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Thursday

The Breakfast Buffet

It is incredible how quickly a week passes by, especially when you feel more active. My neighbour had to stay in bed of course, although she had been able to go to the toilet a couple of times. I, however, was told that I would not receive my breakfast in bed anymore and had to go to the buffet room. Well, okay then. I said goodbye to my room-mate and walked to the breakfast room.

Walking down the corridor was already less painful than the day before, which was a huge relief of course. On my way there I asked a nurse about my kidney scan, that had been due somewhere the previous day, and if could make an appointment. That wasn’t possible unfortunately and I just had to wait until there was nothing else going on.

In the breakfast room, which originally had been the baby room, were around 5 people having their breakfast and they gave me a friendly welcome. As it was my first time here I had to find out what was on offer.There was a nice variety of things and so I went ahead and filled my plate. As I was the last of the breakfast people I was soon by myself. A few moments later, however, a tennis friend, who happens to work in the hospital, came to pay me a welcoming visit! That was really lovely to say the least.

Then it was time to leave, but walking back to my room was more of a pain unfortunately and I was happy to be in bed once more.

Back in the room my room companion and I started chatting, and chatting, and chatting… We had a great time and lots of fun. Our hot meal with pork, red cabbage and potatoes was nice and we felt content.

Constipation

I had been given a fluid to help me pass stool, but it took quite a while to do a thing. I had to go a couple of times finally, but it wasn’t what I’d hoped for. I just had to be a bit more patient.

Another Unexpected Visitor

A knock on the door, and in stepped my friend and student to pay me a visit. It turned out that she and my room-mate also knew each other – it’s a small world after all – and so we had a nice time together. She’d bought a nice card and a magazine for which I was really grateful! She stayed for half and hour or so and as she had to pick up her son she left quite soon.

Evening meal

In the evening we went to the breakfast room together and had a nice chat with another lady. Gosh, did we feel sorry for her as she was in a room with a “non-talker”. And when the three of us walked back, it was around 6 pm, her room-mate had already switched of the light and it was all dark in their room… We have been so lucky!

We chatted the rest of the evening and then tried to get to sleep by elevenish.

Mid Week Musings

Early Morning Relief

after the normal morning examinations one of the assistant doctors visited me and told me she would remove the catheter. Yaahhh! First the bag was emptied (which contained about a liter of urine), then the small tube which had been inserted in my urethra, was gently pulled out. To be honest, that didn’t hurt at all. Also the needle in my left hand was finally taken out as well. This could be have been done earlier, because they have to leave the needle in as long as you’re not able to drink or eat by yourself. As you might remember I had had food and pills the day before…

Walking

Now I could walk a bit further than just around my bed and of course I had to go to the toilet by myself again, now that my helpful little catheter didn’t do that for me anymore. The first time could burn a bit, but fortunately that didn’t happen. To get things out from the other end, however, was a bit of a challenge. But I was hoping that it would come quickly now that I had been eating again and could walk. Of course it didn’t.

New Companion

as it is in hospitals,  you are hardly by yourself, which if you feel okay isn’t a bad thing. At around 8 am, after having spent a day “alone”, a new lady was appointed my former place in the hospital room. She was a lively chattering woman who was very nervous apparently and therefore very talkative. At first I was a bit concerned that I wouldn’t have any peace left, but it was nice to have someone to talk and to share again. And of course it takes away the boredom!

As she had had a hysterectomy some 3 years ago she strongly advised me to really take it easy once at home. I know now that I should (hence blogging). She was due for surgery somewhere at the end of the morning, but unfortunately  a few urgent cases came in and she had to wait until 5.15 pm. I felt really sorry for her. Her, as she called it, “I don’t give a sh..t” pill, which she had taken around 1 pm, had already stopped working. And she got more and more nervous as time went by. Her biggest problem was that she was concerned the doctors were getting less focussed by the end of the afternoon and that she was more at risk. Something I actually never thought of.

Doctor’s visit

In the mean time I got a visit from a friend (who also is my neighbour and an anaesthesist in the same hospital.  Around the same time my own doctor who had been there to perform my surgery also paid me a visit. She was very pleased with the outcome of it all. There had been no complications or major blood loss. She was wondering, however, that I didn’t need any painkillers and I could certainly have them if I wanted. ” You have only gone through surgery two days ago”. Well, I was happy to say I didn’t need them.

