September 26, 2014

Hysterectomy survival guide

When I first heard I'd have to undergo vaginal hysterectomy, I thought OMG, run away as fast as you can. But it was either that or keep suffering. Fibroids and heavy bleeds never let my anemia heal, and on top of all I was also diagnosed to have uterine prolapse (yea, where did that come from...?). We tried hormonal IUCD, which may have controlled the bleeds, we'll never know, because the IUCD was floating in the toilet bowl one morning. I'm glad I did not flush as I'd have normally done. So I fished it out, packed in plastic bag and showed it to ob-gyn next time. His facial expression was priceless. That's when I knew I'd have my hysterectomy. Previous radioactive iodine treatments messed up my periods and fibroids only added onto that. It was quite a remarkable, but annoying situation.
Days leading to the hysterectomy were very hard for me. I spent two weeks traveling prior to the surgery, in hindsight this was one of the best things I could have done so the surgery did not consume all my thoughts all day long. It still did. One moment I was happy, next moment crying and feeling desperate and convinced I would not survive.. I am known to search for all sorts of information in the internet and this time I did exactly the same. Some information in reasonable amounts is good, too much is just too much and can do more harm than good. My mind is specialized in creating scenarios of horror and pain of Lovenox injections, various kinds of catheters, packs, needles etc. That's why I should be stopped,  but no one can. It took every ounce of my strength to calm myself down and trust that I would be ok.

It was only when I left for the hospital on the day of surgery, when I felt calm, reasonably calm at least and I thought things will now happen the way they are meant to happen, it is inevitable. I asked for sedation prior to going to operating room and I was given some, so I can't remember a lot what went on after that. I remember I was talking to the anesthetist and was suddenly covered up in sweat and felt dizzy. I don't know if she noticed. When I woke up, I was not in agony, not in an awful lot of pain and patient controlled analgesia was provided. Sweet Morphine. It took the pain away, but gave a very generous overall itching sensation and then I had to have Benadryl for that. Pain was never really an issue, neither was Foley catheter or vaginal pack. I was told to get out of the bed, but with the packing and Foley still in place I said "No bloody way" and waited until pack was out. It was really just a weird sensation, when the Foley and the pack were removed, it did not hurt. I wasn't constantly aware that those two foreign bodies were inside either. Much better of course when they were out. Had I thought more about foreign bodies and persona non grata, I would have been reminded of someone...

"May I enter?" The person did not wait for an answer, just barged in. I closed my eyes tightly and pretended I was asleep. Wrapped myself in a blanket too.  No permission granted anyway, so please leave. Out! Success! She left.
Next time the same person tried and succeeded in entering the room with a group of people, but once again I pretended to be asleep and refrained from making nasty comments about hospital breakfast (eggs!).  Third time came and I was not so lucky. I heard the foot steps and by then it was too late. She was next to me asking how I feel, if I am ok, if I am painfree etc and blaah blaah blaah etc. I couldn't even pretend I was pleased to see her and gave some answers in monosyllables. I was standing in the middle of the corridor talking to someone else, so yes of course that was the perfect place for ambush and interruption of conversation with the other person. I think the person realized she would not get that usual welcome with banners and open arms and all, so she left. But not before giving us all knowing opinion that I would still be in hospital for "several" days.
Hahaaaa and did I enjoy proving her wrong. I was gone the next day. What a joy. I was also told she was going to arrange a "private room" for me. Dude, no thanks, I am happy to stay where I am. Sharing a hospital room is perfectly fine. Besides what became of her attempts. Nothing. Nil. Nada. Zero. No one came and asked me to move into a "private room". What a ....

I am at home now, not really sure if this is the way I should be feeling. Quite comfortable. Not a lot of bleeding. No pain. Just wondering if I can comply with post-op instructions, which I can barely remember, because of anesthesia effects still lingering around in my brain. No driving for 6 weeks? No riding for 6 weeks? No sex for 6 weeks? No cleaning of house for 6 weeks? No carrying heavy shopping for 6 weeks? No, I was not told of all this, but a research minded person can always find a way. I particularly like the fact that no heavy household work is allowed. I also like the fact that I will need to take some time off work too. I don't like the fact that I can't drive. But I can walk. Walking is good for you kemosabe.

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