Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gastric Sleeve Surgery: A Wife's Perspective - Part 6: The Surgery

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.

Hi!  I am sorry to have started this series, and then just cut out in the middle of posting.  Life just got really hectic with the WASC accreditation, finishing the yearbook, and a quick trip for a family baptism, and all the other things that go along with daily life.

If you are here, thank you for reading!

The last post I wrote was about Eric's experience with the swallow test.  There were a few things in between that and surgery:

-psych exam
-blood work
-my feelings once we had the actual surgery date

However, I am going to jump ahead to write about the surgery today because it is still so very fresh in my mind.

Eric had his surgery one week ago today on Wednesday, April 15.  Tax day will forever be "Surgery Day" in my mind now!

In preparation for the surgery, Eric had to have one last doctor appointment the day before to ensure all was in order and have blood work done.  Also, on that Tuesday, he had to start a liquid diet.  He was HUNGRY by the end of the day.  Broth, Gatorade and popsicles don't really satiate hunger!

Being that Tuesday was the liquid diet and Wednesday was the surgery, we decided to splurge and go out for a "last meal" on Monday night!  We went to Tahoe Joe's and enjoyed steak, prime rib, mashed potatoes, delicious butter rolls and cheese cake.  And it was sooooo worth it!

Something that was a bit of a bummer was that Eric's surgery was late in the day.  Originally it was scheduled for the morning, then it got pushed back to 1 p.m, then it was pushed back to 4 and finally to 5:30!  Since Eric stopped eating at midnight the night before, it was a pretty uncomfortable day for him all day Wednesday until surgery in the evening.

*Note to self: insist on morning surgeries if possible!

Eric slept most of Wednesday to keep from being too uncomfortable from being hungry.  I taught algebra in the morning, and took the rest of the day off to get ready for the surgery.  We already had people lined up to pick the kids up from school and keep them overnight (thank you Andrade Family!), and another family that picked them up on Thursday after school and took them to Open House that night (thank you Miss Claudia!).

Eric and I left the house at 2 in the afternoon to head to the hospital.  Once we got there, he registered and we headed up to the 2nd floor waiting room to wait for Pre-Op.  I had my 31 bag all packed with papers to grade, a book to read, my planner for planning, my blanket, my socks and snacks!  Um, yeah...I ended up doing nothing but watching episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  I could barely concentrate on that much less reading or grading papers.  Plus, I was busy helping Eric, especially right after the surgery.

In the waiting room before getting called back for Pre-Op.

We waited for about an hour before Eric was called back for Pre-Op.  After a while they called me back to sit with him until surgery.  He was wheeled into surgery at about 5:30.  I went down to the cafe to eat dinner.  I had to laugh because an employee struck up a conversation while I was waiting for my cheeseburger to be cooked, and I mentioned that my husband was in surgery.  The man asked if it was the IT guy?!  I said yes.  He said he just helped put him to sleep!  He said the last question that anesthesiologist asked was what would Eric be doing if he wasn't in surgery, and his answer was fixing computers!

I leisurely ate my dinner and watched more Gilmore Girls.  I got back up to the waiting room and was called back to meet with the doctor almost the second I walked in!  The nurse put me in a little room to wait for Dr. Higa, who came in and told me the surgery went well and there were no surprises.  The conversation lasted about 17 seconds!

After a while, the nurse sent me up to Eric's room to wait for him there.  He was wheeled in at about 7:30.  It all just seemed to happen so fast.

Eric was on medicine for the pain, but he was not complaining of any issues, and had a great spirit and attitude.  Let's just say that someone (me) can be really pathetic when sick or in the hospital.  Not Eric!  He was so chipper and happy!  I loved it!

For the first hour or so while the nurses were in and out taking vitals and getting Eric settled, I helped out by feeding him ice chips, giving him chapstick, and doing what I could to entertain or help keep him comfortable.

I slept on a little chair that reclined.  It wasn't horrible, but I wouldn't call it comfortable!  However, I'm sure it was better than the window sill bench that Eric slept on when we were in the hospital to have Evan!  It was hard to sleep because of comfort and the fact that the nurses were in and out all night, but that was necessary.  I started sleeping through the interruptions.

