Becoming Half the Man I Used To Be – Part 2

Back in March, I went to the bariatric information session, the first step in the journey of weight loss surgery. It was approximately 2 hours long, and I found it extremely helpful, as I learned of the three options available;2 surgical  (RNY, or sleeve) and 1 medical (optifast).  I also learned about the medications, supplements, diets and restrictions of the procedure.  I then attended a nutrition class, where, admittedly, I knew most of the info from when I attended the weight loss clinic.  A big portion of the program is controlling not only what you eat, but also how much.  I could eat a chocolate bar and not have an issue provided I don’t do it daily.  Alternatively, I could eat a salad every day, but if it’s the size of a serving bowl, and is loaded with cheese, nuts, croutons, and a creamy dressing, is it really different from having a chocolate bar?  

The EKG was a quick test that only took about ten minutes to do, and then the next scheduled appointment was an abdominal ultrasound, to see how thick the abdominal wall is.  A student intern completed the ultrasound, and she did a thorough job, though she did not seem to have a lot of what I would call “character”.  That only took about 20 minutes, and then I was on my way.  One month later was the scope.

Have you ever had a scope?  I hadn’t, and was not sure what to expect.  I thought for sure that it would be something that I would be knocked out for, or at least loopy, but no.  I was wide-awake.  But first, let me tell you what happened before the scope.

I went to the West 5th location, as what was written on my paperwork.  I was dropped off by the other half (OH) as I am not supposed to drive after the procedure, and went to the bariatric desk.  Where I was promptly told that my procedure would not be here, but at the main campus, which not far away, is down the mountain from where I currently was.  I was told there was a shuttle, and so as I was on my way to meet the shuttle, I called OH who was around the corner, so he came back and picked me up and took me to the main hospital.

Once I had navigated the hallways and found the endoscopy unit (good thing I left early, and they had signage!) I signed in and filled out the form.  When my name was called I followed the nurse into the area and was handed a gown to put on from the waist up (good thing it was only waist up, as she gave me a tent sized gown.  Even fully closed, I could have wrapped my car in it).   I then had to answer several questions that I already had done on the form (birthdate, allergies, etc).  I’m all for making sure it’s the right person, but do people do these kinds of tests for others so often that they need this level of security?  I wonder.

Next it’s time for the IV port.  Fun for me, as I have flat veins, and not being allowed to eat or drink anything doesn’t help that at all.  Plus, being a kidney patient, I am supposed to be using hand veins.  So, the nurse, let’s call her Satan, attempts to get the needle in.  After searching around, she finally finds a small one in my right hand.  She goes for it, and successfully hits a vein, that spews blood right out and all over my hand.  She wipes and stabilizes the area, and then moves on to the next person, presumably before heading back to the Underworld.  I say this because it hurt; a dull ache in my hand that continued all the way through the procedure.

After about 10-15 minutes it is my turn to go in for my scope.  I get wheeled into a room, and there is another nurse, and a child.  No, wait… not a child.  The doctor that is going to be performing the scope.  He calls me sir a lot, and I feel like a million years old.  He then hooks me up to oxygen, and gives me “sedation”.

I don’t think that there was anything in the syringe.  The scope didn’t hurt, but I did gag a bit.  Then it was over, and I was sent to recovery.  In recovery I waited to feel any effects of the sedation, but felt none.  After about 20 minutes I was offered a drink, and then waited another 10-15 minutes before my IV was removed and I was moved to a chair.  OH showed up shortly after and we left.  I must say that I went for lunch right after, and then had a 3-hour nap at home, but never felt anything from the sedation.

The next step is meeting with the social worker and dietician.  They are literally a few days apart, so I am not sure which one is first.  I am not looking forward to the dietician, as I know that I will be asked to write down what I eat, and I admit that I am bad at doing this.  I have tried writing, apps, you name it, and I always fall behind.  But, I know that I am heading to a better me, and that this is part of the process.  I plan to chronicle my journey via posts here every 4-6 weeks, and hope that you will come along for the ride.

Mark Middleton

Mark Middleton

WLS Patient