Not The Biggest Loser

I just want to be…

So it’s all over now. My new life has begun.

As you will know from my last post, my husband was extremely sick, and I was up late taking him to the doctor, so I didn’t get to sleep till after 1am. I decided to sleep downstairs on the lounge, in case I caught the virus he had. I had to fast from 6am, so set my alarm for 5am so I could wake up and have my last ‘normal’ breakfast. I chose a bacon and egg Turkish bread roll with low fat coffee flavoured milk. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would have to be honest. I think it was a combination of nerves and the fatty meal from the night before that made me feel a bit sick. So after eating that I went and laid back down on the floor – moved the cushions from the lounge to the floor in the hope I’d be more comfortable, as I really didn’t sleep to well. I had another hour or so of sleep and then got up and started getting ready. Dad was picking me up at 9am. I had some great sms’s from friends and family wishing me well and a phone call from my sister in law. The wonderful Margie sent me an sms saying “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life. I will be thinking of you”. Well that set off the tears, what a nice welcome to the morning.

Dad picked me up at 9am and drove me to the hospital. I had to go up to Dr Layani’s surgery first to pay for the surgery and be weighed. The office was full, I’d never seen so many people in the waiting room, there was hardly a seat spare! After paying for the surgery, I had to sit down and wait to be weighed. I sat down next to a lovely lady who was carrying some x-rays and who had smiled at me when I first walked in. She told me she’d been banded 8 years ago and reassured me that I was making the right decision and that I’d be just fine. She had lost between 35-40kg and seemed very happy with the surgery. That was perfect timing for me, as I was really feeling very nervous at that time. After I was weighed (my official Optifast loss was 4.5kg in 2 weeks, which I was a bit disappointed with as I know I could’ve done better), I had a quick chat to Felicity the Practice Manager from Dr Layani’s rooms who also pointed out another man sitting just near the desk who had been banded 5 weeks ago and had gone from approx 155kg to 137kg in 5 weeks. She said the physical change in him was huge. So I left feeling much more comfortable that I was doing the right thing. I then had to go pay for the anesthetist and then present myself to the front desk to be admitted to hospital. So I did all that, with Dad by my side. He came up and waited with me till I got called in to get ready for surgery.

They did their usual pre-admission check on me, checked my temperature, my blood pressure, gave me an ECG and asked me lots of questions. She then took me to a waiting room full of people in white gowns, TED stockings and little booties on their feet sitting on lounge chairs. There was probably about 10 people there. I freaked out and hoped she wasn’t going to make me wait there with them, but yes that’s exactly what I had to do. Go into the little toilet in the room and put my hospital gown on with a terry towelling gown over it and little booties on my feet. The nurse went off to get me some TED stockings (to stop Deep Vein Thrombosis) but never returned with them! So after waiting in that room for about 2.5 hours with a bunch of silent strangers all in white gowns, my name was finally called and they took me to my room. I was relieved to see I had my own room with my own little bathroom in it. They asked me to get into bed, put some stockings on me and a cap over my hair and then wheeled me up to the theatre.

I layed in the room just before theatre for about 20 minutes. A nurse came and introduced herself to me and said she’d be working with Dr Layani during the surgery. She asked me how I was feeling and I said “nervous” and she said “you should be excited!”. The anesthetist came and introduced herself and asked me if I’d ever had any trouble with anesthetic before and I told her about the first time I had it, how I woke up while the tube was coming out of my throat and how traumatic it was for me. She broke the bad news, that unfortunately she would be doing the same thing as a safety precaution. She wants to know that I can breathe on my own when she takes the tube out. Great. So that set a little bit of panic in, but there was nothing I could do at that point. The nurse had mentioned that Dr Layani may come and see me while I was waiting to go in for surgery, but no sign of him. I don’t know why, but for some reason I really hoped he would come to talk to me. Just to say “everything will be fine, I’ll look after you”, so was a little disappointed when that didn’t happen. Oh at some point they put the needle in my arm for the drip and that was really really painful. She had trouble finding the vein at first and I almost started crying from that pain.
They eventually wheeled me into theatre and I saw Dr Layani standing on one side of the room chatting to some people. He looked over at me at one point and raised his eyebrows with a half smile. They asked me to put myself on theatre bed, which I did…was starting to get really nervous at that point. It all starts to get a bit hazy from here. Someone said something to me and I answered and Dr Layani came over to me and said “I was about to put you into position, but then I realised you weren’t asleep yet!” and walked away. I think the anesthetist gave me some gas then to relax me and I remember someone saying “this is the start of your new life” and I replied “oh don’t say that you’ll get me crying” and then I must’ve fallen asleep.

