Tag Archive | surgery

Over the Rainbow

More random thoughts heading your way!  Today’s thoughts may be more random than others due to the pain medications I’ve been taking.

Thought #1.  Some of you may be thinking this blog will have something to do with the Gay Community because of the “Rainbow” title.  Wrong.  I was actually trying to reference the fact that I am post-surgery.  This is my first post since telling everyone how nervous I was about my upcoming procedure.  (There’s a blog in between the two posts showing my response to the Yarn Harlot about the USOC’s cease & desist letter to Ravelry.  If you’re a knitter, a copyright attorney, or an Olympic fanatic, you may be interested in the debacle.  Otherwise, we can simply move on.) So, pre-surgery on one side of the rainbow; post-surgery on this side.  Get it?  Okay, enough then.

Thought #2. I’m a lot less reticent to discuss my procedure now that it’s over than I was before.  Perhaps that’s because I’m not nervous anymore; it’s done.  Truth is, I had a hysterectomy.  They removed my uterus and did some repair work to other organs while they were in there.  The repair work required using a muscle from my abdomen as a sling so I have a rather long incision where they harvested the muscle.  My husband, Wes, would argue that the muscle wasn’t exactly “required,” since there was an alternative synthetic mesh product they could have used.  I saw a video online.  It looked like chicken wire.  No thanks.  As of today, I’m 18 days post surgery and the incision still hurts.   Quite a bit, sometimes, hence, the pain medications.

Thought #3.  The more people I talked to about the surgery, the less alone I felt.  I’d had no idea just how many of my friends and acquaintances have had similar surgeries.  Women talked to me about their caesarian deliveries and how they coped with recovery.  (One friend’s strategy to get out of bed led me to tie a bathrobe belt to the footboard of our bed.  I could pull on the belt with one hand until I was upright enough to lean on the other elbow, then roll off the bed.  It worked, but it was certainly not graceful.)  Many women told me that they, too, had had hysterectomies.  So many of them that Wes was prompted to ask, “Does anyone we know still have a uterus?”  In general, women I spoke with concluded that my procedure was going to be a bit more complicated than most, and everyone’s story was slightly different, but they all ended with the same, “You’ll be fine.”  And I am.

Thought #4.  My hospital stay wasn’t that bad.  Actually, it was rather nice.  The nurses and aides were helpful, caring and attentive.  My roommate was friendly.  The time passed rather quickly.  One very helpful item was my “puppy.”  He was a gift from my Uncle John years ago for Christmas.  He’s been used mostly as a decoration over the years but, for some reason, when I left for the hospital, I grabbed him.  He was the perfect choice.  He’s soft and squishy and full of “home.”  Unfortunately, he doesn’t have a name.  I’ve always just called him Puppy.  If anyone has a name for him, leave it in the comments and I’ll take it under consideration.

Thought #5.  I’ve gained weight.  Or have I?  I weighed myself before going in to the 50 gramshospital and again on the day I came home. (Don’t laugh, I can’t possibly be the only woman who’s done this!) I weighed 6 pounds more when I got home!  How is that possible? I barely ate for three days and they removed one of my organs!  But the scale doesn’t lie.  I’ve been told, though, that it’s probably only fluid, or it’s because I’m still healing.  My research (that is, Google) showed that the uterus commonly weighs about 50 grams, about the size of a skein of sock yarn, like the one shown here.  Sigh.  Not nearly as much as I was hoping.  But for the past few days people have been telling me that I look like I’ve lost weight.  So maybe the scale does lie.  Either way, I’m enjoying the compliments.

Thought #6. When someone says things will get better, they don’t mean immediately.  When Wes & I started dating, he had lost his wife of 26 years just months before.  It was a tough year; an emotional roller-coaster of “firsts.”  Every holiday, birthday or anniversary was the first one without her.  The day would pass, he’d recover from the emotional trauma and life would get a little better.  Until the next landmark date.  Everyone said the first year is the hardest.  When March came around and we reached the one year anniversary of the day she passed away, I thought, “Now things will be normal.  He’ll be okay now.”  Ummmm… no.  Things did get easier for him over time, but it didn’t magically happen on a specific date once all the checkmarks had been ticked off.  She’s been gone 10 years and he still has moments when it hurts.  It probably always will.

