So I thought I would write to you about my hysterectomy experience so far. I am going to be honest so it may be uncomfortable for people who don’t like to speak of bodily functions or medical things in general.
I had an abdominal hysterectomy on Tuesday early in the morning. Before I went in to hospital I had to shower with this special soap Descutan which I read could cause severe allergic reactions in some people. I was concerned having sensitive skin but luckily I did not have any type of reaction. Bonus I have had no body odor at all since! I am sure it will come back but right now I don’t even need deodorant. I went in at around 7:00 am I was checked in asked to change into my surgical gowns, given some antibiotics, sent to the toilet and then I waited in a room by myself for sometime but I am not sure how long. I was then taken to the operating theater where I met a lot of nurses. Perhaps 4 and an anesthesiologist. The nurses were all extremely kind. They explained what was happening, held my hands, stroked my hair, and made me cry because they were so nice. I cry even now thinking of it because when people are nice it moves me to tears. Am I the only one? Anyways I was scared, mostly it seems that I wouldn’t wake up, that it would be like dying to be put under, of having no control over anything. I have been put under before once at 5 and again at 16 but for some reason that didn’t console me. They gave me meds to help me relax, drug unspecified. The worst part was the epidural because the anesthesiologist could not find the spot so I had to take several shots to the spine and nerve clusters in the middle of which my blood pressure fell to something like 83/38 and I became ill and they had to let lie me down a bit before resuming with the shots. The epidural I received when giving birth was much, much easier. After that I took a few deep breaths in the mask without anesthesia, then with anesthesia. I assume I went out immediately because I don’t remember anything really. I never saw the surgeon but I was told that the surgeon I had met previously did the operation and that one of my doctors was also present.
I woke up with the sense that I had been dreaming but I can’t say what I was dreaming about (Sam/a tree) it may have been the last thought on my mind because one of the nurses told me that if I thought about something nice when I went under I would wake with that same thought and that seemed to be the case. I don’t think they had problems waking me. First things I noticed was pain at the incision site, pain in the throat, thirst, trouble talking. I was easily able to move my legs. My blood pressure was still low and once I started to move a little I got dizzy and nauseous and vomited a couple of times. Nausea with anesthesia is common but even more common if you’ve had a gynecological surgery and if you have low blood pressure on top of it, so I had kind of an unfortunate mix. They did seem surprised that I felt pain exactly at the incision. I must have been in that room for hours and hours because I don’t think I made it to my actual room until like 3 something so my husband was in a panic because that was way longer than projected. I don’t think the surgery took longer I think it was the transitions that took a long time.
I stayed pretty numb that first day so the pain was not horrendous. I mostly felt the pain where they cut was and the rest of my abdomen and body felt just like normal honestly. I was horrible nauseous though. I tried to eat a small dinner, a sandwich, which I later threw up. I had to stay on fluids because I could not even hold water down and could drink so little water at one time that hydration was not possible. Changing from one position to another resulted in a lot of dizziness so they had to keep the catheter in that first day and night. I managed only to stand with assistance initially and my feet felt firm but the blood pressure issue made it really impossible to walk about. That said I did change into night clothes later that evening and I did walk to the bathroom. The nurse was present but outside and did not really explain how I was supposed to navigate the change with the catheter. It never occurred to me to sit down so I balanced on one leg and did all sorts of weird moves in my confusion. She did come in eventually and help but by then I had overcome the most complicated aspect of changing. Remember you can sit down and dress apparently! I usually dress standing.
I had to stay overnight, Sam stayed with me for a while but had to return home to be with Isadora. I could not sleep in the hospital but I was able to rest. At some point I began to itch a lot particularly in the nether area and the nurse brought tablets for that (which helped some) and a shot to thin my blood which she said could either go in the stomach or thigh. I picked the thigh obviously, as it was still numb. I can say morphine didn’t work as a painkiller for me. I still honestly had my knee pain which I always have and was so surprised that I should be able to feel my everyday aches and pains while on such a strong drug. During the night my pain became significantly worse but I decided to wait until morning to ask for painkillers. My right shoulder was also very painful, I am not sure of the cause it almost felt like it had been pulled out of its socket. The pain in my shoulder honestly competed with my stomach pain for a while even. I am not sure if I laid on it incorrectly or if it was positioned poorly in the operation but it is royally jacked up. I can also say the pain on the right side of my incision is much more intense than on the left.
