Surgery – A Week in Review

Monday – Surgery Day

I was thrilled to learn my surgery would be first thing Monday morning…get all the gross stuff out of the way and get to healing.

I love it when my nurses have names that I associate to cheer and pleasantry.  It makes the entire ordeal much less stressful.  Susie was my nurse anesthetist and while she definitely couldn’t take on THE cheertator, she put me at ease immediately.

The last thing I remember before surgery was being told to breathe deep.  The first thing I remember after surgery was tightness trying to breathe.  But, my nurses were fabulous.  Almost immediately, that was corrected.  I was still groggy from the anesthesia, but was shocked by the need to constantly belch.  (They use air to expand the surgical area during the procedure…hence the belching post-surgery.)

I was moved out of recovery and into my room fairly quickly, at least it seemed fairly quickly.  I still wasn’t experiencing any pain and I just sort of dozed in and out for a while, being awakened often for a vitals check, heparin shot (devil’s handiwork…I’m still nursing those bruises) or just to see how I was doing.  I was committed to walking regularly which helped me to feel somewhat normal, even if I was dragging an IV pole with a morphine pump behind me.

Tuesday – 1 Day Post Surgery

The next morning, I was whisked away to Radiology for a Barium Swallow Scan.  Basically, the first liquid you ingest following surgery is about 24 hours later…and it is nasty barium.  But just a sip and NOTHING to get the taste out of your mouth.  A few x-rays are taken after the initial swallow, then another about 10 minutes after the swallow.  This is to confirm there are no leaks following surgery.  I passed with flying colors and was told that I could begin drinking to my comfort, aiming for about 1 ounce every 30 minutes, then increasing to 1 ounce every 15 minutes or so.  I spent the rest of the day sipping water, walking, watching mindless television and sleeping.

With the morphine pump gone, I downgraded to pain pills (because I refused to take liquid pain reliever that made even the most repulsive liquid cough syrup smell yummy).  I feel really blessed to have not really experienced any pain yet…

I woke up around 1am.  Not in pain, but feeling very weird.  When I got up, it hit me.  Dry heaves.  OMG! There is no way to accurately describe the feeling of dry heaving on a truly empty stomach that has just gone through surgery.  And I am not a puker.  I avoid it like the plague.  I stood in front of the AC vent and called the nurse.  I asked for IV pain meds and IV nausea meds…because I knew I could not keep down a pill.  My nurse quickly obliged.  I got back in bed and fell asleep for the remainder of the night.

Wednesday – 2 Days Post Surgery

The unpleasantries from overnight were a distant memory.  No more pain.  No more nausea.  I began drinking my water again, this time with a hint of apple juice.  For the record, diluted apple juice tasted like nectar of the gods after surgery.  The goal for the day – drink 40 ounces of fluid and I would be released from jail the hospital.

Thankfully, I reached my goal around 6pm and I happily walked off 6 South at UPMC Hamot arm in arm with my sweet husband.  We stopped by a pharmacy on the way home to get prescriptions filled just in case (pain, nausea, acid reflux).  And then, I was home.  It was amazing to be home, hugged by my children and lounging in my own bed.  And I slept.

Thursday – 3 Days Post Surgery

Alright.  So, I’ve mastered the art of 40 ounces in a single day.  Next challenge… doing that with protein.  I still wasn’t ready to try protein shakes, so I opted for Lift Protein Drink from Atkins.  Sort of like flavored protein water.  Throughout the day, I rested (re: napped) and slowly drank my 40 ounces, including 20g of protein via Lift.

I wasn’t feeling any pain (except my tail) and the rest was welcome.  Wanna know a dirty little secret?  I have mastered the art of binge watching Gossip Girl on Netflix.  Now, I’m gonna have to get through the entire series.

Friday – 4 Days Post Surgery

I could really get used to sleeping past 5:30 or 6 in the morning.  I’m getting spoiled with this rest and recovery thing.  I took a deep breath and tried a vanilla Premier Protein shake this morning.  And… it didn’t suck.  I set my timer on my phone, and sipped 1 ounce every 8 minutes.  Did it seem to take for-e-ver to drink than single 11 ounce shake?  Yes.  Did I wish there was a way to speed up the process?  You bet.  Did I speed it up?  Heck no…remember, I don’t like puking.  And I’ll be super careful to avoid that whenever possible.

That little bitty 11 ounce shake packs 30g of protein, exactly half of my daily goal.  So, shake for breakfast and shake for dinner.  Throughout the day, I also sipped on my water and Crystal Light lemonade.  I’m slowly trying to learn to sip my water as close to room temperature as possible because my water bottle for work isn’t insulated and I don’t have any intention on wiping condensation of my desk throughout the day when I get back to work.

I’m still finding it necessary to set a timer on my phone to let me know when it’s ok to drink again.  That may sound silly, but I’m still learning how it “feels” to drink just enough and when it feels ok to drink a little more.

This afternoon, Mike took me on a field trip to Wal-Mart.  It’s too darn hot outside to walk for any period of time, so my exercise for the day was walking the aisles in air-conditioned comfort.  By the time we were finished, I was admittedly exhausted.  But in a good way.  I came home and crashed for the evening.

Saturday – 5 Days Post Surgery

More resting.  More sipping.  More protein.  More binge TV.  Tonight, instead of a field trip to Wal-Mart, I went on a date to Wegmans.  (Y’all, it’s Wegmans…that automatically bumps up the “fancy.”)  And, I really did treat it like a date.  I flat-ironed my hair, found a pair of shoes I’ve never been able to wear comfortably and I donned a blouse that has always been a little too snug (except, this time it wasn’t!!!).  I thoroughly enjoyed my date night and had daydreams throughout the store of things that I could slowly begin to consume in less than 2 weeks (greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, mashed potatoes, pinto beans).  Be jealous 😉

Sunday – 6 Days Post Surgery

More of the same again today, except Mike loaded all the kids and made the 7 hour round-trip trek to drop Abby off for her 4th week of camp this summer.  While they were gone, I spent a good portion of the time working on college coursework (party animal that I am) and I tried some strained cream of mushroom soup.  The coursework was a little bland, but the soup was divine.  Come on, after weeks of water and protein shakes, just about any soup would taste divine.

Monday – 7 Days Post Surgery

Alright, now I’m just downright bored.  I don’t want to nap throughout the day, because then I can’t sleep at night.  Drinking shakes and water is so blah.  Although, lemon lime Jell-o is pretty tasty too.  As he should, Mike isn’t letting me lift a finger (he really is a good caregiver), which makes lounging around the house incredibly dull.

Fluids? Check.  Protein? Check.  Rest? Check.  Results? Check.
7/18/16 – 274  lbs; 4.8% lost since surgery

Thanks to everyone who’s been checking in on me.  It has meant the world to me.  I’m looking forward to being back at work next Monday and getting back to my normal routine.

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