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1st Appointment

Posted Aug 23 2008 3:21pm

OK, so my 1st appointment is actually 3 hours long! WOW!'s not at the Dr.s office, it's back at the hospital at their weight loss surgery clinic. Dr.s Proctor & Richard do so many of these surgeries that NorthEast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville has assigned an entire floor and surgical unit of one of their satellite hospitals - Lanier Park Hospital - to do nothing but weight loss surgery. Which is great! It means they have equipment neccessary to handle patients that weigh in the 500 and up range (some hospitals can't accomodate that, even thought they do these surgeries - go figure!) They also have a dedicated nursing staff specially trained in handling patients who undergo these surgeries, and their nutrition counselor, physical therapist, kitchen, etc. Things that we as patients usually take for granted, but make a big difference.

I used to work in surgery back in 1996 in Mississippi (as a surgical tech). I remember we had to do a simple biopsy on a gentleman who weighed somewhere in the range of 380-400 lbs. That simple surgery was not simple at all, because we didn't have the proper equipment to handle a person that large! Normally a surgical table is "grounded" because surgeons often use a tool nicknamed a "bovie" which is an electrocautery used to burn and cut to cut down on bleeding (normally on the inside only, it is not good for skin use because of scarring except in small areas like mole removal). We had to push 2 gurneys together to accomodate this poor man, and they were not grounded! Which meant we had to bring in more people to figure out how to ground the tables to safely use the electro-tool without electrocuting everyone working on him. And/or not use the tool and have him lose way more blood than was neccessary for a simple biopsy.

So like I said, having an entire floor of a hospital and a surgical unit dedicated to overweight people is a HUGE plus when considering gastric bypass.

So I go into the meeting and there were about 4 or 5 other people in there. I was a little disappointed in that. I wanted to talk to someone 1 on 1, but I sat down and waited for everything to start. First we met the nurse who was in charge of the unit. She handed us these gigantic 3 ring binders full of papers. I'm flipping through - there's phone #s, diet requirements, surgical explanations, vitamin requirements, do's and don'ts, etc, etc. She starts explaining everything in the book to us. Then she brings in the nutritionist (Who BTW is drop dead gorgeous, and I doubt has ever had to lose a pound in her life!) Admittedly though, several of the nurses that work there have gone through the procedure and are great testimonies for the doctors! The nutritionist, however, could be on America's Next Top Model - and she is wonderfully sweet, which makes me want to kill her even more. So she starts explaining how we'll be eating post-op. And about vitamins and supplements and protein shakes. And about dumping syndrome (yahoo~) And about vomiting and all the lovely other side effects that can happen if we don't follow the rules. On top of it all she explains that it is possible to gain weight IF you don't follow the rules, too. I'll talk deeper about her stuff in a whole separate post.

Then we meet the physical therapist who starts talking about exercise and how it is very important, because since the body goes into almost a "starvations" effect from the surgery, if you don't exercise regularly, your body will try to take your muscle instead of your fat. Not the affect we want! More about him later.

THEN we get to meet the insurance lady -da da da dum! We get a HUGE stack of papers to fill out for our insurance companies - I'm talking about 20 pages. And if you don't fill out this stuff right or include everything, they send it back and say "Do Over!" or worse "Rejected!" and then YOU get to pay approximately $20 - 30,000 for this surgery (or maybe more depending on where you live). Once again I'll do a whole post on the insurance stuff.

But I'm about to keel over on my keyboard, so I'm calling it a night. Write more later!

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