Hysterectomy and recovery
I had my hysterectomy on Friday September 11th. I got to the hospital before 6:30 and registered. This part didn't take too long as I had pre-registered 3 weeks before. The worst part was that there were about 6 people waiting ahead of me but they moved through those people pretty quickly and it didn't take too long. After that I got into the surgery prep area. Again didn't have to wait there long either and they went through more questions. Got some meds (nerve pain & other stuff) and got my hospital clothes. Once I had the clothes my mom, Dave and I went into the surgery waiting area. I was in there all of 5 minutes and they called me and 2 others. We were whisked off to another surgery prep area.
Me & 2 other patients were put into a small room with thin beds with curtains surrounding them nurses and doctors prepped us. I laid down on the bed and they put in the IV. More questions were asked and the anesthesiologist came and introduced himself. He started asking me if I wanted the general anesthetic or epidural. This kind of freaked me out as my gynecologist and I had only discussed general anesthetic. I was starting to feel ill due to whatever was coming into me from the IV and the stress so as the anesthesiologists (yes, there were 2 at this point) were discussing how much better the epidural is I had to interrupt them and tell them I wasn't feeling well. They checked my arm and noticed I was clammy. They gave me something else into my IV and I started feeling better. But I had to tell them I was happy with the general anesthetic. Then they asked if I wanted a nerve block. Sure, I was all for that. I had to get on my stomach and they put that into a few spots in my back. The doctors were quite intrigued by this specific doctors method and they were talking about this a great deal. After a few minutes they checked to see if it was working and then not long after that I was taken to the surgery room. My gynecologist came in and introduced me to the rest of the team. She told them about my fibroids and what procedure I was having (total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingectomy). Then she mentioned to them that I had just completed an Ironman and that I was healthier then all of them. That felt nice & I smiled. Then they put the gas mask on and I started feeling sleepy. I seemed to fall asleep pretty quickly and I was out.
A few hours later I woke up in recovery. Pretty out of it. This is where they ask me about how I feel and I need to give them a number on a scale of 0 - 10. It felt like a 6-7 and then they pumped me with drugs and then it felt like a 5 and then it kept going down until it was about a 2. Then they were going to take me to my room but unfortunately my room wasn't ready. The nurse taking care of me wasn't thrilled and was trying to figure out what was going on. My gynecologist visited me as well, but I don't remember much. She just said that it went well. I was in recovery for 3.5 hours (when I should have been in there for only about 2-2.5) and was finally brought up to my hospital room. My mom and Dave were waiting for me. Mom gave me a kiss and she had to get back to work (stupid election) and Dave stayed with me the rest of the day. Not long after that the gynecologist came in and told me something I wasn't planning on hearing. Although everything went well, I only had 1 ovary. It's not that she removed it, it just wasn't there. The left side of the fallopian tube just ended and there was not ovary to be found. And she tried looking. She had 2 theories. I was either not born with the ovary which is extremely rare and she figured unlikely or I had an ovarian torsion which lead to ovarian necrosis. Now you would think I would know when this happened. It seems it would be quite painful. My mom thought it may have happened when I was diagnosed with IBS. That was in 2001 and it is quite reasonable that it could have. Considering there was nothing in me and it was all dissolved it must have happened years ago. It may have also happened when I was a child. I was diagnosed with an ulcer when I was 12 years old and it could have easily happened then. So odd. So for now, I only have my right ovary but I have possibly lived that way for years. It will be something I talk to the gynecologist about at my post-op but I may hit menopause early. She said that I had to remain on a liquid diet until I start passing gas or I feel hungry. Oh really? Because I feel hungry now, I said. So I was able to eat crackers. Oh yum. Water, jello and crackers was my diet for a few hours. The rest of the day went pretty smoothly and Dave left at 9pm. I drifted in and out of sleep during the night but over all I was pretty good. Using my PCA (Patient controlled analgesia) pump.
