Tuesday, 10 September 2013

lap hys post-op report

a week ago, when I was shaking in bed, wide awake, the night before the surgery, I had this silly thought.. "I wonder if I'll feel different.."
maybe it's not silly, though, isn't that a pretty normal thought when you're facing major life-altering changes? 

cos even if I was a hundred percent sure I didn't want to bear kids, and this whole surgery was about other things for me, it is still something that would fundamentally change me as a woman.
don't get me wrong, I know women with uteruses sometimes also can't have kids, I am where I am because of that, but, you know..

anyway.

Tuesday morning we went to the pre-op thing at the hospital. 
we were just gonna talk to different people, but I was already having a mini freak out, I think mostly cos it being Tuesday meant that Wednesday wasn't far off and that meant major freak out.

I was supposed to have blood tests and an EKG done, but in the end we just had a talk with the nurse, in which she explained how tomorrow was gonna go, and what to expect after the surgery, and how and what to do during recovery.

I also talked to her about my fear of getting as sick from the anesthesia as I had been the previous times, but she said that in the past couple of years, there had been a huge development in not just anesthesia, but also nausea meds, and nowadays it was really rare for people to get that sick. usually people just feel groggy, but nothing like severe hangovers. 
so that was nice to know, and even though I was still freaking out about it, I'm sure the sensible part of my brain stored that info somewhere as part of my attempt to calm my nerves.

she also went over what I needed to prepare before the surgery, like cleaning my belly button with a cotton swab and cooking oil, and shaving a certain area, and... then she handed me a bottle with a label that said "rectal fluid". yeah. exactly. yeah.. 

and then we went to talk to the anesthesiologist.
I was expecting the usual full anesthesia with full knock-out and breathing tube and catheter and the whole nine yards, but I had a good talk with Anju a couple of days before, and she said I could at least ask about the spinal block option, as well. possibly my weight was an issue and the reason why they hadn't mentioned it as an option at the hospital during the appointment where we scheduled the surgery, but it couldn't hurt to ask.

so I did, but it turns out the reason was not so much my weight, but that they would have to do a different procedure slash use/set up for a whole different technique if I were to attempt partial anesthesia or whatever you call it. 
it was a whole "thing" and it was a little last minute to change things around, and I could tell that if I had insisted on the epidural, I would probably have to reschedule the surgery, and by now I didn't wanna do that. it just needed to be over and done with. 

so that was that. I just had to call the ward later between 2 and 3pm to hear about what time I was put on the OR schedule for. 
I was on as no. 2, like last time when I had fibroids removed, and that time there were complications with no. 1 so I ended up waiting for several hours, so even though it would mean I would have to be at the hospital at like 6am I still wanted to be no. 1. 
but I was 2nd so we just had to be there at 9am with the actual surgery scheduled to start at 11.

late afternoon and I suddenly got my period. at first I wondered if something had burst or something cos it had only been 12 days since my last period, but when I called the hospital to get confirmation that this wouldn't postpone the operation, the nurse said, that fibroids this size can easily make periods irregular like this, so as long as there was no pain and I didn't feel sick, we were still good to go! cue sigh of relief.

in a weird way this turned out to be sort of a mental help. a ceremonious last night sleeping on the big piece of plastic I've been putting under my sheet during periods to keep the bleed throughs from ruining my mattress. 
a reminder as to why it is I had chosen to go through this surgery to begin with, no matter how much I was freaking out about it right then. 

unfortunately hubs had a meeting to go to that night, but he made it home at around 11pm so I had someone to cling to, and after all the fun prep *cough* we went to bed around midnight to get a good night's rest.
however I can't remember ever being this nervous about anything ever, and at, like, 4:45am I was still completely wide awake.
of course I did manage to finally fall asleep so I might have gotten an hour or so only, which meant I was completely groggy when the alarm finally went off. 

