I had my VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy) on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
For more information on VSG and RNY, click here to be forwarded to Kaiser’s Bariatric, Northern California Department website.
My surgery went great and I’m doing okay. Kaiser Fremont was amazing.
The day of surgery really made me love Kaiser all the more. Everyone at the hospital was helpful, nice, and genuinely acted like they WANTED to help me. I arrived at 8:30am, checked in, and then headed to pre-op. Once I dropped off my paperwork, it wasn’t very long until they called me back.
After a quick wardrobe change, and a prego test (which obviously was negative), they set me up in a recliner to get the IV and first round of stuff started. Yes, you read that right. A recliner. No hospital beds for pre-op here. Unfortunately, I did have a bit of a problem with the IV. I got super light headed, and I almost passed out a couple of times. I am NOT blaming the nurse though because I’ve always had a problem with needles, and I wasn’t able to lay down for them to do it. Plus no food or much in the way of liquids for 12 hours before that, well, I guess in some ways it was expected.
Once they finished with all that they asked the same questions again and again. It’s pretty usual. They want to make sure you haven’t forgotten something or your stories change. What procedure are you having done today? Did you do the bowel prep? When was your last meal? When was the last time you had anything to drink? Any allergies? Do I have a Health Care Directive? (Which I have, but not on file with Kaiser, and the husband unit knows my wishes. If you don’t have one, you really should get one done. Never know what could happen.) Pretty typical questions.
Once they had me all settled, and gave me a blood thinner shot, they let the husband unit back to hang out with me until I walked into the operating room. The anesthesiologist came in when it was almost time (they were running a little head of schedule) and went over the same questions. I reminded him that I have had problems with anesthesia induced nausea multiple times, and he said that shouldn’t be a problem because they will put all kinds of anti-nausea meds in me during surgery. He was hilarious by the way. Completely upbeat, and explained it by saying he was gonna start me off with a couple light weight margaritas, then he would then give me a super strong pina colada and next thing I would know I would be waking up in recovery.
After he left, Dr. Dutta, my surgeon came in and went over everything again and gave me a quick run down of what they were going to do. That basically consisted of me walking into the OR, laying on the table, and as he described it the hive swarming in. There would be nurses strapping me down so I wouldn’t fall off the table during surgery, nurses putting the pressure cuffs on my legs (to help prevent blood clots), the anesthesiologist would put an oxygen mask on, and various nurses running around the room. So lots going on, don’t worry, its all normal. Then he said he would see me in about 10 minutes.
Yup. At this point it was like 10:20 or so, and I was originally scheduled for 11:00ish so my heart started to race in excitement. Kel and I finished getting all my stuff in one spot, and then they said the OR was ready for me. One more quick kiss and I love you to the hubs and I was off, walking out to start my new life!
The OR was pretty much as they had described it, but the room was bigger than I expected it to be. I walked in and everyone shouted their hello’s, like it was a big party and I climbed up onto the table. From there it was the swarm, just as expected. Dr. Dutta came over and in a very jovial voice said, “Alright everyone ready for the breakdown?” or something like that. “Alright everyone we have Kimberly Ringer here for the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. You are Kimberly Ringer and that is the procedure you are here for right?” I confirmed and then the nurses rattled off a bunch of techno-gargon related to the surgery and the tools that were needed, confirmations around the room and then the bartender showed up.
The anesthesiologist put the mask over my nose and mouth and told me the margarita’s were coming in, verified after a moment I was feeling okay, said the Pina Colada was incoming, pressed down, and …………………………………….
The rest of Tuesday, I pretty much slept until about that evening. I vaguely remember my husband coming into recovery and telling me I was sleeping the day away, and then later coming in and saying he was gonna head home so he could get the daughter unit to dance, since I was sleeping, and that I probably wouldn’t remember him telling me that, and to PLEASE not be too mad at him for leaving. Or something like that. Like I said. I VAGUELY remember all of that.
When I did come to and after I got up to go to the bathroom, they brought me some Crystal Light, some Jello, and some hot rose tea. The Crystal Light and Jello was not a problem. Once the hot water hit my stomach, it was a huge NOPE. It all came back up. Alright… new baby stomach did NOT like hot yet. Noted.
A while later they were able to get me into a room and I was wide awake by then, and feeling alright. Once they got me settled, they gave me some nausea meds, and some more morphine. Yup, threw that up pretty quick. In fact I threw up the pain meds all night long when they tried to give them to me.
So … when you are researching weight loss surgery, you often hear about people who have these moments of regretting having the surgery. Usually during the first month or so, sometimes after due to complications, but it was at 5:30 am on Wednesday, that I laid there, hurting thinking to myself that “Okay, now I can see why someone could regret going through this.” I wasn’t, and I still don’t, but I could see how someone COULD think that. I hadn’t been able to keep much down in the way of pain meds, and I wasn’t sleeping, because, well who sleeps in a hospital.
At 5:30 when the nurse came in, I asked her what medication they were giving me for pain, because I couldn’t remember, and when she told me morphine, I asked her if they could check with the doctor if we could switch it to something not as strong as I’ve had issues with some of the stronger pain medications in the past making me sick. That could be why I wasn’t able to keep it down and historically, I’ve not been able to keep much past Norco down before and she said she would check on it. She came back with Hycet, which is in the same family as Norco / Tylenol, and it worked.
I got to see Dr. Dutta a couple hours after that, and thanked him for changing the pain meds, because it had really helped. He also gave me a run down of the surgery and reassured me that everything was textbook, and no leaks were detected. He also gave me pictures of before and after, which are super cool. I am not going to post them because there are going to be some readers who may be a bit queezy. Dr. Dutta then went over his exceptions for my water and protein intake until I physically see him again at the 6 week mark (I have a phone appointment with him on Wednesday), that if I have any questions just to let him know, and then said I could go home and should be able to leave about 10:30.
Super excited. From there it was just a matter of getting my new medications, going over things with the nutritionist and having discharge paperwork done. When it was time to leave, I was ready. I would have walked out if they had let me.
The husband said he has never driven that highway home that slow before EVER. He was so concerned about me throwing up or shifting wrong in the car and being in pain, he drove super slow. Which was really nice, because that road he drives every day, and …. well I can’t stand it.
I was so incredibly happy with Kaiser’s staff. Every single person I interacted with were nice, helpful, and seemed like they really wanted to be there. I totally give Kaiser Fremont an A+ for my care and well-being.
Well now it’s been two weeks, and I feel great with one exception. The pain on the right side is sticking longer with me than it does for a lot of patients. For the most part my energy feels good, I’m walking as instructed (every few hours at minimum), and I’m getting about 30g of protein in a day and about 40oz of water in a day. It should be higher, but it is hard. I’m just not hungry, and I’m full on just 3oz of food. Eventually I’ll need to get the protein to about 70oz a day and the water to 64oz a day, but I’m only two weeks out.
Well, here is to the new me. Let’s rock it.