July 8, 2016 was the date I had surgery.
I had been having some problems at “home” and ended up spending 2 days before surgery in a hotel, which really wasn’t a bad thing. It gave me an opportunity to spend fun time with my grandkids in the pool and fitness center.
I called Good Samaritan Hospital, the night before, to get the time that I needed to arrive, which was 11:00 a.m.
I dressed comfortably in a pair of shorts, sports bra and over-sized t-shirt, and a pair of granny panties. My son-in-law and the kids dropped me off.
I brought a bag with my neck pillow, which I’m glad that I brought with me. It made me more comfortable, as the gurney was terribly uncomfortable, as well as the bed and the chair.
I went to take a selfie of me smiling to reassure my grandchildren that I was in good spirits, not to worry, as well as to remind myself. However, Linda, Good Samaritan Hospital’s Surgical Nurse Liaison, couldn’t have brought more attention had she yelled “FIRE!” As I lay in my enclosed on 3 sides cubby, grinning ear-to-ear as I adjusted for a good overhead angle, Linda yelled from across the patient and visitor packed room “Ma’am! You can’t take pictures in here!”
I was startled and dropped my arm from over my head and I could see the people in the rooms behind her look at me with disdain as they probably thought I was taking their pictures! After all why would such a big deal be made out of someone taking their own picture?
Humiliated and feeling awkward, I began to cry. I wanted to leave. I felt so stupid and alone. I didn’t need anyone with me going in. I was confident and happy and ready – now, I just want to go find a hole to crawl into and die. This was my present, it felt like every day of my past was once a present of humiliating awkwardness.
Several minutes later I asked my nurse who the nurse was that said that to me. I had thought I was over reacting, after all isn’t that what I’ve been told every time I reacted to anything? The nurse looked at me as though really didn’t want to tell me, and didn’t want any of the nurses to hear her talk to me about it. She told me her name was Linda and her title was “Liaison”. My nurse looked at me choking on my tears, and assured me that if she knew that I was so upset she’d be devastated. My response was along the lines of “Good, then make sure that she knows, because I AM devastated! I wasn’t worth the effort to take a few steps forward and ask me not to take pictures?”
I was taken up to surgery around 12:45. I put all my effort into adjusting back into a positive spirit. Joked a little with the doctors, making sure that Dr. Bridges knew the procedure that I was most wanting was a laparoscopic RNY gastric bypass and only if all else failed did I want the sleeve.
I have no idea how long the surgery was, nor do I know how long I was in recovery, seemed like only minutes that I was there screaming “Please make it stop” as I felt the relentless pain that was identical to the pain I vividly remember in the ER, years before, when a woman tried to kill me by running me over with her Tundra pick up truck. That’s another story for another time.
I remember the nurses telling me that they were giving me everything they could, they must’ve given me some good stuff because I don’t remember anything until they had brought me up to my room. I’m doing my best not to hold my breath. You know when you hear people telling someone to “breathe!”? I learned decades ago that if you want the pain to lessen, you MUST relax. I found myself in an argument with myself and the nurses – I know I was outside my head trying to breath and saying I’m going to hold my breath, don’t let me hold my breath – I knew I was my worst enemy.
Thank God, Erica was there rubbing my lower back. I know that it helped more than anything they gave me to calm me down and alleviate the pain that I was having.
I don’t recall any incisional pain and gas pain was nominal for the most part. Though people who have had the sleeve or bypass surgeries insist the back pain I was having was gas pain. However, for me it was a recreation of the pain I had when I was, literally, hit by a truck.