Monday, 1 July 2013

Scarlet gets sleeved!

Six days post op today and yes, I realise I'm a lazy cow for not blogging before now. How dare me! I shall give myself twenty lashings but perhaps I'll do it after this post so I can still type. Is that ok with you? It is? Splendid!

So, last Tuesday I was up and about very early for a 6:30am admission at Glengarry Hospital. It didn't take long to be admitted, have my stats taken and see the anesthetist; before I knew it, it was 7:45am and I said goodbye to my hubby and was wheeled down into surgery. I remember having the oxygen mask put on me and that's about it! According to my surgeon I was chatting away to him but I don't remember any of that. Apparently I didn't say anything embarrassing so that's always a plus!

I'm not sure when I first remember being really conscious after the op. My sister had come down to keep Christian company and she said I kept waking up, would apologise for being boring and then go back to sleep. I always remember how hard it is to wake up after an anesthetic though; you hear someone saying your name and asking you to wake up and it's so hard. You just want to sleep but you have to keep swimming out of it to talk to a nurse and then you sink like a stone back into the depths of sleep.

I remember I needed to get up to pee at some stage and I went to stand up and promptly started to fall on my arse. I refused the indignity of having a bedpan bought to me and instead chose to hold it. Barb had been telling me that I really looked like a zombie (as opposed to a zombie hunter) but I didn't understand what she meant until I managed to shuffle to the loo a short while later. It wasn't the numerous IVs, drains and oxygen attachments that made me look like one of the walking dead, it was more the fact that I had dark rings under my eyes and my mouth was completely stained blue! During surgery I had either savagely killed and eaten a smurf or they had poured blue dye down my throat to check for leaks.

My money is on the smurf massacre...

So, what should you expect in hospital after being sleeved? After surgery you are nil by mouth until usually the following day when you have your barium swallow done. You will be hooked up to an IV to keep you hydrated but they also gave me two little cups of goodness which helped so much. One contained a lip balm type substance for my lips (duh) and the other was a gel that I could swoosh around inside my mouth to keep my mouth wet.
For the first day I was on oxygen and was hooked up to the BP, O2 and heart rate monitor all the time. That stupid machine kept beeping at me because it gets grumpy if your heart rate drops below 50bpm. Barb told me that when I was still unconscious it threw a right spak because I dropped down to 30bpm.
I also had a lovely drain in the whole time I was there which makes trips to the loo very fun as you have to juggle not only your IV stand but also a plastic container slowly filling with the dripping goodness of your innards. Funnily enough, no one ate around me...
I wore the very fashionable TED stockings the entire time and also had Vena Press compression wraps on too. These would alternately blow up and deflate to simulate walking which helps reduce DVTs when you're stationary for such long periods.
I had a chest cannula inserted for administering of injections although this was rarely used. I think they used it for morphine once or twice but the majority of the time pain meds and anti nausea meds were administered via my IV or by a shot to my arse.

The first day I was very tired and couldn't stay awake for long periods of time which made me a delightful companion. I did find however that one of the affects of anesthetic is very much like motion sickness. That night I would be fine when in bed but once I got up to go to the loo (they really pump you full of fluids and IV or not, you still gotta pee them out!) by the time I got back to bed I would be feeling so sick. I don't know how many sick bags I went through that night but the night nurse took to calling my and my roommate (we both had the sleeve done) the Barfing Duo. RM would start heaving so I would call the nurse for her and then I would start vomiting and she would call the nurse for me. We were told we were the nicest patients there and really looked out for each other!
One thing I didn't consider would be what I was barfing up. Obviously my tummy had been cut open and stapled shut and most blood gets sucked out during the op but a fair amount of it stays in your tummy. Barfing up blood all night is not at all attractive, especially as it's a blue black colour thanks to the smurfs. If I had a craving for brains I would seriously have thought I'd not had my tummy removed but had the zombie virus injected into me!

It was a long and restless night but the following day we were told we were going for our barium swallow earlier than expected. The thought of being able to sip on water was divine and I promptly threw up.
The radiology place was opposite the hospital but for insurance purposes we weren't allowed to be wheeled across the road, we had to go via taxi. Our IVs were disconnected and we were given cute little bags to pack our drain bottles into so we wouldn't scare the locals. Dressing for the occasion was out of the questions so off we went into our jarmies, dressing gowns and fluffy slippers. I was given an anti nausea shot before I left but man, the motion sickness feeling got a lot worse when in a moving vehicle. I managed to not ruin the nice taxi man's cab, however I did end up using my sick bag whilst in the waiting room. If it came to it, I always had my drain bag as a backup...

The barium swallow was a very quick procedure. You squeeze behind an xray plate (um hello, fat people have this op done, most of us can't fit through that tiny gap!) and then they make you take a mouthful of this horrid chalky aniseed flavoured stuff and then hold it in your mouth, just to saturate your taste buds. Once the full torturous effect is felt, then you have to swallow. As thirsty as you are, trust me, this does not help! I had to do this four times and the third and fourth times I got to watch which was pretty cool. The braium goes down your esophagus and within five seconds it's through your new tummy and into your upper bowel. It's crazy quick!

Once we got the results back, we could start sipping on water. So we waited. Every time the nurse came in we would ask if they were back. Radiology faxed back the OK but we had to wait for Dr D to sign off on it. So we waited. And waited some more. Damn surgeons operating on other people! By 5pm that night the head nurse made the executive decision to allow us to have some water. And it was glorious! In teeny tiny amounts. As thirsty as we'd been, we had to take it very slowly.

The following night I was only sick once or twice which was a huge improvement. I slept a little better but I was totally over the hospital bed. Damn those things are uncomfortable! My back was killing me. Of course that could also have been the residual gas. Wait, I haven;t mentioned that yet, have I? That stuff is a bitch! It just wallows around inside your cavity, causing pain and taking it's sweet arse time being absorbed. It's favourite hiding place was up under my diaphragm and across my shoulder blades, not so much the shoulder tips as everyone warned me about.
At 7am the next morning we were rudely awoken by Dr D coming to do his rounds. My irritability of being blinded by every light in the room being turned on at once (he's an awesome surgeon but he has the bedside manner of a gnat) was quickly subdued by his words 'You're doing well, if you want to stay in another night you can but I'm more than happy to send you home today'.


I was on the first train outta there! I could not spend another minute more than I really had to in that uncomfortable bed! I had my dressings changed and went through the awfully weird sensation of having my drain removed and I was ready to go!
Christian came and picked me up and then dropped me off at home before heading out to pick me up some juice for me. I sipped on apple juice that morning and then had some V8 juice that night. Man was it good to be home.

Since then I've been recovering well. I'm still very sore and tender around my incision sites but that wasn't helped by me crouching down suddenly when I was walking with a friend's little boy holding my hand and he fell over. It was instinctive but damn, it hurt! I've been having Up&Gos, V8 juice, some runny egg custard Barb made me and a little strained Cup-a-Soup but yesterday that just didn't feel like enough. My dietician told me that when I started getting the urge to eat more solid foods, I could give it a try. It wouldn't be a 'hungry' feeling but it would be similar and it's my body's way of telling me I've healed enough and it wants to move on. So yesterday I had some Chobani yoghurt for lunch and that was fine and for dinner I had a few teaspoons of mashed potato. I'm still going to take it slow but over the next couple of days I'll see how I go and might even have some scrambled egg.

I'm seeing Dr D for my followup appointment on Wednesday so I'll keep you all posted as to how that goes.

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