I'm back! I had to finish up our decorating and get the house cleaned up in preparation for tomorrow morning's arrival of our little year old grandson. He picks everything up off the floor, so vacuuming was a must! It'll be interesting to see how he reacts to all the decorating.
Anyway...first, the lung problems as they relate to the surgery; I actually had a lung infection when I had the surgery. It was one of those catch-22 issues. The reflux was (presumably) causing my lung problems, and I couldn't get them healthy enough to have the surgery. For that reason, they went forward with it.
I was concerned about the general anesthesia causing my asthma to take a dive. I'd read that asthma is a risk factor for general anesthesia issues. I have a good friend who is a nurse-anesthetist, and he set my mind at ease. He said that they put medication into the oxygen/gas they're giving you (I assume it's albuterol), so there won't be a problem.
My asthma doc ordered a nebulizer treatment the morning of my surgery--just before the procedure. I had been on high doses of steroids for quite a while, and because of that had symptoms of adrenal insufficiency, so I was also given a boost of steroids to avoid going into shock.
My lung infection did not clear, although it had been treated with an antibiotic, and I was still full of mucous after the surgery. At that point I was started on Rocephen antibiotic shots daily for a few days, as my PCP was not anxious to put any antibiotics into my upper GI tract. (I have a very sensitive stomach, and antibiotics are one of the triggers.)
I was very fearful that my wrap would be ruined by my constant, severe coughing. My husband even had to do lung PT on me, to help raise the mucous. On top of that, my internal organs were made very fragile because of the steroids, and my surgeon told me he considered adding mesh to help support my hernia repair. He decided against it because in his words, "mesh can cause other problems". Instead, he put a few extra stitches in to help hold it.
I was nebulizing several times daily, taking high doses of oral steroids, and coughing like no other. Still, my wrap held. Thankfully!
It took two and a half months for my lungs to respond to the surgery and begin to improve. It was amazing to me. It was May--in the midst of my usual problem time, because I have allergy induced asthma. Even with all the pollen, my lungs THANKFULLY got better! My PCP and asthma docs both thought the surgery would help my lungs, but my GI doc wasn't convinced. He held up the surgery for 4 long and unhealthy years while my asthma doc and PCP wrung their hands and filled me with steroids in an attempt to keep me breathing.
Fast-forward two and a half years...my lungs are they best they've been in years. I've gone from a pre-surgery inhaled steroid dose of 4 puffs 220mcg steroid inhaler twice a day (1760mcg) to 2 puffs 115mcg steroid inhaler twice a day. (460mcg). That's what the surgery did for me! Since I do have allergies which can affect my lungs, I still have to maintain meds.
My GI doc wasn't anxious to recommend surgery because my 24 hr PH monitor DeMeester score was within normal range (just a hair over 14).
My asthma doc says that's where GI docs drop the ball. They're only concerned with large amounts of reflux that can damage the esophageal tissue, and don't realize how little acid it takes to wreak havoc on the lungs.
I'm not a good one to ask regarding an elevated head of the bed. My husband also had reflux, although the bed has always been elevated due to my issues, it doesn't hurt his situation either. He has diagnosed stenosis and has had sciatica, so there have been times when the elevated bed bothered him. He uses pillows as positioners, and that has solved his problem.
I found the elevated bed helpful after the surgery, because it seemed to take pressure off the wrap and incisions. Because my lungs are so sensitive, my asthma doc wants me to continue to be proactive, and continue some anti-reflux measure even though I have no symptoms at all. Also, as a proactive measure, as well as the fact that I have a reactive and very sensitive stomach, I'm still take 40mg Protonix before dinner.
I have always been a side sleeper my entire life. However, since my surgery I can't sleep on my side for long periods. I'm pretty sure that there are some adhesions that pull when I like on my side, and after a few hours I get some pain that wakes me up. As soon as I change position I'm fine. That's why I'm stuck sleeping on my back most of the time now. I have never heard of anyone else with that problem. Some, like Joy, describe that type of discomfort only during the healing stage.
I don't love an elevated bed, but I'm honestly used to it, and I'm actually more comfortable for a number of reasons, including the comfort of my wrap. Who knows...it might be related to my constant coughing post-op and how it affected the healing. Still, it doesn't bother me to have to make that concession. It's well worth having healthy lungs again.
I hope this has helped in some way. While I have unique issues that don't relate to most people, I hope what I've written gives you some insights regarding what you might expect.
Good luck with your surgery! I know how you feel. Once I made the decision to have the surgery, I couldn't get it soon enough. I just wanted to get it over with and begin healing. I also was fearful that my lung condition would stop me from having the surgery. I think that if I could go through in the condition I was in, your tightness shouldn't be a problem.
Best wishes! Soon we'll be welcoming you to our Wrapped Club!