Achalasia update: Post Heller Myotomy

My experience with the Toronto East General hospital and going through my first surgery.

It’s been a little over two weeks after the surgery.  Things aren’t perfect.  I still have to eat slowly, and liquid things are easier, but in general swallowing is much easier now.  The surgery has definitely met my expectations.

I had to do two checks before the actual surgery.  One was a upper GI series barium swallow, and the other was a short chat with the anesthesiologist.

The day of the surgery, I was at the hospital at 6am.  Getting there on time can guarantee you a first spot, because by 6:10 a line up was starting to form at registration.

Going up into the waiting room, I had some blood taken by a nurse and changed into the reversible front/back hospital gown.  I actually think it kind of fits like a yukata.  Finally I had an IV bag put into my hand before being sent back to wait.

When you walk into a surgery room, it’s almost like you are celebrity.  The doctors all know your name and are focused on you.  The surgery table is in the middle of the room with all the instruments angled towards it.  I lay on the table, and was given two warm towels because I was shivering so much.  I asked how long until I was going to be out, then I don’t remember anything.

I woke up in a recovery room immediately in pain.  I had a pain in my shoulder, and my abs hurt.  I was getting morphine put into my IV, so I had problems concentrating.  Things just didn’t seem to matter…  I was wondering what it would feel like, and I wouldn’t exactly describe it as ‘fun’.  But definately an escape.

I zoned in and out of consciousness for the rest of the day.  About 10 hours after surgery my family came to visit.  I needed to take my first pee so I tried to get out of bed, but extreme pain from my shoulder prevented me from getting up.  It was then I finally realized that my shoulder was in fact dislocated.  Now when I’m out of shape my shoulder actually dislocates quite easily, so I assume it must have been done while I was being moved under anesthesia.  The nurses refused to handle it and would much prefer to call a doctor, so I youtubed a video and had my brother do it to me.  Still thinking pretty clearly for a person with a morphine IV drip 😉

I had some interesting “roommates”.  One was an older guy who had knee surgery who liked to talk about his hippie years, and the other guy broke his leg in two places during a company ski-get away.  Having guys that can joke around can really lighten the mood in a hospital.

I didn’t get anything but broth and jello for the first day or two.  After the second day I was getting things like cream of wheat and split pea soup.  I was out of the hospital in 3 days, which is slightly longer than I expected.  The doctors were waiting for me to fart before I could be discharged; opiates are constipating.  I spent the rest of the week playing video games.