Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I'm posting this not just as an update about me, but as info for others who are going to have the procedure and are looking for information.

My surgery was scheduled for 7:30am on Thursday. Which meant Wednesday was the bowel prep. Awesome.

If you've ever had a colonoscopy*, you'll find this is similar. I had to stick to a clear liquid diet all day. At 9am, I had to take an otc laxative, then as soon as I had a bm, I had to drink that drink. I had to drink 8 oz every 10 minutes. It was 2 L worth of liquid. Uck.
30 minutes after I took my first drink (so on my 4th), I thought "Hmm. Nothing has happened yet."

Ten minutes later I was running for the toilet holding my bum...

So yeah. That part isn't super fun. Two hours later, I still had moments where I needed to be on the toilet. (TMI alert:) At that point, it was just liquid- like, peeing out of my butt. Kind of bizarre... I also ended up with some hemorrhoids. Ick.
So anyway. I went to bed, hungry but empty! 4:30am came quick. My original plan had been just to shower the night before, jump out of bed and into the car. But at my pre-op, they gave me a surgical scrub with specific instructions. Shower the night before with the scrub, then sleep in "freshly laundered" PJs. Then, shower that morning too with the scrub and put on "freshly laundered" clothing.

Surgical check in was similar to what I had experienced for my retrievals and D&Cs. They called me into the back, had me use the bathroom, then had me strip and put on a johnny and slippers. I had some spotting all week, and woke up with some heavier bleeding (the start of my period? With the surgery, I'm not sure if it ever came or what. Never got very heavy...) so they had me put on those fancy 'surgical underwear' and a pad.

They brought III in to sit with me and I answered questions for Nurse K who checked me in. Then I met Nurse L who was the OR nurse. Then I met the anesthesiologist resident. (or is it intern? I always get them mixed up.) She tried to get my IV started. First in the left arm. Then that didn't work, so she went to my right hand. They give you a stingy local first, which was annoying but saved me from having to feel her root around under my skin to hit a vein. Which she couldn't do. I wanted to be like "Dude. They never have trouble with my veins." She left to go get the anesthesiologist for help and III (who is a trained medic and EMT) said "That reminded me of the class I took where we had to stick each other to learn how to get an IV." The doc showed up and hit another vein in my right hand the first time.

Then my doctor showed up. She went over things, asked if we had any questions, and was on her way. I got kisses from III, a fancy hat from the nurse, and they put the rails up on my bed and rolled me down the hall.

They must have already started my IV, because I remember asking them if that area was only gynecological surgery and them telling me it wasn't. Then that was it.

The next thing I remember was the nurse asking me my pain level on the ten scale, and telling her a 7. She said "Well, we'll have to do something about that." and gave me a small white pill with a teeeeeny sip of water. I was soooo thirsty (for the whole time in recovery and until we got home), but apparently (and I don't remember either the telling or the feeling) I had told them I was nauseous when I woke up. By the time I shared my level of 7, any nausea I might have had was gone.

I don't remember a lot about being in recovery. I remember I was thirsty. I remember I was sore. (7 went down to 4 shortly after they gave me the pill.) I remember I was sooo sleepy. I just wanted to keep my eyes closed, but the nurse kept waking me up by saying my name loudly.

I had five pieces of gauze taped to my abdomen- one over my belly button, one above my pubic bone (right where my stomach fat folds over. gross. This is the one that irritates me the most.), one to the left of my belly button and two to the right.

I found out later that the doctor came out and talked to III after surgery. She told him it went really well and that the fibroid was smaller than it had been in May. She said it was easy to get to and everything went smoothly.

At some point after that they brought III back. I think he helped me get dressed. They put me in a wheelchair, and an orderly wheeled me out front where III pulled up the car and I got in.

I think my eyes were closed for most of the ride home. I do remember that III was driving like an asshole. He also took a weird way home, and I must have commented on it because I remember him saying "I'm just trying to take a way that will annoy me the least." Um, dude. I'M the one who just had surgery!

I went home, III bought my meds and some take out, I ate, and went to bed.

I was very sore on Thursday. Laying on my back was the most comfortable. Laying on my side made me sore- it was like my belly was too heavy. Luckily, the little white pills (oxycodon) kept me sleepy enough that I could probably have fallen asleep sitting up.