I did cry all the way up in the elevator and during sign in, and I did almost bleed all over the bed before I had even changed into the hospital clothes, but I got settled in the huge granny panties and diaper-like pads and thigh-high compression stockings, and calmed down a bit, and then we waited for an eternity.

in reality I think we waited around 30-45 mins or so, and then the nurse came and said they were ready for me, so if I had to pee I should do it now, and, well, I always have to pee, pretty much, so I got out of bed, but when I turned around there was the orderly already, coming to take me down, so I got all flustered and opted to take out my contacts and have him wait for that instead of the pee.

and then he whisked me out the door, I didn't even get to kiss hubs goodbye.... 

I got parked in the OR hall way, and waited for about 20 mins, and while I was busy crying and shaking all over the place, the regular nurses and anesthesiology nurses came out to talk to me and tried to calm me down. they were all very sweet even though they didn't really succeed..

for a moment I got a little confused cos one of them asked if maybe it was a good idea to get Mads over to talk to me, and since hubs' name is Mads I thought "yes!", but then she asked if I had already talked to him which made me really confused.. 
before I could figure out what she was on about, the surgeon, Mads came over, and everything fell into place. and even though it wasn't my Mads, I did find comfort in the fact that it turned out to be the same guy who removed my fibroids last time. he even remembered me, too.

then it was time, and I got the blue plastic covers on my feet and shuffled into the OR. before I got on the table - which is more like a long slim board by the way, the nurse quickly grabbed my arm and made me put on one of those green hair covers, and whispered it was our little secret that I didn't wear it coming into the OR. oops. 

they had to find a step stool for me cos chubby has short legs, but up on the table I went, and got hooked up to all sorts of machines. the nurses were all really good about explaining everything they did, though the point of the plastic glove she blew up and made me hold in my hand and then taped on, eluded me. 

of course I don't know if he did all sorts of things after I was out, but I found it a little...I don't even know, that these capable nurses did everything, but then in the last minute, in comes the anesthesiologist doc and pushes the actual drugs. he seemed redundant somehow, since it was the nurses who did all the work. 

anyway, just a thought before it was back to thinking about hubs and surviving this, and then I passed out.

this was around 11am and when I got wheeled to post-op in my usual dizzy and sobbing post-op state it was 14:30. 
it didn't take more than 10-15 mins to get lucid, though, and I did have a heavy head, but I wasn't really nauseous or had a bad head ache or anything, and after getting hooked up to their machines, I got some water cos my throat was dry from having the breathing tube inserted.

I did have to pee a lot, even though I had just had a catheter, but apparently I make pee fast cos post-op nurse scanned my bladder, and there were almost 400 ml. already. 
she offered me a bedpan, but since I was feeling kinda okay I asked to go to the bathroom instead, and she said if I could hold it for a while it would be okay, but right now was too soon to get out of bed. so I held it.

she came by and asked frequently what my pain level was on a scale from 1 to 10, and after about 45 mins it had gone up to about 3-4, so she asked me if I wanted something even though it meant I would have to stay in the post-op for about 30 mins more, so they could make sure I didn't have a bad reaction to the meds.

I wasn't in serious pain, but on the other hand I thought, why be in any at all, so I said yes as long as she could offer me anything but morphine. we landed on wonderful Ketogan, and even though it did make me a bit dizzy as she warned, it took mere minutes for my pain to have subsided to a nice 1. intravenous drugs for the win!

by the time I was finally allowed to go back to my room it was around 4pm, and poor hubs was anxiously waiting. usually this surgery takes around an hour, so he had started to worry, and when he asked the nurse, she said they hadn't heard anything from the OR which just made him worry more. 

everything had gone according to plan, though, so we don't know why it took all that extra time. in my dizzy state when I was handed over to post-op, I did hear the OR nurse tell the post-op nurse something about respiratory...something? but she also said that everything had gone fine, and when I asked post-op nurse later, she looked at my chart and said it had gone according to plan, so I guess it was just something that can happen? at least not an unexpected thing, or something that could make it be not according to plan, but maybe it did take some time so that could be part of the explanation? I dunno.. 

