Thursday, February 4, 2010

the hysterectomy wasn't so bad

Came home from the hospital with some new toys. A binder (girdle), new water bottle and lung apparatus. The binder was to give me added support because my stomach is a little weak but I am no longer wearing it. It irritates my incision sites and I don't think I need the extra support anymore. The lung thing is to help keep my lungs fully expanded which is supposed to keep me from getting pneumonia, a common hospital by product. It has been helpful since I am trying to remember how to use certain muscles. It has been difficult to cough and to pee and poop. I just kind of hang out on the toilet and let things happen instead of forcing them to happen but it gets better all the time. I was happy to have a small bowel movement last nite and this morning then celebrated some diarrhea after lunch! My stomach feels so huge. I gained about 8 pounds after surgery and it is all gas. I haven't been in a lot of pain. I have about 4 incision sites plus one in my belly button. Only one of the sites is bothering me. It is a little sensitive, but not enough to call painful. My left hand is swollen from the iv that was in it from the time I checked in to the time I checked out. That was the only thing that brought tears to my eyes during the whole procedure. I do so hate the hand ivs. They give me the willys. This one was uncomfortable but bearable once it was all taped into place. What made me cry was when they used it to give me an anti-inflammatory. It stung like a bitch for several seconds and made me squirm and regret that I asked for drugs.

So let's back up a bit and go over the surgery. I went in tuesday morning at 7. I was already checked in from the day before and had my hospital tags on so they scanned me in and I went right to a room where I changed into a bearpaw gown that is a special gown where they can hook up a blower to and keep you warm during surgery. They put what looked like soccer shin guards on my calves. They had tubes attached to them that would be hooked up in surgery (and for the rest of my stay) to a machine that would keep pressure rolling over my calves to prevent blood clots. It felt good and didn't bother me at all when I was sleeping. They asked me a bunch of questions and then dw and I waited about 40 minutes before they took me to preop. DW rode with me in the elevator then was told to go to the waiting area and we kissed goodbye. Then I went to a big room full of curtained areas where I ended up waiting for an hour and a half before surgery. I was told I would be first, but like usual, this wasn't the case. Someone was before me and their short surgery turned into something longer so I had to wait in preop, without dw, without my glasses or my music or anything to do but sit and think about what was about to happen. But I did ok. I didn't freak out or cry. I guess I had already come to grips with it or else I was just worn out and didn't care anymore. I haven't figured that part out yet because I'm still kind of tired and on drugs. I was visited by the preop nurse who put in my iv and kept checking in on me. She was very thoughtful because she went to tell dw that my surgery was delayed and made sure that she knew when they actually wheeled me in since she was expecting me to be done by a certain time. I was also visited by my OR nurse a few times as he kept me informed about when my doc was going to be ready. (Pardon the interruption-my laxatives are working well). Someone else came out and looked at my chart and said she worked with my doc in surgery. I can't remember if she was a nurse or tech or something else. Asked me why I was having surgery and I said because I didn't want to get cancer. She said that was a good reason and her mother was an ovarian cancer survivor and she herself had her ovaries removed so she wouldn't get cancer. I didn't really reply to her story because I wasn't expecting it and wasn't in a talkative mood to boot. Don't know if she was brca or something else. She was probably trying to offer me some support. While I was waiting I heard someone make a phone call to set up a time to have their puppy fixed. Made me wonder if dogs have estrogen and testosterone and how does life change for the dog, other than they don't feel like humping your leg anymore. Finally my doc and the anesthesiologist came out and it was time to rock and roll. Asked my doc about prescriptions for after surgery and she asked me what pain meds I've been on in the past. When I asked about the patch(estrogen) she said, 'oh was that what you were getting at?' We had discussed hormones before and she said she would give them to me if I wanted them. Now she seemed to be trying to talk me out of them. But she said she would give me a script for both an anti-depressant(which would help with hot flashes) and estrogen and I could decide which one I wanted to use. Fine by me. Off to the OR I went. They transferred me onto what seemed like a table much too narrow for me, then put the mask on me and off to sleep I went.

