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My Surgery Day!
My abdominoplasty was performed at a same day surgery suite for plastic surgery at a university hospital. I was surprised at how elegant the facility was; it looked more like a posh doctor's office and not at all like a hospital. When I arrived, I was asked to take a seat in the waiting room, which had a lovely 9th floor view of the Manhattan Skyline.
Shortly thereafter, I was taken to a private patient room furnished with a recliner and having the same great view of NYC. Here I was given a very nice garment bag for my clothes, and asked to dress in the hospital gown, robe, and slippers. I sat in the comfy recliner and the nurse wrapped me in blankets that were wonderfully hot from the dryer.
First I met with a nurse who did my intake. She would remain with me up until surgery and then join me in the recovery room. Next, my surgeon arrived and had me fully disrobe so he could mark up where my body was to be cut. Ordinarily this would be a humiliating ordeal, but by this time I was somewhat used to standing naked in a room with this man -- he had photographed me on two different occasions for my "before" photos. So, the ordeal only was slightly awkward. It was not my nakedness that I was ashamed of. It was my body.
A Last Minute Request
And right in those moments before my surgery, I asked my surgeon to do some liposuction on two fat deposits on my back. As we had not discussed liposuction along with my tummy tuck, I was delighted when he readily accommodated my last minute request.
Next, he had me lay on a sheet on the recliner so he could mark off my pubic mound. Now it is worth noting that I joke when I am embarrassed or in an uncomfortable situation. And as the surgeon drew on my pubic mound the situation grew increasingly uncomfortable for me. And so to alleviate my tension, I told the surgeon that I promised my husband that there was something in this surgery for him, too, alluding to my pending little vag. I don't actually know if that made me less embarrassed or not, but I let out a nervous laugh none-the-less. And I felt relief as I thought this was the last bit of embarrassment that I was to endure. But I was wrong.
Dressed again in my hospital garments, I spoke with the anesthesiologist. My primary care physician had urged me to tell the anesthesiologist that I am sensitive to anesthesia. It had not occured to me that I was sensitive to anesthesia but my PCP pushed me to think hard about it. As I did, I recounted for her how after my Cesarean section I had trouble becoming coherent or remaining awake for three solid days. I literally had fallen asleep sitting upright in a chair breast-feeding my newborn. I then told my PCP about difficulty breathing and chest congestion after a same day surgery on my sinuses.
It was very worthwhile to talk this over with the anesthesiologist because I did not suffer any side effects from anesthesia following my tummy tuck. We also discussed my fear of anesthesia and she allayed my fears. She told me that no patient had died from anesthesia and that the OR was fully equipped to handle any emergencies should they arise. Oddly enough, I have this conversation ever time I go under anesthesia. The answer is always the same but it is none-the-less comforting for me to hear it. I guess it a ritual for me.
In the Surgical Suite
I was at ease as I walked to the end of a long corridor and through the operating room doors. Here I saw a large surgical suite with the same great view of the Manhattan Skyline. In the room were the anesthesiologist, two nurses, the surgeon, and a physician's assistant (P.A.). The physician's assistant asked me to disrobe. And I guess I must have paused because the nurse told me not to worry that no one could see me through the large picture windows. I thought that was pretty funny because it was not onlookers from miles away that phased me. Rather, I was momentarily stunned by the P.A.'s request -- I did not know he was going to be in the O.R. and I had not previously met him. So it was just a little shocking how it went down: Hi, you've never met me before but take off your clothes. That's not what he said of course, but rather how I felt.
Remember earlier when I stated that my embarrassment was not yet over. Well, the P.A. had me stand completely naked on a sheet and hold my arms out. Then he and the surgeon both painted my body with warm Betadine (an antiseptic) putting the sponges and the solution all over my body, including "where the sun does not shine. " ALike I mentioned earlier, I joke when I am in an uncomfortable situation. And this situation was about as uncomfortable as one can find herself in. So to ease my tension I blurted out to the two men, "Some women would pay good money to have this done to them." I still cannot believe I said that.
The surgeon and the P.A. helped me onto the sterile operating table. The surgeon held my hands as the P.A. twised my torso around so that I did not touch the table with my hands. Then someone covered me with a blanket. One of the nurses inserted my IV while the other spoke to me to keep me calm. She explained everything that was happening and what sensations I would be feeling. It was very calming.
The anesthesiologist told me that I would be out in 30 seconds. When about a minute had passed, I informed her that I was still "here" and to not let them cut anything off until I was out. She said nobody did anything until she told them to do so. Funny, I remember being comforted by that.
Then she said, "Here you go. Where should I send you on vacation?" I replied, "Hawaii," and then I felt the drug begin to take effect. My last words were, "We have lift off."
Living life well-fed,
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Published On: April 28, 2013