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A setback

4/4/2005

I woke up Friday morning, expecting to leave the hospital and go to the hotel. Of course, there would be walks. There was a Chinese restaurant close by where I could walk for wonton soup, even though I could only have the broth. There was a pretty big Wal-Mart next door, and I could walk that far, maybe. However, when I woke up, stood up and walked the few steps to the bathroom, I was hit with waves of nausea. I went back to bed, drank a few sips of broth, had a tiny bit of Jello and tried it again. No better, in fact, I was feeling worse by the minute. Anne rang for the nurse, who was there in a millisecond. (Have I told you yet how much I loved the staff at High Point!!) She checked my vital signs again and contacted Dr. Dasher. He arrived just a short time later. He poked around my belly, and the fact that I didn’t slug him told him that I didn’t have a leak or anything terrible. He explained that some patients have this sort of reaction to the surgery and he would order a “Bariatric cocktail” for me. It is a combination of drugs, some given orally, some by IV. When the nurse came in with the start of the cocktail, she saw my look of pain and told Anne not to be concerned. The drugs would put me to sleep and when I woke up, that pained face would be gone. I don’t know what the drugs were, but I was given both IVs and oral drugs for a few hours, maybe even longer, but it sure worked. I have not had one minute of sickness since then. Of course, that meant I didn’t leave the hospital on Friday. Once I came out of the influence of the cocktail, I felt much better, actually drank more Gatorade and broth, but what I most enjoyed was still an occasional popsicle. That sure felt good to my parched throat. My “littermate” and I were up and walking in the halls once again, walking a little faster and a little further. There was no extra charge for the longer hospital stay, nor was there any extra charge for the cocktail. This global fee is exactly that!

Saturday morning, I felt just fine. Between sips of broth and Gatorade, I walked a LOT of laps. I had a drain, and I could see that a lot of fluid was being pumped out of my abdominal cavity as I walked. I’m sure that’s part of the reason we are told to walk. Around 11 in the morning, the nurse came in to remove the drain. That didn’t hurt, but it felt funny. I felt even better without that in there. Funny how something as thin as a kid’s straw felt like it was really compressing organs when it was in there. Of course, I didn’t know that’s what was causing that feeling until it was removed. A new dressing was put on, and I was told I could leave the hospital whenever I was ready. I didn’t yet feel ready, though. I was afraid of springing a leak, with the drain gone but the opening in my skin still there, so I spent quite a while walking some more, just to see if the dressing would hold up. It did. I had no leaks. I got very tired from the marathon walks, so I rested a bit before dressing. We finally said good-bye to everyone and I was wheeled out of the hospital around 2 PM. The wheelchair, by the way, was the widest I have ever seen. Kind of reminded me of a park bench. Anyone out there who is afraid the furniture won’t be big enough should not worry. Everything used by MGB patients is specified for oversize people.

I was now out of the hospital, ready for the next part of my journey. We were required to stay nearby until the staples were removed at least. Since I had to travel 2 days to get home, Anne and I planned on being in the area for an entire week, just to be sure. Anne’s brother has a vacation home not too far from High Point, so we headed there, our home for the next week. I was pretty tired by the time we got there. I had been sipping on Gatorade all the time we were in the car. When we arrived at the house, I headed for the couch and fell asleep. Anne, bless her heart, brought in all the bags and supplies. I had brought several bottles of Gatorade and tiny cans of V8 and tomato juice. Anne went shopping for real food for herself and yogurt for me. When I woke up, she asked the usual question. Wanna go for a walk? Yeah, sure. That first day, I wore a very loose sweatshirt type dress so nothing rubbed against my stomach. The incisions were already healing, a few turned green and yellow from bruising. None actually hurt, but I had a reaction to the white tape that had been on them and that itched. I was glad I had loose clothing on to walk. We walked maybe a mile, very slowly. I felt a bit bent over and could only take rather shallow breaths. I was glad to get home and grab a popsicle!

The next day, Sunday, I seemed to fall into a routine. It took forever to get the Citrucel down. It didn’t matter if I mixed it with water or mixed it with yogurt. I needed a full ten minutes to get down 2 ounces of anything. I didn’t like Gatorade anymore. My mouth felt weird and everything tasted strange. I only liked popsicles. We went for a walk at least twice that day. Since I knew my mouth would get dry, I sucked on a lollipop as we walked, then went straight to the fridge for a popsicle when we returned home, followed by a nap.

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