Right about three years ago, I had a hysterectomy. Not because of any immediate medical concern, it just needed to be done. I’d had an ablation on my heart a few years prior so, before surgery, an EKG was required to make sure I could handle the anesthesia. They said my heart was healthy, and the surgery was scheduled.
I checked into the hospital as scheduled and the nurse took my vitals. Blood pressure normal, weight too high (also normal since I had my first kid 20 years before), heart rate 110. All as it should be. The anesthesiologist got tired of waiting for the nurse and administered the medication himself. “This is going to sting a bit”, he said, “but you’ll only feel it for a minute”. The needle was totally painless…and then the burn. And then…
When I woke up, I was all alone. I heard some ladies talking from somewhere in the room, but couldn’t make out where, or what they were saying, so I exhaled and held my breath. I saw them about 30 feet away; three nurses huddled around a machine of some kind.
“It’s 65” said one.
“Now it’s 30. Which one do I believe?” What are they talking about?
“It was 110 when she came in!” OH! I took a deep breath and willed myself to breathe normally. They were talking about my heart rate. 65? 30? Holy crap! Keep breathing, I told myself.
Why was I concentrating on breathing? Why did I have to remind myself to keep doing it? Had I stopped during surgery? I assume it dropped because I intentionally stopped breathing to hear them better (I’m not sure it works, but I have always done that). But it was 65 before that and, for me, that’s awfully low. I laughed about it when the doctor said “You had us worried for a minute!” and I explained that it was my fault because “You know how you don’t breathe when you’re straining to hear someone talk?” He looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language for a minute and then moved on to the surgery and how it all went perfectly on the table, “but we don’t know what happened in Recovery”. Huh. Weird. They decided to keep me overnight to test for Sleep Apnea. No signs, but the nurse said she’s sure that’s what caused the “episode” after surgery.
When I went back to work, a coworker who had recently had the same procedure said “You’ll be sorry. Hysterectomies make you fat!” We laughed.
Fast forward three years. I am now just two and a half pounds lighter than the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I’m sure it has more to do with stress than the operation, but I shared that only to share this:
This morning, my husband (who has Sleep Apnea) said that he woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep for an hour because “You jerked every time you inhaled”. He couldn’t really describe it any better than that, but *I* can. On that day, almost exactly three years ago, I realized I wasn’t breathing and literally forced myself to breathe. It was always a sharp inhale, like “oh, yeah, I forgot!” Not a gasp, but sharp. And it would cause a little bit of a jerk. It woke me up the night before, so I knew exactly what he meant.
When he went to the doctor to discuss his snoring, the doctor set him up with a Sleep Study. The first suggestion from both doctors was that he lose a few pounds. They observed that, as one gains weight, their necks get thicker and can obstruct the airway as one sleeps. Well then!
Given this information, and a few other aches and pains that I’m convinced have to do with excess weight (and age, I’m sure…), I have decided to attempt a “diet”. Between the planned meals and the twice daily exercise program where I work, I am hoping to lose about 56 pounds in the next year. Hopefully, the first 10-20 will alleviate the potential problem. If not, I’ll be off to the doc. I’m a firm believer in trying everything within my power before shelling out money to someone who will most likely tell me what I already know: I’m too fat.
I’m not mentioning the program on purpose right now; I will start it within the next week or two. But I will keep track of my progress here, and if it works as I hope, I’ll certainly give them a plug! In the meantime, I will keep breathing. And I hope you do, too!