Friday, February 3, 2012

Pre-admission day

So yesterday I spent 8 hours at hospital C.  The first 1 1/2 hours were waiting for my pre-admission testing orders to show up :(  They had a packet from the Center for Bariatric Surgery (CBS) for me, but for some reason I wasn't yet registered in the computer, showing up with a surgery date, or with orders for my tests.  That was a little nerve wracking, but I figured it would get worked out, and it did.  Better now than on the day of my surgery!

I had 7 tubes of blood drawn, an EKG, a health history, a pulmonary functioning test, and an exam and medicine review by one of the center doctors who handles in-patients.  Then we had 1 1/2 hours of group classes with the nutritionist and the nurse.  The rest of the time was spent waiting for our turns with the various techs, nurses, and doctors.  We also had a taste-test for protein products that we could purchase at the CBS or elsewhere.   Not anything I'll ever crave, but several were tolerable. 

I was very lucky - all of my tests came back fine.  I was the last one of my group of 7 other bariatric patients to have the pulmonary testing, and she said "Ah, my first normal all day!"  Others came back with other problems - one has to have three iron treatments by IV in the next week to treat her PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN severe anemia - Yikes.  At least know she knows part of the reason she's been so tired - it's not just the weight.  Some have to get clearance for things like their blood pressure from their primary care doctors, and everyone other than me has to give themselves blood-thinning injections before surgery, because of risks for clots.  At least one person had to go on a two week Opti-Fast diet before surgery, to lose some weight and shrink her liver.  The nurses and doctor all kept saying "Oh, you're the easy one!" when it was my turn.  I almost felt guilty, because everyone else was having so many issues come up. 

It quickly became apparent that my health was not the only difference.  As a group of 7 women about to have surgery for morbid obesity, we were all ready to spill our guts, share, and bond in our little conference room.  Over and over questions came up that I have read about on the Facebook groups I'm a member of, or in the local support group that I started attending as a pre-op.  Sometimes I volunteered what I knew, other times I said "I think that's something we should ask the nurse/ doctor/ nutritionist". 

I can not tell you how much more prepared I felt than most of the women in the room.  Emotionally, mentally, physically.  I heard comments like "You know, they make low-carb ice cream with protein in it now" and winced.  I tried to explain that while we might have an occasional bite of a treat after we're in maintenance, they really want us to stay away from liquid calories as much as possible.  That anything we eat (after the first 6 weeks, of course) should stay in our pouch as a solid so that we feel satiety.  Went right over their heads; "Well we're not talking about a big bowl of ice cream, just a little one".  Or the woman who wanted the dietician to say it was OK to put Cool Whip on her cappucino protein shake during the liquid phase.  She kept asking in different ways, and the dietician kept saying "Cool Whip doesn't give you anything.  You can add skim milk..." and finally I just said "I think what she is saying is NO."  The inquiring patient was disappointed, because she said she wanted to "pretend it was like regular cappucino".  Ummm.  Missing the point. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't feel better than ANY of those women.  I just feel that I have already asked those kinds of questions, heard the sad answers and started to wrap my head around them.  I feel like I got a head start because of my virtual online and local in person support group.  I know I will come up with crazy ideas, too.  But that's why I'm so glad to have connected with so many vets already - including self-declared "food nazis".

13 days until surgery, and I've got a lot of organizing, planning and shopping to do.  Plus, some local moms are taking me out to dinner and a movie tomorrow before I'm laid up :)  I'm very blessed to be in my situation, and grateful (SO GRATEFUL) for all of the support I've received already.   

1 comment:

  1. I will never forget a support group I went to, I was like 2-3 months post op and a pre-op patient asked "So, we can't eat McDonalds ever again?" And I wanted to scream "UMM, NO YOU CANNOT. YOU'RE MISSING THE DAMN POINT." hahahaha.

    You have to be mentally and physically ready, but I think a lot of people just think it's the "easy way" and it will be "easy". It so isn't.

    I'm so excited you're getting so close to your date!