Doc Mads' shift had ended, but later the on-call surgeon came down to give me the brief post-op run-down and to hear of I had any questions. 
essentially she said what everyone else had said, that it had gone as it should. she told me that a normal uterus weighs less than 100g, but mine weighed 350g, so, as she put it, it was probably a good idea to have it removed. 
< 100g vs. 350g..... damn. 

she also said, that if I want to I can contact my regular doc in 2 months to get the results from the biopsy. in DK, all stuff that's dissected gets send to testing, so it wasn't cos they expected anything specific from my tests, and that's why I would have to contact my doc myself. 
2 months from now is impending Christmas shopping and Inpiniteu concerts so watch me forget all about it.

there are at least 2 criteria which you have to meet in order to be allowed to go home post op. one is you have to pee, the other is you have to be able to get out of bed and walk around without it causing severe pain, dizziness, nausea, or stuff like that. other stuff will probably depend on your nurse, like passing gas and eating a bit.

since I had been fasting all day my stomach was kinda hungry, but I didn't really have much appetite yet, so I just got a slice of bread and cheese and some shredded white cabbage with dried cranberries when it was time for dinner. 
and then I started wandering the hallway. back and forth... back..and forth.... my roommate, who had had same OR schedule as me, also came out cos she was also desperate to get home cos it would suck to have to spend the night. 

after a while the nurse came and stopped me cos she had to give me a blood thinner injection in my thigh, and when I got into bed my legs and arms started buzzing and feeling weird and numb, like they were sleeping, and she said I had over-done the walking, so probably best to stay in bed until it stopped. 

at around 9pm I was finally given the green light, and sweet baby Jesus, if you have never tried it, you will never know they joy of putting on your own underwear instead of hospital ones. and I was finally allowed to take off the compression stockings, aw yiss~

side note: it was really surreal to have been to the bathroom just hours earlier and bled all over the toilet, and now.. I did put in a real pad cos they said there could be bleeding from the surgery, but honestly, I barely needed a panty liner.

I got the band aids removed, and then we were out the door.
because the hospital only have max. 3 hour parking, and we knew we'd be there longer, we had parked in the neighbourhood further away, so when we got down to the entrance I waited just outside (the fresh air was nice) while hubs went and fetched the car. 
I was kept company by a porcupine and it's big baby porcupine, who were out sniffing for food in the night ^^

as I waited, though, one of the scars started bleeding, so when hubs came back with the car, we put it in one of the 15 min parking spots by the door, and then went up again to get band aids on. we do have band aids at home, but they have these special, sterile ones at the hospital, so why not.

roomie looked really surprised to see me again, but I told her it was just for band aids.
since we were there, the nurse asked me if she could also take my blood pressure for my file, and of course the machine had to be weird, so we ended up staying another 30 mins or so, but I was home before 10, and in bed before 10:30!

I was so damn beat I was getting nauseous, but because of the pain I had a horrible night. when it hurts to move you really notice how much you actually do it. 
I've managed, as expected, with just regular paracetamol, though, and even though it does hurt, it's quite amazing how little pain there is is considering how they rummaged around inside me for 3 hours.

but now it's just a matter of doing my Kegel exercises while being patient, literally and figuratively. it takes time and even though I can help healing by walking, it's also a matter of listening to my body, and not over-doing it. 

it still hurts to turn in bed, it still hurts to get up from bed, to walk up and down the stairs, to walk, to cough and sneeze, to go to the toilet, and I can't shower by myself, I get exhausted really fast and are kinda tired all the time, but despite all that things are better now than a week ago, and they will be better a week from now. 
soon I will have forgotten what it's like, not being able to turn in bed or stretch in the morning or lie back down when I'm sitting. 

I wonder how long it will be before I forget what periods feel like. or if I ever will.

that is the biggest out of the four incisions. it's literally not more than 2 cm wide, so no wonder it took a while to slice up and pull out 350g through that tiny hole.
top scar is from another one of my surgeries. my belly button's oddly shaped by now.



by the way, that pre-op home enema thing was way more horrible in my imagination before I had to do it. it didn't hurt, and besides the weird feeling of squeezing the fluid in, it's hardly worth mentioning. in case you were wondering.


anyway, hopefully this will be the last surgery I ever have cos I'm kinda down to vital organs by now. well, vital organs and enhancements, as hubs so kindly pointed out. he's a doll, that hubs