August 16, 2002:
I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the hospital by 5:30 a.m.
Corey and I went in and got my check-in taken care of, and went to surgery prep. When I changed out of
my clothes into the hospital gown, I noticed that I had started my period (at least I had told the doc that that might happen).
I then went to my "prep stall", and waited for the nurse to come in to make me sign more papers and set up my IV.
That didn't go well. The nurse stuck the IV catheter in my arm, and accused my vein of spasming - my veins
do NOT spasm - and had to dig around for nearly two minutes before she found it...what a relief! It's kind of strange
that it should be so painful for the needle to be in my arm, and that the pain goes away when it hits the vein. I remember
hoping that that wasn't an omen of what was to come.
I was wheeled to the operating room, and there were a LOT of people, more than I remember for when I had my tubal
ligation. I was pushed into the room, and I moved from the gurney to the operating table. The last thing I remember
is being asked to move to the left a little on the table. I don't remember getting any kind of anaesthesia at all, no
oxygen mask or anything.
When I came to in the recovery room, I was in pain. I don't remember many things except for that.
My belly hurt, and my bladder was screaming at me. I recall begging to have the urinary catheter removed, and straining
to make it work. I remember trying to pull myself into a sitting position, and the extreme pain it caused me.
I vaguely remember Corey coming in to see me, though I don't remember, personally what was said. He tells me it went
something like this:
He kissed me on the forehead and asked how I was feeling. I told him that I was hurting, and asked if he
could find out when the catheter was coming out. He told me that they would take it out in the morning, at which point
I went ballistic and began crying and raving that they take it out NOW. He says I was still carrying on about it when
I remember coming around again, and seeing that Corey wasn't there, I pleaded with the nurses to bring him back.
They told me that they had broken all the rules to let him go there in the first place, and that they couldn't do it again.
I was in the recovery room for quite a long time due to a shortage of beds in the hospital. I don't remember where the
catheter was taken out, but I have a dream-like memory of when it happened, and that it was vaguely uncomfortable. I
don't remember going to my room or waking up in there, but the first thing I do remember is seeing Corey's face and
that they were bringing in a young woman to wait to have surgery for kidney stones. Her grandparents were with her.
Corey stayed with me, and took a walk with me to have a cigarette. That was the only walk that we took
that I actually walked. When we returned to the room, I felt very weak and shaky. The staff was pushing for him
to leave. A couple hours later, I asked for a sandwich (far more appetizing than whatever-that-was-they-tried-to-pass-off-as-dinner).
I got up to use the restroom, and when I laid back down, I noticed some nasty bruising on the outside of my vaginal
lips. I called in a nurse to look at it. She wasn't overly concerned, thinking that perhaps the doctor had used
a little more force than he needed to, not considering my size. A few hours later, however, I noticed that the
left side had become terribly swollen, and the bruising was creeping down my left leg. Again, I rang the nurse, who
still didn't seem worried, but said she would have the morning nurse look at it.
August 17, 2002:
I asked for a wheelchair on this day. I have slept better in it than the hospital bed, in spite of the
odd angle at which my head droops when I'm asleep. When the morning nurse saw the bruising, she ordered blood
work. As it turned out, my hemoglobin level had dropped from 11 points downt to 6.9. She called the doctor, who
ordered a second test for later that evening. It held steady through the day, and was not at a critical level.
The doctor ordered another test for the morning. Corey was a bit upset at the bruising. He stayed with me the
whole day, until the staff started ushering him out the door around 9:00 p.m.
August 18, 2002:
My hemoglobin count was down to 6.1, 0.2 points away from being critical. The doctor ordered a blood transfusion
of two units of blood to be administered to me at about noon. I was scared, because Corey wasn't there, and
I was being asked to sign a paper that said I was putting myself at risk for hepatitis and HIV infection, and I didn't know
if the bleeding had stopped on his own. I wasn't rational until Corey came to give me the support and love I so desperately
needed at that point. I wasn't permitted to eat or drink in the event that the now-diagnosed internal bleeding hadn't
stopped on its own so I would be ready for surgery. It took about 4 hours for the blood transfusion to be completed.
I had another blood draw, which showed my hemoglobin count to be at 8 points. I was finally cleared to have a liquid
meal. I nearly made myself sick eating it. It was the most appetizing meal they had brought me yet.
August 19, 2002:
I was finally cleared to go home. Corey was like a chicken with it's head cut off, running around the hospital
room to make sure everything was packed. The doctor came in and checked the bruising, prescribed me pain meds, iron
(to build my blood back up) and a mild stool softener. When I got home, a few friends dropped by. My friends Christine
(myystic), Alex, Tami, Linda, and Sonja all stopped in to see how I was feeling. At that point, I felt pretty good.
