The Flat Side: The Day of Surgery

What a week it has been! I honestly barely even know where to start, so I think I’ll just start with one week ago today.

As I alluded to in my last post, I was feeling reaaaaally anxious and nervous on the day before my surgery, so when my alarm went off at 5:45am last Monday, I wasn’t quite sure what state I’d be in. But somehow, I was much more calm than expected and I woke up pretty easily. I took a quick shower with antibacterial soap, brushed my teeth, and sipped just enough water to take a Zofran (an anti nausea medication) before gathering up my things to head out the door. I was instructed to wear comfy pants and a top that zipped or buttoned up (nothing that went over my head), as well as my glasses rather than contacts.

Since my parents had stayed in town for the weekend, I got in the car and drove to their hotel for 6:15am, so we could head to Ruff Plastic Surgery. We got there a few minutes before 6:30am and since the building wasn’t quite open yet, we putzed around outside for a few minutes while I tried to teach my parents the wonders of the iPhone camera.

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Before too long, we were met by my OR nurse, Natalie, and taken into the office to get ready for surgery. I honestly could not believe how calm I felt! I was expecting to need to take a Xanax, but I felt calmer than I do on a normal day – weird. After going through the basic questions and a review of the medications, I changed into my hospital gown and compression stockings, took some pre-surgery meds, and then just hung out in the room where I’d be recovering.

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I am cool, I swear.

Before too long, Dr. Ruff came in to check on me and see how I was doing, before marking me up all over with three different colored markers. He said that they mark your natural anatomy/curves while standing because things shift when you lay down (for the surgery) which I hadn’t really thought about before. After he was done with the markings, he said he’d see me soon and left the room, and then the anesthesiologist came in. He went over my medical history with me, asked about any prior complications or family history of complications with anesthesia, and then hooked me up to an IV to start me on fluids.

At just a few minutes after 7:30am, I said goodbye to my parents, and then Natalie escorted me into the OR. Right away, they had me remove my gown, and my entire body was painted down with this betadine solution by two medical assistants with these rollers – almost like what you paint walls with. The solution smelled TERRIBLE and was so cold on my skin, but I needed to be completely sterilized prior to surgery (obviously). After that was done, I was walked over to the operating table where I laid down with my arms stretched out on either side, and then the anesthesiologist came back into the room. I remember him asking me some questions about my job, and making some small talk. I thought I would have a “here we go” moment where I would be aware that I was fading and come to terms with the fact that I was going under the knife, but it was not like that at all. I don’t remember even starting to drift off, I just remember waking up in recovery fully clothed.

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Totally doped up and happy post surgery.

The procedure itself took about 5 hours (just slightly longer than the 4.5 anticipated) and I came out of anesthesia quite well. I wasn’t nauseous at all, which I was really thankful for, and I just remember being way more “with it” than I was expecting. I have flashes of people (Dr. Ruff, the nurses, my friend Susy who works at Ruff Plastic Surgery) coming in and out of the room, and also of the machines they had me hooked up to beeping and my mom telling me to keep breathing. I also got my hands on my phone and texted a bunch of people back (with totally coherent, non-anesthesia sounding responses) and even updated my facebook page.

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Priorities, right?

It was kind of surreal.

The other time I had anesthesia was for my emergency back surgery was in 2006, and when I came out from being under that time I supposedly was swearing pretty loudly and persistently. This time, I was a bit paranoid about having the same reaction, because I asked the doctors three separate times if I came out swearing, though I only recall asking the third time, and don’t even remember the answer. I was asking very coherent questions, but don’t remember most of the answers. One question I did ask was “how much did you remove from me?” and I do remember the answer (though I’m told it wasn’t a one-time question) – 10 pounds! Holy crap.

After the fading in and out stopped and I was stabilized and mostly with it, I was wheeled out of recovery and the building, and got into my parents car. I got home, up to my apartment, and was totally alert. It was wild! I was expecting to be sleeping for the entire first few days post surgery, but I was totally awake. My boyfriend (good of a time as ever to make that “announcement”, eh?) came over and brought flowers and a get well package with magazines, an eye mask, smoothies and protein snacks. My mom made some chicken gyoza from Trader Joe’s and we all watched the season 6 finale of Dexter (I’m still catching up).

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In my compression garment, with the sexy drain tubes and compression socks. And lots of beverages.

I wasn’t in much pain at all and was getting up on my own to use the bathroom. It was wild!

But then around 8:30pm, my body woke up and realized what had just happened to it. I hit the wall, and hit it hard, and was overcome with pain, fatigue, and tears. Dr. Ruff called me to check in around that time from his cell phone and I had my mom talk to him because I couldn’t. He said I could take 3 Vicodin every 6 hours if the 2 every 4 wasn’t working, so I did that and coaxed myself to sleep with some Xanax. That worked for a couple hours, but then I was up in tears again around 2am, paralyzed from the pain. We called Dr. Ruff on his cell phone in the middle of the night and he recommended my mom try to open my compression garment to release some of the pressure, which she did and that helped a tiny bit. He said our options were to either go to the ER right then or wait until 6:45am to go back to the office to figure out next steps and how to get the pain under control. We went with the latter option because the last thing I wanted was to go to the ER at 3am…

To be continued…

21 Comments on The Flat Side: The Day of Surgery

  1. Summah
    August 5, 2013 at 9:55 am (7 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, Beth! I’m so glad all went well; I’ve been waiting for this update for a while! I had total ACL repair about 10 years ago, and while it’s nothing compared to the procedure you had done, I remember feeling super great in the hours right after the surgery, really surprised at how I felt… then I, too, hit that wall, and then came the tears, the swearing, and the puking from the pain 🙁 Not fun. But months later, I remember thinking eh, that wasn’t so bad — crazy how that happens. Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 12:48 am (7 years ago)

      Totally agree – in the moment the pain was crazy and overwhelming and made me question my decision, but I know that is just a small part of the whole process. Not gonna lie tho – glad that parts behind me!

