Beyond Surgery & Hospital Stay

If you haven’t read my previous posts please do so before reading this one so you’ll be sure to know what’s happened up to this point!

In my previous post I detailed what I remember about the day of my surgery. As time passes it gets even foggier. I wish there was someway to remember that day forever. I mean clearly remember every detail, but after all it was a medicated sleep induced day so I guess it’s meant for you to only remember so much of it.  As I mentioned previously I did sleep most of the day when I had surgery. I vaguely remember different nurses coming in to check on me, to give medication, and take vitals. I remember late in the afternoon asking when I could get out of bed and was always told that I would be able to get up ‘soon’.  I believe it was around 9:30 or so that night when a CNA came in asking if I wanted to try to get out of bed and go for a little walk. I was READY!  Getting up the first time took a few minutes. I had to figure out the best way to come up from a laying position to a sitting position, then to a standing position and make sure that I didn’t get light headed in the process.

Getting up the first time was probably the worst part. I was stiff and sore from laying in bed for so long and it had been a while since I had received any pain meds. With the caring assistance of a CNA I was able to lower the foot of the bed, raise the head of the bed, then use my arm/elbow for support to help turn and sit on the side of the bed. At this point I still had the IV and still had a catheter so that made it even more challenging. However, I finally made it to a sitting position and was able to halfway get a robe on and my slippers. I figured I would make it to the hallway and be done! Surprisingly I made it that far and wanted to continue.  The hallway circled around the nurses station and the staff elevators. It made just the perfect circle for a first walk. It took a few minutes and the CNA never once left my side. He pushed the IV pole and stepped in tune to my pace and around the hallway we went. He was very supportive and encouraging. Everyone I passed in the hall had words of encouragement.  I made one trip around the circle and I was ready to call it a day!  It was a tough walk but it was a kickstart to recovery.

I was glad to get back in bed and to also receive pain medication!  I believe I pretty much slept the rest of the night or at least until the early morning hours. Somewhere around 2:30-3:00 in the morning a couple of different nurses came in to give meds, change the IV fluids, empty the drainage tubes, and check my output. All was well so they left me to sleep on for a few more hours.  Around 5am they came in once again for vitals and to remove the catheter. They made sure I was fully alert for this so that I would understand that, from that point, I would have to be getting up to go the bathroom.  There was a little bit of concern that my input was greater than my output so they did give me a “push bolis” of IV fluids.  Shift change happened around 7am and my night nurses all came in to wish me a good day.

The day shift came in and they too were wonderful.  They repeated what I had been through all night with vitals, meds, IV fluids, and added a trip to the bathroom.  While I was up to the bathroom I decided to make a trip around the hall and get some more exercise. Apparently the nurses found it impressive. I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with myself too.  After walking the hall a couple of rounds I laid back down and waited to see what happened next. I knew the morning would involve a swallow study which I kind of dreaded but was also kind of looking forward to the opportunity to get something to drink. By this point it had been about 32+ hours since anything wet had crossed my lips and I was parched to say the least.  The IV fluids were keeping my body hydrated in general but my mouth needed something wet and I couldn’t have anything until after a successful swallow study.

Ahhhh the swallow study!  This was my ONLY bad experience throughout the entire process. NOT the study itself but transport down to radiology was the WORST every.  The lady shows up with a stretcher to take me down for the study. She doesn’t introduce herself. She doesn’t tell me what she is there for. She doesn’t tell me where I’m going, fortunately I was expecting it so I already knew. She shoves this stretcher into my room between my bed and the wall, then stands there staring at me like I’m the crazy one.  I slowly started getting myself out of bed and she starts moving the stretcher around. There is clearly not enough room for me to get out of my bed an onto the stretcher so she starts shoving my bed sideways in the room.  Needless to say I screamed out in pain and made it clear to her that I had just had surgery less than 24 hours before and to please take it easy.  She threw attitude and started rushing me, as if she got paid by the number of transports she did rather than by the hour.  I finally was able to get out of my bed and turned to get on the stretcher which was elevated to high so I had to wait for her to lower it. I was finally able to sit down but I was on the wrong side to be able to lay back easily without a lot of pain. She grabbed my feet and tried to throw them up on the stretcher and I told her to STOP and be patient until I could do it myself.  I took a deep breath and fell back on the stretcher, lifting my legs onto it at the same time.  MAN THAT HURT!  She then started pushing the stretcher out of my room without even covering me up. I was PISSED!  I asked for a blanket and you would think I had asked her to give me her first born or something.  She finally got a blanket to cover me with and down the hallway she went .. no compassion what so ever. She hit the wall several times with the stretcher. Going around the corner toward the elevator she turned so quickly it tossed me around on the stretcher and she did the same thing again turning to push, or should I say SHOVE the stretcher into the elevator and slam it against the back wall. I had tears in my eyes.  She had NO COMPASSION what so ever for my situation and she was VERY rude.

