Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 1

Sitting in Room 25 of the Almater Hospital in Mexicali. It's about seven hours after my surgery.

We were picked up by our regular driver at 7:AM from the lobby of the hotel (white, late-model Honda Odyssey with about 80,000 miles on it. With these trips made seven days a week with possible duplicates on Saturday, this van will last only a couple years). Whatever the reason, I was the first chosen to go. The one woman in my group looked in good general health and of about my size, so why I was chosen over her I do not know. The third woman was substantially overweight--perhaps "super obese"--and I can imagine them keeping her for last in case there are difficulties or complications.

We got to the hospital about 7:20 and waited a few minutes until we were assigned rooms, then we sat in those while a few people came in and talked to us individually. The Internal Medicine doctor came in for a quick hello, and I had one more quick bit of paperwork for Yolanda (the patient coordinator). Then I just played solitaire for half an hour on my phone until there was a knock on the door and there was Yolanda and a dude with a gurney. "Guess who's first?!" she asked. Great, that was my preference. (I forgot to look. I'm guessing it was before 9:AM)

She told me to strip myself of all clothing under my gown--watch, rings, socks, everything. I did this and got on the gurney and was wheeled a short distance to the surgery area. I sat there for 10-15 minutes before being rolled into the suite proper. My legs, knee-down, were wrapped in compression wrap, and I was given an IV and chatted with in friendly fashion. What little I saw of the room was clean and orderly and well-equipped. A place of modern medical business.

My next thought was hearing stuff in the recovery area. My eyes were very heavy, and it took quite a while to open them, and after my happy realization that I was in recovery and the deed was done I really just felt like sleeping more. I do remember the odd sensation that I didn't have enough strength to move my legs. I could feel them well and good, and I could move my feet and toes, but it seemed as though to raise the leg proper would require more energy than I could really muster at that moment. I dozed off and on like this for another half hour to an hour (no watch, remember) before Yolanda was there announcing it was time to return to my room.

Back in my room, the gurney was raised to the same height as the bed and I was encouraged to help move across. This I did with no problems, though I still felt pretty weak. I continued my dozing in here for another couple hours--after having the nurse get my phone and my calling Susan--with people coming and going as I drifted in and out. A breathing device--an inhaler that raises three balls sequentially with the strength of the inhale--was brought in, to be used once an hour for 10 breaths. Wards off pneumonia, they say, and I believe them: my first inhalation always gets a phelgmy cough and the others are clear.

About 5:PM I finally got up, quite shaky, from bed for a bit of a walk around the small ward, the nursing staff extricating my IV pole from the rest of the stuff in my room. I did this, very slowly, for half an hour. Still feel pretty weak and skaky, and I haven't yet peed. This is as much a function of the spinal morphine as not having much in my bladder, I'd say. They just gave me a syringe full of something to help with that. I can feel it already.

In all, absolutely no discomfort whatsoever. I'm told the main entry holes will be sore tomorrow when the few micrograms of morphine injected in the spine wear off. But so far, no pain at all. Just weakness / feebleness. I have an IV in my left hand, four very small holes surrounding my belly covered each with a piece of clear-ish tape, and a half-pint-sized clear bag on the left size of my abdomen into which has drained a couple tablespoons of relatively thin, bloody liquid. This is the leftover of the post-surgery cavity-rinse they perform, and is normal. This liquid should change to a clear / yellowish color in the next day or so before the drain comes out. The yellowish liquid will continue to seep for several days, which is why a gauze pad is needed. No stitches are used, as the hole needs to heal from the inside-out.

That's all I'm good for today. It's all I remember! Tomorrow: a morning leak check of the staple line and the beginning of my clear liquid regimen, with an emphasis on learning how my stomach has taken to the surgery. More then (and maybe some pictures!)


 A few stats:
 Age: 50 years, 18 days
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 271.2
BMI: 40.1
Highest Weight: 283,
2009 Goal Weight: ? We'll have to chat about that.


Vancouver Voyeur said...

I'm so glad all went well. You're doing this alone? Yur wife isn't with you? I'd be too nervous to o it alone.

wunelle said...

She would certainly have come if I'd wanted her to. But the surgery is literally an hour followed by three days of absolutely nothing to do (and it's too hot here to walk).

We are secure in our affection for each other, and for my part I need no hand-holding; I live my whole work life--half my life--quite alone. This is a normal state for me.

dbackdad said...

All the details are fascinating ... though, I'd certainly not be as brave about all of it as you were. I'd cry like a baby. :-)

wunelle said...

They quite put you at ease here. Everyone is warm and accessible and reassuring. And there's something about being here with a bunch of other fat people, all converged on this point to fix this aspect of their lives, that is inspiring.

I was a bit nervous leading up to it, but I think I understood just what it entailed. And so far it has proven so. Plus, I've had a lot of support from a couple guys who have come here before. That helps a great deal.