  2. Rebecca Ginn
    August 5, 2013 at 10:17 am (7 years ago)

    thank you so much for sharing. i don’t know why i am tearing up to read all this. maybe it’s sympathy pain and a little bit of the anticipation of knowing that one day that will be me… I hope it is soon.

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 12:51 am (7 years ago)

      Aww Rebecca thanks so much for your sweet comment! It’s up to you how soon it is! 🙂

  3. Mindy Lipsky
    August 5, 2013 at 11:59 am (7 years ago)

    I really thank you for sharing this… I had 1 consult to have my skin removed… didn’t go as well as expected. I think I needed to be more persistent! It is fascinating to watch your journey. You have given me hope to try the process again (when I lose the 30 pounds I regained). I can’t wait to hear the rest! Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery with exactly the results you are hoping for! Take care!

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 12:54 am (7 years ago)

      Hi Mindy! The process really is so involved, but also so worth it when you find a doctor you connect with and that you trust. (And obv is board certified). I had no clue how intense the process would be before I started in terns of finding a surgeon, deciding on the procedure, the financing, setting up after care, time off from work, etc

  4. Tiffany Erickson
    August 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm (7 years ago)

    You are is excellent hands with Dr Ruff! Having worked with him before I can tell you he does great work. I hope to hear more about your journey. I am glad everything has been going so well for you.

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 12:57 am (7 years ago)

      Hi Tiffany – I have to agree! This is the only procedure I’ve had done with him (or anyone) and I’ve been very impressed on many levels. The whole staff is awesome, the office itself is so nice, and then to top it off Dr. Ruff does amazing body contouring work. I’m thrilled with my decision!

  5. brenda
    August 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm (7 years ago)

    And I’m sitting on the edge of my office chair to hear the rest! I’m so glad you’re back home and in recovery! I always think the funniest stories are those of folks coming out of anesthesia (unless of course it’s violent)….I came out once talking about visiting Germany…but barely remember. I’m sure Drs and nurses hear all sorts of crazy things! Can’t wait to hear your updates!!

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 12:59 am (7 years ago)

      Hey Brenda! Haha I honestly didn’t mean to leave such an intense cliffhanger, it just seemed like a good stopping point in talking about the day of surgery haha. More to come in the morning!

  6. Mish
    August 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm (7 years ago)

    As an RN in Australia, whereby we have your procedures on our ward…i can NOT believe that you went home day of operation. That would never happen here.ever! The pain control is so important, most ladies would be in for at least 2-3 days to insure they could manage and insure that wounds are ok, pain is under control, etc. I’m an American, have no idea why you had to go so quickly. You poor thing! I hope you got some good pain relief sorted, they’re really painful operations.

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 1:19 am (7 years ago)

      You know of all three doctors I met with, all three of them recommended it as an outpatient procedure for me. I think the main reason for that is to be in a comfortable environment where you are getting up to use the bathroom and moving around on your own from the beginning. The pain management thing did end up being an issue for me, but there were solutions and we were able to tackle the problem pretty quick. I feel like the speed of my recovery speaks to moving more in the beginning really does help. I’m only a week out so I’m still being super cautious and resting a lot, buy if you saw me walking down the street is probably just look normal to you. Which is insane! I still can’t believe at this time last week I was hours out of surgery in intense pain and now I’m taking some Tylenol and mostly being normal.

  7. Kim Hanson
    August 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m wishing you the best on your continued recovery! Hugs.

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 1:02 am (7 years ago)

      Aww thank you Kim! I always accept hugs. 🙂

  8. Erin
    August 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm (7 years ago)

    OMG cliffhanger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    So crazy! I can’t wait to hear more. Hope you’re recovering well 🙂

    Also, I kinda assumed from your FB posts, but YAY on the bf announcement!

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 1:01 am (7 years ago)

      More in the morning – promise! And yea it’s been about 5 months now but I never know the right way or place to say it you know? Awkward. 🙂

  9. Alicia
    August 6, 2013 at 12:47 am (7 years ago)

    Not a cliffhanger!! I found you blog a few days ago and have been waiting anxiously (as in checking 3+ times a day!) for your updates… I go in for my mommy makeover (abdominoplasty and augmentation/lift) on August 14!! Can’t wait to hear more!

    • Beth
      August 6, 2013 at 1:10 am (7 years ago)

      More coming in the morning! I just had a lot to say and didn’t want to write a huge thesis. It’s also fun for md to break it up and think about it in segments like this. Any specific questions you gave for me – shoot! August 14 will be here SO soon!!!

      • Alicia
        August 6, 2013 at 1:17 am (7 years ago)

        Oh good! I’m glad to hear you’re doing well and in good spirits! It certainly helps me feel a little better. If you have any interest in following my progress feel free to visit my blog-

  10. Sarah
    August 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm (7 years ago)

    I’m glad it went well! and that I caught up on your blog after the cliffhanger 😉

    My brother was very persistent with the same questions as well when we came out of surgery. He had surgery when the Powerball was at historical levels. After he woke up, he asked me every few minutes if I would take him to get a Powerball ticket. It’s funny what our mind fixates on in those situations.

  11. Robin
    August 7, 2013 at 6:36 am (7 years ago)

    omg this sounds terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are far braver then me.


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