I guess I didn’t learn that lesson well enough because when the doctor told me that the first two weeks would be the hardest, I expected he meant that once I hit the 2 week mark I’d be home free.  All downhill from here!  Ummmm… no.  For the most part, every day is a little better, but some days are even harder than the day before.  It’s like looking at a stock market chart: Up one moment, down the next, but with a definite trend in one direction.  That’s encouraging.  I have to look at the bigger picture – especially when I have a day like yesterday.  Wes had a couple of places to go, so I joined him for the ride.  That’s all I did: ride along in the truck for a few hours.  By the time I came home, I was wrecked.  Totally exhausted, from being a passenger.  That would make me feel terribly old except that, as everyone keeps reminding me, I’m still healing.  I am a bit older, though, because:

Thought #7.  Today’s my birthday. And I’ve got the day off.  No place I have to be, no chores I have to do, and all day to not get there and not do them.  It’s gonna be a good day.  Happy Birthday to me!

Perspective

It’s really all about perspective.

Y’see, I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals.

I’m quite a klutz and spent most of my childhood falling and getting minor (and sometimes major) scrapes.  I’ve been stitched up more times than I can remember.  I used to say, “Well, at least I’ve never broken anything.”  Then I fractured my ankle.  Then I fractured it again.  And, just for good measure, I did it a third time.   Yes, the same ankle each time.

In the seven years we’ve been married, my husband, the carpenter, has spent more than his fair share of time in the ER.  Staples in his head.  Pieces of his fingers getting stitched back on.  That kind of thing.  Not to be outdone, I’ve managed to clock a few hours in the ER myself, once or twice with seasonal asthma-related breathing issues, but I did manage to fall down a flight of stairs and get food poisoning  (in the same week!) a year or two ago.  My mother-in-law, however, has been the frequent flyer in the family and, since she lives with us, we spend countless hours getting her to and from the ER and visiting her in the hospital.  As a sign language interpreter, doing emergency work in the ERs and hospitals is some of my favorite work.  I know how overwhelmed a person can feel talking to a doctor when a loved one is ill, and knowing that I am providing a valuable service makes my job extremely fulfilling.

In general, because of my experiences, I feel very comfortable in hospitals.

Next week that will all change.

Because next week, I will be the patient.

I’m having surgery.

(Pardon me if I don’t share all the details publicly.  All I need to say is that it’s considered major surgery and, no, it’s not cancer.)  I’m in my late 40s and my last surgery was when I was 7 (or was I 6?) and had my tonsils out. I’ve managed to come through 4 decades without doctors cutting me open.  Even my son’s birth didn’t require a knife or any painkillers.  (Well, at the time, I may have disagreed about the painkillers, but I didn’t get any.)  Not counting tonsils, I have all my original parts – even my appendix.  Maybe God figured I didn’t need any extra scars; I’d gotten so many as a kid.

I’ve talked to other people who’ve had this surgery done and they’ve said it will be fine.  I understand that everyone’s experiences are different, but I find it comforting to talk to people who have walked this path.  Especially since I did what most people do, in this day and age, when I found out I needed surgery: I turned to the internet. What a mistake!  The horror stories were rampant!   I turned to my husband one night, tears in my eyes and fear in my heart and said, “I am NOT having this done.”

Obviously, I’ve reconsidered.  I know the benefits outweigh the risks.

Still, I will admit, I’m scared.  One friend who had a similar procedure done told me, “I’d been in so much pain that recovery wasn’t bad.  I felt so much better.”  I understood what she was saying but, I’m not in pain.  Not yet.  But I will come out with pain.  Luckily I’ll also come home with painkillers.  I’ve been told I’ll sleep a lot.  I was also told, by a fellow knitter, that I should knit a simple washcloth while I’m on painkillers, just for laughs.  I’m considering it.

Because, more than anything, I know it’s about perspective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m scared because I’m still on “this side” of the surgery.  I don’t know what to expect. Once it’s over, I’d really like to look back on it all, maybe look at a washcloth, and laugh.