The nurses wanted Eric to take a walk before going to sleep, so when he felt ready, he got out of bed and we went walking down the hallway at 11:45 at night!  (Yet another reason for early surgery.  I was EXHAUSTED at this point, but he had to get moving!)  It was quiet at that time of night.

Eric did great sipping water and he did eat a small amount of broth for dinner.  It didn't hurt his stomach, and he was able to tolerate all that he was given.

By the morning, the catheter was removed and he had to continue drinking water to prevent dehydration.  Probably TMI, but he had to prove that he could pee so the nurses would know he was taking in enough water!

Thursday morning ready to go home!

We were dressed and ready to go home in the morning on Thursday.  After talking with the dietician, we left the hospital and were home by 12;30!  Crazy!

Eric feels great, has already lost weight, and is so on top of his food and water intake.  I'll write about life at home and how he is managing his food next week.  I'll also write about how the boys and I are trying to somewhat adapt our eating habits to match Eric's so that this transition will be easier for all of us as a family.

Eric was feeling strong enough to go to the VIP lunch for the boys on Friday.  (He didn't eat the lunch, but he wanted to be with the boys!)

I just have to say how proud I am of my husband for taking control of his health and working so hard to achieve a healthy weight and a longer future with us!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday: What's in a Name?

Today I'm linking up with Andrea to share stories about how we named our kiddos.

First up is me!  My name is Heather Lindsay Hartman (married name Forcey).  I was a child of the 70's (1975), and my parents loved the name Heather.  I like it, but so did thousands of other parents back then!  I was ALWAYS Heather H. in school because I was never the only Heather.  My middle name of Lindsay was my maternal grandmother's maiden name.  I only know of one other Heather in my life right now and it is a mom at school.  I'm not usually confused for other people anymore!  Other names my parents tossed around for me were Victoria, Wendy and Dagmar!  Seriously!

*As a side note, my sister's name is Tiffany, and I always thought the names Heather and Tiffany went really well together growing up!

*Second side note, my college roommate was also named Heather.  I'm short, but she was even shorter.  She got the nickname Little Heather, and I got Big Heather.  Great.  Not!   Luckily, that particular nickname didn't stick!

Fast forward to 2004 when I was pregnant with my first kiddo.  We chose not to find out the gender on either of our boys.  I loved being surprised both times.  And both times the girl name would have been Hannah Lindsay Rose.  Hannah because I have liked that name forever (since even before getting married), Lindsay after me, and Rose after my mom.

Funny story, my mom isn't named Rose!  Her name is Sharon Mabel, but she hates her middle name and always insists that her name is Sharon Rose.  She's been saying that for so long that I think of her as Sharon Rose now!  And that's where the Rose part would come in.  Plus, Rose fit another qualification of our naming process.  My rule was that the middle name had to represent family.  Eric's rule was the middle name had to be a saint name.  Catholic and all!  Rose fulfilled both of these requirements.

But we didn't have a girl!  We had two boys:  Evan David and Hudson Hartman.

I was about three months along with my first and panicking that I'd give birth any day!  Oh those hormones!  I made Eric sit with me until we settled on a boy name.  (Remember, we'd already had a girl name from day one!)  I just started flipping through the baby name book and when we found Evan, we liked it.  Evan's middle name is David after Eric's father and it is a saint name.  Done and done.  Evan David was born in October of 2004.

We waited until Evan was two before trying for our second baby.  Once again, Hannah Lindsay Rose would have been the girl name, but coming up with a name for a boy was trickier this time around...or at least I made it trickier!  If #2 had been a girl named Hannah, I would have a kiddo with an "H" name to go with Heather, just like Eric and Evan and they shared an "E."  Corny, I know.  We didn't plan it like that, but it just worked out that way.  I WANTED an "H" name to go with my name!  The only problem was that I didn't particularly like any boy names that started with an H.  I was talking about this fact one day in the teacher lounge at school.  The next day, the kindergarten teacher at the time told me she thought of a name: Hudson.  And I loved it!

We settled on Hudson Hartman.  Since #1's middle name was after Eric's side of the family, I wanted #2's middle name to be after my side of the family.  (Again, Hannah Lindsay Rose would have fit all that!).  I looked it up, and my maiden name of Hartman happened to be an obscure Catholic saint.  Check and check.  Family connection and saint name AND an "H" name for the neurotic mother!

