I went to my 3 week follow up appointment at Swedish 12/19/13. I ended up being late, partially due to the awful new phone system they have. I don’t want to get into that though. I had the most difficult time finding parking than I ever had. I was walking with a cane because I’m so incredibly weak, and had to stop and sit whenever seating was available. So I was about 30 minutes late for the nutrition group appointment. The other people in the group also had surgery roughly within the past month. We learned about transitioning to soft foods and what is/isn’t allowed. Lots of questions were asked, not many were actually answered. I feel like the people running this meeting should have more experience with this stuff. The lady is perfectly nice, she would make a fine friend, but the not knowing the answers thing got pretty frustrating. We were given a bunch of paperwork with food lists and other things to keep an eye on. After the group appointment, we were sent to wait for our individual incision check. I spoke with a woman and her husband while in the waiting room – she was much smaller than I was (like, MUCH smaller, I wonder if she has some other medical issue requiring rapid weight loss – not that she had much at all to lose) and she said she gave up and had started eating a few days ago. Psh, can we do that? Why wasn’t I a rebel? I got weighed and their scale said I was about 10 pounds more than my home scale says. Say whaaaat? Anyway, I got put in a room, and the nutritionist came in while I waited for my wound check. She wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything since I was late for the group part. She’s much better 1 on 1. I told her about how I was not doing well with protein intake or shakes and how even the mention of certain foods were making me nauseous. She advised that I take a week off from the shakes and the vitamins and just focus on starting the soft foods. The logic there is that if something makes me sick, I would know it’s not the shake or supplement. She gave me a direct line to reach her so I don’t have to deal with the stupid answering service, a card that says to please sell me food at a reduced price because I had surgery, and an additional food list that others don’t get until their next appointment, in hopes that I would get more food ideas since I have all these food rules. A surgeon came in (he checked me once while I was in the hospital, but wasn’t in the operating room with me as far as I know) and said everything looked normal. Me with my open and infected wounds, barely able to breathe, and nearly in tears because I’m so exhausted. Whatever. He did tell me to ignore their scale and keep going by the one that I use the most. He kept trying to send me out and I’m like dude these incisions need covering, so he did so with dry gauze (really fun when that sticks – thanks doc), told me I was doing well, and basically sent me on my way. The drive home was pretty bad, I was really physically uncomfortable and was probably a bit too weak to drive. Even though I was given the OK to begin eating soft foods, the thought made me sick. I was so discouraged by the whole event, that I went home and slept. I was in the ER about 12 hours after I got home from that appointment. More about that later.
Yesterday I headed down to Swedish for my lab work and endoscopy. Getting ready for it was more stressful than the day itself! With all the drugs they put you on for the actual procedure, you can’t be released without a driver. My friend had to pull out a couple of days beforehand, so it was a frantic rush to find a ride or cancel before they tacked on extra charges. Thankfully, I was able to find someone!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I did have a colonoscopy/endoscopy a few years ago, but don’t remember much. We got to Swedish and frantically tried to find the lab. The signage and info desk lady weren’t terribly helpful. Anyway, got checked in and was taken back to what they called a “mini-lab”. It was this tiny room with three ladies hard at work – only room for one patient at a time. I let them know I was a difficult person to get blood from and the tech was very sensitive to that. I wish I had gotten her name so I could give her props! They took 8 vials of blood, testing for iron and B-12 and that sort of thing. It sucked, but could’ve gone much worse. They wanted a urine sample, but after 12 hours of no food or drink, it simply wasn’t happening. I said I’d come back to the lab after the procedure and try again.
After the blood draw, my friend and I headed up to the endoscopy area. The same lady checked me in there, somehow! We were only in the waiting room for a couple of minutes before being called back. It was a really nice place! Very clean with state-of-the-art equipment. It’s gonna sound silly, but I felt more confident about the whole thing because my room number was the same as my parents’ address, haha. That and I only had to take my top off and switch to a hospital gown. I got to keep my bra and everything from the waist down on. I generally find it easier to relax when I have my pants on.
A nurse asked me a bunch of questions (confirming meds, making sure their records were correct – nothing major) while another got me set up with a blood pressure cuff, one of those finger monitor thingies, and an IV. Four different people told me I needn’t worry about about the actual procedure, because Dr. McMahon is heavy with the drugs. All of the staff was excellent, they kept me calm with lots of jokes. As I was getting wheeled into the room, I was cracking up. Things got hectic as they were preparing for the endoscopy, but assured me that they had done it five times earlier in the day with no complications at all. My surgeon greeted me and I was instantly comforted. I’m not positive why, I’ve only seen him twice before. Anyway, they got me hooked up to oxygen, had me turn on my left side, and Dr. McMahon started to give me Versed. Hoooooooooly SHIT. First of all – OW?! It burned in my veins. They assured me it was totally normal. I felt like my lungs were being squished and started coughing a bunch. Again, apparently totally normal. I started feeling super dizzy and said “Man, this stuff works quick!” and that’s all I remember. I remember like two flashes from after it was over, but really don’t remember anything until we were almost to my friend’s house.
I was worried that I wouldn’t remember any results they gave me – and I don’t. I know they planned to take biopsies in multiple areas and I’ll hear about that later on. I see from a paper that I still have a hiatal hernia (they’ll fix that during surgery) and gastritis. Hopefully the lab work and biopsy results are favorable… I’ll find all that out in two weeks. Aside from some mild bruising on my arm, I’m totally fine! I slept a ton, but my throat is fine and all that. Yay!
I need to stop being an asshole and figure out a way to sleep while wearing my CPAP (I brought it for the endoscopy but they didn’t use it!) so I can get my final sleep study and get the ball rolling. I started back in counseling the other day, that was another one of my requirements. I missed my counselor, he’s good people.
Anyway, still on track for surgery! I’m getting scared but excited!