Dr. Hargroder: The surgery went just fine, no surprises.
Me: No extra appendages in there or attached twins?
Dr. Hargroder: No aliens either.
Me: I think I just lost a bet.
Good morning from a snowy Carthage, Missouri – just 18 hours after I finished up the Mini Gastric Bypass surgery. I am currently bloated, burping like a boiler, and peeing so much that a race horse would be saying ‘dang’! Breakfast just showed up, beef broth, yogurt, and crackers … if I am lucky I will get down the broth (for what it’s worth … it tastes awesome). I’ve gotten up and about a few times now, and found the experience to be good, like I can’t remember the last time I walked pain free (well, except for the million liters of air inside of me).
As part of the surgery, the doctor inflates the system to look for leaks (for you work friends – yes, they pressure tested me). Problem is, all that gas has to come out the natural way. Until it does, that’s the uncomfortable world I am feeling.
It was a strange experience, I have to say. Arriving at the hospital, the big concern I had was whether I would get cleared for the procedure. The false start on Wednesday and the numbers that didn’t look promising Friday morning meant I was nothing short of concern. Lots of meditation, lots of nice thoughts, and they announced they were going ahead. For the record — I’m not a fan of anesthesiologists .. so judgey they are. The Pre-op time was about two hours, usually with a lot of nothing followed by someone coming in for some quick introductions and instructions before disappearing again.
Then it became time. Lying in the bed that I had been for the last couple hours, a few nurses wheeled me down the hall. Watching the ceiling go by started making things feel surreal. How many TV shows and movies have we seen someone wheeled to an OR. and this is what I was doing. Rounding a few corners, and there I was in theater. The next three or four minutes was frenzy. Tables shifting, tubes lifting, blankets, sheets, wheeled carts. I had to scurry over to the bed, and we found my ill fitting gown the whole way. Then came the words from the anesthesiologist … “Ready Freddie?” I said yes. And that was it.
The next thing I remember was the same level of scurrying. There was a rush to get a mask over my face, later finding out my breathing was slightly irregular coming out of the deep sleep. The pain from my chest to my stomach was excruciating – like from a range of 1-10, a 7. Slowly the madness cooled, the pain dipped, and I began the process of drifting in and out of sleep.
Honestly, if I was more lucid, I would bet those two minutes before I went under and those five minutes after would have have been the scariest of my life. So many people going mad over my body, and without knowing half what was happening, in hindsight, was pretty nervewracking.
After an hour (or so) in post-up, they wheeled me off to my room. Three or four hours passing in and out of morphine induced consciousness, a breathing apparatus strapped to my mouth, all I wanted to do was get up and burp. The next couple of hours was about burping, walking, and watching Lord of the Rings I slept for a while, but it wasn’t impressive. So come 4AM, I was ready to get up for good.
Things look good to be discharged today. We will need to stay in Joplin until Wednesday which make a family Thanksgiving in question now. I fly back to Boston on Friday out of Madison.
And with that, the rest of my life begins.