Progress

Well, over the last couple of weeks things have started looking up. I have been headhunted for a new role with a large company who are offering a package i am finding difficult to refuse. I had a fill this month where it turns out i was 1ml short of what we thought was in. My wonderful nurse de-filled and refilled me up to 7ml and i am starting to feel satiety, albeit not as soon as I like, but i think 0.5ml more will probably get me perfectly set. I have lost 16lbs post op and 60lbs since 2010.

I was out on friday night for a few drinks and bumped into an old friend i used to work with where she looked ate me and said “you look lush!” Being the shy sort that doesn’t take compliments well i just bashfully looked away and changed the subject but her words resonated with me all the way home – it dawned on me that the last time she would have saw me i was about 30lbs heavier (was actually in a ‘lighter’ part of my life then when i was clubbing a lot)

So with my band working and a positive outlook on life i want to start really concentrating on my band – ive fired up myfitnesspal again and want to up my excercise again. Lets see if i can drop 2 stone for summer.

2nd Fill Today

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Well I’ve had my second fill, I’ve not lost any weight since my last fill which i knew. Apparently most patients present having put weight on since surgery, but am still 14lbs lower. Anyhoo. Ive had a 2.5mls put in putting me up to 6.5 in a 14ml band. My lovely nurse said she wouldnt expect me to go over 10mls as its usually before then id start to find my sweet spot.

The place was really busy today, the bariatric nurse and my patient coordinator were there so it was obviously sales and screening day for the north east. 🙂

Anyway, back now and my diet is strictly liquids for two days, then mushy for two days. FML. 🙂

The Hospital Group

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When I originally decided to get the band but didn’t go through with it, the hospital group weren’t doing the procedure.  Bupa in Leeds was the closest to me and the first consultation I went to with them the surgeon was in the south of France and failed to tell me, or the receptionist, who had me sit waiting for him for an hour before telling me he was out of country. I’d driven all the way down there from Newcastle so the experience was shit to say the least.

So when finally deciding to get the band a few years later, the hospital group were two grand cheaper than my bupa quote solo thought it was a good deal.  They also had a presence in Newcastle so I thought fills would be easy.  However, some people on the forums talk quite negatively about them so was dubious at best.

After going through my procedure with them I’m pleased to say they’ve been pretty good.  They’ve not been spectacular but not sure what they would have to do to be as such and have certainly surpassed Bupa’s calamitous approach first time round.

So I thought I’d summarise below my negative and positive feedback for anyone else contemplating.

Negatives:
When discussing with the bariatric nurse at my consultation it was very rehearsed, like from a script.
I didn’t get to know my surgeon until I booked my date
The drivers are discrete but the bloody massive hospital group lanyards probably gave my neighbours something to gossip about.
When getting my bloods done the doctor didn’t wear gloves, and when he put a dressing on he used about ten meters of tape, on a hairy arm that’s a fucking stupid thing to do.  I was cursing him when removing it ten mins later.
The shower in my room was crap with no pressure
I felt like I was on a production line
The night staff were pretty cold and not incredibly caring.
Not enough dressings given for post op.

Positives:
Price
Good value travel package
Nice cars
Drivers were great
Daytime nurses were lovely
Lots of information on website
Good support package for fills
Local support for fills
Clean hospital
Spacious room and bathroom
Comfy bed

So now what?

So I’m banded, I’ve not slept well, the journey home was OK and Rhys? Was right about the cushion, I asked the nurse for one and driver said he would bring it back.  It was useful for resting my hands on so that they weren’t hitting my wounds which are quite sore.

I get home and the driver helps me to the door with my bags, I’m worried my neighbors see, the drivers all seem to be good at being discrete except they wear massive lanyards holding their ID saying ‘hospital group’.

I’m tired and hungry, but in too much discomfort to eat.  I go upstairs and go to bed.

I wake up and am thirsty and hungry, I go downstairs and try and have some tomato soup, I have a bit but the wind pain is killing me. The one horrible thing about this surgery is the bloody wind pain.  Its like a stabbing in my shoulder joint.  The carbon dioxide used to inflate my stomach during surgery tickles a nerve in the diaphragm and manifests itself in pain in the left shoulder.  Its bloody awful at times.  I find burping helps.

My port incision hurts and it uncomfortable to move around, however not unbearable. Getting in and out of bed or off the settee is a bit of a drama but as I find out, it gets better.

Well…I think I’ve had a band fitted

I wake up in a haze and I’ve a god awful dry mouth. It’s a blur what’s happening, there’s a nurse with me but I don’t realise which one and am not sure where I am, as soon as am awake im being wheeled to my room in my bed. I notice my stomach is really sore and im really thirsty.  I’m in my room and im brought some water.  It’s like mana from heaven im so thirsty. I take off my oxygen mask and have a sip, lush (I hadn’t had a drop to drink for at least 12 hours). I ask the nurse to pass my phone from my bag so I can text my girlfriend to let her know am ok. She leaves the room and I have a sneak look at my stomach to check if I’ve been ‘done’ or not. I notice 5 dressings, a bit lower down than id expected but they look like incisions to me. That’s it then, im done.

I’m in pain and thirsty but I lie back and snooze, for the next hour or so I snooze through a nurse coming in and taking my BP, I don’t know how many times, i remember she comments how well its coming down as it was a bit on the high side before I went to theatre.

