Two weeks ago I had a total abdominal hysterectomy. Prior to my surgery I did a lot of research on the internet (because the internet never lies) about what to expect. I learned a lot at hystersisters.com as well as other places, that was really helpful.
I had several friends tell me about their hysterectomies ( who knew that it was such a popular procedure?) and honestly, some of their stories were more scary than helpful.
I don’t think my pain has been that bad. The only thing I remember about the recovery room is that when they tried to bring me out I felt the most intense pain I had ever felt in my life. I believe that I saw Scotty and he said something like “I think she’s going to blow” or maybe it was the anesthesiologist – I passed out, so who knows?
- Right after my surgery I discovered that the ability to poop and pass gas had become the most important thing in my life. Having been forewarned, I took dulcolax stool softeners to the hospital with me and then promptly forgot that I had them. I walked as much as I could and was given Maalox and Milk of Magnesia and heaven only knows what else, but I still didn’t pass gas until my 2nd day in hospital. I did not eat very much the first few days, mostly drank juice, hot tea and soup. I had no appetite. Once I started eating, I got full really quickly and felt as if I would just burst. Going number two is not easy, I take a stool softener at least onc ea day and prior to my surgery, I watched this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqdNEx81d2Q.
- Painkillers made me feel invincible which only lead to more pain, and then..I realized that my doctor had prescribed a finite amount of Percocet and 800 mg Ibuprofen and I was in a panic. What really happened was that in the hospital they gave me two Percocet every four hours no matter what my pain level was. So I got home and …took two Percocet every four hours. Now some people tell me that their painkillers knocked them out and their husbands had to wake them up to take their meds. this did not happen to me. I woke up in pain multiple times during the night , which sucked only because I am and always have been an awesome sleeper, I lay my head on the pillow at night and I wake up when the alarm goes off, period. I am desperately hoping that the good (sleep) times will return. My doctor prescribed Ambien to help me sleep, I took it two nights in a row but still woke up in the middle of the night, so I stopped because I did enough drugs in the 80s thanks.
- There is such a thing as doing too much. I had visitors every single day my first week home. Visitors are really draining, I didn’t want to lay in bed and have people visit my bedside, so I would get up, comb my hair , put on decent clothes and sit with them. I also ventured out to joanns to buy yarn .I realized about 3 days into the first week that I was overdoing it, because I had lots of body aches and could not sleep. But that goes back to the painkillers, they make you feel like you weren’t just gutted and stitched up.
- Food literally tastes like crap for a couple of days. The nice lady from the hospital kitchen called me every meal for my order – and every meal I drank tea and sent everything else back. Also things that I like and enjoy doing, I just can’t be bothered with sometimes. Reading, watching TV, drinking coffee, crocheting.
- Let’s talk about staples. I read a forum post that was about four pages long, where someone wanted to know if it hurt to have your staples out. Everyone said NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT, NO PAIN involved. Only one person said “yes, it hurts like hell”. But who’s going to listen to that one lonely voice? At 9 days post-op, my husband took me to the doctor to have my staples removed. My staples had been the bane of my existence for nine days and I was happy to have them out…until the nurse pulled the first one. There were I think 15 to 25 staples, the pain increased as she moved from my navel to my pelvis, some of them were scabbed over, I squeezed her hand so hard that I don’t know how she was able to continue. afterwards the doctor came in and gave me a lecture about doing too much ( ok my doctor is female and it was more like when your mother has discovered one of your transgressions and you wish she’d just shut up and beat you already). So I promised to stay in bed for the next two weeks and she gave me a shot of something in my hip ( I do hate needles) which put me in bed for the rest of the day.
- I went back to work my first day home ( I work on the computer so I don’t have to leave the house). My office is on the top floor of our house. Before I went in to the hospital, the hubby and I set up my dining room as my recovery office and patted ourselves on the back for thinking of it. It turns out that it’s probably not a good idea to sit up in a chair working for hours on end when your stomach is held together with industrial sized staples. Please see number 5. We ordered an over bed hospital table right after my doctor’s appointment and I wish that we had done that in the first place.
- Menopause- since they took everything, I assume that menopause will come soon. So far I’ve had instances of sweating at night – nothing more than my usual night sweats no sheet soaking or any of that. I have not had any hot flashes. I asked my mother, she laughed and said she had never experienced any of the symptoms. Here’s hoping I take after her.