Welcome to Healing Well! I had my Nissen in February 2009 and have been extremely happy with the results. Here is a link to my early recovery journal, in case you didn't see it as you roamed the forum threads:
I'll try to answer your questions:
1. Did everyone use a bougie? I have been reading about perforation risks.
My surgeon used a bougie. I believe most do, however there are some who have developed the ability to space their wraps without one. It's a very common practice, so I don't think you ned to worry.
2. How was the pain after surgery?
Everyone experiences pain differently, but generally the pain is fairly minimal. Of course in the beginning you'll have some surgical pain, but this subsides within a few days. You'll be on IV pain meds in the hospital and it will work great.
The nurse had me switch to oral pain meds before I was released to ensure that it was working and the dosage was correct. It was fine. My only suggestion is that you try to talk your surgeon into ordering liquid pain medication. I wasn't successful with this...for some reason they like to send us home on tablets. Those can be crushed and mixed with applesauce.
Be sure to buy some liquid Tylenol so you can make the switch to a non-narcotic pain med as soon as you start to feel better. You really won't be on the narcotic they send home long. You may want to continue it at night, when pain seems more noticable.
I don't know if the surgeon told you about shoulder pain post-op, but it's very annoying, and can actually be worse than the incision. I was told by my nurse in the hospital to get up and walk every time I went to the bathroom in order to minimize the shoulder pain, which I did.
In the hospital I walked laps (pushing my IV pole along) all night, whenever I went to the bathroom. I continued to walk around my house once I was released, and after a few days hopped on my treadmill...slow at first, then increasing speed as I recovered. I found that the more I walked, the less my shoulder hurt. The pain is from the gas they pump into your abdomen to make the surgical field more visible and accessible. Also, the diaphram is irritated during surgery. It will gradually subside as you heal.
3. I had a partial hysterectomy last year and was really sick afterwards and had the dry heaves. I'm worried about that this time. Has anyone experienced that?
I did not get sick after surgery, but this should be a real concern to your surgeon. Be sure to let him know about that experience. Be very assertive with your anesthesiologist/anesthetist and insist that they provide you with medication to ensure you don't retch or vomit post-op. This could damage your new wrap and create some very serious problems.
Also, be sure to get anti-nausea drugs to have on hand at home. Vomiting and retching can hurt your wrap. It's especially critical during the early recovery stage, but you should never be without anti-nausea drugs, as retching and vomiting is never good for your wrap. I was told I wouldn't be able to vomit after the surgery, but twice I was caught unawares, and vomited. I immediately took anti nausea meds (Compazine suppositories work best for me) to keep from vomiting repeatedly.
Zofran, Phenegran, and Compazine suppositories are three the many here have on hand and use when needed. Be sure to get some.
4. How does it feel when you take your first drink??!!!
I was actually surprised at how quickly my swallowing improved right after surgery. My first sip of water was a little spasmy, but once the anesthesia got out of my system, it improved. Really, the whole experience was much better than I expected. I think you'll do just fine!
Be sure to read my early recovery journal if you haven't already. It'll give you some idea of what your early recovery experience might be like. Disregard the parts about coughing...my lungs were in horrible shape when I had the surgery!
Again, glad you've joined us! This is a great place to get support and information from others who've "been there, done that"! We'll be looking forward to welcoming you to our "Wrapped Club"! When you feel up to it, be sure to let us know how it goes!
Nissen Fundoplication 2/09
"Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.”
“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose”
“Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”