Monday, August 25, 2014

One Week Later

It's been one week since my surgery. I've been doing a LOT of this:
DOCTOR'S ORDERS! I'm not nearly that dressed up. I'm not wearing shoes. I'm not wearing makeup. It's like a vacation where you don't have energy to do much and you're under house arrest. SPOILER ALERT: I. Am. Bored.

I have been sore since surgery (not surprising since I had four incisions in my lower abdomen to remove my uterus, fallopian tubes and cervix). It feels a bit like I've had someone use me as a punching bag.

I have struggled with sleep. I forced myself to stop napping in hopes of being able to sleep at night. That hasn't helped. I started out getting 30-45 minutes every few hours, then was able to get 4-5 hours at a time. I'm hoping that's not the new normal as I have always loved sleep.

I am passing the days with TV, a book and my phone (Twitter and Facebook are keeping me up to speed on the people and things in my world, I have games to play). I also do a lot of sitting and closing my eyes, meditating a bit about what it will be like to not have any pain at all. It is quiet. It is nice. It is sometimes a bit boring.

There are a few things I'm learning:
  • Hysterectomy is a TERRIBLE word. I mean, it just implies hysterical. I wasn't (I don't think). I was in pain. I was sad about always being in pain. While I have some pain now, it's far less than I had before surgery. I want a new word for this procedure. How about "lady freedom surgery" or something like that? I'm open to suggestions.
  • Watching the news too often can make you super paranoid about surgery. I was glad that every single person who came into contact with me before I got to the operating room knew exactly why I was there. This reassured me the chance of going in for lady freedom surgery and coming out without a kidney was pretty low. When you know of a situation where a prescription was misread in the hospital and it killed a lady, you want to make sure the anesthesiologist has good handwriting (he did). He also matched my questions with more questions. Well done, sir. I don't know what he gave me, but I woke up thinking, "That wasn't so bad." And I touched things to make sure I wasn't a ghost. I didn't tell anyone that because I didn't want them to think I was HYSTERICAL. 
  • I might have a higher tolerance for pain. When I was in the hospital a few hours after surgery, the nurses said I needed to get up and walk around. I agreed, but it meant I needed someone to unhook me from all the things connected to the bed. I made one lap around the floor with a nurse, who then went to check on other patients telling me to go until I was tired, but not to walk the entire floor since she might not hear me if I needed help. OK? I made four laps before I decided I had enough. There wasn't anything to see and my room had cable. The nurses and my doctor were surprised at that walk and the few others I had made by noon the next day. Why didn't it hurt more to get up and move around? My only comparison was my gallbladder surgery. Maybe the difference is the incisions are lower and it's a little easier to get up? Maybe my arms are stronger to push me up from a reclining position? Or maybe I've just become so used to pain that I don't think it's that bad? I don't know.
  • Women don't talk about these things - AND WE SHOULD! Since I posted about my surgery, I have heard from women I know who have  had the surgery and who seem to be headed this way. Why is this something we feel like we can't talk to each other about? I know not all women have issues this severe. In fact, I know more women who seem to act like this monthly "gift" is no big deal instead of some sort of internal torture. While those lucky broads may not understand or even be able to sympathize (I have heard plenty of women say, "Just take some Midol and get over it!"), those of  us who have not been so lucky should really make a better effort to seek out one another. I am so grateful to those of you who have had this surgery and have shared details about your recovery and a little bit of hope for me that I, too, will soon be pain-free. I wish those of you who haven't made it to this step will continue seeking medical care and exploring your options. You deserve to live life without this hanging over you!
I don't think this surgery makes anyone less of a woman. If anything, it makes you the kind of woman who can function without looking at a calendar with a sense of doom knowing what awaits you. What is so terrible about that?

I know that my recovery has just begun. I know that I am willing myself to get better (without the hydrocodone) so that I can get back to driving a car and get out of the house. I want to get back to work not because I love work, but because it's a routine. DISCLAIMER: I am playing the lottery while I am out so if I win big, I will not return to my regular duties. For the first time this year, I feel like I can focus on things other than managing pain without a cranky face. It's not a single bit of phoniness. It's real.

Now if I could just work out that sleep thing...
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