My gastric bypass took place on Thursday afternoon, and it all appears to have gone very well.
My surgeon is very pleased with how it went. She was previously concerned that there might be some scarring of the top of my stomach from radiotherapy to my lungs a few years ago. She said that if the stomach was damaged then she would have to give me a sleeve rather than a bypass, but it turned out not to be too bad, and I had the bypass as planned.
On the day itself I was wheeled directly into the operating theatre and stepped over to the table myself. The anaesthetist then put me under, and I don´t remember anything else until I woke up in the HDU (High Dependency Unit) in the early evening. My surgeon puts all her bariatric patients in the HDU for the first night, so that they get constant monitoring from staff.
The HDU wasn´t much fun itself. It was noisy with people coming and going, and with machines beeping constantly. I had a blood pressure cuff on that automatically activated every 30 minutes, and I had an IV line in for fluids. And with all that going on overnight, I didn´t get any sleep.
I was thankful the next day to be disconnected from all the machines, allowed to go to the toilet for the first time, and also to be taken to the ward – and to the blissful peace of a private room! Oh, the joys of private hospitals!
My instinct was to sleep, but I had been put on a regime of hydration. Every hour I had to drink 30ml of some stuff called Cubitan (a high protein high energy drink which I grew to loath, due to its sweet sickly taste), and on the half hour I had to drink 60ml of water. This might not sound too difficult, but it was quite hard getting all that liquid down when you can only take small sips. The activity took up pretty much my whole day from 9am to 10pm.
However I was delighted to be able to be out of bed and free to move around. Indeed the surgeon was keep for me to move as much as possible.
The pain was pretty bad, particularly on my left hand side. I had to ask for pain relief a few times. I found that giving the nurses a score out of 10 to describe how bad the pain was helped with getting the right medication.
When I was sat still or laid on my back the pain wasn’t too bad. It was when I tried to move or lie on my side that the pain was really bad. And I don’t really like sleeping on my back, so that was a bit of a problem.
Luckily I was dosed up with good pain relief that night, and finally managed to get a good night’s sleep.
The next day (surgery + 2 days) I was moved from the water / cubitan onto a full liquid diet. So that was runny porridge and milk for breakfast, and some pureed chicken and vegetables (essentially baby food) for lunch. Plus, of course, drinking as much water as possible.
And because I was tollerating all of that quite well, I was allowed to go home that afternoon – about 48 hours after surgery.