Why They Call It Hell Week

A friend of mine from church had her gastric bypass last week. (If you’re reading this, Hi, C!)

She was in a military hospital, so apparently they do things much differently. She didn’t have a drainage tube. Worse yet, she didn’t have the magic pain button. Worst of all, she was sent home within 24 hours of surgery. (Her doc said, “well, you’re going to be in pain whether you’re here or there. You might as well hurt where you can be comfortable.” My response? At home you don’t have nurses waiting on you hand and foot.)

Well, C is now smack dab in the middle of gastric bypass Hell Week.

She pushed herself and came to church yesterday because she said she couldn’t stand laying around the house any more. I can understand that, though I gave her strong advice to go home and go to bed.

The week immediately following gastric bypass surgery is the absolutely most miserable part of the whole experience. You’ve undergone MAJOR surgery. Yet since the docs (in my opinion) want so much to ease your fears about such a big undertaking, people come out of it thinking they should be able to jump back into their regular routine pretty quickly.

What they forget is that not only¬† have you had MAJOR surgery, your body is now trying to heal from that surgery with no nutrition coming in. Of course you’re going to feel like sleeping all the time.

Then, there is the stress of trying to get 64 oz. of water and 60 grams of protein into a pouch the size of an egg, that’s swollen and unhappy to boot. My friend was (in addition to the emotional roller coaster) worried to death that she was going to get dehydrated or sick because she couldn’t get it all in.

I reminded her that those numbers (for the first week or two, anyway) are more of a goal you have to work up to than a requirement. You do the absolute best you can, and that’s it. You can’t shove more in there than will fit, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, pat yourself on the back for every oz. you do manage.

C told me that she feels like perhaps she was a little too educated on the potential gastric bypass surgery complications. Because now that’s all she can think of and it’s driving her nuts. Will she get gallstones? Will she have an obstruction or vitamin deficiency?

We can’t say – except that I’m nearly 100% positive she won’t get them this week. Which is good, because this week is torturous enough as it is.

Hang in there, C. (And anyone else who’s in the middle of Hell Week.) This, too shall pass. I’ll be praying for you!

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