Soon after a new face appears (shift swap?) She offers me a cup of tea and my eyes light up “ooh yes please”. The tea arrives and i sit up…fuck me! it hurts in my stomach muscles sitting up. It hurts bad, not intolerable but just bloody uncomfortable. The tea tastes good however and nearly makes me forget the discomfort. I ask the nurse if I can walk about, my voice is really a i suspect from the tubes they must have inserted in surgery. She says I can walk about but I need to let her know so she’s there when i stand up. I leave it a while but the wind pain in my left shoulder is causing me some discomfort so I press my buzzer and she comes and helps me up.  She unhooked my drip and hands it to me and i stand off the bed, it’s not too difficult but im a bit wobbly on my feet from the anaesthetic. I make a couple of steps and im ok, the nurse leaves the room and pace around with my drip in hand and decide to call my other half.  She wants to see my incisions so i take a photo in the mirror, im still surprised at their location.  I’m starting to feel a little better.  I also notice that no Iodine has stained my Calvin Klein pants, RESULT!  I feel tired quickly and so go back to my bed and pop the TV on and hunker down for the night.

My incisions
These scars must be where the band is.  A bit lower than i thought

OK, You’re in theatre next

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One of the lovely nurses that kept popping in to see me was keeping me updated with progress.

 and when i was likely to go into theatre.  The anaesthetist had been in and asked me some questions but allowed me to ask some from him.  he said he would be giving me anti sickness medication with the anaesthetic and that he will give me paracetamol post op.  My surgeon James Halstead came in and asked me some questions, asked if i knew what i was getting into and if i had anything to ask.  He said he hasn’t lost a patient and isn’t planning on changing that and if i follow his instructions he will ensure i lose a sensible amount of weight.  He shakes my hand and leaves.

I have a shower in the ample size en suite bathroom, the water isnt very warm and shower not very pressured, nevertheles i get my self clean and dry and pop on my hospital gown.  I was horrified to see that i was provided with paper underpants too but my nurse said if i had cotton boxers i could wear them although they would probably be stained with iodine, I thought to myself that id rather be stained with iodine than to wear these disposable under crackers.  I pop on my gown which doesnt close fully on the back and pop on my anti clotting socks the nurse brought in earlier.  I feel nervous, hungry and slightly sick.

I sit on my bed awaiting to be called and about half an hour passes before im fetched and I walk along the corridor to the theatre.  Before we go though my nurse gets me another gown to wear as jacket so as to cover my bare arse and back.  I get into theatre and the stench hits me, not a dirty smell but that overly chemically cleaned smell.  it reminds me of the kitchens in the hotel i once worked,  The room is freezing and the lights are bright.  Im shivvering now and i can see a fridge full of blood, this is obviously on standby should anything go wrong.  Im starting to consider backing out,  Ive lost weight before and done well on my own, maybe this one last time i can do it properly.  What if i die?  What about my new son?  My parents dont know im here, if i die theyd be mortified i never told them.

“so you have any kids?” the nurse asks, its probably evident that im shitting myself so i can see she is trying to calm me down.
“yes, a new born, 9 weeks, little boy” i reply nervously

a large black male in scrubs comes in, hes confident and stern he asks me to confirm my signature and to put on my cap. He stands me up and leads me into the theatre, i see my surgeon in his scrubs at a distance, it looks like he’s checking his equipment with someone else, he spares me a glance and carries on what hes doing.  Im made to sit on the bed and press my feet against the bottom.  My gown is undone and i lie back.  The stern man begins attaching heart monitors to my chest with a sense of urgency while the aneasthethtist i met before says hello and begins looking for vein.
“A sharp scratch” he says as he inerts the canular, it hurts a bit mroe than a sharp scratch but it always does.

“here is some oxygen” as he places a mask over my face
“take deep breaths, fill your lungs” i take deeper breaths of the cold gas.

“you will now feel the anaesthetic in your arm, it will be cold but may sting a bit” i feel him fiddle with the cannula and then whoosh!
Fuck me! my arm feels like its got severe cramp.
“think happy thoughts” and within seconds I’m out.

 

 

the day of my surgery

Id received a call yesterday from the hospital group to tell me to expect my driver somewhere between 6 and 6.30 am, id asked if I would be on my own for the 4 hour journey from Newcastle to Birmingham and she said “yes”.  That’s great I thought, as I wanted some ‘headspace’ beforehand and being on my own in the car down there would give me it.

So right on cue at 6:30am my driver Rhys?Reese? Or Reece? Called to say he was outside, I knew this already as I was sat waiting looking out the window when a very nice VW Passat pulled up.  So out I pop, I kiss my girlfriend and my 9 week old son goodbye.  Rhys? carries my bag and puts it in the boot.  Soon we’re on the A1 making good progress.

My driver is a hoot, we’re sharing stories on the way down and having good old manly banter, he takes my mind right off the procedure.  When we get nearby he begins to give me a rundown of what will happen and a few tips for me while there.  He advises me to ask for a pillow when coming home so I take a mental note.

We soon arrive at Dolan Park on a gorious day at about 10.30 and I’m checked in. Within minutes a doctor takes me into a side room and takes 3 vials of blood, his english isnt too good and he’s not wearing gloves, he’s friendly enough but the gloves thing makes me wonder about cleanliness a bit.  Soon after ive given bloods a nurse comes and escorts me into a lift up to my room for the day.  The place smells clean and not like a hospital, more like a hotel, this is reassuring to me.  “This is where you’ll be spending most of your time at Dolan park.” as she pointed me to my room.  I’d been warned that as a low risk patient (30 yr old with bmi 36 and usually fit and well) i’d be last to operated on so I was expect a long wait.  No problem, I’ve a TV in my room and the Olympics is on. RELAX!