When the doctor said, "It's a boy!" we had our Hudson Hartman in September of 2007.  I LOVE his name so much.  Before having Hudson, I had never even heard of the name.  Now, of course, I hear it everywhere!  I like to think I was a trend setter!  Just kidding!  Sort of!

There you have it.  Naming Evan David was pretty easy.  Naming Hudson Hartman was a bit trickier.  And we are not going to have a Hannah Lindsay Rose.  Our family is perfectly complete.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekend Wrap Up

We spent a good amount of time at home with Eric recovering from his surgery.  He is doing great!  He gets tired, but overall he's eating well, not experiencing pain, and is in the best of spirits.  I am so impressed with his attitude.  Right now, he's on an all clear liquid diet.  Basically, he is eating strained chicken noodle soup and G2.  He's soooooo ready for some food with substance, but he is being patient and diligent about his diet.

 For this wrap up, I'm backing up to Wednesday, because that is when my weekend sort of started.  I taught algebra early in the morning, and then left to come home to take Eric to the hospital for surgery.  Here we are in the waiting room waiting for him to go into pre-op.  He was being sooooo cooperative with my wanting a photo!

By the way, I plan to resume with my Wednesday series of being the wife on the sidelines as my husband ungoes gastric sleeve surgery.  Since the surgery is so recent in my mind, I'll probably "skip" a few steps and recap the surgery experience this week, and then go back and write more about some of the steps it took to get to the surgery.

 We got to the hospital at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Eric's surgery was at 5:30, he was out before 7, in his room by 8, and he was taking a walk down the hallway by 11:45.  After a somewhat restful night of sleep, we were both up at the crack of dawn (thanks blood draw guy), and the nurse said Eric could get dressed and ready to go home around 11!  Hard to believe in the photo above that he had surgery the night before!

 Friday was VIP day at school.  I told the boys that I'd be there for the lunch, and Eric wanted to come as well.  The boys were really worried while he was in the hospital, especially Evan, so they were happy to have their daddy with them.

 Nina came to eat lunch with them as well.  (Jacqui is Hudson's godmother, but in Spanish, a godmother is called Nina.)

 Hudson's soccer team had a game on Saturday, so we all went out to watch.

 They won.

 I realized how "not pretty" I was looking on Saturday morning, and I told Eric he was super lucky to be married to "all this!"  I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me, but I was WIPED out from Eric's surgery.  Between the actual physical hours of being awake with him, sleeping on a weird little chair at the hospital, dealing with the kids and regular life, I was done with being awake!  I took several naps this weekend, and I'm not much of a nap taker!

 With Eric being on a restricted diet, I have committed to feeding the rest of us as healthy as possible.  Obviously, we won't be on a liquid diet, but after Eric is healed, he has to avoid things like rice, crackers, and bread for six months.  I plan to avoid most of these items as well.  The hardest one will be rice and tortillas.  We eat a lot of that.  I made chipotle flavored steak salad for dinner on Saturday and chicken and salad on Sunday.  I need to start getting creative.  Once Eric is back to regular foods, I need to flavor some of this stuff up!

 Evan had a soccer game in town on Sunday morning, and Hudson had a game in Madera.  Eric stayed with Evan and I took Hudson to his game.  Both teams lost.  After playing, I asked Hudson what he wanted for lunch.  Subway.  Awesome.  Our boys have a love affair with this place.  I do not share that love.

 Hudson ate flatbread with ham toasted.  And nothing else goes on his sandwich.  The sandwich makers have a hard time with that, even though I said bread and ham and nothing else.  She asked what kind of cheese.  Um, none.  Bread and ham.  She asked if he wanted mayo and mustard.  No, bread and ham.  What veggies?  BREAD AND HAM!

 When we got home, Evan had to whip out his science fair project.  As a teacher, these projects are great.  As a parent, I HATE them.

 Evan wanted to see what melts ice the fastest: salt, sugar, sand, or nothing.  He chose this project because it looked "cool."  We had to come up with a slightly more technical reason for this idea.

 He placed ice in four bowls and sprinkled the sugar, salt and sand over the ice.