Lots of pain meds, hee hee! I called my third cousin to ask if she had a walker (which she did, it belonged to her mother)
and if i could borrow it. She consented and brought it to the house for me. It made getting around so much easier,
and I could get from one end of the house to the other without feeling like I was going to collapse. I was feeling
hungry, so I decided that it would be a good time to go to the store to find out what I would find appetizing. I used
one of those little motorized shopping carts, and putted around the store. When we finally checked out, I got stuck
where part of the floor was sunk in. Stupid me, I tried to urge it out of the hole using my unsubstantial body weight.
It didn't work, and the attempt put me in a lot of pain. On the way out the door, I hit the threshhold, which also jarred
me, and put me in a lot of pain again. I decided to walk back out to the car.
August 20, 2002:
I slept. A LOT.
August 21, 2002:
I had already decided that I would be at karaoke this night if it killed me. Corey took me and my borrowed
walker to the bowling alley bar. If you're looking for good music, go there! If you're looking to get service
sometime this century, I'd go somewhere else. We waited 20 minutes before I finally grabbed my walker, went to the waitress
station, and raised hell, just so I could order a drink and a salad. I only lasted about two and a half hours before
I was in too much pain and was too tired to stay any longer.
August 22, 2002:
I felt pretty good this day. Corey and I went out to karaoke, and was able to sing (sitting on a barstool,
but I sang nonetheless). I also was feeling good enough to go to our friend Leon's house to celebrate his birthday.
I had a great time, although I was exhausted by the time we got home.
August 23, 2002:
I spent most of this day discovering how painful it can possibly be to have a bowel movement. I spent
hours hunkering in pain over the toilet with my intestines in agonizing pain, with little effect. The pain was bad enough
for me to realize that having twins wouldn't be any less painful than having children one year apart, and enough to make me
wish I had opted for having a LEEP every four months.
August 24, 2002:
Still had a lot of pain in trying to use the restroom, and wish that I could get it over with.
August 25, 2002:
I decided (at my doctor's suggestion) to get an enema. I would have taken an oral laxative instead, but
I was afraid that I was too blocked up and that it would just cause more problems. I couldn't take the pain
of trying to strain for a bowel movement any more, and I needed some kind of help. I'm not sure if this was a mistake
or not, as my stomach didn't stop cramping for about 6 hours after I administered the enema, I had to stay by a toilet for
about 3 hours, and from the start, the solution burned anyhow. I had to take a Percoset to stop the pain and cramping
August 26, 2002:
The enema seemed to have helped. I'm still full of it, apparently, but at least I wasn't getting a stomach
ache every 5 minutes because it was building up. The pain was getting much more bearable, and I was able to
cut down on my pain meds.
March 25, 2004
I can't believe I'm coming up on the 2nd year anniversary of being uterus-free. It's been interesting. It
seems like it took forever to stop bleeding from the surgery, yet it also seems so very far away. It seems
that every couple of months or so, my ovaries go on vacation, and I get hot flashes, horrible memory lapses, hyper-emotional,
nervous - generally, just a peri-menopausal MESS. Remifemin helps to get it under control within a few days of taking
it regularly (one at night and one in the morning).
What's weird is missing the periods. On occasion, I actually do. For about 10 seconds - that's about how
long it takes me to remember the cramping and leaking and that nasty squishy feeling when you pass a clot. Blech!
Then there's the odd baby-craving...I see babies, realize I can't even have a tubal ligation reversal and TRY for another
one, and I feel a little bummed. Then again, I'm also enjoying playing with my friends' babies, never changing diapers,
and not having to deal with their tears. HAHA!
August 10, 2008:
I have some new stuff getting ready to happen. I'm going in to have a pubo-vaginal sling. In other
words, because I have stress incontinence (any kind of strenuous activity - from coughing and laughing to wrestling around
with my kids and hiking - puts me at risk of pissing my pants), I'm going to have a little surgery to lift my urethra to a
more effective position. I'm a little terrified. Corey thinks that the issue with my confusion after the hysterectomy
may have been a reaction to the anaesthesia. I shared the experience with the doctor in charge of this upcoming surgery,
and she seems to agree. For my own safety, I've requested that I be restrained until I can tell the nurses in Recovery
that I'm okay to be untied. I'm so very not thrilled about waking up tied to my bed - at least in this situation, HA.
What if it only exascerbates the issue and causes me to be even more uncooperative than I was last time? But, the real
issue is to keep me from injuring myself again. I want a nice, textbook-or-better recovery from this surgery.
For the past few nights, I've been shuddering myself to sleep. I'm fine for a little while, but I can't
stop thinking about it. So, I lay in my bed, with Corey beside me, and I cringe, then I shudder, then I breathe.
I do eventually fall asleep, so it can't be that bad.
