Hysterectomy: Post-Op

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Disclaimer: There may be some personal and medical mumbo jumbo that can be thought of as TMI in the next few paragraphs.

So, I took a few days off from writing since my hysterectomy was on Monday. I had a robotic assisted, laparoscopic hysterectomy.

My cervix, uterus, and left fallopian tube were removed. I had previously had my right ovary removed in another surgery. During this procedure, they also made me a new “cuff” out of tissue to sort of replace the cervix, at least that’s what the nurse said. On top of my hysterectomy, the doctor removed a fair amount of adhesions, the majority being wrapped around my colon.

Going into this surgery I thought I was prepared but still slightly scared. I knew there would be swelling, nausea, and the standard surgery issues like gas pain. I quickly realized that the doctor wasn’t very informative about this particular surgery even though I understood the basics. I will say my doctor is brilliant but not many women like him. He has horrible bed side manner and is very cocky. I expected the nurses to give me more information leading up to surgery, since the doctor usually doesn’t speak much unless it’s to my husband. He did give me a short list of rules and expectations.

  • No sex for 6 weeks. After he made the no sex statement he looked directly at my husband and said “you can fool around some though.”
  • No lifting heavy objects or too much bending the first few days.

And that’s all he said. He didn’t tell me anything else about what to expect or what I wasn’t allowed to do. He did ask about my medicine preference. I have a bad reaction with vicodin but can handle a few other narcotics. He told me “there’s not much pain associated with this surgery.” He then told me that I could “suck it up and deal with the uncomfortable feeling the few days after surgery.”

I wasn’t planning on loading up on medication, but I thought he’d give me something a little stronger than tramadol after he cut my belly in multiple places. I was wrong. I was actually very far from prepared once I entered the recovey room.

As soon as I woke up, the pain was ridiculous. I’ve had 4 other laparoscopic surgeries, but I didn’t hurt this bad when I woke up from any other them. The nurse brought me dilaudid for my IV and said we needed to get the pain managed before I could move to the second recovery room and see my husband.

After a half hour of drugs and ginger ale, I needed to pee. The doctor came to see me for a split second to tell me it went well and that we were lucky he was able to get the adhesions that were hurting my colon before it got worse. He promptly left and yelled “feel better” as he went out the door.

At this point, the nurse told me I was allowed to go to the bathroom and dress myself. I thought it was fast, but the meds seemed to be working. It took me forever to pee and try to get dressed. I also didn’t know there would be blood. No one told me my lady parts would be bleeding or to get pads.

Once I cleaned myself up and got dressed, I slowly wobbled over to where my hospital bed was. A different nurse saw my face and instantly got more dilaudid. She wanted to know why in the hell I was dressing myself so soon. I guess the other nurse’s shift was over because she took her purse and walked out the door as I was get more meds put in my IV.

I tried explaining what the previous lady told me to do, but the pain was subsiding again so I let it go. My husband was able to come back to see me and another nurse came and took my IV out. I was getting ready to leave when I started feeling worse than when I first woke up. The tears started pouring and I gripped my husband’s hand.

The nurse that told me I was doing too much after dressing returned and said that we needed to keep the pain managed for more than short periods, and the other nurse took my IV out too quickly. She said she thought I should be admitted and stay for the night. My doctor specifically said he didn’t want me to stay a night in the hospital or have many meds. The nurse disagreed strongly, so she called him. He told her I was to only be given one more round of dilaudid and to be discharged with a prescription for tramadol and nothing more.

I was trying to hold in my tears and get ready for discharge. It was so overwhelming. Once we left the hospital, I went home to a house full of concerned family. Hours after everyone left, the tramadol wasn’t even touching the pain. I called the on-call hotline that the nice nurse suggested.

I explained the surgery and my situation to the on-call doctor. She was furious. She said there is no way a doctor should expect someone to handle a major surgery on the medication I was given after only being in recovery for a brief amount of time. She was going to file a complaint.

I was relieved that I wasn’t just being a wuss, but there was a catch. She said she couldn’t write me a prescription for stronger pain pills because I’m not her patient, but I could go back into the hospital- the only issue was that they would have to call my doctor. I decided to stay home and deal with the pain.

Since Monday, I have not layed down or napped. I’ve sat and rested some, but I have been doing entirely too much. I definitely feel it today. I’m trying to take it easier, but I have two toddlers. My husband and a few close family members have helped, but the majority of them had to work or needed a break. So for the next two days, it will be just me and my childhood best friend. She will help wrangle my kids and keep up with housework.

Besides not knowing what to expect from my body after surgery, there were a few other disappointments that popped up.

  • Silent Loss. I’m trying not to be dramatic about the loss of my reproductive organs. I was told I shouldn’t have more children before this, and now that there isn’t even an option to have another baby, I feel empty. It’s hard to explain, but it’s upsetting.
  • No Patience. I’m losing my patience at other people losing their patience. I know that sounds odd, but as soon as I see people get frustrated or overwhelmed with my babies, I become this offended mama bear. I know they have difficult moments. They are toddlers. It’s just extremely hard to watch people have negative reactions to my kids. I think that’s why I’m doing so much. I know what the kids need and want and how to (most of the time) diffuse the situations. I have to keep reminding myself that people just want to help and aren’t used to being around kids as often as me.
  • I’m the one who had surgery. My family is obsessed with my husband. Majority of the women I am related to would climb him like a tree if they could. I was never a family favorite, but once I married him, that all changed. I’ve never had more support from these people. I was surprised until I noticed the support was more for him. Since my surgery, he’s been made multiple casseroles and cobblers -yes, specifically for him, not me. On the phone calls where I think I’m being checked on, they are asking if he has rested enough. I understand he works a laborous job and took a few days to help take care of me, but he has slept more than I have. It is a bit maddening.

Despite the ups and downs, I appreciate everyone rallying behind me. This is definitely a major adjustment. I’m looking forward to bending over without feeling like everything will fall out of my butt.

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