Recovery, Day 7.

I haven’t blogged in a bit because I haven’t been able to sit at the computer for a bit.  I got sick exactly two weeks ago, my gastroparesis throwing one final tantrum that lasted several days.  Then, one week ago, I awoke sick again and even more terrified than usual, because I had plans that day.  Big plans.

When I started vomiting blood, Mark suggested I throw in the towel and go to Mercy hospital to get checked out, but I wasn’t going down that easy.  Instead, I called my surgeon’s office, retching in the poor nurses ear, and asked what I should do.  She called me back and told me to go to Sister’s hospital ASAP.

The relief felt in that moment was almost as good as the relief felt when the anti-nausea drugs kick in.  My stupid stomach would NOT ruin this for me-but I knew it was going to be hard.

When I got to the hospital, they took me right away to a room and got me setup.  I knew I couldn’t get the “good” meds, the kind that calm me down or make me sleep, because they would interfere with the anesthesia.  So, they gave me one of those sea-sickness patches you put behind your ear and a dose of Compazine.  It didn’t work.  I sat there and waited for surgery, puking the entire time.

When they got me down to the OR, it was clear that the attending’s were not used to a “visibly” ill person in the room.  Everyone kept asking if I was okay, and what I was there for, and if it was related to the vomiting.  “I’m fine, I have gastroparesis, the surgery will help,” became my mantra.  They kept telling me that once the anesthesiologist came down, he would give me something to calm me.  It never really happened, because I blew my IV site right before going in, in classic Brigid fashion. 

They put me on the operating table and put a mask over my face and told me it was oxygen.  It smelled like perfume.

Then, it was over.

I woke up back in the prep room with an excruciating pain in my neck.  That turned out to be a central line, because they never did find a vein.  My stomach hurt, but no more than it had prior to surgery when I was sick, so it wasn’t my main focus.  The nurse with the ice chips was.

I spent the night in total pain until they gave me a shot around midnight and then I slept until six.  After meeting with a nutritionist, my doctor came in to tell me all was well and I could go home that night.  Originally I was supposed to stay longer in the hospital, so this was a delightful sur[rise.

I went home to recuperate, and I was thrilled to be able to have something to drink finally.  Alas, no food.  No food for two weeks, while my stomach heals up.  Then soft food for two weeks.  June can’t come fast enough.

No exercise for a bit, and recommendations fo rest.  I took to the couch with my protein shakes and Gatorade and recovered.  A week went by.

It’s hard for me to believe that it was two weeks ago when the flareup first started.  It seems like it was only a few days.  I am eternally hopeful that was my last episode, at least for a good long while. 

So, it’s now a week after surgery and I feel quite good.  Better every day, actually.  I am hoping that once this recovery process is over next month, I am able to return to living a life that I have missed.  I miss going to bed at night without a contingency plan.  I miss waking up in the morning without nausea.  I miss eating foods I love, or drinking a beer.  I don’t think I want too much, just the ability to enjoy a few things life has to offer that I have been missing out on.

(Also, I wanna know how much I’m going to weigh at the end of this, because this is definitely the most intense diet I’ve ever been on.)

24 Days

Quick background for the new reader: I have severe gastroparesis.  This means my stomach doesn’t digest food properly.  I have been living with this disorder for about five years or so, though I’m sure I had a milder form for many years prior to my docs finally figuring it out.  Maybe around age 25 I started throwing up, usually after eating too much…even though “too much” was hardly anything.  It wasn’t until I had my gallbladder out in 2016 that things got really bad.  They thought that was the culprit; they were wrong.

Anyway, five years ago, there was one solution and it was a major surgery to put in a pacemaker and it was in Cleveland.  No, thank you.

But time went on and things got worse.  Fortunately, science also progressed, and other options became available.  Mind you, there is no cure.  There is only treatment.

The best treatment, according to my surgeon, is a gastric bypass.  However, I just don’t weigh enough.  That was a truly bittersweet appointment.  Sad because I can’t get the surgery, yet thrilled because for the first time in my life a doctor said the worlds “you don’t weigh enough.”  The pacemaker option still exists, and is now right here in town, but involves several surgeries for the rest of my life to replace the battery every few years.  So, no.  I’d rather not.

Finally, we have the pyloroplasty.  This involves the pyloric muscle at the bottom of the stomach that in is charge of opening to the intestine.  Essentially, they cut it open and make a permanent hole, so it can’t clamp shut on me and prevent stomach emptying.  These were my options, so I went with door number 3.

Doc said he would set it up for the end of March.  Well, that came and went and I called the office, and the nurse there set me up with April 29th.  So, there it is, my surgery date.

I am currently waiting as I type this for the hospital to call me back to set up both a Covid test and pre-surgery screening. 

After the surgery I will be laid up for a little bit.  I will be on a two-week liquid diet followed by a two-week soft food diet.  Then, hopefully, provided all has healed correctly, I will be able to eat regularly for the first time in years.  (Also hoping after the diets to fit into the bathing suit I bought last year that was just a size too small.)

Am I nervous?  Very much.  I don’t like the idea of surgery, even though it will be laparoscopic and probably not much worse than getting my gallbladder out.  I more so don’t like the idea of being in the hospital afterwards, especially in a time when I can’t have a bunch of visitors and such to cheer me up.  I hope everything goes smoothly and I am out of there quickly. 

Then, recovery, which is always worse than actual procedures, but hey…I’ve done worse.  When I had my left eye done, I was on my stomach for an entire week….24 hours a day.  It was agony…but I did it.  I can do this, too.

So, in closing, I finally am starting to see a faint light at the end of the tunnel.  I am going to hope and pray very hard that I do not get sick anytime in the next 24 days, either.  (Although, it would be sweet to tell the staff at Mercy about my imminent surgery.  They would be excited for me.)  I am just dragging myself to the end of April, hoping that May brings me better feelings.

I mean…it has to, right?