Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My VSG Journey to Endobariatric

Wow, I'm a pretty terrible blogger with such giant gaps between happenings, but....oh well and Le Sigh on that. Finally, here is the 411 on my trip to Endobariatric for my VSG surgery! :-) There are lots of pictures so it may be a lengthy post, but you can handle it. Oh maybe I might split it up....who knows.

April 30 - May 13  Two-week pre-op diet -  I did pretty well, lost 14 lbs and cheated twice. One was a tiny cheat and one was huge. I basically got too hungry and couldn't stand it anymore. I made sure the last four days before surgery were fluids only, not even any puddings etc.

May 13 - My dear friend Meg and I left NOLA and flew to San Antonio. Check it out. We had more "legroom"....(LOL at United Airlines, but it is actually a word). We took a fast & free shuttle from the airport to the La Quinta hotel and waited there until our driver Rosy (Rosantina) arrived. She had just come into the area so needed a break before heading back for another two-hour ride! She was so nice and has been driving the route for about eight years, meeting tons of hopeful WLS patients.

I was greatly relieved to see that the van no longer had a picture on its side of a woman holding up a giant pair of pants.

The ride was SO EXTREMELY BUMPY, OMG. I had to take two motion sickness pills and by the time I got to Eagle Pass, I was EXHAUSTED. There, we checked into the Holiday Inn and went out a little bit later for some dinner. I had egg drop soup at the nearby Chinese restaurant and it was DELICIOUS! Funny feeling like it was a last meal even though it obviously wasn't! Then, we went down the precaiously-placed sidewalk filled with gigantic scary ants until it ran out and picked up some gatorade etc. from the gas station store. It was quite a happening place. Eagle Pass, TX appeared vast, dry and largely empty. Whole new-looking apt complexes looked deserted even tough they weren't.

Amazingly, it was getting ready to rain. I got the feelling this doesn't happen that often. It helped in cooling the place down though and that was a nice benefit. Meg and I went out to the pool area where there was a great breeze and we played Scramble and other ipad/iphone games. This really helped me be less nervous. We also met up with Fabienne, a patient who was going to have her surgery the same day. We had met via email and been in communication a bit so it was super nice to get to know each other a little. This also helped me be less anxious for the next day!


Wow, it was really time. After months of waiting and years of thinking about it, here I am about to be picked up for the long-awaited VSG. I was both excited and nervous.

We drove through the rest of Eagle Pass
(larger than I expected) and across the border.
I had forgotten that we would actually cross the
Rio Grande in the process so that was cool.
The drive to Piedras Negras and the
Endobariatric clinic did not take very long and
before I realized it, we were there! It was very
early so the parking lot was empty. The clinic
is attached to a hospital, but I guess their
parking was around the other side because
they seemed to have more action going on.

Once inside Dr. Alvarez's office, Dr. Rosales, another surgeon came out to greet us and said we would meet Dr. A in a few minutes. Then, Fabienne and I decided to take a picture. Just as we were smiling, Dr. A came up behind us and got in the picture! :-) That was great!

While they met inside his office, I saw a sign that said "Let us know if you check in using Foursquare and receive a gift" heheh so I checked in, of course! When I met with Dr. A, I told him that and he gave me a very nice, fancy water bottle! Cool :-)

I weighed, met the anesthesiologist (very happy about that), and talked a bit about the procedure, how long it would take, recovery, bougie size used, etc. I was very impressed that Dr. A suggested on his own that they use a pediatric intubation tube because
I'm a singer! I was going to suggest it and Meg was there and had mentioned that I suggest it, but I was happy I didn't need to.
So, now we were excorted to take a pre-surgery photo for records and then taken to our room. We entered the hospital and it was shiny, clean and well-built. The room was in the clinic side of the hospital. Outside our doors was an area of tile that was under construction. This was kind fo sketchy, but not bothersome. The room itself was next two a nurses's room and two patient rooms. It was VERY NICE! Huge actually. It had its own shower, window, air conditioning unit, TV, sofa (large, folded down to make a full bed), a refridgerator, and a big sturdy leather chair on the opposite side of the room. The shower had an enclosed bathroom as well. Here is a panorama shot of the room.

Certainly better than some of the hospital rooms I have stayed in.
Within 15 minutes, nurses were coming in and one took me downstairs for blood tests and a chest X-ray. Then, I came back upstairs, started my IV and chilled out until they were ready for me to go into surgery. I hate that important IVs have always gone into my hand. IT HURTS. I also hate that IVs cannot be butterfly needles as that is the size I need. It was nice to talk with two sisters from Canada who were being discharged that same day and to find they had a good experience and were feeling good. Soon, they came and told me to slide from my hospital bed onto a gurney and said something about giving me "happy juice". I actually do not remember ANYTHING after that moment. So funny that I aparently started saying "I love you guys" to everyone! When I had my wisdom teeth out, I remember seeing the lights go dim. I remember when I had a cyst out, the IV infiltrated and I was awake in the OR as they were getting ready and the surgeon said "get her to sleep, use the other arm" and that was it, LOL.

So, THAT WAS QUICK! I woke up with an Oxygen mask on and within a few minutes (it seemed) someone removed it and I remember being super groggy and somewhat nauseous after a while. No water was allowed that first day and I mostly stayed in bed.

I do vaquely remember them trying to make me walk laps down the hall and back and that after one lap, I had to sit down from being dizzy and nauseous. I thought I was going to throw up,but I didn't and they gave me a shot "where the sun don't shine" so I felt better. Here I am trying to walk.

I also recall that the night was full of nurse and doctor visits. I think the assisting surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and Dr. Alvarez came to see me that day and in the night, all the nurses, one or two doctors etc. came every hour. I just wanted to sleep.

Tthe second day was much better and I was fully alert, though still nauseous when I tried to do much walking. Today, I was allowed ice chips (YAY!) and walked a lot. I even went with Meg to the neighboring coffee shop, in my pajamas, and sat there to eat my ice chips for a while. In the room, we had just been reading and doing emails....maybe watching a little TV - the "Border channel" (view of the Rio Grande bridge border and traffic) because it had music. It felt great to be "out and about" and Meg was awesome in taking care of me. I'll end this post with a picture of the tweet I wrote about the day :-)

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