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I have been sleeved…

December 7, 2019, 7:50 PM

So it’s a done deal.  I received a sleeve gastrectomy on December 6 at Montgomery General Hospital.  Here I am the following morning:

Selfie at the hospital

The process at the hospital was pretty straightforward.  I got there, I got checked in, and then went into the prep room.  First I got changed into the gown that you see in the selfie.  Then I got weighed.  I was surprised to find out that I had lost 17 pounds on the pre-op liquid diet that they had me on twelve days prior to surgery.  I figured that I had lost a little weight, as my clothes had started to fit a tad differently, but 17 pounds off was beyond my wildest expectation.  After this, they put me on a stretcher, and started an IV.  I was a surprisingly hard stick this time, as it took four tries to get a vein, and they all hurt like hell.  They explained that because I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink due to the surgery, my veins didn’t present as well as they normally would.  This is what it all looked like when they got it hooked up:

Hooked into the IV

Then I met with the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, and other various personnel.  Then it was time to go to the operating room.  They started out by giving me some drugs intraveneously, moved me to the operating table, gave me the anesthetic gas, and then I was out like a light.  I awoke in the recovery room, where they told me that the surgery was done, and that it had gone very well.  Good.  Of course, now I had to get used to having a much smaller stomach that needed to heal.  Not long after I woke up, I threw up, producing a brownish, watery fluid, which I was told was normal following this sort of surgery.  They also said that some gas was to be expected, as that a byproduct of the way that the laparoscopic surgery worked.  So burping and farting was good, as it was expelling that gas.

One of the big things about the healing process with this surgery is walking.  The doctor said to walk a lot, and we did, going from my room, 418, to the other end of the floor and back.  Here’s a photo that Elyse got of one of my walks:

Taking a walk down the hospital corridor

The biggest challenge was in getting enough fluids and keeping them down.  The hospital provided little communion-sized cups for drinking water out of as a reminder to sip liquids.  I did one of those cups in one go, and threw up again a minute or so later.  Clearly, my stomach was not yet ready to take that much water on at once.  Duly noted.  So I took very tiny sips of water, and that stayed down.

The overnight stay was one of the worst sleeps that I’d had in quite some time.  I had a bit of upper back pain from the way that they had me placed for the surgery, and that prevented me from getting a good night’s rest.  That, coupled with the soreness from the recent operation and all of the various tubing that they had on me made for an uncomfortable night.  I also didn’t have my watch, so when I did wake up a few times in the middle of the night, I had no idea how long I had slept for, or how much more time I had to sleep.  I ended up getting up at 6 AM, which was quite early for me.

Shortly after getting up, I tried some water, and threw up again.  Lovely.  After that, they got me ready for discharge, removing the IV and such, and I got changed back into regular clothes.  Elyse’s mother took us home.  One of my instructions upon discharge was to make sure that I walked up and down stairs at least three times a day.  My exact response was, “Not a problem.  I live in a townhouse.”  And since getting home, I think I’ve already met that requirement just going up and down between the living room and upstairs, and up and down from the mezzanine.  I’m confident, due to the layout of my house, that I will get a lot more stairs in before it’s over.

Meanwhile, I’m off of work for the next four weeks while I recover.  That will be good for me, giving me time to heal up, plus it gives me a bit of a break from the usual routine while I heal.