You are so lucky to not have to have the ph probe. You're right, if you have a good surgeon, you will be o.k.
I had my surgery in 2005 and I think I only stayed one night in the hospital. When I woke up, yes, I was in a lot of pain. The pain was not from the incisions, but from all the work they did on the inside. My doctor sent me home on some good, awful tasting liquid pain medication. I'm allergic to Codeine, so I'm limited when it comes to pain meds. You won't be able to swallow pain pills right after surgery. Your esophagus is going to be very tight. Even with the liquids, don't try to gulp them down.
I was still working then and I took a couple of weeks off. My worst problem in my recovery, even after I went back to work, was a lot of diarrhea. But, I have a couple of friends who have had the surgery and they did not have this complication.
You will start with milk shakes, jello and soft foods and work your way up to the real stuff. When you get back to the regular food, just take your time. The esophagus stays pretty tight for a while and when it gets stuck going down, for a few seconds it can be painful. It moves on down quickly, just not quick enough for you. This is the point where you can't throw up. I can remember trying to get food to move on down and then trying to get it to come back up and it just wouldn't happen during the recovery process. You will be able to throw up again. I found that out about six months after my surgery when I got a stomach bug.
If you have any more questions, just ask or you can email me.
Epilepsy, severe adult onset asthma, allergies, GERD, depression, hypothyroidism