Skinny-Sized Teacher

A blog about life before and after gastric bypass

Surgery Day: Everything Happens for a Reason

January 19, 2012

The week before surgery were nerve wracking– leaving my eighth graders for over two weeks involves making lesson plans, quizzes, reading guides, etc. On Wednesday, my long-term sub shadowed me, and I introduced him to my students. They were pretty upset that I was leaving them for two weeks, and I had to make it perfectly clear that I was coming back and the surgery was nothing serious. One of my Aspberger’s students was in a tizzy: “If your surgery has anesthesia, the anesthesia could kill you!”  Gee, thanks, kiddo. That’s the type of confidence I needed to hear the day before surgery. Adding to my discomfort, my father chose to tell my grandparents about the surgery, and my grandmother spent an hour crying on the phone about how big of a mistake I was making.  My father–normally my biggest critic– hugged me and said he was behind me 100%. I don’t think he has any idea how much that meant to me.

Thursday dawned bright, cold, and early, and my mom, sister, and I began the long drive to Hartford. On the way there, I had the usual doubts about “what I am doing?” and even typed out letters to loved friends and relatives in case I didn’t make it through. Once I arrived at Hartford Hospital, however, my road to the OR was full with signs that this was definitely the right idea.

I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason. I even have that tattooed on my foot.  That there are signs out there–sent by the universe,  God, or some  consequences of our actions– that if we pay attention to them, we will be able to find the right path for us. There were signs, even early on, that C was bad for me. But I ignored them. Last Thursday, I was open to those signs, and received them into my heart and they comforted me throughout those anxiety-filled hours.

After arriving at the Hospital, I was sent to the admissions unit, where I met with my nurse, Mandy, which was also the name of my best friend of 22 years. Sign #1. She did my admission’s physical, including taking my weight: 234.8, which was 5 lbs down from the weight I started the pre-op diet with. I changed into my Bair Paws gown, which is an ingenious type of hospital gown with ports for warmers to keep me warm during surgery. I only got to enjoy it fora  few hours because they didn’t have one in my room. I want one or home!

During the admission’s interview, I had to pee in a  cup so the nurse’s assistant could do a pregnancy test. Meanwhile, they put me on the stretcher in the hall to go down to surgery. The Nurse’s assistant ( a man) emerged from my room, holding the pregnancy test with this weird look on his face and wanted to speak to the nurse. Oh.Fuck.no.  kept going through my head for the terse 3 minute conversation. Finally the nurse’s assistant looks at me and was like “Oh, your pregnancy test was fine.” I was so tense that I literally yelled, “You CAN’T do that to a girl!” The nurse started laughing hysterically, and apologized (the guy really was a young’n, but STILL).  lol

My mom, sister, and I went down to the OR waiting room ( really, I have no idea what you call it), and met with the anesthesiologist. They plugged my Bair Paws in– warmth! Dr. Papasavas came to check in with me, then it was time to go down to theater, right on time for my surgery of 10:45 am. I met with the anesthesiologist’s assistant, who had the same first and last name as that of one of my favorite students. Sign #2.

We arrived in the theatre and there were a ton of people there and country music was playing. Right before they put the oxygen/anesthesia on me, “Red Solo Cup” by Toby Keith came on. Sign #3 It was the same song that Trina, Chase, and I had listened to the night of her birthday dinner/ my Last Supper. I instantly relaxed and was ready for them to do what they needed to do.

I thankfully don’t remember anything about surgery or recovery–though I know the anesthesia and intubation made me sick.  Once I got to my room (816) on the Bliss 8 ward (An aptly named ward, and 8/16 are numbers of personal significance to me- Sign #4), I started to wake up a little bit, but I was pretty out of it. I know that my mom and sister left about 5 pm to beat the snowstorm home (the hospital is about a two hour drive from our house), and I texted my mom at around 5:30 to tell her that I was okay–but drifted in and out of sleep for the next couple of hours.

I had an RN and a PCA to take care of me.  The PCAs came around every few hours to check vitals–sometime in the middle of the night I spiked a fever of 101 and they worried I was developing pneumonia. They started me on Tylenol with some pain meds, and I sweated it out during the night.

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