The op is done and I am banded. Things at the moment are roughly as I expect. However the last few days have not been quite as planned...
So I went into hospital for 7.30am on Friday. Another 3 ladies were called up at the same time as me - 2 to have their bands removed (they were as large as ever), and one lady to have a band fitted like me. We were shown to our beds, given hospital attire to wear, had our blood pressure etc taken, and then told to wait. First lady was called in at 8.30. Next one at 9.30. The anaesthetist came to see me at 10am, so knew I would be soon (dishy man, curly hair, Scottish accent, maybe 35 years old). At 10.20 a member of the surgical team came to take me through to theatre. She said I could walk through...my heart was pounding. Theatre was busy and bright, I was shown to the "bed", my gown slightly loosened at the back, asked to lie down. Assistant lady chatted to me while hunky Scottish dude went about putting a cannula in my arm. I was given an oxygen mask and told to breathe deeply, and I went out like a light....
(I can't remember the dreams, but I know I did dream and that they were nice ones)
I just about remember the intubator tube coming out of my throat (although I was too out of it for this sensation to be unpleasant), and then I came round. I felt groggy, and could feel a tightness across my chest. Various nurses were nearby, one said something about it being nearly 1pm, and I said I felt nauseous and cold. Then I went back to sleep again. I assume I was injected with anti-nausea drugs. Next time I woke I felt v groggy, and had warm massage pads on my legs (the ones that pulsate, so massage your legs). This time, the surgeon came to see me (Mr Patel, of Kings college hospital), and said that I'd actually been in surgery longer than planned. My liver hung down very low, and when they were sewing me up (assuming securing the band in place) they had accidentally nicked the liver and I had bled a lot. They had stemmed the bleeding but this had taken a while - I think overall my surgery took about 2 hours, as opposed to the "usual" 1 hour.
Nothing too dramatic, and I don't know whether my liver was nicked due to incompetence, "just one of those things" (the most likely outcome), or because I have some abnormally large liver (?), but this meant I stayed in hospital 4 days...!
Oh, in case you're not familiar with the whereabouts of the liver and stomach...you have to lift the liver up to get to the upper part of the stomach (which gets banded):
For all your non-bandsters, this is what my stomach looks like now:
So, while it obviously wasn't ideal that my liver was cut, looking at these diagrams I can see how that happened. I asked the surgeon how much blood I'd lost, and he said "quite a bit, but we can't be sure exactly"... I have some rather interesting holes in my arms and legs (puncture marks with bruising), so not sure if I was given blood during surgery. I'm sure if I persisted I could find out, but to what end? Perhaps best not to know.
Anyway, so my last 4 days have been spent in the Lister Ward at Kings College Hospital. My first proper hospital experience. Everything was generally good, and I'm pleased to see what my national insurance contributions go towards. The nurses were efficient, my obs were taken every few hours, I was kept dosed on pain meds, but encouraged to walk around as soon as possible (definitely no catheter or anything like that!). My first few trips out of bed were a little tricky as I was dizzy (assuming due to blood loss and pain meds), and I did spend the first few days feeling sick (I won't be taking tramadol as pain meds again voluntarily!). Hospital food was DISGUSTING (I'm such a food snob, and their powdered tomato soup was not up to standard), but chatting to others on the ward passed the time. I also slept a LOT - really didn't realise how shattered I would be by this. Apparently it's a lot to do with the liver regeneration, but I'm sure the normal gastric surgery (and just general anaesthetic) takes it out of you as well. I barely had enough energy to send a text to friends/family, let alone call anyone. I couldn't even speak to mum and dad in one phone call as didn't have the energy.
These are just some of the tubes I had coming out of me! (and my pudgy hands - not that they're particularly slim, but EVERYTHING swelled up in hospital!)
It was interesting to see the NHS at work. There were trainee doctors and nurses everywhere. Most were really kind, but the doctors (generally) had far more attitude issues than the nurses. The majority of qualified nurses were foreign (we shouldn't be quota-ing these skilled migrants!). My favourite was the Filipina night nurse, who sat and sang quietly to you at 4am while giving you pain meds, and the (self-called) vampire South African nurse, who said she could take blood from anyone painlessly (true!!). There were bad moments too - one night I was in a lot of pain, and it took me 6 hours to see a doctor (by which time I was vomiting - or trying to...not sure its possible now with a band). Another day the lady next to my bed was screaming and her whole body spasming she was in such pain - I held her hand and cried with her until she had enough morphine to calm her down. Very distressing. But as a whole there were a lot of caring people in the hospital. Processes and procedures are slow, but what I saw makes me think the NHS does work (or can work)...
Thank god I'm now at home in the forest in Gloucestershire, and sitting in front of the fire. Bliss.
My stomach is still swollen from the trauma of surgery, so its too early to see what kind of quantities I can eat at the moment. I'm aware of a different type of hunger though (again, probably due to swelling), and am only "eating" small amounts each sitting. I saw "eating" because I'm now obviously on the drinking phase...soup, smoothies etc...The good news is, I've lost half a stone since Friday ;)