Woke up in icu and my first words were 'I can't breathe.' They couldn't hear me so I had to say it again. They put the air tube thing in my nose and soon I was ok. Still didn't have my glasses so everything was a big blur to me. I felt ok. Not in a lot of pain. Just more pressure on my belly than normal. My nurse kept saying how young I looked. She thought I was 28 not 41 for some reason. She was fussing around me doing something. Probably checking my vitals and giving me drugs. I asked what was for lunch and she said ice chips. Better than nothing! I asked if I could get my glasses and she was nice enough to go to the waiting room and get them from dw. She came back with my glasses, a book and my ipod. She had also walked dw to my room to wait for me. I couldn't go yet though because they hadn't sent my room number to icu and they had to wait for that before they could send me. So we talked about my book and she wrote down the authors name so she could check it out. Then I was off to my room and dw was there to greet me!

My nurse came in and got me all situated. I asked about lunch again and she brought me some ice chips and water so I moved on to pestering about dinner since I figured they wouldn't give me lunch. I wasn't that hungry yet but I knew I would be! I wanted to get up and take a walk but they wanted me to wait a little while. Later, my cna (certified nursing assistant I assume) came in and she was going to let me take a walk. So I sat up, then grabbed the bucket and puked several times. We then decided to wait a couple of more hours until after dinner and the nurse gave me some anti-nauseu medicine. Dinner was all liquid but the nurse said that dw could bring me something solid from the cafeteria if I wanted since my doc's orders were liquids or solids as tolerated. So I got a cookie and held that down fine. Then we walked the hallways and went to the baby section and got to see one newborn cutie. I wanted to take my catheter out and they said if I went for another walk later then I could. But as the evening wore on I couldn't keep my eyes open. I sent dw home so we both could get some sleep and decided to keep the catheter in so I could just sleep and not worry about getting up. I did wake up a few times but did sleep hard in between and even forgot where I was sometimes. Got up at 6am and they took the catheter out. I got dressed, cleaned up a bit and took a walk on my own since they said I could. Had real food for breakfast and took a couple of goes at peeing with a little bit of success. As far as pain went, I don't know if they gave me something after surgery but I didn't ask for anything else until the middle of the night when the gas was starting to build up. Mainly I asked for it because I kept thinking that at some point, everything would wear off and I would be sorry I didn't take anything. Didn't take anything at home except for some ibuprofen until I went to bed. I had some discomfort, from gas I think, so I figured pain meds wouldn't help. But I did feel much better when I woke up so I guess the pain meds do help! Don't know if I will ever learn that. I am always so resistant to taking them but I have stayed on them today and I am moving around much quicker.

As far as pain goes, I didn't have a lot. Mostly felt bloated and some pains as things tried to move around in my stomach. I have had a couple good bowel movements and that seems to have gotten rid of a lot of my discomfort. It is a little hard to position myself in bed at times and I did sleep last nite mostly upright but I did sleep pretty well. Got up a couple of times to use the bathroom and take some meds but no insomnia. I also was able to sleep well the nite before surgery and in the hospital which has been a pleasant surprise. I have often had insomnia during this journey of mine but I seem to be doing ok with the hysterectomy, mentally. I am happy to say that so far I haven't noticed any symptoms of menopause and I am not taking any hormones. I haven't decided what drugs I will take for menopause. I did get a humidifier to help prevent dry skin. I might take some fish oil for my hair and some calcium for my bones. I do have some books here to read about what drugs/herbs I can take and I will start looking into it. But for now, I don't seem to need anything. Right now, walking and liquids seem to be the answer for everything, and some pain pills and laxatives. It really hasn't been too bad.


  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Glad that it isn't too bad and that you're recovering. Congratulations!

  3. Glad you did ok and on the road to recovery :)

  4. Hi Janine,

    We're all getting there aren't we? Soon we will be done with surgery forever, all healed and ready to get on with our lives! That's what I'm looking forward to - putting all of this behind me.

    Glad to hear you're doing well and thank you for your words of support.


  5. Just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you. I meant to type this last night, but got interupted and had your blog open on my computer all night - you're gonna get some weird stats from that! Anyway, hope you are feeling ok, and getting better.