Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Final Countdown

     Well folks, we are approaching the final countdown to the weight loss surgery. Tuesday afternoon I stop eating anything and can only drink water from 1 pm on. Then Wednesday at some point I will be heading to overlook hospital to be admitted. I am hoping for an early surgery time, keep your fingers crossed. Then i am hoping for just a one night stay in the hospital to be home on Thursday afternoon sometime. Again, fingers crossed, maybe even toes!. The last procedure before the surgery was performed on Thursday afternoon. It was the placing of the IVC filter inside of me. As everyone knows I went into the procedure with great trepidation. But ALAS, as the song says at first I was afraid, I was petrified.. I SURVIVED....
     First let me explain what the IVC filter is then you can see why i was not looking forward to this. IVC, stands for Inferior Vena Cava which is the lower part of the main vein that brings blood into the heart from the body. There is a risk at my size that after surgery a blot clot could travel from my legs into my heart or lungs. The IVC filter prevents that. To place the filter they have to put a catheter into my femoral vein, the large vein that runs up the leg to the IVC. They do this at the groin area. YES, they had to put a large needle with a catheter into the vein in my groin, and all down with no sedation. So, I was not looking forward to this. Below Is a picture of the filter and a diagram of how it goes in. Although they went in on my right side not left.
      Pretty scary huh? Well to give credit where it is due, my friend Lisa told me it was not that bad and honestly it was not that bad. The worst part of the entire process was the waiting. Gus and I got there at 10:30 am for a 11 am procedure. I immediately was seen by a nurse who drew my blood.
But then the waiting began. We were told to go to same day surgery where we waited for a good 30 minutes. Finally I was called in, my heart in my throat I walked to the back. Every thing seemed so to be moving so quickly now, and it was bright back there. i sat in a chair and a nurse took my blood pressure and temp and proceeded to ask me different questions that by now i have answered 850 times. No I am not allergic to anything, No I do not smoke, etc. etc. I should have a sheet printed with all the answers and just hand them out. All the same questions over and over EXCEPT for this one. Do you have a living will? I am out of here!! What? The nurse advises its just something they have to ask and i shouldn't worry. Well that ship has already sailed sister! Well she was done, I am now expecting to see the oh so fashion forward and revealing gown. However this is not where i am going to have it done. I say a quick thank god, the last place I wanted to be was someplace called same day surgery when i thought this was like an office procedure. So down to outpatient radiology they sent us. AHH now that sounds more pleasant and benign. I was wrong. However what was pleasant or should I say who was pleasant were the nurses there. I can not say enough about this nurse Kathy who was with me during the procedure. She got me to my bed, gave me my gown and so politely told me to strip down, biut its ok I can leave my socks on !! LOL The place we waited in out patient surgery was darker then same day surgery area and my bed was in a little corner tucked away. Here again we .. you guessed it .. waited. 
     We were told that the doctor was delayed and it would be about a half hour. Unfortunately 10 minutes later I saw my doctor and my heart sunk. My feelings although had changed, at this point I now only wanted this procedure over with and to be on the way home. My nurse came to get me and wheeled me into a large room that resembled an operating room. In fact it was on operating room. I was asked to scoot myself onto the very very narrow table and which point my gown rose above my hips and i was giving Kathy and Muhamed, the tech, quite a show. They were however extremely professional and Kathy assisted me in keeping my modesty and dignity by lowering it every time I moved. Now this is where the waiting actually resembles torture. I was trapped on a tiny table with a tech and nurse working quickly around me, instruments clanking, carts rolling, all preparing for the big moment. All i could do was ask God to please let them start and get this over with. Kathy must have sensed my worry and told me that of all the procedure they preform in radiology this was the fastest and least painful. Now I know she was trying to help but i was hoping to hear NOT painful. 
      The Doctor was finally there and he was speaking to me but all i could do was stare forward and listen as Moe, as we was called by the doctor shaved my nether region. The doctor told me he was going to talk me through every thing he was going to do. All I wanted to say to him was GOD PLEASE DON'T. I dont want to know whats coming, all I want to hear from him is, "OK we're done". As he began, the angelic Kathy stood behind me and rubbed my shoulders telling me this was going to be ok and I would be fine. In fact every time he was about to do something invasive she would repeat this. It was almost mothering and I have to say it was very nice. I didn't notice the local anesthetic being injected and it did not burn as i thought it would. I did however feel when the needle punctured my vein it didnt hurt but it was more like a large pulse through my body and it felt strange but not painful. Then there was some pressure when the catheter was going in and within minutes I heard. OK the filter is in. Everything Kathy told me was true and I was no worse for the wear. Relieved to be be done all I wanted was to get out of there, but I had to go to same day surgery and lay flat for an hour. Another evil waiting game. 
     While I was there a nurse came in every 15 minutes to take my pulse from my feet and I must have asked Gus the time every 5 minutes. 3 pm was my discharge time and although it was noe hour it felt like three. Again, the nurses where more than I could have hoped for with their kind words and encouragement about the up coming surgery on Wednesday. I have to say I could have come this far with out encouragement. Especially from Gus, my mom, my family and my friends, I get cards of encouragement from my friend Kendall's parents that are a source of joy with every word they write. Thanks Brenda and Ken. Well Wednesday is almost here, got to go rest up.



  1. Wow Jimmy ~ great post and I loved seeing all the pics. You know I will be thinking of you and praying for you. Please have Gus post to your facebook and let us know you are alright... and yes, as the song says "You will survive!"

    Love you!!!

  2. You make hospital gowns look HAWT! Glad everything went so well. We're think of you at J&J!