On July 25th at 6:30 a.m. my 2 daughters and I arrived at The Hartford Hospital for my gastric bypass surgery. What I had planned out in my mind… you know, the “mental preparation”… was to have both my daughters in the “prep room” with me. They both have different personalities and together I thought it would make the 2 hours preparing before surgery go quickly and with the least amount of stress possible. Was I wrong!
My stress level was good when we showed up on the prep floor. (Yes, we actually show up on a floor where they prep all of their patients for surgery!) … Anyway, we were told that only 1 person could be by my side. ONLY ONE! Were they crazy? Didn’t they know that I had this all figured out? . . . There was no negotiating with them. The rules were the rules. So, Megan had to go downstairs in the waiting room. Good thing she brought her art book and supplies with her to keep her busy. But, now I was a bit stressed already! My mental plan was ruined! UGH! I need to focus.
I was able to text message, Mitch who is one of my best friends and Megan’s father and he showed up immediately to keep Megan company (and also to support me). I can’t thank them enough for all they did, and went through for me the day of my surgery! You guys were my Rock! I also have to add that my son, Joseph who wasn’t around had kept in contact with me by text message! THANK YOU!
The scheduled surgery was for 8:30 a.m. I can’t begin to tell you how quickly those 2 hours went. The hospital pre-surgical staff was very organized and efficient. I was immediately assigned a bed which was surrounded by curtains. There were people on my right and left who were also there for surgery (but, most likely other types of surgeries).
My insurance card and drivers license were verified, ID bracelets assigned and put on me. My daughter was provided a surgery number on a card, in case she needed to check on the status of my surgery from the waiting room. I had to change out of my cloths into a paper type of “dress” which was super duper huge and opened in the back. I put on the slipper socks they provided me, and then I had all kinds of quick urine tests, prick of the finger blood test, an IV set-up in my right hand, papers that were filled out and signed Time went by so quickly… And it was almost time!
Before being wheeled in to the Operating Room, I meet my Surgeon and a few of the other members on the surgical team. I really liked that they came by to meet me and ask if I had any questions before I was in the surgery room. This gave me a feeling of confidence – meeting the people who where going to change my life.
It was time! My bed would be wheeled off into the surgery room. I gave loads of hugs to my daughter and off I went…
I had an amazing anesthesiologist, she was by my side in the Operating Room. What I remember is this woman rubbing my shoulder and reassuring me each step of the way. I had to hop off my”wheeled in bed” on to a very slim black table. She told me to center myself, and she promised I’d be o.k.
Then, each arm was put on a board (or table?) outward where they would utilize my IV and whatever else. I really didn’t have any time to look around. This woman became my focal point. I remember her voice, her smile and that she was rubbing my shoulder to help me stay calm and not stressed. She eventually asked me to take some deep breaths into this oxygen mask which she put over my mouth. The surgery took 3-1/2 hours… I remember nothing.
I woke up in the recovery area with very little recollection. I wasn’t aware of my surroundings, who was with me, what I said or how I acted. I remember all 3 of my supporters where there (Mitch and my 2 girls), but apparently they could only be there for a few moments. I was told that I was very silly and very happy. They had fun taking a few pictures of me. And, I felt good too.
Apparently, I was very happy and kept repeating the same thing over and over to them and the nurse checking on me. Which they all found funny. They way they tell it to me, it makes me laugh each time. They are so funny. I also woke up in a smock which was different than the one I was wearing on my way into the Operating Room. When my daughters told me I was wearing a different smock, I guess I thought it was funny and just kept asking how they changed me.
I don’t remember how long I was in the recovery room or when I was wheeled up into my own private room. I believe it was late afternoon. It’s strange to not even remember being wheeled into my own private room! My loving support group was there for me the entire time. I have to be honest that the day of surgery and the 2nd day in the hospital all were one big blur. I can’t distinguish the 2 days apart.
The pain medication that they gave to me was great, because I didn’t feel anything. I had no bad reaction to any of my medications or the anesthesia, which I understand some people do have. I was fortunate in that respect. I wasn’t able to drink anything until the next morning when they would give me “the test” to make sure that my surgery went well, and that there were no leaks. I had ice chips which, quite honestly were fine. I didn’t really need anything, nor did I want anything.
Nikki, Megan and Mitch were in my room until late. It was wonderful having them there while I was in and out of asleep. I remember Mitch asked if I needed him to stay over night in a cot. I really can’t thank these guys enough for all they did for me! They may not realize that just being there meant the whole world to me. It kept me calm and relaxed.