Before I go on if you are planning on having a hysterectomy practice how to get in and out of bed and in and out of a chair a lot beforehand if you suffer coordination issues. I am having a hard time transitioning positions. Apparently I use my abs a lot naturally and it is super hard to unlearn fight against your natural inclinations. Also taking on and off socks is the worse thing ever!
My catheter was removed in the morning. I was overjoyed! I was afraid of the catheter (outright phobic) but the numbness, had on the first day, made it only a minor inconvenience in regards to movement. I felt it more the second day but it was not painful. That said taking it out was uncomfortable/creepy. I then had to drink to see if I would be able to urinate. After drinking a few cups of water I got the urge and went to the toilet. I had read it was hard to void your bladder after surgery but I just went there was no trick to it really. I did remain on the toilet longer and adjusted my positions to make sure I had done a good job. I am not sure if I am emptying it as much as before but I seem to be emptying it a reasonable amount each time. I decided to go to the cafeteria for breakfast. I went just as it opened and had to wait sometime. I decided to carry the trey back with me which was maybe not a great idea since I had barely walked at that point but I succeeded. I did manage to eat and hold down food but my appetite is not the same and I can’t eat as much as before. Part of the reason, aside from nausea (which I have now to a lesser degree), is the gas. I have so much gas. The first day my stomach looked fairly normal, the 2nd day it was very bloated (still is). I can pass gas but it’s not easy. Actually that has never been easy for me, my bowels are pretty low functioning to start. Anyhow Sam came again around 8:30 after dropping Izzy off at school. I learned from the nurse that I would likely go home. Shortly after Sam arrived the doctor came in to see us. She told me the surgery went well. They took out the uterus, Fallopian tubes, and the cervix. They did not need to remove the ovaries and they did not see anything inside that looked concerning. They will send my uterus to a lab and I will get results which might explain the menorrhagia we have to wait and see. Later we saw the head nurse who showed Sam how to give me the blood thinner shots (he is not happy about it) and they removed my ports which I had in both arms. I was so happy to go home but Day 2 was a very high pain day. Much worse than Day 1. Very intense. Pain at the incisions, pain in my lower back, pain in the shoulder, pain in my usual spots, PAIN. I stayed up 8:30 but it was a difficult day physically and emotionally.
After sleeping in my own bed I feel more rested but I am still pretty tuckered out. My pain has lessened thankfully. I have not taken painkillers yet today because they hurt my stomach so much and I can handle it at this level. My incision hurts when I move from one position to another but not so much when I am still. I have tried to be good about moving but it’s tough because of the fatigue and pain. My favorite exercise has to be mountain pose (I can stretch and assume good posture without force which counters the hunching and fetal sleeping position) and shoulder rolls. I have not been able to take as many steps as I want but I try to take them at least once an hour. We have stairs in the house so I have had to go up and down a few times. My fitbit does not pick up my steps that well because I have to be more cautious and I use the rails when on the stairs so I don’t actually know how many steps I am getting but I wear it because of the hourly reminders to move. The gas is quite bad and causes pain, if I did not have gas I think my stomach would really only hurt at the incision. I feel optimistic that tomorrow I will feel better than today.
Oh yeah I forgot!
I had a slight fever after surgery as is normal but I have absolutely no fever now. I have had some bleeding but not much at all, not nearly what I expected if I am honest. I haven’t experienced any difficulty breathing or taking deep breaths either. I can’t take off the bandage for like 7-10 days so I have no idea what the wound looks like only that on the surface the bandage is perfectly clean. I have dissovable stitches so nothing will need to be removed. No doctor visits either. I will get a questionnaire periodically and only come in if I feel something is wrong.