Wouldn't it be a great feeling and sense of security approaching weight loss surgery without exhibiting fears of the unknown? Where will I be? What will happen to me? What is the procedure upon my arrival for surgery? Where do I go after surgery?
Well...Barbara answers all of these questions and many others in her monthly Weight Loss Surgery Pre-Op classes. She promises that you won't leave the class without having a clear understanding of what you will be experiencing throughout the entire process of your surgery and where in Norwalk Hospital you will be at various times during your stay.
Barbara Vala, a seasoned registered nurse and member of the Hospital staff for many years., is the Bariatric Coordinator for the Hospital's Surgical Weight Loss Center of Excellence® program.
The class starts off with a meet and greet in the lobby of Norwalk Hospital. Barbara then takes the pre-op patients on a tour of the hospital that includes the areas that they will be visiting during their stay including the ambulatory unit, OR (operating room), PACU (post acute care unit for recovery immediately after the operation) and then onto 6 West and a typical patient's room in the weight loss surgery area. She explains what to expect the day of surgery and what happens when the patient arrives at their room on
6 West. This eases any fear of the unknown, and/or panic when the patient awakes from anesthesia with drains, catheters, oxygen and possibly other tubes. Barbara also discusses early ambulation, deep breathing exercises post-op and the hospital routine. She will talk about the upper GI series post-op on Day One as well as the various stages of the bariatric diet. All patients are reminded to review their meds with their primary care physicians. If they are on any large extended release meds they should discuss with their primary care physicians having them adjusted to smaller and/or crushable pills before surgery. The pre-op stage diets are discussed and the patients are reminded to have nothing to eat after midnight on the day of surgery.
The class ends with a question and answer period where everyone has the opportunity to ask questions in the group format or privately. The class does not end until the patients attending the class have answers to all of their questions and hopefully have their fears and anxieties substantially reduced.
But this pre-op class is not the end. After surgery we continue to support you with monthly nutrition and psychological counseling support groups. These groups are led by experts and leaders in the field of counsleing to bariatric patients.