I know I shouldn't, but I keep letting myself think of this as something like a vacation. Didn't I do that
with the hysterectomy? "Woohoo, I'll go in for surgery, and I won't have to worry about the kids because I can't do
that from the hospital" blah blah blah. And you know, that didn't go so well.
Actually, in terms of success, yes, it went fine. I no longer have a uterus and I still have a pulse.
But, I also think about all the things that I will be able to enjoy again, and I have to keep looking towards
Tomorrow is my pre-op work-up. This I already know will be no big deal. I'm not afraid of the blood
work or the EKG. I just have to remember to find out who my anaesthesiologist will be, what anaesthesia will be used,
and what kind of pain management will be available during my DAMNED-WELL-BETTER-BE overnight hospital stay.
August 15, 2008
I got all showered up, removed all of my nail polish, and got as ready as anyone ever is to go
to the hospital for surgery.
I arrived about30 minutes early, and it wasn't long at all before they whisked me into prep. The nurse
that started my IV wasn't the one I was hoping for, but she did great. She picked the vein she wanted, and went exactly
where I asked her to for setting the IV. It went perfectly, and I was hooked up with normal saline and Levaquin antibiotic.
I spoke with one of the scrub nurses, the anesthesiologist, and my doctor, and was able to voice my concerns regarding the
anesthesia again, just to make sure everyone was prepared.
They wheeled me back into OR6. There were a lot of familiar faces, and everyone was very patient and kind
while they strapped me down in the Delta position ("because you're getting ready to take off") - basically, I was strapped
to a table in the shape of a crucifixion. Har. But I felt very comfortable in the presence of those there, and
used my breathe-deep-to-calm-myself technique to suck up whatever they were pumping through the oxygen mask. That stuff
really is very sneaky. I didn't just slowly drift off - I suddenly blinked out, though not in any way that caused me
stress. I kind of wonder if anyone is addicted to general anesthesia.
I woke up very slowly and gently in PACU - the recovery area. Again, there were familiar faces, and outside
of the slight pain I was feeling, I felt very calm. I didn't even feel the catheter this time. I asked for my
glasses, and was a little surprised that even with them on, I still had double-vision. It was kind of entertaining,
actually, but I bet it was hilarious from the nurses' point-of-view, watching me try to focus. Good stuff, whatever
they fed me in that operating room. They gave me some Fentanyl for the pain (okay, so maybe I DO have some tolerance
to certain pain meds - I just found out that Fentanyl is 81 times more potent than Morphine - woohoo!), and rolled me on out
to go to my room.
The surgery hallway goes past the lab, so I waved at a couple of the gals in the office as I zoomed by.
Once I was all set up in my room, Corey came in and visited for a few hours. I passed out after a dose
of Toradol, though, and he headed home to get some rest. At about 9:00 - 6 hours post-op - the nurse came in and told
me I needed to get up and move around. I was still in pain, but it was too soon for more Toradol, and my only other
option was an intramuscular shot of Demerol. I decided I wasn't in THAT much pain, and went ahead and got up for my
first walk. My nurse went with me for the first one, but after that, every time I got bored, I got up on my own and
I thought that it was kind of strange that the only places I was feeling pain are nowhere near where the incisions
were made. Not even close.
I walked to respiratory on one trip and visited with Victor. I walked down to the lab and said hi to Lora,
John, and Danielle on another trip. I texted Corey and had him meet me at 3:00 a.m. for a smoke, and walked to the auto
parts store across the parking lot.
At 6:30 a.m., the nurse came and removed my catheter. She said that I needed to attempt to urinate every
2 hours, and that my output would be measured and she would do a bladder scan to see how completely I was voiding. I
was barely making it an hour before I had to pee!
Corey came back later in the morning, and we took a tour of the hospital's newest wing, where we ran into
my doctor. She was surprised to see me being as active as I was, and projected a short recovery time
for me. She asked how well the urination thing was going. I told her I'd already peed 4 times. She asked
if I knew the numbers for the bladder scans - I'd only had three because I didn't know I was supposed to call the nurse if
I went more often than once every two hours. I told her 24, 0, and 6. She almost sounded shocked. She said
anything under 150 is great, and set me up to be discharged. We talked about what I could expect over the course of
my recovery, and she asked what works for me for pain control. I told her that Vicoden works pretty well, but I also
asked if I could get Motrin 800s. I really don't want to depend on narcotics any more than necessary. She was
very accommodating, and wrote prescriptions for those plus Levaquin for preventing infection.
I went back to my room and changed into a set of scrubs (perfect choice, if I do say so myself - I was able to
be clothed and not have any pressure on my tender spots). Corey packed my belongings up, the nurse came in with a wheelchair,
and I was on my merry way. The rest of the day was more hectic than I should have allowed it to be - going out to dinner,
going to the grocery store. Just too much.
August 16, 2008