At any rate I made it down to radiology and she disappeared. I prayed to never see her again. She shoved me in a dark corner and walked away. I had not been there long when another lady who was very nice came and started taking me out of radiology. I asked where we were going and she said “back to your room”.  I thought for a second and asked if I was not going to have my study done to which she informed me that I did that already.  I told her she was mistaken so she did a wheelie in the hallway and back to radiology we went. She shoved me back in the dark corner and went away. Shortly after that I saw her leaving radiology with someone else who happened to be the correct person she was supposed to be escorting back to their room.  I was getting worried that with all I had been through just to get to that point that the treatment I received from the study techs would be horrendous.

Alas … I was mistaken.  A very nice young lady and young man came to take me back to the room for my swallow study.  They introduced themselves and were very accommodating to the fact that I had just had surgery and was very sore.  They made it very clear that we would do this on my time, not theirs and to take what time I needed to be as comfortable as I possibly could. That was very reassuring for me.  They took me in this huge room with a weird piece of machinery that I would be standing behind for them to do the study. They explained everything to me even before I was asked to stand and told me they would go through it all again when the study started. They carefully helped me off the stretcher to my feet and helped get me in the proper spot.  We were joined by an older gentleman who would actually be watching the study and moving the machine as it needed to be moved. What an awesome experience.  The study took no more than 5 or 6 minutes and I was ready to go back to my room.  They had even taken time to put clean linens on the stretcher and a new warm blanket.  I was worried about transport back to my room though.  I prayed for a better experience.  Out of nowhere I heard this cheerful mans voice and realized he was the one who would take me back to my room.  Out the door, down the hall, into the elevator, through this weird storage room area, down another hallway, and back to my room. Not one time did he hit the wall, he was very gentle in going into the elevator, turning corners, and overall just a pleasant kind person.  I thanked him for being considerate. He got a funny look on his face and I told him my trip down was so pleasant to which he actually apologized and asked if I wanted to speak with someone about it.  At that point all I really wanted was pain meds and something to drink.

That’s exactly what I got too!  My nurse was waiting when I got back in my room with another shot for pain, another shot of heprin, and told me she may be right back with something for me to drink. Sure enough, less than 5 minutes later she came in bearing a ONE ounce cup of water.  I was going to be allowed ONE ounce of clear fluids every 30 minutes for the first few hours and if I tolerated then then I would be increased to TWO ounces of clear fluids every 30 minutes for the remainder of the day.  I asked for ice chips and ended up chewing on those the rest of the day, along with drinking my 1-2 ozs of water. It was heavenly!

IV pain meds were discontinued at that point. I started receiving them orally and they seemed to not only last longer but were more effective.  I was able to get a shower and that made all the difference in the world.  Day two in the hospital, after the swallow study involved drinking small amounts, resting, and walking as much as I felt like walking. I was up and down several times. I tried sitting in a chair for a long time to avoid laying in bed sleeping. It felt good to sit up but when I finally went back to bed that felt good too. I was tired, whipped, beat, and ready for a nap.  They continued to watch my input and my output, pushing to get me fully rehydrated.  It was a slow process that continued throughout the evening and night.  I was starting to look forward to going home though … I missed the babies and was getting lonely.

Early on Wednesday morning at shift change I got a new nurse. She was checking my IV site and didn’t like the way it looked. I hadn’t noticed but it appeared that my IV had blown and my hand and arm was swollen pretty bad. That basically meant that for sometime during the early morning hours, up to that point, my body wasn’t receiving the fluids being pumped in correctly. They were being deposited into the skin surrounding the IV catheter. She removed the IV and hoped to not have to put another on back in. After talking with the doctor and reviewing my output they decided that I would need another IV started to be able to receive a couple of rapid boluses of IV fluids in order to make sure my hydration was where it needed to be.  The IV team was called in and within a few minutes she had another IV going and I was hydrating again.

I wanted to go home.  My doctors both came in and decided I was well enough to go. My ride was there and all I needed to do was get dressed, pack up my things, and get out of there. I was tickled to say the least. Overall I only had one bad experience and that wasn’t enough to make me regret my decision to have Gastric Bypass.  To this day I still do not regret having the surgery. For me, it was possibly the best decision I have ever made. Time will tell :)

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Muthering Heights
    Apr 01, 2012 @ 19:23:02

    Oh my…I hope the recovery goes well!

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