I had surgery Thursday, and it's now Monday and I am amazed at how I feel this time compared to how I felt after my gastric bypass surgery. It's not even remotely close to the same experience. Let me just say, the quality of medical care in Colorado versus what I've experienced in Cheyenne is also incomparable. The kindness of staff and the quality of work done in Colorado has left me feeling so much better about myself and my recovery.
Thursday went very smoothly. I checked into the surgery center at 7 am for 8 am surgery. I was taken back right away and put into a gown and compression leggings to prevent blood clots. It was a gymnastic feat to get into those stockings - akin to trying on Spanx. After I had changed, they put the IV in my hand. My veins were hiding since I hadn't had anything to drink after midnight and because I was nervous, so the nurse put my arm in a warmed blanket and left it hanging off the side of the bed, and in about ten minutes the nurse found my vein and hooked me up to the IV. Then the anesthesiologist came to visit with me and told me he would probably put a breathing tube in as that seems to be best for the patient, allowing clear breathing throughout the process. The tube was put in and taken out while I was under anesthesia, so I have no memory of it, other than a bit of rawness and scratchiness in my throat.
Finally, the surgeon came in and drew all over me with a purple Sharpie. This was, by far, one of the most intensely odd experiences of my life! He had me sit up straight on the edge of the bed, then he raised the bed so that he was eye level with my chest. I was staring at the wall over the top of his head. It was so strange to be shirtless in front of him as he started drawing all over me, and even stranger as he handled each side as if he were weighing melons in the supermarket. Meanwhile Kyle's sitting in the corner of the room somewhat bemused. The point of the marking is to try to get the finished result as parallel and as even as possible. When he was finished, he said he'd see me in a few minutes in the OR.
They put something lovely in my IV to help me relax before they wheeled me into the OR, so all I remember is kissing Kyle goodbye and telling him not to worry about me, and then I was out. This also happened before my last surgery. I have no recollection of getting to the OR and switching to the other gurney, or of counting backwards until I fell asleep. I joked with Kyle that I had the easy part because I got to sleep through the next 3 hours, and he had the worry of waiting.
When I started coming out of anesthesia, I remember the nurse asking me what my pain level was and answering that it was a 4. She immediately gave me pain medication through my IV, and that was the worst my pain ever got through this whole experience, which has been completely tolerable. My dear hubby was brought back to me as I fought off the anesthesia and came back to consciousness. His worried puppy dog eyes were anxious and I immediately reassured him that I was great.
The first order of business was to get something into my stomach without nausea. They offered me apple juice and graham crackers, which sounded just as good as lobster tail and a baked potato to me at the time. I slurped down the juice and immediately was given another. I had no problem with upset stomach, so the next goal was to get to the bathroom and change back into my own clothing.
Upon standing for the first time, I already noticed a huge difference in the way my chest felt. It was wrapped tightly under two ace bandages, and quite smooshed down. It felt like there was nothing left, though I knew better. The nurse escorted me to the bathroom and then helped me step back into my own pants and we got a loose tank top over my wraps followed by a zip up sweatshirt. They had advised me to bring a button up or zip up shirt to wear home so I wouldn't have to lift my arms. Good advice, although at that time I had almost no soreness so lifting my arms wasn't an issue. I slipped on my slippers and went back to my bed and Kyle. Less than two hours after I was in recovery they were ready to let me go! Kyle pulled his car around behind the surgical center, and the nurse walked me out. I got into the passenger side and propped a pillow between my chest and the seat belt.
The drive home had been my worst fear. I had debated whether to get a hotel room for another night or try to make it an hour or so towards the two hour ride home. I finally decided to play it by ear and see how far I was able to make it home. I assumed it might be better to make a mad dash for home while I was still under the effects of anesthesia and pain meds. This worked perfectly. I fell asleep in the car and slept most of the way home except for a quick stop for food. I was ravenous, so when we got to Longmont I asked Kyle to get me a cheese quesadilla and coke at Del Taco. I inhaled both, then promptly fell back to sleep.
Once home I was feeling pretty good. I walked unassisted into the house and said hello to my mom and my babies. Mom had spent the night with them in case we needed to stay in Colorado longer than expected. She remarked on how well I looked. I settled into the loveseat and dozed off and on while watching TV. Pip was almost inseparable from me. He's very perceptive and knew something was going on before I even left.
We snuggled off and on, and Dobby joined us once in awhile.
My day was brightened immensely when these arrived from my Sister in law.
I have had minimal pain. The two biggest discomforts are the drains that are in each side and then the fact that I can't sleep lying down. I have to sleep at least a 45 degree angle. This keeps the swelling down, which is very important. Tomorrow I go back to the surgeon's office and get those drains out, as well as seeing my breasts for the first time. They will not be pretty, but it will be great to see where I'm at with the healing and get this compression off for awhile. It's very itchy! I'm very glad I've had this done, and very relieved that so far everything has gone extra smoothly.