Back in 2006, there were no Realize® bands in the US and most banding surgeries were done in the hospital. I don’t remember much of what happened the day of surgery. I don’t really remember waking up in the recovery room, or being taken to my room. I do remember that my wonderful, supportive husband Tom was there, and knowing that he was by my side, I just wanted to sleep. Still tired from the anesthesia, and as the mother of 2 young children and a busy corporate executive getting sleep was a luxury.
The next morning, was very different. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Before 8 am the hospital was bustling. First things first – walk. At pre-op class the nurses stressed the importance of walking right after surgery. Walking was easier than I expected, although I was walking with “my dance partner” the intravenous pole.
Dr. Billy came to see me. The surgery went well, no surprises; the whole procedure which I spent months stressing over took less than an hour. My doctor spent time talking with me about what I now needed to do to reap the benefits of my band – the first of many head adjustments. I would be discharged in the afternoon, assuming that the mini upper GI series showed I was able to swallow.
Next a visit from Sandi, “my angel,” a Lap-band® mentor/volunteer from my surgeon’s practice. I had met Sandi before at the support group meetings.
Sandi had lost over 200 pounds with her band, and was an expert. I am so incredibly fortunate to have Sandi as my “angel”. What I didn’t know at the time was that Sandi would be there to hold my hand and teach me every step of the way on this Banded Living journey. In my fourth year, she’s still there for me and she’s also one of my dearest friends. I doubt I would have been this successful without Sandi; she taught me so much. My husband arrived after dropping the kids off at school. We wanted to keep things as normal as possible for the kids. No other visitors, I was keeping my surgery a well-guarded secret. I didn’t even tell my sister.
While Tom was there, Sarah, the nurse from my doctor’s office came to see me. She was awesome at my pre-op class, but she also came by to see me to make sure I understood all my post-op instructions and to lend support. I’m really glad she came, but I was also glad that she gave me the instructions in writing ahead of time. There was just too much to remember, and my head was still in a fog.
I was able to swallow, no problem, I was taking in fluids, going to the bathroom and walking. That meant I was ready to go home, hug my children and begin the first day of my new life on the journey of Banded Living™.
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