Gastric Bypass: Remembering Surgery 6 Years Later


September 13, 1999

Do you remember where you were six years ago today?

I do. It was the day I underwent gastric bypass surgery – a day that changed my life forever.

I don’t recall much about that day. I remember feeling embarrassed lying on the preparation table, my enormous belly exposed to be cleansed antiseptically. I remember feeling frightened, but calm with a total acceptance that gastric bypass surgery was the best decision for me. I remember the anesthesiologist, a beautiful woman, not very old and not very big.

Then I went to sleep.

I woke up puking violently, an unpleasant reaction to anesthesia. I didn’t have my glasses so things were blurry, particularly the flowers from my husband. And I can remember a push-button device that helped me sleep. Later that night I realized I was not yet smaller. In fact my stomach was bloated and sore. In my drug induced vagueness I became convinced the surgeon had mistakenly done the wrong operation because I was getting bigger, not smaller.

The day after surgery my surgeon visited me, taught me to drink tiny sips of water, patted my hand and told me I was going to do just fine. I remember walking around the hospital hallway. I remember a female nurse bathing me. I remember a very good-looking male nurse – he didn’t bathe me. Rats! I remember drinking some nasty liquid chalk and getting an x-ray to confirm my stomach had been whacked, stapled and bypassed. I remember the super-sized wheel chair and being embarrassed that it fit just fine.

I remember being discharged from the hospital to spend the next several days in a hotel room because we had traveled a great distance for my “last resort” surgery. I watched “Mame” on TBS several times. The sofa at the hotel was scratchy. My husband and I went on “outings” each day, little drives around a strange town. He emptied my surgical drain for me. I thought it was disgusting.

One week after surgery we went to Sea World where I wept in profound disbelief at the great whales circling the pool and performing flawlessly for a bite of fish. Being from out-of-town, we sat in the “Splash Zone”. Turns out those warnings are for a reason. The great swimming mammal whacked his tail and we were drenched!

On Thursday of the second week Leslie, the darling nurse and counselor herself a WLS patient, removed my drain. We could go home. She asked me the four rules and I repeated them to her. She told me, “Take advantage of this window of opportunity. Learn everything you can. If you don’t learn early to follow the rules and take care of yourself you can regain this weight.”

Starry eyed and hopeful we packed ourselves in the car and headed for home. Almost 1,500 miles later we pulled into the driveway of home sweet home. My fabulous husband said to me, “Welcome to your new life – You Have Arrived.”

Kaye Bailey © 2005 – All Rights Reserved

An award winning journalist and former newspaper editor Kaye Bailey brings expertise in writing and personal experience with gastric bypass surgery to Having spent most of her life overweight Ms. Bailey is strongly empathetic toward the obese, particularly overweight children. This compassion compelled her to found the website [], a fast-growing resource of information, understanding and support for the weight loss surgery community.

The site is complimented with daily blog. The blog, offers readers the chance to comment or leave feedback about fresh content added daily. This site contains success stories and recipes, general information and WLS inspired topics. Complementing the site is a monthly newsletter titled “You Have Arrived” available exclusively to people who subscribe through the website or the blog.

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Author: Piyawut Sutthiruk

Losing weight will keep you healthy and have a long life. Cheer Up!

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