Well, I'd been working on another post for a week or so; thought I'd published it, but turns out I somehow deleted it. grrrr!
I had my first fill on Friday, January 7, 2011. The anticipation of the procedure was more painful than the actual procedure, which is always good. You can watch the procedure for yourself:
The first part of the video talks a little about the difference between banding and other weight loss surgeries. An animation of the fill procedure starts about 0:42, and an actual video of the process starts about 1:20.
It was a little uncomfortable because they have to wiggle the needle a little to get it into the correct port hole, but I've had paper cuts that have hurt worse. It's also a strange sensation when the saline went in because I could feel it moving through the tubing up to to the band.
The worse part was having to drink barium. YUCK! I had to drink a couple ounces while they injected me, which allows them to get the correct amount of saline in the band. There's no set amount of saline for the fill -- each person is different. They inject more saline than necessary and then plunge it out slowly until the barium starts to trickle through the band. Once the trickle starts, they know they have enough injected. This first time I had 3cc's of saline injected.
After they withdrew the needle and applied a Snoopy band-aid for the little trickle of blood, I went back into the fill area waiting room to drink water. I had to stay there for a little while and drink (water) to make sure it went through without any problems. Sometimes, even one drop of saline, can be too much, causing pain nor the ability to swallow liquids or foods.
A fill is kind of a stressor on the stomach/system, so you have to work your way back up to food. It's kind of like the post-op diet, but in a about three days instead of three weeks. On the day of a fill, I have nothing but liquids (tomato soup, broths, protein drinks, etc.) The day after a fill it's soft foods (heavier soups, eggs, mushy foods). On the third day, basically back to normal.
[On a side note, that's an Oklahoma accent my doctor has, there. We actually graduated from the same high school. . . about 25 years a part. He's actually a lap band patient himself and has lost over 100 pounds, as has his head nurse. It's nice knowing they understand and can relate to the process.]