Let me start by clarifying that my procedure was relatively smooth and I’m hitting all of the recovery benchmarks.
That being said, what a day!
We arrived at the hospital at 8:50 on the nose for my 10:50 surgery. They gave me something in my fluids and I was drifting in and out for a while. Then I realized it really had been awhile. When the nurse called into the OR, turns out the doctor was delayed by a previous surgery (she’s okay, they assured me) and it would be four hours until my procedure. That’s long time to sit on an uncomfortable bed without food or drink. I feel asleep for a bit, walked a bit, and watched videos on my phone because I was eventually the only patient left.
Eventually, we were a go. What I didn’t know at that time was that my surgeon was absolutely planning to admit me because of the lateness of the hour. I remember being wheeled away, I remember “Jimmy” the anesthesiologist talking to me in his TN twang, and I remember being perplexed that the surgical table was pink. Then I breathed in as instructed and the next thing I knew, it was over 3 hours later and I was taken directly to my room.
Blessed be the ice chips and the ginger ale. Laura was with me in the room for a while; she said I kept asking her if we could go to Eat n Park. Eventually everyone left and it was me and my nurse, Shane. Shane was great. I’m ridiculously glad I stayed in the hospital that first night because it was a tough one and I am grateful I had a nurse with me 100% of the time.
I didn’t get much sleep because of the pain and all of the things I had to do that would normally have happened in the day – like the breathing machine.
I was also unable to pee on my own so they had to reinsert a temporary catheter and wait for the doctor. The temp did the trick and I was catheter free when I left the hospital.
Dr. Hammons showed up around 7:10 to talk with me. Turns out my abdomen was a hot mess. I had more than a dozen fibroids inside and outside of my uterus – we hd originally expected three. I had decades of endometrial scarring tissue and buildup all over my abdominal cavity. But they were able to get everything laproscopically, using 4 small incisions.
And then there was this – he acknowledged that I was right about pushing for the hysterectomy when he wanted me to try an IUD. The IUD would have been useless for me. It wasn’t that he was diagnostically wrong by being conservative in his approach, but more that a male surgeon admitted that a woman was intuitely right about what her body needed.
I respected him a lot for giving me that acknowledgement. I was hurting a lot, but knowing that I had made the absolute best decision for my body and my health was incredibly affirming. And he didn’t have to say it. But he was mature enough to do so and that’s why he’s a great surgeon.
I ate lunch and went home. It felt so good to be back in my own bed. I slept most of the day, but did come downstairs once to eat dinner with Laura. The pain in still real, but manageable with the OTC meds they suggested. Mostly, I drank fluids – water, gatorade, ginger ale, hot tea. And slept.
I feel dramatically more lucid today. I’m allowed to ascend/descend our steep old house steps twice more today. I’ve been up for several hours. I woke up feeling no pain for the first time in forever and just lay in the bed, savoring the moment until I had to move. And there’s the pain.
Thank you to everyone who reached out to support us – from shoveling our walk to dropping off food to the texts, Facebook messages, etc. Our pet sitter drove back a second time to the house when my surgery was delayed and that was a true gift because I was worried for the critters.
I know I keep hammering this point, but please, please make sure you are current on your gynecological care. What I am so many other ‘hyster sisters’ experience is not the biological norm. We deserve to receive the same robust supporting during our mentruation years and access the myriad of medical treatments for dysmenorrhea. Insurance constraints kept me from accessing surgical intervention in 2006. Ignorance and stimga played their parts as well.
Well, this post was enough for me today. I’m off to take a nap and work on the healing process.
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