Hysterectomy, Part 2 – “Here we celebrate flatus”

The knock finally came after 6pm. I was taken down by two lovely gents and even though they were being very reassuring I did feel a bit like a calf being lead down to slaughter. I confess to having slightly shaky legs walking down the corridor.
We took the lift down to the basement and entered the anaesthesia room. The bed in the anaesthesia room would then be moved to the operating theatre so it already had a thin gel mattress on it to keep me from sliding down when it was angled down. My blood pressure etc were tested again and I was attached to the EKG monitor. The anaesthetist came in and soon I had an IV on the back of my hand and he was prepping for the spinal block.
I had to sit at the edge of the bed, curled over a pillow to give him access to my back. He first numbed the area, which was probably the most uncomfortable I got at any point. The needle hurt a little bit and the numbing agent stung but this didn’t last too long. The spinal needle itself wasn’t really painful but mainly uncomfortable. All I really felt was pressure. It didn’t take long for the block to take effect and my butt and the back of my legs went warm and numb. I almost felt as if I had wet myself. I had to be helped to lie down on the mattress. I may have made a “human caterpillar” joke (seen the movie?..) when I was made to shuffle back up the mattres to be in the right position. What can I say – the jokes and the chat get worse when I am nervous.. This is the last thing I remember – maybe they had had enough of my lame ass attempts of comedy and decided to shut me up..
The next thing I knew I was in the recovery room asking to see my uterus. I was told that I had already seen it which I could not make any sense of. I was also asking questions about the operation which my surgeon told me he had already answered. I was puzzled – I had only just woken up! I was told later by my anaesthetist that when I was brought around in the operating theatre, I had bolted up demanding to see my uterus (how can you be so out of it but yet so aware of what is going on?). The nurse had just been packing this away to be sent to the lab and turned to show it to me. Apparently I had grabbed the container and had a good old look at it. It’s a bloody shame I don’t remember any of this. I must have passed out again then as the next thing I know is the recovery room.
The operation had taken place with the Da Vinci robot and all I had to show was 4 small holes (ports) in my abdomen. Well, those and the various pinpricks I still keep finding. I had 2 IVs on my left arm and 4 (or 5) blood thinner shots to my arm. In addition I have had numerous blood tests done from both arms.
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This picture wast taken after the 2nd IV was removed but it shows how busy my poor arm was. Sorry for the gory belly shot
I was back in my room after 9pm. I had a catheter and an IV giving me fluids. I was also given some meds for pain, heartburn and something else. I believe the main pain medication was slow release Oxy. I was brought in some toast and coffee which I actually had the appetite for.
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The best meal I ever had! And yes, I may have blagged myself some ice cream as well…
I was monitored every 30 mins throughout the night. Apparently my blood pressure was a bit low and the the catheter bag wasn’t filling as fast as it should have but by the morning these had more or less normalised.
 My view – I am sparing you the image of the catheter bag. Just kidding – I didn’t take a picture of that. Of course I didn’t…
The catheter was removed at around 8am the Friday morning and I gingerly got up and rolled my IV stand to the toilet, brushed my teeth and washed my face. I felt pretty darn good considering I had just an organ removed but I suppose the spinal block and drugs had a lot to do with that.
Breakfast on Friday (I may be obsessed with food…)
Again I had some bloods done and a nurse came in later to tell me that there was an elevation of the bilirubin compared to the tests they had done just before the operation. This was retested later and had come down to a more normal(ish) level so it was decided to just leave it as I was feeling fine. My doctor will probably redo this test when I see him in a few weeks.
I could have gone home on the Friday but I felt more comfortable staying in the hospital with regular food and drugs. My IV was taken out in the afternoon and I had a shower – nothing makes you feel better than clean hair. My dressings were also changed and I had a quick glimpse at the ports. The wounds are no more than 1,5-2cm long and will probably heal into invisible marks.  The one on my belly button looks rather gory though.. I had the loveliest of nurses to look after me on Friday and Saturday – a young Australian girl called Lydia. We had great banter and laughs which kept me going. She sympathised about the foul tasting “stool softener” drink I was given and allowed me to keep the IV a bit longer as I thought it was great for hydrating the skin. Poor girl was in charge of measuring my wee so every time I went to the toilet I had to pee into a cardboard potty which was positioned into the loo. Not sure which one of us was looking forward to that being deemed unnecessary more…
Other than that I just spent the Friday watching tv, eating and sending incomprehensible Facebook and text messages to my friends (I blame the drugs!). My husband came in to see me with The Monkey who had been told that there was ice cream in the visit for him – and there I was thinking he had been missing me when he practically ran into the room!
ImageI have looked better.. 
The anaesthetist came to see me quite late on the Friday to run me through the operation. He told me the funny story about the uterus and I was laughing so hard I was nearly crying as it hurt so much. He told me not to get hysterical which only made me laugh harder – I tried to tell him between the fits of laughter that I couldn’t possibly anymore, now that the uterus was gone. Surely I was cured of any hysteria! This was the first I had to ask additional pain medication and he did comment he was very impressed I had been on the minimal dose until then. I did find that walking around in the room helped with the gas pains in the shoulder but nothing beats a nice dose of oxy to let you get a decent night’s sleep. He repeated what the nurses had continuously asked me throughout the day: have you passed any gas yet? And this has become my new rule: “Here we celebrate flatus”. So if you are recovering from a laparoscopic surgery of any kind: FART A LOT!
I will be asking for the full operation notes from my surgeon and it will be interesting to see what they tell me. I am sure there is more to the operation and recovery than I remember. I just hope there is nothing saying “if this patient ever finds herself in my operating theatre again – please gag her in the recovery room”.
Part 3 will follow

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