Sure enough I woke up as they were taking the tube out and was extremely panicked. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, and was struggling to take a breath for ages, I estimate about 15 minutes. It was the worst 15 minutes of my life, I honestly thought I was going to die. The nurses kept trying to calm me down and telling me that I was getting enough oxygen and that I was breathing ok and was fine, but I just couldn’t believe them as it really was hard to breathe. I was also shaking really badly, my whole body was convulsing. It was the most awful experience. They eventually settled me down with some morphine , an oxygen mask and putting a blanket over me and pumping hot air into it. My breathing finally settled down, though wasn’t normal, as my mouth was really dry and I felt like I had flem caught in my throat that I couldn’t cough up because my throat and stomach were so sore. The main port cut in the middle of my stomach was really hurting, though the morphine did help that settle.

After a long wait, they finally wheeled me back to my room. The nurse took me into the bathroom to wash all the betadine off me and then helped me change into my pajamas. She gave me a well needed jug of water, which I decanted into my little 50ml shot glass and sipped slowly. The water was amazing! I spent the afternoon/evening drifting in and out of sleep. I got up every few hours to go to the toilet, and of course they came in ervery hour to check my temperature, breathing and blood pressure. I had one of those oxygen things up my nose for awhile as they said I wasn’t getting enough oxygen in my body, they asked me to make a big effort to take lots of deep breaths which I did and eventually they took the oxygen out. I had the drip in till about 2am the next morning, ensuring I was well hydrated. I didn’t sleep well because of them waking me up for tests and also because of the pain when I moved. I was given regular painkillers though to help ease the pain. I was able to have some apple juice that night which was a nice change from water! I had the lovliest nurses looking after me, so that made it all a bit easier. Had phone calls from Dad and from my husband which was also comforting, so I was actually ok with being there on my own.

Anyway I’ve been sitting here at this desk for awhile now writing this and I’m starting to get a bit sore, so will update on the day after surgery a bit later.

4 Responsed To This Post

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crankybee said, October 13th, 2007 at 11:39 am

WOW! What a huge operation – I would have been a bigger sook than you! The only time I’ve had surgery was in 1977 and I didn’t cope too well!

YOu are so brave, Rach…how are you coping? Do you feel hungry? You poor thing, you are going to get 8 million questions from us now!

ntbl said, October 14th, 2007 at 1:38 am

I’m coping ok Bel…up and down really. I tend to swing from excited about my new life to depressed about not being able to eat like I used to. And I am swinging from being hungry and craving a cheesburger to full and not able to drink another drop of liquid…weird…lol..About to write some more about what I’ve been eating and how I’ve been feeling…

bigboy01 said, February 1st, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Hi Ntbl i read your surgery thread gasping lol sorry, anyhow how are you doing now? i am a 42yr old male 6ft or 1, weigh 125kilos i am so depressed 5XL tops and all, i was once able to wear XL shirts , but the last 6years i just balooned up not sure why really. Should i get lapbanding done too is it any good? do they do it under public, i know this fat is very depressing and i am so self concious thanks Scott

ntbl said, February 5th, 2010 at 9:28 am

Hey Scott,
Thanks for reading my blog! Glad you found it! I totally understand how you’re feeling. After going through IVF and 2 pregnancies I’m now back up to my pre surgery weight and it is DEPRESSING! However I had my band loosened so I could eat more for my pregnancy and also weight gain is a side effect of the IVF hormones so it is to be expected. I just recently had my band tightened again and it has made a huge difference. I still believe my band is going to help me. It’s not the easy way out as some people think. You are still required to exercise and make good decisions about food but it is a good tool if you learn how to use it wisely. I’m still getting there on that one…Good luck with your decision. Happy to chat anytime.

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