Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: A Wife's Perspective - Part 5: The Swallow Test

Every Wednesday, I am going to write about the process of Eric going through weight loss surgery to record my feelings and perspective as the wife on the sidelines.  As this is an extremely personal decision on Eric's part to change his life, I am trying my best to stay true to my feelings, while at the same time accurately recording the events.

You can read the posts in this series here: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
The next step in this process was for Eric to get a swallow test done.  I wasn't with him for this particular procedure, and I am so glad that I wasn't!  I know, I know...that doesn't sound like a very supportive wife!
There is no way to sugar coat it; this procedure seems truly awful!  Eric was glad he didn't really know what it entailed until he was in the middle of it.  I'd have been stressed out beyond belief if I knew what was going to happen.  I don't know that I could do this test.
So what happened?
Eric was taken back in a room and the nurses had him lie back and they put lidocaine up his nose and let it go down his throat to numb his entire sinus/throat area.  It sounded like when I'm at the dentist for a cavity fill and they give you the numbing shot and then wait a while for it to really numb it all up nice and good!
After that came the tricky part!  They had Eric sit up and then inserted a catheter through his nostril and down his throat!  Oh my heavens!  I would have died.  Probably not, but I tend to be dramatic, and that sounds about as unpleasant as anything I can imagine.
They were testing a sphincter muscle that stops food from coming up out of the stomach.  After having surgery to make the stomach so much smaller, there tends to be more pressure in the digestive area.  The doctors needed to make sure that the muscle is strong enough or in working order to be able to handle that added stress.  They don't want food going back up into the esophagus.  Painful.
Eric said it was rather unpleasant as he was gagging as the tube was being inserted.  He said it wasn't painful, per se, but it was definitely uncomfortable.  It made his eyes well up.  The nurse told him it was okay...they make everyone cry!  I don't know that I'd want a job where I make everyone cry!
After the tube was in place, they had Eric do a series of tests. One test was where they shot saline into his mouth and he had to swallow or not swallow.  He also did this test without the saline, but just swallowing in general.  Again, so unpleasant.
Once they were done, they had to pull the catheter back out through his nostril.  Again, gagging.
When Eric and I talked about the procedure later that night, he said as awful as it was, he'd do it all over again to get to the surgery that is going to change his life.  He is so focused!
The only side effect he had was a slightly painful throat at the end of the day.
His test came back fine.  Strong esophageal sphincter muscle!
One more step completed.  Next week I'll talk about the endoscopy.

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