I'm going to open this column with a dirty, little limerick: There once was a girl named Casi, some viewed her as fat and lazy, she struggled with obesity most of her life, which caused much strife, now there came a solution, and she looked at herself with a brand new vision. Ha-Ha; I tricked all of you dirty minded people - sorry, no dirty limerick - well at least today...
On June 9 I arrived at Marietta Memorial Hospital's surgical department. For? Yes, my gastric bypass surgery. My thoughts raced; Am I doing the right thing? I'm anxious and scared. Will I make it through the surgery? Well, I had answers for all of these thoughts: Yes, I'm doing the right thing, I've prepared for this and this is what I need and want: Of course, I'm anxious and scared, you idiot, anyone would be: of course I'll make it through the surgery - I have an excellent team who really cares for my well-being and who lives, breathes and sleeps bariatric. So my thoughts began to quell.
I was shown back to a room and was instructed to change into a Boo-Berry costume. Just kidding. The nurses then went to work on putting in IV lines, vital signs etc... I met with the anesthesiologist and the doctor and was then wheeled to the OR. "Too late, now" I thought in my head facetiously.
I awoke in recovery. My first memory is coughing and it didn't feel so good. A nurse said, "Use this pillow and put it over your face." Oh, wait a minute, that's a family joke - sick joke - but nevertheless a joke. "Use the pillow and hold it tight to your stomach when you cough" said the nurse in reality. She explained that I had a pain pump which I played "Jeopardy" with the pain medicine releasing button. Each time I exclaimed, "Who is George Washington?"
I was soon transferred to a patient room on the fourth floor. Later that day, I was encouraged to stand at the side of the bed. My knees buckled and I got back into bed. The next day I was taken down to X-ray for an upper GI - I kept hitting the pain pump - I hate upper GI's. I'm such a wuss. This test was to determine if my little stomach pouch had any leaks. There were none - goody.
Seeing as though, the first day after surgery was nothing by mouth. The second day was definitely not a picnic. My pills were crushed and I had to drink them in 1 ounce of water. What??? Yep, that's right - 1 ounce. It tasted horrible - I gagged of course. It was worse than skillet supper) one of my childhood dinner dishes served). Barf... gag... dry heave - you know, what more can I say?
Luckily, every time I saw the "Gupta Team" I was strongly encouraged and convinced that I was doing well. I had a set back though - after drinking 2 ounces of water I became very nauseated and had abdominal pain. Back to square one - 1 ounce. I did begin to walk with assistance - my walker by the name of Fred. Soon, I was doing better and "fighting" for success. For example, I walked five times in one day and was able to stomach more of the ounces of water that I had to intake. Soon, I ditched "Fred" and walked on my own. I was able to use the restroom - FINALLY!!! The end result, gross as it seems, rivaled the sewer plant. No kidding!
The "Gupta Team" deemed me as fit after seeing my remarkable progress for returning home on the Wednesday following my surgery - TWO DAYS AFTER MAJOR SURGERY! Holy cow.
My diet, upon arrival for home, consisted of 4 ounces of liquid every hour while awake. No, that does not include beer (unless sugar free-hahahaha). My drink choices were protein supplements with skim milk, broth, sugar free drink mixes, Popsicles and gelatin; decaf hot tea and water. This was known as the Bari I diet.
Woo-hoo! I graduated from this diet to the Bari II diet. I have one word to describe this diet - PUREED. Now I know how a baby feels when a spoonful of peas and carrots comes toward him/her in an airplane like motion. In this phase, I add supplements like iron, calcium and Vitamin D and a chewable multivitamin plus my other medications. To me, it seems more complicated due to the nature of timing of everything. I keep a daily log to remember everything and the timing. Otherwise it isn't too bad. Like for breakfast I puree a banana and Greek yogurt and then have a protein supplement with skim milk and then even later have egg salad with low fat mayo. Here's the catch - 4 tablespoons in all you can have during one meal - except for the drinks - 4 ounces.
So far, since the 330 pounds I originally weighed - I weigh 278 pounds. OH MY GOSH! I fit into a shirt I haven't fit in for two years. Wow.
I do have some huge "Thank yous" so far...The Gupta Team, my family, my best friend, and all of my other WONDERFUL friends. Thank you to everyone for your enduring support during this process and on ongoing process - that is. Until next time....
Casi Stewart can be reached at email@example.com. A Weighty Issue appears every other Monday on the Life page.