Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 4

At some point I'll have to call a halt to these daily progress reports. After all, bariatric surgery is interesting and beneficial and all, but there are limits. Especially if one isn't directly involved.

Still, for the benefit of my family and a few close friends, I'll give a quick update of this, my first full day at home after surgery, and Day 4 since the event.

I feel very clearly on the mend now--in fact I feel just about perfectly normal. I have few pains related to the procedure, and my incisions seem to be healing very nicely. My abdomen is almost back to normal, soreness-wise, and my ability to take and hold a deep breath--perhaps the most painful thing to do after surgery--is almost unimpeded now, say, 90%. I feel markedly nearer my normal state today than yesterday. Amazing how quickly this happens; I suspect it's a function of the minimally-invasive surgery techniques.

What remains, and what will occupy me for some months to come, is learning how to eat and drink in new fashion. These first 10 days after surgery are the hardest, as we are restricted to a diet of only clear liquids: water, tea, broth, Crystal Light. No caffeine (no coffee), no soda (of course). And we need to get 1.5-2 quarts, which is not so much in my normal life but is quite a bit now.  Additionally, we need to be ingesting 70g of protein (via powder), which means that our drinking cannot be just whatever strikes our fancy.  The stuff I bought initially--an unflavored whey protein--adds a bready taste to the Crystal Light which, while not disgusting, makes it less palatable. I'm looking into other options. (One thing I've learned about bariatric patients: they've all tried a zillion protein products and have a database of their favorites and rejects.)

While I have almost no pain, as I say, there is still a bit of discomfort to drinking pretty much anything. Every little sip / small gulp of fluid makes what feels like slow progress on its way down, typically releasing some air bubbles as it goes. I think it's those very small changes in pressure that I sense in my new stomach. I expect these sensations to diminish quite a bit over the next few days as the staple line heals, and I also expect the stomach is still swollen from the procedure; the reduction of that swelling will make consuming anything easier.

But this is all part of the new landscape that I'm exploring with fascination. One of the allowed food items in this first phase--really the only thing remotely "food"--is sugar-free jello. And I was amazed at the very clear sensation after eating a 3.25 Oz. cup of cherry-pomegranate that there just wasn't quite room for all of it.  No pain or discomfort, no feeling sick or anything like that, just a sense that stuff was backed up in the esophagus because there wasn't room for it in the stomach pouch. Figure-wise, this is exactly what I'd expect--2-3 oz. is supposed to make a meal initially--but this is my first real experience of it. (Liquids just kind of move right through; so while you're restricted in how quickly you can drink something, the rate is still much higher that the rate you can eat something.) In retrospect, I should have held myself to less than the full 3.25 Oz. serving, but as I say I'm not really thinking about this yet. This is my wakeup call. Everything in steps.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Pretty much a normal day doing normal stuff around the house.  I don't expect I'll chime in here but occasionally when there's something of significance to report.


Jon said...

So far, so good. At what point do you go back to work? It will be then that you will have to really start paying attention to what you eat what with traveling around. I suppose it will be quantity that will be the main thing. Knowing just how much you can eat. I suppose that will come in time. It will be interesting to see how much comes off and how quickly it does. Time will tell.

wunelle said...

Dr. insists on two weeks off, so I'm back to work early the week after next. I'll be on "full liquids"--creams, basically--at that point, so I'll bring some protein powder and some pre-mixed shakes, and the rest I can buy elsewhere--like skim milk or cream soups.

After that it's pureed food, things like scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt. 10 days of that and then regular food.