Sunday, August 15, 2004

One week and counting

After a full day of testing, consultations and my final doctor's visit with bariatric surgeon Dr. Karl Leblanc, I'm not sure if I should get my head tested (again) or run in the other direction.

On this day, the team at Vista Surgical Hospital did some routine testing and X-rays and I met with the pre-op nurse Holly (who could be the twin of a nurse who works in Dr. Leblanc's office - haha!) a respiratory therapist and a dietitian.

Thoughts on....

Vista: I think that this facility could use a shot of positive PR after taking it on the chin in the media due to cutbacks and lawsuits. This has very little reflection on the wonderful folks who work there, but if patients only had to go on what they heard to feel comfortable they might be, well, uncomfortable. I may have gone on about this a little too much, but I do that

Side effects: I got a little pale thinking about what can happen when everything goes right. This is no walk in the park (good exercise, Week 5). I'm most concerned with two issues that don't involve food at all: water and hair loss. I'm a big (big) drinker; I like drinking big heaping mounds of it at one time. Becoming a 'sipper' sted a 'chugger' will be my biggest adjustment. No drinking with meals: help! (For those who can't swallow that challenge to your stereotype: I meant to say I will miss the hot-buttered popcorn for breakfast and the mad dash for Oreoes at midnight...whatever floats your boat)
I can't easily explain why hair loss bothers me. Not that I spent lots of money (or any some months) on "doing my 'do." I have a thick, nappy (check your ethnic dictionary) crop of dark, sometimes comb-breaking hair. I think the idea of seeing it fall out would be extremely depressing; not like I'm getting healthier, but that I'm a sickly chick with an overworked hair brush. I vowed to do everything I could to keep my hair stocked with Vitamin E and maybe avoid this horrible side effect. I don't think I would take that well.

Respiratory: I had my first breathing treatment...hmmm, why? Practice for gasping at a later date, I guess. Even when I can't justify why a medical test is being done, 'gadgetitis' is enough to keep me happy. Respiratory's got some neat gadgets and a staff versed in breaking down their function down to the last atom. Cool stuff. One misnomer: the respiratory therapist thinks that her kind are the most hated staff members to stalk a hospital patient. NAY-NAY, Bunny Rabbit. A fat patient's nemesis is first and foremost................

The Dietitian: hiss, boo! Not this dietitian, any dietitian. After five high-risk pregnancies, a five year diabetes clinical trial and a little (ahem) bout in congestive heart failure, each dietician starts to sound just like the one before who felt even if you've heard the script before, their rendition of it will change your life forever ... Carrot, good -- cookie, bad ...
PLEASE NOTE. That's not what happened, that's what I was prepared for and really started this session with a stinky attitude. It doesn't matter what a bariatric surgery patient has heard, all is about to change. This dietician was armed with samples of my new best friends -- high protein drinks with almost no carbs and sweetened with space-age polymers from Venus. Tasty, but some are a little too sweet (yeah, duh?). I decided the rest didn't taste bad at all and if I needed them to live after surgery, they would be getting better each day. The daily regimen for weeks ahead are still a blur to me as I take a "I'll-sip-that-cup-when-I-get-to-it" approach to stages that far away. What does stand out to me is how incredible time-consuming this 'eating' process will be and I vowed to not let my meals take a first priority to providing a balanced, normal diet to my 22-month-old daughter, Cecilia Grace. I know I just violated some "12th step to recovery" some where ... so be it. Got the missing piece (la) to the clinic's Web site. I took my first look at and liked what I saw. I was afraid that it would be gaudy or 'happy ex-chubby folks' goofy. It's not. Very informative. I give it high marks (after a good reworking of those meta tags, hint) and I hope you all will look it up.

I still change my mind everyday about this being something that's right for me, but I'm sure I'm not backing out of this procedure: Onward!

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