So in addition to seeing a nutritionist and doing a sleep study, I also had to see several other doctors to make sure that I was mentally and physically prepared for gastric bypass surgery.
Let me say this about weight-loss surgery. When I originally decided to have weight-loss surgery, I only saw the cost of the surgery. My insurance will cover a great amount of it, so I could afford it. But I didn’t know about all the other costs that would be added to that cost of the surgery such as the high co-pay every time I had to visit the bariatric doctor (which was many times in the six months leading up to the surgery) and of course the anesthesiologist will be a separate bill. There is also the cost of all of the specialists you have to see. Plus, if they find anything wrong (such as me having sleep apnea), there are additional visits and possible new equipment to purchase. It isn’t a scam, it is just something I was unaware of. I just want everyone who chooses to have weight-loss surgery to be aware of all the extra costs involved. Thankfully, everyone is willing to take payments and my insurance covers about three fourths of the bills. Just be prepared for the extra costs.
One specialist I had to see was a psychologist. They wanted to make sure that I was in the right frame of mind for going through surgery and wasn’t “crazy” or had depression problems. I had to fill out a 10 page questionnaire at the office before seeing the psychologist. Questions like “do you hear voices”, “how often do you find yourself depressed”, “do you eat when you are depressed”, “do you binge eat”, and “do you ever feel fearful”. After filling out the paperwork, the psychologist reviewed my answers and asked questions relating to my answers. At the end of the session, the psychologist smiled at me and said, “Well, you can tell everyone you are not crazy,” then said that I am clear for surgery. Before parting, the psychologist told me, “you are a really fun and upbeat gal!”. lol that was probably because I do laugh a lot and am a very positive person.
Another specialist on the list was a cardiologist. My bariatric doctor wanted to make sure that my heart was strong enough for surgery and for the exercise that I will need to be doing after the surgery to aid in weight-loss. If you don’t exercise after surgery, the quick weight-loss will make your skin flabby and depending on how much weight you have to lose, the excess skin will have to be surgically removed as it can be a health hazard. The more you exercise, the tighter your skin will be. Since I am around 400 pounds, the cardiologist didn’t have me run on the treadmill like most people. They gave me a heart monitor with a total of 4 wires attached to my chest and side. I had to wear it for 24-hours and bring it back the next day. Every time I did any strenuous activity, I was to push a button on the monitor and it made a time stamp. I then had to write the time and activity into a log. The next day I gave the monitor back to the cardiologist. While they were reviewing the results, they ran an EKG* on my heart. After waiting in the patient room for a bit, I was told everything came out good and I was cleared for surgery. One more hurdle leaped.
The most dreaded thing that I had to do before the surgery was an upper endoscopy. I had to be admitted into the hospital and have an I.V. put in. The I.V. was the worst part. I have very tiny itty-bitty microscopic veins. I had one person on each arm and hand feeling for a good vein and poking and probing as they went. After many pokes, one girl was probing around with a needle in the back of my hand and it hurt so bad that tears started streaming down my face. I begged her to please stop. She then said she would get the numbing spray to use on my hand. I thought, “NOW you want to use the numbing spray????” She did find a vein eventually. In a half hour or so, I was wheeled into the “operating” room. They then put me under and snaked a camera down into my stomach to have a look around. They had to check for any lesions, ulcers, tumors, etc. With a gastric bypass, they don’t remove the stomach – they keep it to help aid in digestion. I woke up in my room and they told me that everything looked fine other than my stomach lining looked a little irritated. Once again, I was approved for surgery. Whew! Glad that one was over with! However…I think I now fear getting the I.V. for the surgery more than the actual surgery.
*“Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG*) is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on the skin. These electrodes detect the tiny electrical changes on the skin that arise from the heart muscle depolarizing during each heartbeat. It is a very commonly performed cardiology test.” ~Wikipedia