Let’s see. We last left my Gastric Bypass Surgery Complication Saga as I drifted off into a drugged stupor following the trauma of watching my infected incision being re-opened and cleaned. Despite feeling like I may develop post traumatic stress disorder, it did feel better to have all the pus and gook out of it. Of course, the good dose of morphine didn’t hurt matters, either.
Next up was a CT scan, both to look for possible “fistulas” (holes in my bowel that would have meant the brown liquid really was fecal matter) and to possibly determine why I’d been unable to eat.
CT Scans Are Different For Gastric Bypass Surgery Patients
They brought a whole half-gallon of stuff that looked like lemonade and said, “drink this as quickly as possible.” I reminded them that I have a stomach the size of an egg and that “as quickly as possible” for me to drink a half gallon would be somewhere around 6 hours or so.
If you ever have a CT scan or Upper GI test after having gastric bypass surgery, be sure you tell the people repeatedly. You cannot drink all the goop a normal person can drink. And the test can be administered successfully on what you can fit into your system.
It took a couple of hours, but I did get half of the half gallon down. Even that was a little much as some of it came right back up. But they said that was enough and took me down for the scan.
Have you ever had a CT scan? I hadn’t. Maybe it was the morphine, maybe it was the trauma of seeing my wound opened and cleaned. Whatever the reason, the CT scan scared the crap out of me.
You lay out on this cot, and they feed you feet first into this big round machine that looks like you’ve been abducted by aliens. I had to lay flat, which hurt like hell, and raise my arms over my head. A computerized voice that sounded like something from a ride at Disneyland told me to “Inhale deeply and hold your breath,” then to “Continue breathing.”
I kept waiting for it to say, “Please keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times.”
Thank God For His Love And Care
I was all alone in the room with this giant machine, in incredible pain and scared half to death. Tears were streaming out of my eyes, but since I was laying on my back they puddled in my ears. All I could do was pray.
“Please help me, Jesus!” I whispered. “I need you to be with me!” I started singing very softly, “Jesus, hold my hand… I need thee every hour… through this pilgrim land… protect me by thy pow’r… Hear my feeble plea… Oh, Lord, look down on me… When I kneel in prayer I hope to meet you there, Blessed Jesus hold my hand…” Then I changed the last line to “right now i’m really scared and I need you to be here, Blessed Jesus hold my hand.”
I don’t know if the technician could hear me or not. Nor do I care. Because Jesus did come and hold my hand, and together we made it through.
Dressing Changes Start To Trigger Panic Attacks
Back in my room, the nursing shift had changed and my nurse for overnight was Jason. I remembered having him when I had my gastric bypass surgery, and amazingly he remembered me as well. Jason is a phenomenal nurse. Even in a hospital that SUCKS as bad as mine, there are wonderful people.
But in the middle of the night, Jason had to change the dressing on my wound. He made sure to give me more morphine first, and give it time to kick in. But the smell was still bad and he had to do some cleaning and it hurt very very badly. In fact, this change was possibly worse than the first one.
From that moment on I began to dread the next change, which was supposed to happen every 12 hours. As I write this, it’s been one week to the day, and I still panic when it’s time to change my dressing. My doc gave me Xanax at my last appointment, and it seems to help.
It’s just the idea that there is a huge, gaping hole in my stomach that just freaks me out. But it gets a little better each time the dressing is changed.
In my next entry, I’m going to tell you about some of the outrageous things that have happened during this – the PA that tried to bully me, the nurse that tried to debate politics, the home health care people who didn’t want to do their jobs…
Stick around. There’s a lot more to the story.