Life Begins… after Surgery

So it’s done. Two days ago I had the vertical sleeve gastrectomy at Desert Springs Hospital in Las Vegas. As promised, the following series of blogs will be dedicated to follow up and telling my story. Keep in mind everybody is different and my results may not be the same as yours but as promised, I’ll keep it 100 with you.

Day of:

The call time on surgery day was 6:30am. We woke up at 5:10am and got ready. Knowing that bough movements would be scarce the first week, the first thing I did was made sure I busted a #2 before my shower. It wasn’t a good movement, but it was something. I took my shower using Dial Antibacterial White soap as instructed. No lotion, no deodorant.

I removed my earring and wedding ring and left them at home.

To the hospital I wore loose fitting pajama pants and a workout shirt, socks and my Adidas sandals.

I packed my phone charger, laptop two changes of underwear, extra socks and a very loose fitting T shirt to wear home.

We arrived at the hospital and they checked in on the second floor. Immediately, they weighed me and told me to get dressed in a traditional hospital gown. I had to remove all my clothes including underwear. They also gave me a pair of hospital socks that were way too big for even my size 12 flat feet.

After getting dressed, I lied in the room alone for about two hours, separated from my wife and dad. Bed was super uncomfortable. About 9:30, the nurses returned and hooked me up to an IV and gave me a shot in the stomach, which was a blood thinner. It was painless. Throughout the next day I would receive about 5 more of these shots.

After completing my prep they brought my family in to chill with me. Around 11:15 they took me to a pre-op room with curtains decorated like the beach. This is where I spoke with the anesthesiologist and Dr. Atkinson, my surgeon. The impression Dr. A gave was that of a surgical rock star… he does 8 of these procedures a day and seemingly does them with a smile. At least he a smiling with me. Came across and real cool and open to questions as well.

Having done all my research, I had none.

At 11:30, they took me in. They strapped my legs down and my arms out to my side as if I was being crucified. Doc told me to begin the countdown and three seconds later it was on!

According to my records, they finished with me at 12:13pm. Not bad. Of course, I had no perception of time. I do remember waking up in the recovery room SUPER NAUSEATED. I threw up at that time. Of course, if was more of a dry heave as I had nothing in there to throw up. Shortly after that episode, I knocked out again.

The next thing I knew, it was in the 5pm hour and I was waking up in another room. My wife was there, as were a few of my besties, Andrea, Michele and Scotty. I was still not really coherent at this time but I think they had been there for a while. I missed my other friend who apparently came a few hours earlier.

Sipping water was horrible at that time. No problem keeping it down but it just hurt doing so. After reading so much on the procedure and visualizing what they were doing, I could feel water as it trickled down to my new stomach. The goal is to get down at least 4oz of water per hour, consistently. They will provide a chart to keep track. 4oz is minimum, 5oz is great and 6oz optimal levels.

They got me up a little after 6pm that night after all my friends headed out. Here’s the part where we walk. They had me take a lap around the hospital floor with the nurse. They wanted me to do this one every three hours. As it would help deflate the gas built up in my system from the CO2 they use during the procedure.

This was a constant that first night. They had me sipping water every 15 minutes and trying to make me eat jello and popsicles and shit. I did manage some broth along with my water but that was about all the nourishment I could take down.

I walked every three hours like clockwork. Every four hours I got pain/gas meds. Pain levels for the day were about a solid 6 or so. Nothing crazy at all.

Day 1, post op.

Thursday morning I was expected to be released. Since I was a late riser on Wednesday, realistically they were going to keep me longer than the usual 11:00 check out time. They estimated 3pm or so, which is okay as I’d rather than be sure that I’m ready as opposed to kicking me out and I’m not good to go.

That morning I had no issues getting water down. I guess I was used to the general soreness that went along with every sip. Boss level 1 came quickly though. They expected me to take down 4 ounces of protein drink, in addition to my water duties.

I made quick work of the first 4oz of protein. It went down nice and smooth and then I decided to nap again as they had given me my first PILL for pain. Before this time they had been shooting my pain meds through IV but they wanted to start pills as that is what I’m going home with. She broke the pill in half to make it easier. Both halves went down without issue.

Boss level 2 came around 1pm. I was so full of water from earlier in the day but the head nurse wanted me to take down another 4 ounces of protein before even considering discharge. Shit took me two hours but alternating between that and the water, I got it down.

Actually managed 8 ounces of water along with that protein so needless to say I won that battle. By 3pm she was getting my papers ready for discharge.

The ride home was actually very nice for the gas build up.

Once arrived we sat up in the living room watching Netflix. I continued my sipping protocol then tried to migrate to the bed, to no avail. I ended up sleeping on my couch last night as it’s easier to sleep sitting up in the corner of my sectional than in bed.

Sleep was decent. I had a lot of spasms but the meds took care of that. Woke up for good about 8:30am to start Day 2, post op: Today!

The pain has been in check this morning. Able to move around without discomfort and as you see, I’m writing again. While I type, I’m enjoying 8oz of warm bone broth which is going down nice and smooth. It’s going to be a good day.

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