It’s hard to know what your recovery will be like after surgery when it’s your first time. I searched for everything I could think of while I was waiting for the big day to roll around. That may or may not be a good thing for you, but I found it interesting to read about the procedure from a medical perspective. Getting all the tips and tricks from women that had been through it was helpful, too. So when it was time, I was prepared – probably over prepared. My mom laughed at all the stuff I bought “just in case”.
None of that stuff prepared me for the fatigue. I thought I would be getting all kids of drawing and writing and posting done while I was off work. I though it would be fun doing stuff while I took trips to Happyland on doctor’s orders. It’s been a week and a half and I’ve done nothing outside of normal housework. I just finally did some drawing last night. There was very little pain. Mostly mild discomfort, sweatpants, and a minor binge on jelly beans. I was just so tired! I’d sleep a few hours, wake up, think about all the things I wanted to do, and go back to sleep. I know I shouldn’t feel bad about doing what I needed to do to recover, but I do. I didn’t post a single thing all week. Didn’t touch pencil to paper once.
So here we are, you and me, a little later than I planned. Let me tell you about my surgery day! It was a laparoscopic surgery to look for endometriosis and remove my fallopian tubes. I didn’t like the idea of them rooting around in there for nothing (in case they didn’t find anything), so why not give doc something to do? There doesn’t need to be any more kids in my future, so it made sense to make sure of that while there was an opportunity.
Surgery was scheduled for 3:15pm and we (Mom and me) had to be there at 12:15. I checked into the Ambulatory Surgery Unit (ASU) at high noon on the windiest day EVER. Seriously, it almost blew us right into the hospital entrance! We sat down in the waiting room for about 2.7 minutes before a nurse brought us into a room. She took my vitals, had me sign a bunch of papers, and gave me cheery yellow gown. I asked if yellow was the gown color for this season and the nurse told me that yellow meant fall risk and was given to all surgery patients. Neat! Ok not really, but I really kind of wanted a fall risk wrist band to take home…
The room was also very warm. Uncomfortably warm! The nurse said I had a low-grade fever when she took my vitals, but we blamed that on the hot room. Then she left, I changed into my pretty yellow gown, and nurse number two came in. She asked me my name, birthday, and what surgery I was there for. Everyone you encounter is supposed to do that. I messed up on my name. Oops. No worries, you’ll get a second chance if that happens! Totally nailed it the second time! Then she asked all kinds of questions about the last time I ate/drank, medications, allergies, if I was in any pain, nausea, and so on.
She gave me a couple of pills to help with post-surgery nausea and placed the IV. She wanted to put it on the side of my wrist. NO THANK YOU. It went on the back of my wrist. I would have preferred the back of the hand, but she really liked that vein. She also gave me the inside scoop on pain meds. As it turns out, the good stuff is downstairs and you can only get it downstairs. So if they ask if you need it, get it while you can. Upstairs, patients can only get pills and those are cool and all, but they take time to kick in and require swallowing and all that.
Then came the waiting. Nurse said that originally my surgery had been moved up to 1:45. Yay! Buuuuuut a baby was born that morning and pushed all the surgeries back and mine might start a little late. BOO! See? Kids ruin everything! That’s why I don’t want any more. That’s a joke. A bad joke, but it’s a joke. I love my kid. But one’s enough. Car rides are smelly enough as it is.
I brought stuff to keep busy during the wait, but didn’t touch any of it. It was hot, I was getting a headache, and general grumpiness was setting in. It was around 2:30 when they finally wheeled me downstairs. Then I met another nurse who reviewed all things with me and I waited some more. The nurse anesthetist came by and he broke protocol! GASP! It was the end of the day on a Friday, so maybe he just forgot, but he only asked name and birthday, not what the surgery was.
Then I waited more. There was one super grumpy nurse running around who didn’t bother acknowledging my existence while she looked at my chart to see why I was still there. The other nurse asked if the Anesthesiologist had come by, which had not happened. Grumpy Nurse said some grumpy things and ran off. Another nurse said they didn’t know where the Anesthesiologist was. Cool.
ANOTHER nurse came by and she was super sweet. She was my main nurse for the surgery. Those two minutes we spent together are the only memories I have of her, but she sure was nice. Finally the Anesthesiologist came by and I don’t think she was having a great day. She was maybe two and a half per cent nicer than Grumpy Nurse. She also did not ask me my birthday. Not only did she break protocol, but I don’t think I’ll be getting a birthday present from her this year. She informed me that she would be in and out during the procedure and the nurse anesthetist I met previously would be keeping an eye on things. After that he came by and put something in my IV. A couple minutes later it was show time!
They wheeled me in, had me scoot over to the operating table, told me about the breathing tube and leg squeezers and catheter and… that was it. I was out. If I was ever awake while having any of that stuff on me, I don’t remember it. That little bit that I do remember didn’t come back to me until the next day. What happens on the table stays on the table. Ok, that sounds a little ominous, but you wouldn’t want to remember that stuff, right?
I remember very little from the recovery room. They asked me if I was in pain, I said yes (I think), and they put some stuff in my IV. Thanks for the advice Upstairs Nurse! I remember another little snippet of being wheeled back upstairs. It seemed like there are 20 people around me but it probably only two. They kept saying my hair was so cute and they wished their hair could look that good after surgery. I was really confused and explained that I’m in worst awkward phase of a pixie cut, but thank you. Well, my brain explained it. Who knows what (if anything) actually came out of my mouth.
Once upstairs I had a new nurse because of a shift change. She was also very nice. My mom wasn’t in the room waiting for me (they take you back to the room you started in) because no one went to tell her I was out of recovery. Rude! But she came in and filled me in on all the details. Doc didn’t find any endometriosis. I still don’t know how I feel about that. It’s great that I don’t have endo. At the end of the day, you don’t want to have something wrong with you. But when you know something is wrong, you really want answers. So I don’t have an answer yet. In other news – no more babies!
Beyond that, the surgery went well. They said I could leave after keeping some food (crackers) down and being able to pee. I ate crackers until they stopped giving me crackers. They were the best tasting crackers EVER. It took water, ginger ale, hot tea, and two attempts before I was peeing to their satisfaction. I would have figured out how to do a backflip if that’s what they wanted – I was ready to leave.
Fun fact – when I was in recovery I got six rounds of pain meds! Feel free to go back and read about the ONE I said I got. Seriously that’s all I remember and I don’t remember being in pain immediately after surgery. Mom made a very good point – they don’t want you to remember pain.
All told, I was never in serious pain, but they also didn’t have any endo to remove. I spent the first couple of days taking it easy with an ample supply of pain meds (too many in my opinion) in case I needed them. Mom stayed until Monday. I was working from home starting the following Wednesday and it was weird how tiring it was. Everything was tiring. Even when I didn’t feel as tired, I had very little motivation to do anything. I’m slowly getting back into my normal routine. Today is my first day back in the office, but I really just want to go back to bed.
YMMV! It’s best to remember, when reading this or any other blog, everyone’s experience is different! I didn’t get the shoulder pain some people get from the CO2, but remember that low-grade fever I had before surgery? I woke up sick the next day and coughed my brains out until Tuesday. As soon as the cough let up, Shark Week started. I still have a slight cold. No wonder I’m so tired! It’s a breeze for some and a pain in the hoo-ha for others. The best advice I read anywhere (given by many lovely ladies) is to relax and pamper yourself a bit before surgery. Deep breath – it’s gonna be fine!
Sorry I ran a little long with this one! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions. One little surgery doesn’t make me an expert, but sometimes it helps to share our thoughts. Thanks for reading! Until next time!