Friday, October 23, 2015


Pre-op day 4

Since I opted for VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) I was required to have an endoscopy to confirm that everything was healthy and that my stomach would heal after surgery.

Now, this is not something I've ever had to do before. The last time I was under anesthesia was in 2001 and came out of it crying for no reason. Not something I was super stoked to try again. But then I started thinking about the mechanics of the procedure (a flexible tube is inserted through your mouth down to your stomach. The tube has a camera on the end to look at your esophagus and stomach).

Uh. One question, professor...

If there's a tube down my throat, how the crap do I breathe?

So I did what anyone would do and I turned to the Internet - the place good medical advice goes to die (current blog and most I watched/read excluded of course...). The Mayo Clinic described the procedure pretty well. However, it said that I would be sedated, a numbing spray would be used to numb my mouth and throat during the procedure, and that the doctor would still ask me to do things like swallow to assist the tube going down my throat. Needless to say, I was nervous. And not at all better informed about my breathing question.

So at 6:00 this morning I got into an uber and traveled the 58 blocks to the endoscopy center. It sounds far... It took 12 minutes.

I walked in and checked in. Before I was able to sign in I had to confirm that neither I, nor anyone I had spent time with over the last 24 months, had been to Africa or the Middle East. Then I had to sign in, and give them the forms I had filled out prior to arrival.

Here's the thing on that - you don't know what you don't know. When I made the appointment, I really didn't know what I was signing up for. Most doctors require a consult before performing the endoscopy... I found one willing to move forward without the consult given my time constraints. I was told to bring my photo ID and my insurance card. That's it.  Fast forward 2 days and I have a voicemail from a lovely nurse talking about forms and prescriptions and escorts... It was all foreign to me. So I called back and said...

"Uh. Whut?"

She explained that I needed to go to their website and download, print, fill out and bring in 23 pages of forms and reading material on the procedure. These were basically the forms you typically fill out at a doctors office (insurance, patient bill of rights, authorizations, etc.). I would also need to have someone willing to sign me out and take responsibility for my safety after the procedure. Also, no eating after midnight the night before which would be no problem since I'm on an all liquid diet...

Um. Confession time. I've cheated HARD on the pre-op diet.  I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew it was wrong. I did not care. I did it anyway. I understand the purpose, the importance, the consequences of not following, the diet. I couldn't do it. 2 weeks is a very long time. And the shakes are so gross. Tomorrow I'm going to try some other shake options and get my (life, self, diet... Whichever noun you'd like to use) back on track. I've also been bad about getting in all, or even most of the water. But it's go time now.

Back to the endoscopy - I did fast before hand, nothing to eat after about 8:30pm the night before so I was in the clear. I convinced my friend Tassie to take responsibility for me after the procedure. I arrived on time. I turned in all my paperwork. The nurse called me back, confirmed any allergies, pregnancy, medications, medical history, etc. and took my blood pressure.  Then I asked about the breathing. The nurse confirmed that I would be completely under anesthesia, so I wouldn't feel anything at all. And the tube is tiny enough to breathe while its down my throat, so no worries there.

Then I changed. I was able to keep my bra and pants/underwear on. I had paper booties to put on my feet instead of shoes. I got 2 papery gowns to put on (one like a jacket, one like a smock) so I was completely covered. I took a urine pregnancy test (I never heard the results but I'm assuming I'm in the clear. I mean. Unless it's the second coming of Christ or something...). 

Then I was taken back to the room. I had some very lovely ladies working with the Doctor that made me feel completely comfortable. They reconfirmed the no-eating, whether I had anything loose in my mouth (dentures, caps, etc.) what my allergies are, things like that. I had sticky electrodes stuck to my arms and chest, a monitor on my finger, and an IV for the anesthesia. The put an oxygen tube up to my nose. They requested I lay on my left side and put a cushion at my back to support me through the procedure. And I had a hard plastic piece with a round hole inserted into my mouth with a band around my head to hold it in place. It sounds uncomfortable - I was awake with it in my mouth for like 6 seconds and it was fine.

My doctor was a lovely old man wearing a classy version of a Hawaiian shirt. He looked a little like Larry David. He was positive, upbeat, and had great energy - all things important to me going into a procedure where I will have zero control.

As she started the anesthesia she told me to breathe deeply. I remember consciously taking maybe 4 or 5 deep breaths (max) and then things went fuzzy.

About 20 minutes later I woke up in the recovery room. I was very interested in the cleaning lady's braid and how she got it to look so nice. Any time the nurse removed the monitor on my finger, the machine would beep and I'd say "oops... I'm dead", to which she'd laugh at and say "no no, you're fine". After about 15 minutes in recovery the doctor came to speak to me. He said that everything looked great and good to go for surgery. He mentioned that I had some inflammation from acid reflux, and he prescribed something to heal it up (which I'll pick up tomorrow). I was given several copies of the report (which include pictures of my insides... Eww...) and was told that the report would also be sent to my surgeon's office.

I changed, and met Tassie in the waiting room. She signed me out, and we got in a cab.


This was one of the worst cabbies I've ever had in the 6.5 years I've lived in New York City, and I would hate to have that kind of terrible luck after having abdominal surgery. 

I was pretty groggy when I got home, and I'm lucky enough that my boss is understanding and flexible. I decided to sleep off the rest of the anesthesia and work from home for the rest of the day. I slept from 9:30am until 1:30pm.

I got up and made myself some broth and drank some water. I answered some emails but generally took it easy for the day. 

All in all, it was one of the easiest procedures that I had to deal with. I feel good now, no soreness in my throat, no more grogginess.  My doctor said he took samples, not sure what of but I don't feel any tenderness in my stomach. So pretty good!

Tomorrow is admission testing. I'm telling you what, we are getting close!

Today's Diet:
30oz water
2 cups broth with mushrooms
6 pieces sashimi ... Oh leave me alone at least in owning it! I skipped the rice, didn't I?!

*Sidenote* I was thinking about attempting my first video today but, trust me, nobody would have been interested in seeing what I have going on. But, maybe soon I'll start vlogging...

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