Saturday, November 17, 2012

TMI. And a Little Thank You.

Eighteen days ago I went to the hospital to get a hysterectomy.  Did you know that?  Oh, yeah, I guess I have mentioned it a time or two.  It has been sort of frustrating.  The recovery has been much slower than I anticipated, I have been rendered more helpless than I was prepared for, and I am still feeling really weak, slow, old, and uncomfortable.

But I'm on the way back.

Last night we had J's 10th birthday party with some family.  I had to let my mom and sister help with the cleaning and food preparation, and aside from the twitchy feeling I had from that, the party went off really well.  I made it the whole day, only taking about an hour to rest, and I was either on my feet or sitting up all day.  Progress!  And I'm down to one 600mg Ibuprofen in the morning, and sometimes one in the evening.  Which leaves room for the beer I've been neglecting the last few weeks.  Ha!

So the surgery.  Holy cow, I'm a wuss.  I'm sure many of you have had major surgeries before.  If not, I hope you never have to.  If so, I hope you'll never have to again.  It's so horrible!  I have no memory of it, obviously, since I only made it to the second "sedative" before I was checked out.  Apparently I called the hubby shortly after I made it back to my room after recovery, but I have NO memory of that.

Is it just me, or is the general idea of anesthesia creepy?  I mean, don't get me wrong.  God bless 'em for discovering a way to do these surgeries that way, obviously.  But the idea of me being  knocked out, stripped down, gutted like a fish and being reassembled, stitched, patched, moved onto another bed, re-dressed, and re-positioned, all while I'm a floppy corpse-like thing, is horrifying.  I mean, I'm sure they're unaffected by it all--I'm just another body on the table to them.  But I can barely think about it without feeling queasy.  So I guess I shouldn't.

After I woke up and was able to process conversations, the doc came in to talk to me about the surgery.  She was really happy with how it all went.  She described my uterus as being "football-sized", when it is apparently supposed to be slightly larger than a golf ball.  She also filled me in on the delightful details of how she had to shave it off my bladder and my colon, so I should be expecting some discomfort.  But she would make sure to manage it with medication.

Then I laid in the hospital like a ragdoll for the next few days, with these horrible white knee-highs that I thought were reserved for elderly diabetic patients, as well as these things wrapped around my lower legs that would inflate and deflate over and over with a pump, all to help me avoid getting clots.  Every couple hours they'd come in and do my vitals and give me pills and new ice water.  They were so nice. I've never felt so vulnerable, self-conscious, and uncomfortable.

I was there from Tuesday to Friday.  So not so bad, I know.  But like I said, I'm a wuss.  And I don't have the highest threshold for pain.  I was on my feet for the first time on the Thursday.  God bless the hubby, he had the honor of holding my pee bag since I was still catheterized, and I shuffled about 10 feet up the hall and back, all the while terrified that all my internal organs were about to just spill out of me.  I still have that feeling, but at least now I'm confident it won't actually happen.  Oh--and my pee was bright-smurf-blue, by the way.  A benefit of having to have it died for some scan they did to make sure my bladder wasn't punctured during the surgery.  My husband's a lucky, lucky man.

I had to have the catheter inserted and removed twice because I apparently could not pee without it after the first try.  That was sort of hideous, but there was a small relief that I would have to worry about getting to the toilet for another day.  So aside from the current bladder spasms I experience every time I "void" (as they like to say in the big house), I am grateful for that medical discovery as well.

Thursday I was subjected to a sponge bath.  Before I knew what the hell they were going to do (pain med haze or just emotional overload), there were two young ladies in there trying to WASH me--oh, the horror of having strangers wash your inflated, uncomfortable body--and put some goofy hat on my head that supposedly contained shampoo and conditioner.  Then they took that off and handed me this little COMB to fix my hair.  People, if you know me you've seen my hair.  There isn't a comb that will get through it without a proper conditioning and a great deal of time and patience.  I ended up in tears, sitting there feeling vulnerable, ugly, pained, and furious that not only could I not get to my bag to get my brush out, but that I didn't have the strength to get said brush (not to mention that damn 10-cent comb) through my matted hair.  It was one of the worst experiences I can remember.  I made sure they knew I wouldn't be needing one the next day, but that I certainly appreciated the offer.

The amount of people that had to come in and pull off the covers to inspect my incision seemed crazy.  I mean, I'm laying there naked under that stupid gown, and they have to just lift it off to check it all out. I know this is their job.  I know they don't care what I look like.  I know all that.  But it's very difficult for me.  There just isn't much dignity, and it's so hard to let it go.

And the incision!  Wow!  I was really gutted.  I thought it was going to be the same as my C-section scar.  It's TWICE as long!  They could have removed my rib cage.  Now for some reason I can't stop visualizing that scalpel cutting along my belly like a fisherman with a whale.  I'm a touch melodramatic.

I came  home on Friday and lived on my couch for two weeks  Just me, the remote, and my iPad.  Sounds lovely, in a way.  But not being able to get to the bathroom without excruciating pain, or turn your body to reach the remote that fell on the floor, or needing some more water and having to wait until someone comes in the room to ask them to fetch it for you, that all gets real old.  Real fast.  I ended up with crushing headaches and back pain from the inactivity.  And again, poor poor hubby.  I had a couple mental breakdowns for him.  I'm sure he was happy about that.

I'm going way too far with this.  On Tuesday it will be three weeks.  Tomorrow I'm going to the store.  I'll have to bring the kids to help me, since I'll be restricted from lifting much for a couple more weeks.  But I can drive!  I can walk in an upright position!  I didn't lay down today at all!  I can have a drink!  I can shower almost normally!

I can't wait until I feel normal again.  Because I've heard that my "normal" will be better than my old normal, since the culprit uterus has been removed, dissected, and discarded.  Good riddance.  For now, I still have pain, but it's better every day.  I still have a VERY swelly belly, like an extra inner tube around my lower abdomen.  Just what I've always wanted.  But apparently that is normal and I can expect it to go away.  My back aches.  I can't sleep on my stomach, which is the way I like to sleep.  But I can tell it won't be long.  I have little to no appetite still, but I'm still deciding if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  For now I'll say it's good, because that column needs some help.

For those of you out there that have had this procedure, am I really as much of a wimp as I think I am?  Was it horrible?  Did you know what to expect?  I'm glad I didn't, as I'm sure I would have chickened out.  It's so comforting to hear about how much better most women feel after they've gone through this. Lots of stories on line.  I know this because I had two weeks on the couch with my iPad.

I've had lots of help.  I can't imagine having to go through this without the support I've had, mentally, physically, and electronically.  So I know how blessed I am.

But I have dozens of bins of Christmas decorations in my basement, and I'm DYING to start decking my halls.  This is the latest I've been in years.

I will have so much to be thankful for this week.  My health.  Doctors and Nurses and Medical Professionals.  Family support.  Friends with big hearts and senses of humor.  Good TV.  My sweet, sweet Freddy who has been so worried about me and has not tried to jump up on me ONCE since I got home.  My baby boys who have stepped in to help take care of me.  My upcoming Thanksgiving celebration with some of my nearest and dearest there to celebrate with me.  Vicodin.  Cranberry juice.  The app store on the iPad, as well as online shopping.  The sweet people who sent me cards to cheer me up.  The flowers I got at the hospital.  Christmas music in early November.

And all of you who read my little blog and make me feel like I'm not that crazy.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I am so thankful for you!

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to have to go with you are not a wimp. They removed a large part of your body and scraped two others. It takes a long time to recuperate from something like that. Take care of yourself! Don't feel like you are a wimp if you do lay down a bit each day.