how and what I eat, but for my overall feelings about food.  If the pain is this bad tomorrow, I’m calling the doctor.  I hate to complain to Scott since he didn’t want me to do this anyway… so I just held it in and went to bed early. I hope tomorrow is better. This was the worst day of the whole thing so far. Glad when it was over.

11/25/11: Day three:  Friday.

I got to sleep late this morning.  I was really nervous to try the swallowing thing, so I started with some warm broth. ( I’m supposed to be on clear liquids for one week, then full liquids for a week, then I can start trying soft foods)  It’s a miracle!!!!!!!!!! No pain with the broth going down. It’s going to be a good day!  I didn’t take my pain meds this morning.  I felt quite a bit better.  I did take one of the antacids that the doctor prescribed.  There isn’t much pain, but it feels really acidic.  I’m just happy I can swallow!!!  I drank about 4 oz of warm broth, then tried a sugar-free popsicle.  Even whipped up a protein shake… Not bad!  I think I might live! I was beginning to wonder yesterday!  Okay, so I did make the right decision. I’m still not hungry, but by 2pm, I am starting to hurt a little bit.  Scott went to work,  Zach is at my brother’s house. I think it’s time for a pain pill and a nap.

(My son didn’t realize I had actually done the sleeve surgery until yesterday. He thought I was just taking the band out.  He did NOT want me to do this so he was a little upset with me…but I understand. I thought he knew.  We talked openly about it over the days before surgery.  I guess it’s too late now.  But with neither Zach nor Scott wanting me to do this, I try my hardest not to complain about anything.  Scott said he would support me either way, and he has been GREAT.  But still… I hate to whine about stuff and have them think, “We told you so”.  ) I laid around on the couch and tried to rest.  I managed to get down about 8 oz of protein drink, 8 oz of water, and probably 8 oz of broth. I also chewed a couple of gummy multivitamins.  Not a bad day at all.

11/26/11 Day 3 Post-op.  Saturday.

After today, I will probably go back to posting once a week.  Today was the best yet.  I didn’t take any pain medication at all and didn’t have much pain.  I got out a little and went to Walgreens.  I started picking up the house a little, doing some laundry… just trying to be more active.  I can get down just about any liquid now with no pain.  Just about 1/4th to ½ of a cup though, and then I feel really full.  I guess that is what I’m going to be able to eat in a couple weeks too.  Wow.  I read on the internet that a LOT of doctors only require the clear liquid diet for a couple of days instead of a whole week, so I tried a little bit of a Slim Fast this afternoon. It actually tasted wonderful after all that clear stuff.  I did fine with that, so I think I’ll go ahead and slip in a few full liquids for now too.  Not ready for steak and potatoes, but I don’t think a protein shake will hurt anything.  I did notice for the first time that I actually missed eating and I really wanted to take a bite of those Thanksgiving leftovers.  I’ve had to stay busy cleaning or messing around on the internet to keep my mind off of food. I’m not really actually hungry, I’m just bored and wanting to eat.  I’ve got to work on that mindset!!!  So, things are going great so far!  I will post my weight progress next time.  The batteries on my scales are broken… but I’m still off with my fluid balance and also still swollen, so it’s probably a good thing.  Again, thanks for reading


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