Monday, November 24, 2014

Met the Surgeon

As I was saying in my last post, we all had our appointments to meet the bariatric surgeon the day after K & I had our upper GIs. What happens on surgeon appointment day is this. He does his consultation visits on Thursdays. So you sign in and then go sit in the waiting area with the other people waiting to see him. Sometimes that takes quite a while, from what I've heard. Ours didn't take that long, though. Enough to watch a little bit of waiting room TV. I don't remember what it was that day. Probably Family Feud with Steve Harvey.

Have I talked about the waiting area yet? It's pretty nice. Low key, and it has mostly extra large seats in case you need them. At 5' 9" and ~255 lbs, I can sit comfortably in the big chairs with my purse sat next to me on the seat. Not squished next to me. Just sitting beside me like it's a bench. Nice. I guess it would be awful for the really high weight people to not be able to fit in a chair at the weight loss doctor.

Another thing I don't think I've mentioned yet about the Emerson program is that it's not a jump-through-hoops thing. If you're fairly sure you want surgery, this is the program you want. If you want to try other things before deciding, you might be better off at something like UMass Worcester has. It's my understanding that they have to do all kinds of stuff, including lose 30 lbs. on your own. And that the end goal there is not necessarily surgery. My end goal is surgery. At Emerson, you're not committed until you have the procedure (or at least until you pay the $250). But the point of the program is preparation for surgery and learning how to eat after surgery. If I lost 30 lbs on my own, I wouldn't even be eligible for surgery. And it's none too likely it would stay off. I want an advantage in the weight loss battle. Obviously you still have to do the work, watching your diet, exercising, etc. But at least at first, the weight will just start coming off. And you'll be in a much better position to exercise once a bunch of it comes off. Exercising while fat is exhausting. And for me, it puts too much strain on my back and my joints. But I don't mind going to the gym, so I think that is not going to be the hard part.

Back to the surgeon visit, though. After the waiting, someone will come out and get you and put you in a room. I forget who brought me back and took my weight. But she asked me if the girls and I wanted to all go in together or not. I said no, we didn't need to be seen together. But a couple of minutes after she left, I got to wondering. So I texted L. She said she did want to come in with me. So when Hilda came in, I told her that they did want to come in. She went out to find them. They were already in rooms. L hadn't been seen yet, but K was already with someone. So they just brought L into my room. So if you need to go in with someone, they accommodate that.

The gist of the appointment was Hilda going over the procedures again, asking which one you were planning to have and why. She also gave us the results of our upper GIs. Mine was normal, L's showed she has a tiny hernia. When Dr. Lautz came in he went over the procedure again briefly and asked if we had any concerns or questions. I asked whether they had lower than average numbers for deaths and complications. He said that they don't get exact numbers from anywhere else, but that yeah, he felt that they did. (Which, back at the info session he did say that he often ends up repairing other people's surgeries that had complications. That was comforting.) He told L that they would fix the hernia while they were in there. He also said that he doesn't schedule family members for surgery at the same time, because it works out better to space them apart. I said that was fine, because if we all went at once, my son would hate us.  I can't remember if we asked anything else. But after we were done talking he said he was going to clear us both for surgery from his end.

From there, we went back and talked to Susan, who does the insurance. She gave us information on the non-surgical parts of the procedure. IOW, the process leading up to surgery. This is when you set up your surgery date and the date you will come in for a meeting with the anesthesiologist. They call you later with the date you come in and sign your consent for surgery form. Because there were two of us, by the time we got to Susan, K had already scheduled her date. She's going in mid-March 2015. L is the heaviest, and she wanted to get in as soon as possible. So she will be going second at the end of March. And I'm going last in mid-April.

Next up: L's sleep study.

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