A must-read for the planning stages is the “Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies” book (get it here). I personally don’t like the whole “dummies” bit, but this is a helpful resource. It has a good mix of what to expect at each stage, personal antidotes, ideas for how family members and friends can be supportive, and recipes.
I used the “what to bring to the hospital” list. It comforted me beforehand to have a list to cross off to feel like I was helping and to double-check I wasn’t forgetting anything. I brought the book with me to the hospital, but I honestly didn’t need it.
An important take-away for me was the positive impact family can have. My husband’s teen-aged kids offered to visit at the hospital. My husband really wanted them to be there. Once we confirmed with his doctor, that was the plan. The book mentioned that being surrounded by pictures and mementos of the reason why the patient is going through the surgery is beneficial. For family members, it helps to see first-hand the drastic steps their family member is taking to be healthy.
I took this idea and added to it thanks to my uncle Patrick. My uncle Jimmy was in ICU for more than 50 days. The entire time he was there, my uncle Patrick rearranged the flowers, cards, and pictures uncle Jimmy received. The idea was two-fold to: 1) remind the nurses, doctors, and staff that this was a person who had a community who loved him, and 2) encourage my uncle by focusing on the love and light family and friends sent his way.
I did something similar. I picked out some of our favorite photo albums to bring with us. Then, our kids and I secretly made cards and pictures. I hung the artwork up in the hospital room before my husband got in from the recovery. I also had the older kids write a letter if they wanted and either gave it to their Dad pre- or post-surgery, depending on their preference. It personalized the room and let him know that his family supported him.
But back to the book. It is good to have around post surgery. About a week post surgery, I was afraid that my husband might have injured himself. It was very late Friday night. It was reassuring to quickly turn to the Complications section to confirm that he just overdid it and we did not have an emergency situation. My husband periodically flips through it as a review or when he has questions.
Do yourself a favor and get this book. As always, good luck wherever you are in this journey.