Thursday, July 19, 2012

Post-Op Days

Today marks day 16 since my surgery, and I am feeling good. Yesterday I wore capris that had a zipper and waistband -- which is a big deal since I've been hanging out in loose fitting shorts, stretchy jersey skirts, and flowing sundresses for two weeks. Today I feel like myself again.

The pre-op care right before surgery was unnerving. The week before I had been trying to find a 'happy, peaceful place' in my mind to go to while meditating in preparation for the surgery. Everything was going well that morning as I breathed deeply, closed my eyes and pretended I was on a deserted beach in Hawaii. Then the nurse came to take my vitals. Everything is now put into a computer and she was having difficulty with it complaining about working with computers. Then she was giving me some meds the anesthiologist had prescribed and she couldn't make out his handwriting so she kept paging him. Finally another nurse came over and was able to read the number he had scribbled just as someone came to wheel me to the operating room. Honestly, I kept thinking there must be hidden cameras and this is part of Betty White's new show because the nurse looked to be in her mid-to-late 60s.

The porter wheeled me to a hallway and left me outside the operating room. I couldn't see more than a foot in front of me since I didn't have my glasses on. People walked by talking about their weekends as I closed my eyes and tried to picture myself on that deserted beach in Hawaii. It was a bit dehumanizing as I felt like a piece of furniture placed in the hall. Why don't they speak in hushed tones? When did a hospital become a loud-talking place? The operating room nurse came out and spoke to me in a hushed tone as well as my surgeon and the resident. Surprisingly the resident had the best bedside manner and answered my questions that relieved some of my jitters. Then I was wheeled into the operating room.

My heart started racing and I forgot the deserted beach in Hawaii as I moved myself onto the operating table under the glare of the lights. I wondered why they hadn't given me a cap to cover my hair like they did in California when I had the embryo transfers. I asked the nurse and she said I didn't really need one as she strapped the blood-pressure cuff on my arm. Meanwhile the anesthesiologist (who was NOT the one I met at my pre-op) brusquely got the i.v. started and tried to make small talk by joking about me getting time off work for recovery. I then said not really because I am a housewife. He replied with: "How old are your children?" I gulped and told him I don't have any children. He then remarked that my blood pressure was high and if I was taking anything for it. I said no, but all I could think about was: I'm in an operating room on an uncomfortable table; I've never had surgery before; I don't have a cap covering my hair; this anesthesiologist obviously has NOT read my medical history due to the question about my children who never made it to birth. Of course my blood pressure was elevated! I just closed my eyes as the nurse covered my mouth and nostrils with the 'mask' for oxygen and tried not to cry.

The surgery went well. According to my surgeon, a small cyst was removed by my right fallopian tube. All this was told to me as I was coming out of anesthesia so I am not sure about what happened with my tube. The resident who assisted the surgery came to see me again in post-op and asked which side I had my ectopic pregnancies. I told him it was my right side (where the cyst was) and he replied that the right tube was very inflamed. Unfortunately I was not cognizant enough to ask questions. In two weeks I am going to see my doctor for a post-op appointment so I will get more answers. She did say the cyst looked 'good' (I guess by that she means benign) but they sent it to pathology to make sure.

I was on painkillers for a couple of days but had to stop because they were affecting my emotions and making me moody and depressed. That was one side-effect I did not expect. The other unexpected effect was the gas pain. I've had gas before, but due to the anesthesia and swelling the gas seemed to be stuck inside me so I could not lie down and had to keep walking around the house.

Finally I feel good again. Going out for sushi with an old friend (who is also without child) tomorrow night and I can't wait. In five days I can lift heavy stuff and my flowers can't wait for that as they really need some TLC (a spirea has died and I may have lost an astilbe).

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