My hysterical hysterectomy was on Tuesday. Here are the deets on recovery.
The surgery itself. There were no complications other than me having to have four incisions instead of three. (We’re talking incisions that are maybe an inch long, so this is minor. They had to fix some adhesions, and my uterus apparently developed a new blood supply in the last 10 years, but it had to come out anyway so that wasn’t a big deal. My surgeon was happy with the outcome.
Anesthesia. Upon finding out that I was electing to stay overnight, my anesthesiologist offered to put in a morphine block that would keep me pain-free for the first day but would make me a little bit itchy. I took him up on it, and was more than a “little bit” itchy. I wanted to sleep in a vat of Benadryl gel because it was so bad. God bless Lindsay, my night nurse, because she was coming up with new and creative ways to help me deal with this. Still, my anesthesiologist was fabulous and had a fabulous bedside manner.
Why I love my church. A woman from my church asked what she could do to help, and I asked if she could sit with me while I was waiting for surgery because Mom was supposed to be getting Daniel off to school at that point. Even when my surgery got moved 2 1/2 hours later, she offered to stay with me and another woman joined her. They kept my mom and me calm, prayed with me, anointed me with anointing oil, and made small talk to keep me relaxed. What they didn’t know was how terrified I was that I wasn’t going to wake up from surgery… because we’ve had that happen in my family in the last five years, and part of that was because all of Daniel’s stuff depends on me. They’ve checked in with me every day since, either in person or by text, and one of them has even helped me negotiate all the pain conversations with my surgeon’s nurses.
Another woman (who sings alto in the choir with me) brought over a gallon of chicken soup and some Asian pears today. The soup is helping to settle my stomach.
My priest checked on me intermittently on Tuesday, and he finally got me awake on Wednesday morning, so I got more anointing oil on me (which is the best smell in the world) and the laying on of hands for prayer.
The pain. The morphine wore off around 4 p.m. yesterday, and my mom arrived home with my Toradol and Tramadol at that point. Toradol works well with the pain. Tramadol made me feel dippy, but it did nothing to help the pain. This culminated in me having a screaming panic attack at 2 a.m. because I was vomiting from the leftover anesthesia in my system (because I removed the Scopolamine patch from behind my ear too early) and having pain that was a 6 or 7 out of 10 on the pain scale. (God bless my parents because I was inconsolable for a while.) I didn’t know that I could have added acetaminophen to the Tramadol, so it was 8 hours of misery. I’ve been meticulous as all get out about taking my Toradol at EXACTLY six-hour increments today. My surgeon’s nurses and I had a conversation over the messaging system their office uses about my pain, and I have permission to take acetaminophen with my Toradol along with some Ativan for anxiety if I need it.
My nurses. My nurses at my local hospital were amazing. My pre-op team got my IV in painlessly. (They do a small injection of lidocaine first, which helps a lot.) They also made sure I was comfortable and fetched me a lot of cranberry juice and ice chips on Tuesday and Wednesday because it was the only thing I really wanted that I was allowed to have (I was on liquids on Tuesday night).
My mom. Mom has taken over all of Daniel’s care this week, and she has completely rocked it. She learned all of my jobs last week, and I went into surgery breathing a little easier knowing that she could take care of Daniel. Since I’ve been home, I’ve tweaked things a bit and done a couple of things that she hadn’t learned how to do by feel yet, but she has enforced me resting… which is important because I have to be doing something.
My surgeon. He is a very formal Ukrainian gentleman, but his bedside manner was excellent. He did all of my care on Wednesday morning including removing the catheter and packing that I had in me. (It was uncomfortable, but that couldn’t be helped.) As he was talking to me both before surgery and after, he was holding my hand, which was good in keeping calm when I was either scared or really uncomfortable.
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