Friday, I got up around 9am. (I was still wearing the same sweats and t-shirt I wore home from the hospital!) I went downstairs for something to drink and I think I might have talked to KB on the phone. I wasn't hungry, and while my soreness wasn't as bad as on Thursday, I was still pretty sore. I went back to bed at 9:30am. Got up at 3:30pm. I think I was up for a few hours after that. We did have dinner at some point. I was back in bed by 7:30.

I was taking meds every 6 hours. I was prescribed the oxy and 600mg of ibuprofen, which I could take at the same time. They told me I could take 1 or 2 oxy, and I took one. That stuff tends to hit me hard, and my sleeping habits on Friday reflect that. LOL.

Saturday was better. I got up, showered, and dressed. III brought lunch, which I ate, and KB came by a little later. She was hoping to take me out to a movie where they have you sit in these cushy seats and serve you food, to spoil me, but I wasn't up for that. She stayed for a few hours. III and I ate dinner. Then I went to bed. On Saturday, I stuck with only the ibuprofen during the day, though I took the oxy at night. I could lay on my side now, as long as I had a pillow there for a little extra support.

This is a pic I took with my phone on Saturday. I had taken off the gauze, but the steri strips are still there. They told me to leave those on and they would fall off themselves around ten days. You can't see the incision inside of my belly button- that mark on top is from my navel ring- but there are a few stitches in there. Ignore my chubby gut. I'm not loving how it looks lately anyway, but obviously after surgery I was bloated...
Sunday, while I was still sore, I was starting to feel pretty normal. I didn't nap. We flew back to the lake. Sitting on the plane for 2 hours wasn't the best part of my weekend, but I kept a pillow behind my back (because slouching irritates the incisions) for most of it and made sure the seat belt wasn't too tight.

Sunday and Monday nights were rough. I did not take any oxy, so I think that was part of it. When I lay down to go to bed, I've been getting bad gas pains, mostly in my lower abdomen, but also a little in my chest. (They warned me about these- they pump air into your abdomen to have space to work. I had thought it would be immediate, which it wasn't- or if it was the oxy helped me sleep through it- but I assume this night time discomfort is residual from that.)

Today is Tuesday, and I feel pretty good. The nighttime thing is hard- last night I took some gas X and put heat on my belly, and one or the other or both helped and I was able to sleep. Today I went back and worked out with my trainer. She knew all of my restrictions, and put together a workout for me with them in mind. I actually got a good workout and felt good afterwards.

There have been some poop issues. Nothing major... but I had my first real poop today and it was pretty small. I'm sure my lack of poop action is contributing to the bloating and night time pains. They told me I could take a lax. I took one on Saturday, but we don't have any out here, so I'm hoping things will start moving soon.

The incisions are annoying. The worst part is the incision on the left and one on the right- when they put the bandages on they irritated my skin. That irritation bothers me more than the incisions! Irony. They have all these great technologies now where they can do this laparoscopic surgery with a robot, but they can't find a band aid that doesn't rip your skin off...

Sometimes the incision near my pubic bone bothers me. If I'm sitting in the car for too long or if my underwear irritates it. Sometimes the ones on my sides hurt if I lean over and/or turn my body wrong. My belly button is sore and bruised- I think it's worse when I'm more bloated.

So... that's the story. It's amazing to me that they can do this- I can't imagine what it would be like to have a laparotomy where they cut you open completely. I'm grateful they were able to get all that they needed to with my five teeny incisions.

We head home on Monday. I'm not looking forward to 16 hours in the car, especially now with my recovery. But the dr. okayed it and it will be nice to get home and figure out a routine.

*Spellcheck suggests "kaleidoscope" for this. Yeah, so not the same thing.


Kakunaa said...

Your belly is lovely...mine is way worse right now from IVF! I am glad it went well and that you are starting to feel better! HUGS

Gurlee said...

Congratulations on getting through your surgery, so happy it went well! I have matching incisions from my surgery 13 weeks ago. Glad the healing process is going well, take it easy!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on getting through it so well. I didn't have quite the same thing done as you, but it took me a long time before I could lie on my side as well.