Brittany Johnson: "Surgery is Only The Beginning; it is What We Do With our Tool Afterward That Genuinely Makes the Difference."
Everyone's surgical experience varies with little differences, so instead of writing the exact steps that Pompeii Surgical makes, I will be sharing with you personal versions of what happens to give you a more intimate view of what to expect.
As you arrive at Pompeii Surgical, you will be filling out all of your paperwork, and paying for your surgery and if you choose to stay at the Beach House, you will pay for that then as well.
"Once I arrived at Pompeii on the same day as my surgery, I had to complete some in-depth medical history paperwork and pay for my surgery and the Beach House. That process took about 20-30 minutes as there were other patients there doing the same thing, and we were all in the lobby together. I was then escorted upstairs to my room on the 2nd floor. They immediately had me wash off my makeup and go ahead and put on my hospital gown and hate and started prepping me for surgery."
Now everyone will have a slightly different experience depending on when they arrive at Pompeii Surgical. Due to Brittany arriving on the day of her surgery, everything was a little quickly paced. Assuming you arrive the day before or a couple of days before your experience will vary from this one, but everyone experiences all of these steps, just at their leisure.
"It was no time before the nurse came in to put in my IV. She could tell I was nervous and anxious because my blood pressure was a little high, and that was not normal for me. An assisting Doctor came in to talk to me before Dr. G. She explained everything and answered all of my questions, and she also asked the nurse to give me something to calm me down a little before surgery. It wasn't long before Dr. G came in to meet me and answer any questions I had, He was so nice and such a kind person, you could tell by the way he interacted with the other staff and myself and my Husband. He immediately made me feel comfortable and safe. I did have to wait a little while, maybe an hour or 2 before it was my turn for surgery. When it was my turn, they came to my room and had me sit in a wheelchair, they took me to the stairs to go down to the OR and helped me down, probably because I had been given the medicine to calm down."
Not only will your whole experience slightly vary, but your before surgery experience may not be the same as Brittany's. You will not be given anything to calm you down as a standard; however, Pompeii surgical will do their best to make sure your entire experience is as peaceful and pleasant as possible. Therefore if your anxiety is affecting you or your blood pressure, they will make sure that you are perfectly healthy prior to your surgery.
"Once downstairs, I was escorted to the OR and asked to lay on the table. Everyone was very nice and made me feel safe. I met the anesthesiologist, and I jokingly told him to make sure I woke up! He laughed and ensured me that he would and that all would be fine. Then Dr. G came in and asked if I was ready. I said I guess I better be, right? Then I fell asleep. When I awoke from surgery, They took me next door to recovery. I wasn't in pain, just groggy and had a little bit of a scratchy throat. I sat in recovery for a little bit before I was taken back to my room. By this time, it was pretty late at night, and I just slept. The night nurse that I had the first night was amazing! They all were, but I especially liked her. She was so kind and kept me very comfortable. I had minimal pain and discomfort the first night, and it felt like she checked in on me every 30 minutes to an hour."
Everyone's pain and discomfort will vary depending on your pain tolerance. One thing that is very common with all of our Patients is gas pain. Some report very little pain and discomfort; others report having more pain. The one thing that will remain the same across the board for everyone is that Pompeii Surgical's staff will manage your pain and make sure that they do everything they can to keep you comfortable during recovery. They will be there pretty regularly watching and caring for you and your guest should you choose to bring anyone.
"The next day, I woke up and started feeling the gas pains. I was encouraged to walk, and the more I walked, the better I felt. It was hard to make myself get up and walk, but I forced myself to walk constantly, and it truly was the key to feeling better. I was able to take a shower, and then I got dressed. There was only one point that I got nauseous, which was when I brushed my teeth that first morning after surgery, but I got over it fairly quickly and never got completely sick. In the early afternoon, I was told we would have to go with a driver without our companions to the diagnostic center for the barium swallow test. I was so nervous about this because I had heard the taste was awful. I got in an SUV with five other patients and a driver, and we went to the center. The test wasn't as bad as I imagined, but it definitely wasn't pleasant. This process took about 1-2 hours, and then we were back to the hospital. I continued my walking and rested most of the day that 2nd day as well. I watched an entire season of Friends with my Husband and was checked on by Dr. G, and he said everything went perfectly with my surgery. The nursing staff checked in at least every hour the whole time I was there. The 3rd day and my final morning, I had to drink the purple dye apple juice, which was not bad at all. Luckily no leaks! I then got my IV out, and Dr. G went over my swallow test result and showed me my new sleeve. He said it couldn't have gone better and it was the perfect outcome. The next was getting the drain removed, it is so hard to describe, and I don't think you can imagine the feeling until the drain comes out of your body. It wasn't painful at all, just a very odd feeling, and I started laughing when they took it out. After that, the driver came to pick us up, and we left to go to the beach house."
Everyone has the option of how long they want to stay after surgery, some even go home the following day from surgery, so although Brittany's recovery and follow up procedures seem leisurely, others may have had things done more quickly. So that will vary depending on how much time you give yourself to recover in Mexico. Do what you think will work best for you.
"The beach house was a great experience, and the experience was so relaxing. They had everything we needed there. Protein, Gatorade, and jello for me and restaurant menus and a driver to help my Husband order food for him and someone to either pick it up or have it delivered to our room. They also had a heating pad for my discomfort and tape and gauze for my incisions. We rested, walked on the beach, sat by the pool, and even did a little souvenir shopping. All in all, it was a great experience, and I would highly recommend them to anyone. One thing that has helped me tremendously in this journey has been the people I met there. I posted in the Pompeii Surgical Support Facebook Group before my surgery trying to meet other patients that would be there at the same time as me. Luckily, the girls I met were awesome! We still chat at least weekly if not daily in our private group message on Facebook. That support, encouragement, and engagement have been a game changer, and I highly recommend everyone to find your "sleeve tribe" so that you can help each other throughout your journey. Surgery is only the beginning; it is what we do with our tool afterward that genuinely makes the difference."
Good luck to all!