Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bariatrics, Part 9: Fill 'er up!

I went for my first "fill" today. It was also a follow-up checkup. I've been losing restriction for three or four weeks now and white-knuckling a bit much to keep my portion sizes small and avoid snacking too often, so it was time. I'm down to 251, though my weight this morning was 255. Probably all water, I might add. You can tell from my fingers, ankles and waist. I've probably been eating too many carbs, and I know I'm struggling to get enough water in every day.

Pat, Dr. Schweitzer's nurse-practitioner, agreed that I needed a fill and went off in search of the syringes and saline. Apparently, the Bayview clinic has some new techs who didn't know to put these things in the examining rooms when a lap-band follow-up was scheduled. When Pat came back, she had me lay down on the examining table, then raised it to a comfortable height. She palpated my abdomen a bit around the long scar and thought she found the port. She stuck me with the big needle -- this sucker was huge -- without any surface numbing, I might add. It only pinched a little, then wham -- PAIN! I shrieked. Apparently, she'd completely missed my port and caught my abdominal muscle instead.

This spooked both of us and she asked if she could examine the patient next door while I collected my wits and tried to talk myself into sticking around. A few minutes later, she came back and had me stand up. There I was, pants open, blouse pulled up to my bra and held in place by my upper arms. Pat palpated right around my bra band on the side with the big scar and found it. She stuck the needle in again. Yes, there was definitely a little pinch, but the needle burrowed through what I'm sure is a wall of solid fat and -- bullseye! She hit the port perfectly. I swear I could feel the saline slipping in through the tubing.

Pat put 4 cc's into my 10 cc Vanguard band. She normally puts 6 in for the first fill, but thought I might still have a tiny bit of residual restriction and didn't want to make it too tight.

By mid-afternoon, things started to tighten up again, and a bowl of chili from the deli across the street held me nicely until 7 p.m. Then, I ate ten or so tortellini -- the leftovers from Madeline's plate -- for dinner and was full. Hopefully, this means the scale will be cooperating again soon.

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