Recovery: 3 Weeks Later

It has been three weeks since my surgery and I am doing well.

Frankenstein abs When I first saw my abdomen after surgery I knew exactly what Frankenstein’s abs looked like! I had four small incisions surrounded by bruising. I have been watching the colors turn and endured a tiny bit of itching. They were glued on the outside and I am to let the glue come off by itself.

Swelly Belly I knew to expect a swollen belly after surgery and I was expecting to look like I was four months pregnant. In reality I just looked a little bloated. What I did not have a clue about was the compression garment I woke up in after surgery. No one said a word about it and for some reason I didn’t ask any questions. (Now I am scratching my head over that.) When I got dressed to go home I took it off and left it there. It had some blood on it from the incisions and I just left it with my gown.

After about 10 days I wondered how long the swelling lasted and in the course of my internet reading realized I was probably supposed to keep wearing the compression wrap. I was having backaches and feeling a little uncomfortable and wondered if a compression wrap would help. I bought one on Amazon for ~$16 and started wearing it and it really helped.

Sleeping I was shocked at how much I slept the first few days, an afternoon nap and then through the night as well. And then my sleeping went a little haywire. Some nights I would sleep ten hours, others I would be awake at 4:00a and think I was done, only to fall back asleep at 6:00a and not wake up until 9:00a!

Not doing too much I have to admit I never felt any pain. When I got home on Friday I felt fine and found myself reaching for something on the top shelf before I realized that might not be the best idea. Being tired helped keep my from overdoing things and I made a concentrated effort for the first three days to “Be still and heal”. But on Monday I couldn’t handle the mess in the kitchen anymore and started cleaning. I tried to take it easy and not do any heavy lifting but on Tuesday I found myself hauling laundry around and hanging clothes up and that night felt like maybe it was a mistake. I had a little bleeding in the hospital but it had ended by the time I left. Now I had my first very light pinkish-brown discharge. I had a little of this every day for the next two weeks.

I had been focusing on my external incisions (which were healing fine) but hadn’t given any thought to my internal healing. With that in mind I dialed it back a notch.

A color by number picture which I quite enjoyed doing while listening to the Cubs win.

Guilt over watching tv I had DVR’d some shows specifically to watch during my recovery but since I didn’t feel bad it was weird just sitting and watching tv at first. But I got over it. I learned to do a little cleaning and then take a break and then do some more. I tried very hard to listen to my body in regards to the fatigue. I had to keep reminding myself that I needed time to heal and that I didn’t want to be one of those people. You know, the one’s who resume normal life right away and then end up in bed for a month. Not me.

Pain meds I had Vicodin and ultra-mega strength prescription Ibuprofen. I took one Vicodin the first day I was home to help me sleep. Actually to help me stay asleep. And I took a second one towards the end of the first week at bedtime when my back was bothering me. I never took any of the ibuprofen.

Two weeks after surgery I resumed driving and tackled all those back to school errands. My incisions are starting to look like they are healing, no pain and my minimal discharge has stopped. On the downside I am still exhausted. The weather isn’t helping, triple digit heat and humidity are still hanging around. Some places get rain, but not at my house.

Post operative doctor visit (18 days after surgery) Everything looks good according to my doctor. I asked about the fatigue and was told it is quite normal. It takes the body time to recover from the anesthesia (hardest blog word to spell ever 😕!) and the trauma of surgery. Even though my brain missed the whole thing my body went through a lot. So I’ll be watching a little more tv for awhile longer.

I got to take home actual pictures of my uterus which is both weird and cool. You could definitely see the lumps of polyp and fibroids which looked huge to me! And she showed me where she cauterized the endometriosis. Everything was benign and she peeked at my gallbladder, appendix and liver which all looked good. Ovaries are good too.

I go back to the doctor right after Labor Day for a final check-up. For now I continue to sleep more and not lift anything too heavy. She did say I could get in the pool or take a bath after one more week so I have that post-surgical milestone to look forward to next.

Now that it is all done I am happy to report that a hysterectomy was the right choice for me. No regrets.

Not that I am trying to jump the gun but school starts next week which always makes my thoughts turn to Fall!

Flash Fiction: Many Hands

My surgery is just over a month away. I keep telling myself not to start stressing over it yet, to wait until the week of my hysterectomy. But…I have never had surgery before. The only time I have been in the hospital was to have my son and that was in Montana. A much smaller, friendlier city than where I am now.

Despite my admonishments to myself, once in awhile I start to wonder exactly what it is going to be like. I have to be there at 5:30am and I picture myself shivering with cold and fatigue and wandering around lost in a huge hospital. I have a terrible sense of direction under the best of circumstances and it would be foolish to think I am just going to waltz in the correct door and find my way without any issues. That isn’t how my life goes.

Oddly enough in my imagination I never get past the point of trying to find the admissions desk. I suppose wondering about the rest of the day will come later.

Today I am writing out my fears in this week’s flash fiction challenge from Carrot Ranch. The theme is about the works of many hands. There will be many people involved in my surgery, the list has already begun with the scheduling and insurance work done. I am thinking I want to try and keep count of people the day of. I am curious as to how many people I will actually interact with that day. It may also be a good distraction from my fears.

All that said, I hope this tale remains fictional! I had to make it a two-parter, my worries couldn’t be contained in a mere 99 words. I needed to see it through to the end, couldn’t leave myself stranded in an empty hallway.

“First Time Surgery”

PART I

First I couldn’t find the right entrance:

Emergency?  No.

Staff Only?  No.

A kindly passerby asks if I need help.

Yes.

The admission’s clerk hands over a stack of paperwork.  

“Take the elevators on your left to the 4thfloor and follow the blue signs.”

I turn around and take the elevators to the right (that are now on my left.)

Fourth floor, I see only orange and yellow signs.

I stand in the middle of the hallway bewildered.

Lost again. No help in sight. I shiver.

How many people does it take to help me find outpatient surgery?

PART II

A young woman touches my arm.  Do you need help?

Yes.

Go down this hall to the end, take a right and go across the walkway and follow the blue signs.

I see blue and green signs.  What color was I supposed to follow?

I am panicking, flustered, aware of the ticking clock.

A man in scrubs stops.  All my fears come bubbling out.

I cry and babble.  He takes my arm and leads me to the check-in desk.

A nurse looks up and nods to the man in scrubs and hands me a tissue, “You’ll be fine ma’am”.