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I am definitely having my WLS operation before the end of this year with Shaw Somers 😀

My husband and I went for my big appointment with Shaw Somers yesterday, drove down to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth together, it was still dark when we arrived in the town center for breakfast so we watched the sunrise by the sea after picking up some hot fresh coffee from McDonalds which we were very thankful opened at 6am just after we stopped outside it.

After a beautifully relaxed morning sightseeing and shopping, watching the ferries going across the water, finally the time came to make it actually across town into the hospital carpark and building. Blue Badge disabled badged holders the multi story carpark is not displaying good signs showing where the main disabled bays are, there are loads of them in long lines on the 4th floor (thanks Claire for phoning me about this the night before it seriously helped on the day) You park the car leaving the clock part of your badge inside the car then show the main photo badge part inside the hospital at the front reception desk who validate your ticket so that when you go to leave the hospital you are only charged £1.60 NOT the £1.20 per day stated on their website, its £1.60 for 24 hours for blue badge holders.

The first lovely person we encountered was the guy at the front desk main reception area where we went to show my blue badge, so so helpful, patient and kind, I was so nervous therefore all fingers and thumbs my hands suddenly decided to stop working in co-ordination when he asked which part of the hospital I needed so I spend a little while trying to get the letter out of the plastic document wallet which zip pull plastic bit at the top came off in my hand when I went to open it, a queue started to form behind me but he very patently asked the people to wait which I thought was nice and completely un-hurried me along which being in a wheelchair to me felt rare as well because normally people expect me to blunder things and get impatient when I then do become all fiddly or muddled up. So the first person we met gets a huge thumbs up for politeness, manners and generally being a top bloke and lovely decent person.

So having been given a map and directions to both picking up some lunch inside the hospital and the correct outpatients department we set off along the corridor towards the lifts. Costa Coffee was half way along the route towards the first set of lifts so instead of finding the dining area we decided to stop in there to pick up sandwiches and more caffeine, this proved a giant mistake because after choosing something I wheeled my chair back outside into the corridor whilst hubby went to pay but he got stuck in the queue for over twenty minutes it was just so busy. Definitely will not be doing that again even though my Italian mushroom toasted sandwich topped with melted cheese was heated beautifully and tasted delicious. Next time I have an appointment there we’ll pick up something before arriving.

Overall everyone we met on the way to the department to meet Shaw was really friendly, there are quite a few outpatients departments on the way up to the correct floor, you know when you are there though because the main painted areas are all jade green. You’ll notice that the entire hospital is colour co-ordinated with the different colour zones on their map so its fairly easy to navigate your way around even if like me you can not see or are registered blind.

Once inside the double doors to the bariatric surgical outpatients department I was so nervous inside but smiling on the outside, the lady at the reception desk was beautifully friendly patient and helpful, after giving my letter in and wheeling to the seated waiting area, my husband and I sat there looking around at how uncluttered the place was and yet homely at the same time. The first thing I noticed was the magazines which were all hobby related NOT the type that you normally see with the stereotypical ‘beautiful’ thin people in them, I picked up a couple of House and Home and Homes & Gardens to look at which I already enjoy reading anyway.

Only waited just over ten minutes and Denise Thomas the dietician lady called me in to her room, she’d come out to call me too not sent someone else which I thought was nice. What a lovely lady too, so easy to talk with and even when she was asking me questions I felt like she already knew me it was weird in a good way. I took in with me a diary I’ve made showing photographs of me throughout various stages of my life from birth to now and my food journals as well which we went through together, Denise used my own eating habits picked out from random days to explain what will happen after surgery with the same types of foods. Spent about twelve minutes in with Denise in total we also covered the different types of surgery, which one I was leaning towards and why, the after surgery diet, coping strategies for post WLS and what sort of weight I could expect to loose, weighed and measured me then asked me to wait outside again, I asked her what was happening next and she said that within a few minutes I’ll be called in to meet Shaw Somers.

When I wheeled back around the corner my husband tilted his head to a room to the right of the reception desk showing me Shaw Somers had arrived and was setting up inside that room. It was at that point for some reason my husband became the nervous wreck and I the calming one, it was complete role reversal he even dropped a large size almost full to the top cappuccino all over the floor, upon impact it did explode with spectacular fashion spreading and running all over the place in all different directions. The waiting area is small and now full too therefore everyone had to get up and all the seats had to be moved in order to catch this coffee with tissues the three nurses and reception ladies grabbed to mop it all up. So please, no matter how nervous you are when you go there for your appointment just keep in your mind a six foot tall black guy who’s face must have surely been purple through embarrassment who said ‘so sorry’ several times as the coffee as being cleaned away 🙂

It felt like ages but I was only left waiting for six minutes all of which were taken up with the cleaning coffee experience then a lady came and called my name to go in to see Shaw Somers.

Firstly his room is always set up the same so you instantly feel at home or in familiar surroundings, secondly, WOW what an amazingly calming person he really is, instantly puts you are ease I still retained my calm composure from the waiting room, hubby was positively shaky by this point. As I’d communicated a great deal with Shaw Somers via email prior to going along yesterday I didnt really need to say much at all, Shaw familiarised himself with my case then we discussed the operation what he could or could not do, my general outlook from my own point of view why I really want to have the surgery, general surgical stuff then I he asked me if I wanted to know anything. Or course instantly sprung to my mind and lips at the same time was how soon could I be operated on, smiles all round because its going to be before the end of 2012.

After talking a little bit about Christmas week and how we didnt mind making the about 110 mile drive on Christmas Day itself its been put down for between the 24th and 31st December with a lady going to call me on Monday or Tuesday with the exact date. Shaw is going to push for the bypass all the way but once inside if he can not do the bypass he’ll go for the Y sleeve instead.

Back in the waiting area which was still full of people waiting to see other people, Alison came to see me with a book which is given to bypass patients, the milk diet instructions, she checked my phone number was correct and gave me her direct phone line and bleeper number. I’m to come back to two weeks for pre op tests blood etc then start the diet for two weeks coming back for the surgery itself the night before to get settled in.

All three people I’d seen, Denise, Shaw and Alison said that I obviously have made several lifestyle changes already this year having lost 68 pounds since February, sticking with the weight loss management service Tipping The Balance who are just brilliant along with their swimming program and now gym training as I had the induction on Monday to start with a full program of training this coming week, therefore I didn’t need to see the psychologist or anyone else unless I wanted to or felt it would help come to terms with the surgery journey into more weight loss. I didnt feel the need to so went home instead perfectly elated at the prospect of what’s to come for me.

In total including lunch we were only in the hospital for just under two hours.

Back inside the car while my husband loaded the wheelchair in the back, I was very tearful and shaking with sheer exhaustion and relief. I’ve barely slept for two weeks waiting for this day now its happened I still can not quite take it all in, I am pretty sure now I’m going to be in blur mode until after the surgery when the emotional pain of it all is dealt with.

Something which was just so beautiful, Claire aka happy-go-lucky from this forum and a few ladies from the Gastric Bypass UK group on Facebook all sent me text messages whilst I was at the hospital, I sat there in the car looking at them, it is just so amazing to receive such wonderful support and friendship it really is I am deeply deeply touched by it all.

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