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The Day I Had Bariatric Surgery

The Day I Had Bariatric Surgery

Everyone asks me what bariatric surgery felt like and here is my response. 

1. You will wake up scared out of your mind but ready for this next step.

2. You will get in the car and start to review what you think you forgot and then realize you're not taking a trip to another country and you stop worrying about it so you can start worrying about the surgery again. 

3. You get to the hospital and check in with the front desk. They point you to the proper waiting area and you go there, check in and sit down. At this point you start to evaluate all the exits and start thinking about running out the door and down the street until you remember that you're making a health decision about your future. 

4. They call you back and take you to a holding area. Here they tell you to take everything off and and you have to get in bed and lay on a puppy pad. At this point you start to think how embarrassing it would be if you had an accident on the bed but then you remember you have been on a liquid diet since 1997 (actually 3 weeks) so it is nearly impossible to poop on the puppy pad. So you start to evaluate running out the door again but then you remember you're in a gown and your butt will be hanging out if you try to run away. 

5. They ask you a lot of questions and you answer them and wonder if they are just stalling you because the doctor is eating a huge pancake breakfast and you get mad at him for having breakfast because you haven’t eaten in 84 years. 

6. The anesthesia people come in and they are super nice and you talk to them about how nervous you are and they say no problem and talk to you about meds that will calm you down, then give you something to calm you down. You instantly fall in love with the anesthesiologist crew and start to wonder how a long-term relationship would last but then realize you can't have an IV in for the rest of your life.

7. The doctor shows up without pancake crumbs on his shirt and says some nice encouraging words. You try to pin him down to him saying it’s going to be the best ever surgery and nothing will go wrong and he says “I will do my best work”. You start to think how vague that was but move on quick because your feeling cool from the anesthesiologist.

8. It’s time to go. You tell your spouse/guest goodbye and remind them for the 15th time to not forget your bag of clothes. They are secretly annoyed with you but say goodbye in a loving way anyway. 

9. They push your bed into the elevator to take you to the 7th floor. Some poor innocent person just trying to get to work on one of the floors accidentally gets in and you have to make the awkward hellos. 

10. They push you down the hall and you start to think about the alien movie where they dragging the person down the hall about to put an alien in their chest. 

11. You come busting in to the OR and you immediately think this is nothing like the TV shows and people aren’t kissing in corner. Disappointment settles in. 

12. Half the employees from the hospital surround you so they can move you from your nice comfy bed to a table that reminds you of a medieval torture device. That part was kinda fun because I think nobody had picked me up since I was 2.

13. You see your new best friends (the anesthesia people) and they put an oxygen mask on you. You try to talk to them but you sound like a cartoon character so they pretend to understand what you said and nod. While that’s happening, someone’s roping you to the table like the movie Braveheart but your cool with it because of anesthesia people.

14. They say goodnight. You start to respond for a split second and bam -you're out!

15. You wake up in recovery and a really nice nurse tells you everything went great and asks if you're in any pain. You glare at her because how dare she ask you such an obvious question. You say yes and they give you some new medicine in your IV. You pretty much keep falling back asleep but because you have sleep apnea the nice nurse keeps waking you up because you stop breathing. You glare at her again each time.

16. After a while they find you a room and elevator ride again. More awkward exchanges with the person that accidentally got in the same elevator. 

17. You get to your room. 

18. You been there for all of five minutes and just had the most important surgery in Westmoreland County and now a new nurse says it’s time to sit in a chair. Now you glare at this nurse, but you realize you have no strength and you're at their mercy.

19. The five-foot tall nurse summons superhuman strength to neatly lift you out of bed and you take a few steps over to the chair. Your gas pain lessens and you fall in love with the nurse now.

20. You're in a chair now, happy and relieved it’s over and she comes back to help you walk. Walking feels great and you wonder why you were so worried in the first place.

That was my experience 🙂

Meet Brian's Care Team

Mark Zelkovic, MD, FACS
Excela Health General Surgery
Excela Health Weight Management Center