Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Are you okay, Kat?

I know it's time for a major update!  After a three night stay in the hospital following my surgery, I was discharged to go home yesterday morning.  Thankfully my doctor did his rounds nice and early so I was able to leave there by 10:20 a.m.  He reviewed my list of medications with me.  Because my blood sugar numbers ended up great in the hospital, I have already been taken off my diabetes oral medication and injected insulin.  I'm still monitoring my blood sugar levels to turn in when I visit my primary care doctor in about 3 weeks, but things look great.  My blood pressure medicine has also been cut in half.  For so early after the surgery, this has been incredibly encouraging.  Some new meds were added, but that was to be expected due to the malabsorptive nature of the surgery.

My post-op care included all of the following until I meet with the doctor on Tuesday for a follow-up appointment:

  • Continue on a clear liquid diet through Tuesday evening, limited to water, Crystal Light, broth, Popsicles, Diet Snapple, and Gatorade Zero.  Must drink a minimum of 30 ounces per day with no more than 2-3 ounces per hour.
  • On Wednesday, add in one pre-made or powdered protein shake with about 30 grams of protein.  Continue with the clear liquids, but do not add more than the one protein shake until meeting with the doctor next week.
  • Begin taking medications, dosages indicated by the doctor on Tuesday.  However, because I may only sip my liquids, I must take only one per hour.  This means I have to space meds out through the entire day.
  • Walk frequently to prevent blot clots from forming.
  • No driving a car until cleared by the doctor and no longer taking pain medication.
  • No lifting 15 pounds or more.

While I was in the hospital, I was a walking champ.  I wasn't trying to be Miss Overachiever (no, seriously!) but I ended up that way.  On my last full day there, I did 42 laps around that floor of the hospital, complete with my rolling IV cart.  I was donning a tshirt, sweats and every chord known to man in the medical world hooked up to my heart, chest, tummy, wrist and more.  It was a real challenge to even go to the bathroom, but I rocked it.  I was just feeling so good ... that was until I walked outside of the hospital.  My mom and one of my friends were there to take me home, but first we all decided to walk across the street to the doctor's office to pick up some paperwork for my mom.  She is staying with me for two weeks to take care of me and she needed some FMLA paperwork signed by the doctor.  We looked on my phone and the distance to the doctor's office from the hospital was 14 feet so I thought it would be fine.  What I forgot was that the floor in the hospital was indoors, an even platform with no steps and a very controlled environment.  Walking across the street to the doc's office winded me by the time we got back.

On the ride home, I forgot the suggestion so many people had given me to be sure to bring a pillow to put over my tummy so it would be a less painful experience getting home.  Let me tell you, I felt every single bump.  My friend was driving the car and she missed an exit so she jerked the car to the left and that pulled at my seat belt.  I'm sure you can just imagine the pain I felt in that moment!  Thankfully the seat belt was not laying directly on any of the incisions, but it hurt no matter what.

Finally, when I got home, I just laid with my kitties on my own bed.  Ahhh ... it was such a nice feeling to be outside of that hospital.  Now, it seemed for the time being, the biggest challenge for me was to continue to sip my drinks and pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy ordered by the doctor.  I must have either drank some water too fast or drank too much of it because when I was in the middle of the pharmacy, I almost threw up.  Seriously, right there while I was talking to the pharmacist.  I'm not even mentioning the gas pains, which were horrible because of all the gas they pump into your body during the surgery.  At times, I felt like I couldn't breathe or I would have sharp pains on my sides.  The nurses assured me those were gas pains.  It was incredibly uncomfortable.

When it was time for me to take a shower, I went into my bathroom, took off all my clothes and then looked at myself in the mirror.  I have five tiny incisions on my tummy as well as some bruising.  It's not bad overall, but they are definitely reminders of some major work being done inside my body.  In that moment, I got so emotional.  I got under the water in the shower, let the drops run over my head and then I just wept in the corner.  I thought to myself, "My God, I can never take another sip of anything without possibly throwing up," coupled with, "You know you did this, don't you Kathy?  If your eating wasn't so out of control, you wouldn't have resorted to major surgery where they rearrange your freaking intestines in order for you to lose weight and maybe have a normal life."

Now, please understand, these are not my true feelings.  The enormity of everything just got to me.  I can never eat like I did before without hurting myself.  I have a lovely new tool that will help me have a healthy, good quality of life.  In the process, though, there will be mourning.  I don't regret this surgery, but it is an adjustment that I just can't adequately describe.  It's not an easier path by any means, but it's one that's designed to help me and I have to be willing to accept that help, even if it's not on my terms.

Since I had that shower, things have been feeling good.  I do have some pain, but it's pretty manageable.  Having my mom with me has been wonderful, but every time I start coughing or take a moment to breathe deeply because I'm feeling pain or burping rises up, she asks, "Are you okay, Kat?"  I'm talking every single time.  Every one.  I have explained to her that there will be times that I will cough and it will sound bad.  I might even throw up or feel like I'm having a heart attack.  That's my body's way of telling me it doesn't like something.  As a case in point, I was having a Popsicle earlier today and I put too much of it in my mouth to swallow before it melted all over my fingers.  My pouch didn't like that at all, so I could feel a sort of bubble sensation in my chest and I started coughing violently.  I even excused myself from the room so I could do my hacking in the bathroom.  "Are you okay, Kat?"  Of course she says it out of love and concern, but she doesn't understand the logistics of the surgery very much so she's asking me that question any time I make a peep out of my body that doesn't seem to be normal to her.  I am reminding myself, though, that even though she doesn't understand the surgery, she loves me and doesn't want me in any sort of pain.

Tomorrow is another new day with a fresh start.  And a fresh batch of one ounce cups to at least get in my 30 ounces for the day.  I am having five friends coming to visit tomorrow at different times, so I'm looking forward to that so much.  I'm sure I'll be lifting my shirt a lot to show them my tummy with the incisions and bruises.  Never before in my life have I showed so many people my tummy and not blinked twice about it.  It reminds me of those women who get breast implants put in and want to show everyone their new boobs.  So proud!


Semen Rendi said...
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FogDog said...

Glad to hear you made it home safe; I wish you nothing but good luck as you deal with this huge change to your life!

Kathy said...

Thank you FogDog! I wish you success as well on your new journey ;-)

Beth Ann said...

My friend has stop asking me if I'm okay ALL the time, but she still looks at me out of the side of her eye. Ha! It all comes from love and concern. :-)

Kathy said...

LOL Beth Ann! I have to keep reminding myself of the fact that my mother does love me and doesn't want me in pain. It still hasn't subsided though ;-)

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