 Then he put the bowls in the refrigerator and waited an hour.

 We pulled the bowls out to see which had melted the most.  Salt won.

 Then we measured the liquid from each bowl for an accurate comparison.

Evan spent the rest of the evening gluing pieces to his board.  We had to take a small break in there to go out to the soccer fields and pick up trash.  It was our team's turn to do it, but we were notified at the last minute.  Only us and one other family showed up.  The seven of us wandered the field with trash bags and picked up a bit of trash.  Luckily, the fields weren't too littered.   

After we got home, I cooked while Evan finished his project.  The glue got the best of him and he almost ended up in tears, but it all worked out.  Science fair is on Thursday, so I have to get that ready (since I'm in charge of it).

I'm not quite ready to jump back into the regular routine of school and soccer and life, but Monday is here.  Eric will be home for three weeks.  He is healing well, but is going to need time to fully recover and figure out his food.  It's always weird to head off to school when he's home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Today is the Day

Today is Eric's surgery.  We are just waiting until it is time to get to the hospital for the procedure later today.  I'll be covering the experience in future posts.

Here's what we have been up to lately.

 I barely cooked over Easter Vacation.  I'm not sure how I managed to avoid the kitchen and the grocery store.  It's a talent.  This balsamic glazed chicken is one of the few things I made last week.

 We took the kids to MB2 on Easter Sunday afternoon.  They had fun racing.  I think that is Hudson in the above picture.  He even beat Evan in the second race!  Evan didn't like that at all.

 I made deviled eggs for Easter dinner.  They were good.

 Eric made garlic mashed potatoes and...

 prime rib that was seriously delicious.

 One morning I found Hudson asleep on the couch with his tongue hanging out.  The dogs liked it.

 We made a Costco run and had dinner.  See above where I avoided the kitchen all week.  Thank goodness for Pop Tarts, otherwise my children might have starved.

 I took a random picture of my hand one night.  Notice the scaly patch of skin around my ring finger where my ring usually resides.  It's itchy.

 I worked on the yearbook for days and days and days.  Then I posted the above picture on Instagram.  I thought was going to snap at any moment.

 Random selfie.  I probably took this thinking that I'd use it for my daily photo, but then saw the picture and said why would I put that out there for the world to see?!

 The yearbook was one step closer to being done because I actually closed the laptop!

 And then the day came that I finished the yearbook.  It was not without its problems, but it's over, so I don't want to talk about it!

I grabbed the kids and we zipped to Hanford to drown my angst/sorrows/relief/giddiness in ice cream.

 Hudson got one scoop of chocolate ice cream with hot fudge on the side.  Yes, that is one scoop.  The scoops at Superior Dairy are ridiculously and fantastically huge!

 I had a strawberry sundae.  And it was good.

 Evan and Eric shared.  Silly boys.

 The next day was Eric's day off and we hung out as a family.  We saw the latest Fast and Furious movie.  Loved it.  Then we went to buy Evan soccer shoes.

 Can't believe they willingly let me take their picture!

 On Friday night, Evan went to a friend's house for the weekend because of soccer.  The rest of us left the next day for a family baptism.  We wanted something sweet, so we got Baskin Robbins. And we texted pictures to Evan so he'd know what he was missing...cuz we are nice like that!

 It was strange to take a trip without Evan.  Hudson missed him.  He barely spoke to us all weekend.  He was permanently attached to his tablet.

 Lunch at Panda before the baptism.

 Family selfie.

 Oh my little Huddy Buddy.

 Jason is the oldest grandchild on Eric's side of the family.  He is the oldest son of Eric's oldest sister, Lisa.  He and his wife, Chelsea, just had little Julian in February.  He is a doll!

 It was a very nice baptism.

We spent the night with my cousin Michelle and her husband Nick.  We had a great time talking and catching up.  Her son, Nick, spent a lot of time playing video games with Hudson.  We didn't take any pictures.

 We went to Tahoe Joe's on Monday for Eric's "last" dinner.  He'll be able to eat real food again, but it's going to be a bit of time.

Yesterday, he started on a liquid diet, and today is no food until the surgery.

It's here.  I'm worried.  Because it's surgery, but everything will be fine.