So I did it! I went to the oBand Center and got me a LapBand! This post will serve as all the details about my first week as a bariatric weight loss patient. You'd be surprised about easy this was...!
Pre-surgery: 2 days of clear liquids only. NOTHING by mouth day of surgery. I highly recommend going for a morning surgery so you can go back to drinking water soon afterwards! My surgery was 3 PM, so I was a little parched by mid-afternoon! But, we choose late afternoon so my hubby wouldn’t have to take the whole day off work – we also could have chosen a closer center or another doctor, but everything fell right into place for me and we agreed it was best!
WEEK 1, Surgery Day: I arrived at the Westwood oBand Surgical Center at 2 pm and spent a half hour in the waiting room relaxing, filling out the standard pre-surgery forms. I sent my husband to go see if there was a movie somewhere he could go see. (Success! There are tons of indie theatres for those UCLA kids placed all over Westwood.) Around 2:45, my surgical nurse came to get me, had me strip down and get into those terrible hospital gowns. Thankfully, the darn thing was so roomy and comfortable! I wish they had that size at the hospital when I delivered my twins! They also gave me thick tight socks…. Heaven, as far as I was concerned. It’s always cold in operating rooms and I loved the warm feet treatment! My nurse rocked, by the way. It was more like going shopping or having coffee with a friend, than it was pre-op prep work!
The doctors were assuring (my surgeon was Dr. Naim), the anesthesiologist rocked – he was SO great and trust me, I’ve had a few who weren’t! I didn’t even know I went to sleep. Around 5 pm I was woken up. They let me keep sleeping so long as I acknowledged them. I remember them trying to talk to me, but I was in such a deep zone, that I tried answering them in sign language. They laughed… they knew I was ok. I got to doze for another half hour to shake it off, then they had me sit up and drink a glass of water. I actually didn’t want it… I was pretty groggy! After I drank it, they helped me shake off the sleepies, then I got dressed and they had my husband come in for me, and walk me to the car by 6 pm. Awesome how quick that was! We drove the hour and a half long commute to Orange County on a Friday night in silence… primarily because I was happily snoozing again.
When we got home, I went to sleep for another 2 hours to get the anesthesia out of my system. As far as the pain went, I became mildly uncomfortable. But not enough to take any meds for it. I didn’t feel like taking the prescribed pain killers, and instead just opted to “man up”…! My sleep was restless. Honestly, 2 very large people sharing a queen sized bed is ridiculous in the first place. But add to that a few surgical wounds that require careful negotiations in bed, and it’s a recipe for pain. I woke up almost every hour to roll over. Because I am a stomach sleeper, having to lay on my side or back was another stumbling block for a restful night.
Day 1/2: I walked around a bit on Saturday to dissipate the gas bubbles. I sat on the couch a lot and watched TV. I also took 3 naps because the anesthesia was still in my system. :-) Saturday night was very uncomfortable. I ended up drinking Children’s Tylenol to dull the pain so I could sleep. A very restless night. Sunday was a bit of the same. I walked, took 2 naps and had another restless night.
I was really glad it was a weekend and my hubby was home to handle the kids and make the meals for the family because I think I might have kicked the stove inside out if I had to prepare food for other people to enjoy. It’s certainly not fair having to drink only protein shakes, water and Gatorade if you are expected to cook a chicken dinner for 6 other people AND do the dishes afterwards. I decided that I was going on a kitchen strike for the rest of the month. If I wasn’t dirtying a single glass or plate, or even opening the fridge except to grab a bottle of something, then I certainly shouldn’t be expected to scrape old food off of other people’s plates! That would be sheer torture!
Day 3: On Monday I had a nanny come care for the children as I spent another day trying to recoup. I had zero energy but that was most likely since I had only consumed about 1,000 calories in 6 days and was scraping the bottom of my energy reserve. I needed to double my intake of the protein shakes. I took one nap. I wasn’t in pain generally, unless I needed to bend over, get out of a chair, or roll over in bed. I took my bandages off. Not bad – I look like I was on the losing end of a bar fight with knives. I have 5 small incisions – the main one being front and center. Of course my kids like to pounce on me, use me for leverage, or just love on me with all the energy and vigor only a toddler can give! They had no respect for the tummy, and the torturous love my kids gave me hurt plenty. I was bruised all over! So, I did what every woman should do at some point in her marriage … I kicked my hubby out of bed so I could sleep peacefully all by myself. Oh… nice!!! What a GREAT sleep.
Day 4: On Tuesday, I took the nanny and the kids on a shopping run. We were out of food – funny, since I have had nothing to eat for a week now. I let the kids be the shoppers and had the nanny to do all the heavy lifting of the kids, grocery bags, putting food away, etc. The whole experience wiped me out though. I was tired and dizzy and just drained of energy. I puttered around the house, trying to be useful . Out of the blue, I decided to join a gym. I signed up for the “spa package” that give me full gym privilege AND a complementary massage or facial each month. 1) I deserve it! 2) It’s not like I wouldn’t spend the same $80 at a fast food joint anyway, so I’m using the money I would have thrown away towards the better good. 3) I really didn’t want to join another gym with moldy showers and smelly equipment! 4) This gym is a half mile from home, so it’s more likely I’ll go much more often than the other option about 15 minutes away. 5) It has a digital scale so I can watch my results! Speaking of which, I lost 13 pounds in the week I have not eaten. COOL. With a renewed spirit, I increased my protein shakes and by the night time felt much more in the game again. Another night without hubby hogging the bed… bliss.
Day 5: On Wednesday, I was back. I mean, I felt like me again. I went to work. I held meetings (sitting down) and handled 3 hours of traffic without blinking an eye! I had a bag all packed with Gatorade, protein shakes, Vitamin Water, Smart Water, regular water… if it was liquid, I probably had it! And since I had a bottle of something in my hand the whole day, I didn’t feel deprived of a meal. It was also helpful that in the middle of my day, I had to drive to a second location an hour away. It was NOT helpful passing by fast food joints by the dozen. I’ve had a passionate and torrid love affair with Jack (in the Box) for the past 13 years which has been hard to handle. I settled on going through the drive-thru anyway and ordering a bottled water. Even though I had 5 of them in my car... It is going to be hard breaking up with Jack.
Day 6: Thursday. The end of the first week of the rest of my life. I’m not in pain anymore (unless I get body slammed in the gut by a kid). I can sleep on my stomach again… YES! But I am starting to dream about food at night, and fantasize about it during the day! As I grabbed Burger King for the kids dinner, I drove with the temptingly hot and steamy bag of fries just 2 feet away. I thought about putting a fat wad of fries in my mouth and chewing, chewing, chewing, chewing… then spitting it all out the window instead of swallowing it (which probably would have been disastrous, had I done so…). So tempted. So tempted. I didn’t do it. But I did go home and suck on a popsicle.
Day 7: Friday is much of the same. I went to work and then hung out with the kids at dinner through bedtime because hubby got to go out on a much needed boys night out. I survived. We had fun. It didn’t hurt to change diapers and put toddlers into cribs. I am looking forward to the weekend again to see if I can get away with more laziness and have hubby handle food duties again. I’m on strike after all. Unless he notices my box of sugar-free popsicles in the freezer, that is.
More to come... after all, this is going to be a fantastic journey.
oBand Surgical Center - Westwood CA