Out of recovery and in my hospital room
The next morning the nurse took out my catheter. It wasn't too painful coming out but it definitely felt weird. My gynecologist's resident came to visit me very early as well and said I was able to eat real food from now on. W00t! I was so hungry! Apparently that isn't typical of patients due to the anesthics but I suspect it was because I had been used to eating a lot due to the Ironman training. I had my 1st breakfast with coffee. Sweet, sweet coffee. Dave came to visit in the morning and spent the day with me. Getting me water when I needed it. I drank quite a bit. The PCA pump was removed in the early afternoon. I got some flowers from the "Tech Gang" at work and Irina and Zindine visited me in the afternoon. It was nice to see them!
Flowers from the "Tech Gang"
I walked a few times during the day and it felt great. But on my last walk of the evening before Dave left I think I pushed it too much. The Blue Jays game was on so I was would watch that while I was walking. I went out and hadn't had any oxycodone in a while and I think I could have used it. I called the nurse and got some oxy after.
I was in a semi-private room which means I was sharing with another woman. She left in the morning and I had no roommate for most of the day on Saturday until around 8pm. Another patient asked to be switched to a semi-private because she was in a 4 person room and she was finding it too loud and busy. Funny, because as soon as she and her family came into the room I was finding it too loud and busy. They talked loud and had no sense of indoor voice. They made a lot of noise moving furniture and I was finding it a little bothersome. Finally they settled down and at that time visiting hours were over so Dave left and the patient's daughter left as well. I fell asleep and around midnight my neighbour was freaking out. She was making a lot of noise and at one point moved the curtains and stared at me. I had a face mask on and I pulled it off and looked at her and said "hello". But she moved and was carrying on and turned on her light. She had called her children and asked them to come. At 2am I needed to go pee so I got up and when I tried to walk to the room there was a large chair in my way. Her family had put the chair in the path to the bathroom. I had to walk back to my bed and press the nurse button. I was unimpressed. The nurse came in and asked what I needed. I just pointed at the chair and said "pee". My brain wasn't working on all cylinders. He removed the chair and looked over at the other patient and said "what have you done?". Apparently the woman had taken out her IV and there was blood all over the place. I went to the bathroom and went back to bed. Her daughter showed up around 3am. At no point did they try to get a nurse to come and see what was wrong. When the nurse came in to see her in the morning she seemed surprised and she had to get the blood all cleaned up. Her doctor came in as well and seemed to not understand why they didn't really do anything about it. The patient's pain medication was upped and she had been hallucinating. I feel bad for her but man, I'm not sure why the family didn't do anything. I would have been asking the nurses to do something and asking a lot of questions. Oh well, not much I can do about that.
Considering I had a lot of disruptions I actually had a good sleep before that and after that incident. The resident came in again on Sunday morning (thankfully not as early) and she said I could leave that day or on Monday. It was up to me. I couldn't leave right away as I couldn't get a ride until the evening so I had told her 7pm and she said that was good. The nurses got me all prepped to leave, removed the IV and I got my prescriptions. Dave came in again in the morning and I tried to spend the day relaxing. The neighbours were loud all day and since I was off the IV and only on the oxycodone, they stopped the tylenol and naproxen on Saturday) I started feeling more pain. Pushing it too much on Saturday and getting off the morphine was making it a little difficult for me. Around 3:30 they gave me some oxy but doubled the dose from the previous time. I felt much better. I got my last dose of oxy at 7pm and my mom picked us up a bit after that. I was glad to get out of there. The neighbours were loud all day and for about 2 hours before I left her whole bloody family was in there. There were about 10 of them. Loud. Very loud and it was stressing me out. Mom got me a wheelchair and she wheeled me down stairs. She got her car and then Dave wheeled me to the car. We left and got my prescriptions at Shopper's. Mom dropped us off at Dave's as he will be caring for me for the next 2 weeks.
Leaving the hospital
I've been home now for 2 days and I am feeling much better. Taking tylenol, naproxen and oxycodone certainly helps. I'm sleeping a lot and I still need help to get up out of the bed and couch. But I'm moving around. I'm not walking a lot yet. It's too draining but I'm doing what I can. So far recovery is going well.