Welcome to the Healing Well GERD forum! You've definitely come to the right place. I can understand your fears, because I had them firsthand.
I had my Nissen in February 2009, after over four years of severe lung issues caused by GERD. My reflux, though not extreme, was enough to get my asthma going, and I was using far too many steroids, nebulizer treatments, and was coughing constantly.
The docs couldn't get my lungs better for the surgery, so when I had it done I had been being treated for a lung infection. It didn't clear, and consequently I coughed nonstop through my recovery. I ended up getting Rocephen antibiotic shots, as my PCP didn't want to add antibiotics to my (normally) very sensitive stomach.
Here's a link to my posts during the first 19 days of my recovery.
Look, if you have a cold, you'll have to cough. I worried endlessly, because I was coughing severely in an effort to raise mucous that was keeping me from breathing. My husband did lung PT on me, to help raise it, but seriously, I coughed throughout my recovery. I talked to my GI about it, and he was confident that it would be okay, but said (not very reassuringly) "What's the worst that can happen? You'll just get a redo. No big deal." Not all that reassuring, but I really didn't have a choice.
Long story short, I healed, my asthma improved dramatically by two months post op, and my wrap remained intact. I actually had a surgeon do testing at the 2 and a half year mark at the request of my asthma doc. (I have allergic asthma, and he wanted to rule out a failed wrap.) Anyway, my wrap was intact and all was well.
Use a pillow against your stomach when you cough. If it's just a throat cough, try cough syrup, or if that makes you sick to think about, try honey. Mine was in my lungs, so none of that would work.
You may get some pain in your left rib incision area. Ice will work well for that.
I suggest that you start your own thread on the main page requesting information, and giving members a chance to find you and say hi. This is a great place to get information and support from people who've gone through the same recovery you're experiencing.
Here's the link: GERD - Heartburn
Just click the New Topic button at the top.
Again, glad you've joined us!
Hang in there. It's very normal to have that gas bubble feeling. Your wrap is very irritated, and swallowing makes it tired. I remember taking a swallow of something and having it feel like I swallowed a huge bubble of air. The early days of recovery are the toughest. I don't know if your surgeon prepared you, but your wrap will become increasingly more swollen during the first two weeks of recovery, peaking around day 14. Don't be surprised if your swallowing gets worse before it gets better.