Barium Is Gross – Day Before Surgery Post

Did you know that it’s REALLY hard to find a long bathrobe? There are tons of robes that are knee-length robes, and even some pretty sexy ones since Valentines Day is next week, but to find a modest robe that will cover your derriere in a hospital gown? Good luck with that! I almost went with the haus frau look in this stylish polka-dot “duster,” but decided to just wear the simple white knit knee-length robe that I already have in my closet.

Today was a pretty crazy day. I had to wake up earlier than (my husband and) I wanted to get some tests done in radiology. But since I had to arrive fasting for the tests, it was kinda nice to have it overwith by 9:30. I had to register (again) and then wait for my procedures. First I had an abdominal ultrasound of my gall bladder to see if I need to have it removed. I’ve had several ultrasounds before, but I’ve got to say it HURTS when they’re repeatedly pressing the transducer into you, right on the edges of your ribs, over and over.

yuckyNext, I went into a different area of radiology for the upper GI procedure. For some reason, I was expecting to have an endoscopy where a scope went down my throat, but it was just a barium swallow study. First, they gave me these really sour/bitter crystals to eat with a little bit of liquid. Oh my goodness – I’ve never been so burpy/bubbly, and they told me to avoid burping. I stood on a platform with my back flat on a “wall”, and I had to start drinking barium.

Have you ever had barium? It’s like the worst milkshake you’ve ever had. It’s like drinking a thick sweet chalky glue. Sooo gross! For the barium swallow test, I had to drink gulps of the liquid, and every time it made me gag and wretch. After I was scanned standing up, they tilted the “wall” I was standing up against 90 degrees, so I was laying flat. Then I had to roll around on the table, sit up, lay on my side, and keep sipping barium through a straw. It was not fun at all. But this is the test that checks to see if you have a hiatal hernia (which Dr Smith suspects),  and I’ll find out in the morning if they’ll be reparing the mythical hernia and removing my gallbladder at the same time as the gastric bypass.

When the testing was done, I was able to break my fast. I had a certificate for a free meal at Tucano’s, and so I had my final solid food meal as Brazilian barbecue.  With me adjusting my diet to prepare for surgery, I was glad I didn’t have to pay for the meal because I really didn’t eat that much.  We walked around The Gateway and picked up a few things, and then went to the grocery store. I picked up cartons of broth, juice, yogurt, and other things I’ll be able to eat in my first week.  The rest of the day was spent with family and preparing for surgery. I also uploaded my first vlog post:

My food diary for today is a little screwy because I had to fast until 10 am, then I went on my clear liquid diet at 3 pm. I have know idea what my calorie counts are, so here’s just what I ate:

  • Breakfast burrito (right after procedures)
  • Brazilian barbecue with salad bar
  • Biscoff spread on a graham cracker
  • Apple juice (to wash down the yucky bowel prep drink)

Tomorrow I report to St. Mark’s Hospital ambulatory surgery at 6am. I’ll be having updates posted on Twitter and Facebook, and I don’t know if I’ll be up to a day-of-surgery post yet. Wish me luck!

Surgery Timeline

Surgery timeline

Many people have asked me when I’m having surgery, what my recovery time is like, and what I have to do in the time until they cut my gut. Here’s a run-down of my next few days. If you want to get updates as things happen, join/like the Beauty and the Bypass Facebook Page. I will update when I can, and my husband will update the page for the times I can’t.

I’m starting out this morning fasting. I’ll be going to St. Mark’s Hospital radiology at 7:40 for a few tests. I will be getting an upper GI endoscopy to see if I have a hiatal hernia, and then I’ll be getting an abdominal ultrasound to see if I need to have my gallbladder removed. If I have the hiatal hernia or a diseased gallbladder, those will be taken care of at the time of my surgery.

After the radiology work, I can break my fast for a few hours. At 3pm, I can call the hospital to see what my surgery time will be for tomorrow. I’ll need to take a bowel prep drink called Citroma (yay!) and then begin a clear liquid diet. In the evening, I need to shower and wash my abdomen with a surgical prep antibacterial soap called hibiclens, which I’ll also have to use again in the morning. Beginning at midnight, I will be NPO (nothing by mouth) until I go in for surgery tomorrow.

My estimated hospital stay will be a day and a half. I’ll go into the hospital Tuesday morning, and likely be discharged Wednesday evening. I’ll be home recovering for 2-3 weeks. I’m glad that my husband will be home with me as I recover.

If you’re interested in visiting me at the hospital, send me a text, tweet, or Facebook message. I’ll let you know when I’m ready for visitors. If you don’t want to come into the hospital to visit, I’ll be anxious for visitors at home.

Before Surgery Picture and Food Diary 2-3-12

Today was a slightly strange day. I started out by waking up at 3:30 am. Now, I usually have lousy sleeping schedules with my sleep apnea, but I really didn’t want to wake up early today. Especially because I needed to have fasting lab work done. I arrived at the hospital and went right to registration. I had to verify my information, pay the deposit for facility charges to St. Marks, and then meet with the pre-admit nurse.

The appointment with the nurse went a little longer than expected, so she told me I needed to wait until after my class to have my lab work. It wouldn’t have been too bad for fasting alone, but to go another 3 hours without water was frustrating.

Before my class started, I had to pay my surgeon’s deposit and “education fee,” which was $1125.  I dropped off a thank you card to Christina, the pre-approval rep in the office, thanking her for all of her hard work and persistence to get my surgery approved by Cigna. I really feel like she went above the call of duty. Next, I was given a big packet of paperwork to fill out and some “before” pictures were taken (both for the surgeon’s records and for a photo CD that I’ll get at my first post-op appointment).

The class was really interesting. It was taught by my surgeon’s nurse and one of  the hospital’s nutritionists. I found out all about what I need to be doing and eating before and after surgery. I will be getting a pain pump while I’m in the hospital to manage pain levels (since I can’t take pills). I will be on a clear liquid diet for the first few days. In addition to the class information, I met Barbara and Cori, who will also be having gastric bypass surgery with me next week. I have a feeling we’ll be good friends.

After class, I went back to the outpatient nurses area to get more pre-surgery instructions, as well as two items I need for the day before surgery – hibiclens (antibacterial soap) and Citroma (bowel prep drink). I had to give a urine sample, and then she took my blood work. I was upset when I found out that for the fasting labs, I didn’t need to stop drinking water. I was pretty dehydrated at that point, so she had to take blood from my inner upper arm (which left a little hematoma). The best part was that she took my weight – I’ve lost a whopping NINE pounds since Monday. This pre-surgery diet is working! Today’s weight was 363.2.

I finally broke my fast around 1pm, and I was ravenous. Because I had missed all my morning eating, I was good to be a little more flexible on what I ate.  I grabbed some food on the way back from the hospital, and later in the evening I went out to dinner with some Yelp friends. Because I sampled a few things at each meal, I really don’t know how to count my calories (and the restaurants don’t have nutritional information on a website).

  • Lunch -kid’s bean burrito, chicken soft taco, and a few nachos
  • Dinner – grilled shrimp and veggies, and veggie enchilada with rice and beans
  • Dessert – shared a single scoop of ice cream with Rosie

Did I stick to 1000 calories today? My guess is that I went slightly over, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I can tell my stomach has shrunk this week, and I’m not able to eat as much as I was even a few days ago. Because I didn’t let myself get over-full, I consider the day a success.