As I had found out in the mean time, walking wasn’t a breeze. I took a small stroll up and down the hall way, but it was very uncomfortable. I had this pull in my lower back and that was a really tiresome feeling. As I hadn’t been able to pass stool up to that moment I thought that must be the reason for the pain. As it turned out, however, it was the new attachment from my bladder to my sitting bone. The pain could take a few days up to a few weeks. Nice…

Room-mate’s Surgery

Finally my companion was taken to the  theatre at 5.15 pm. That had been a very long wait for her. In the meantime I received my evening meal ( a few sandwiches etc.) and had a bit of a rest. Before I knew it, she was back in the room, awake, but silently muttering. It would turn out to be a bit of a restless night, but I wasn’t to bothered about that. I tried to help her a bit as far as I could. She didn’t want to disturb the nurses. Bless her.

And gone was Wednesday!

 

The day after

Tuesday

As I had been sleeping most of the day I’d missed a few visitors who came around to see how I was doing. During the night, however, I woke up regularly. A shame really that no one wants to come and visit.

Fortunately I wasn’t in any pain anymore and I still received a steady intravenous infusion. All in all I probable received two or three bags with these healthy fluids. My mouth was terribly dry, however, and I had dry crusty lips. Of course my lip balm was nowhere to be seen.

The first check-ups

In the morning the nurses came in to check on my blood pressure and temperature. My blood pressure was awfully low, something around 88/45. They warned me not to get up by myself. I must say, however, that my BP has always been reasonably low, so this wasn’t too much of a surprise to me. On my right side a tube was coming out from under the blankets: the catheter which took care of my urine. My bladder was to have a short 48 hr vacation from all the excitement. This didn’t hurt at all, only sitting up was a bit uncomfortable. It felt like having a slight bladder infection, nothing more. The suggestion was given to sit on one site of my bottom, but that was not very relaxing. Thereafter the first blood sample was taken of which another  would follow later that week. As the bag with urine had filled itself steadily it was time to get it emtied. The nurse told me that it was around 625 ml which was ok. I would produce more after I started drinking more.

Paleo Anyone?

I had my first breakfast with my then room-mate who was to go home that day. I arranged to get her spot in the room as at that moment I was looking at two doors: the exit/entrance to the room and the toilet door. Nothing really exciting. The breakfast was okay. My question to myself was if I would eat paleo that week. But I wasn’t strong enough and succumbed to a German breakfast role and some dark bread. Mind you, I do not have a gluten allergy, I just feel generally better without the grains, and I must admit that after breakfast I felt rather full..After that I had to walk around a bit. This meant slowly getting up, put my feet on the ground en turn a circle and then quickly going back into my bed again. Sounds exciting eh?

Around 12 pm we received the hot meal of the day which was a hamburger, boiled potatoes, kohlrabi and a banana for desert. My room-mate then organised herself and got ready to leave. As soon as she had gone with her family her side of the room was cleaned and disinfected and I got my lovely window which made all the difference.

Lovely Kohlrabi

Lazy Afternoon

The rest of the day was spent sleeping, reading, getting out of bed to get to my homoeopathic remedies, which I should have taken earlier, but better late than never… It was quite uneventful to be honest. I was very glad that I wasn’t in any pain. Until I got my coffee later that afternoon of which  I only drank a few sips. It was disgustingly weak and gave me a bloating feeling quite soon afterwards. What a disappointment!

Wakeful Night

Trying to get to sleep that evening was therefore a  very different story. The bloating was very irritating and I was quite angry at myself for having drunk that ghastly “coffee”. I told the visiting nurse about my bloating challenge and she provided me with chewing tabs to help me with the gas in my belly. Those helped reasonably well. The valerian tablets to help me relax, however, didn’t do a thing and when I was still awake at 11.15 pm I called again and got a sleeping tablet. Two hours later I was still awake with my head full of activity. Of course at home I am the head organiser, so that’s what I continued to do that night… No, you can’t say I had a restorative night rest.

But, as things tend to do, they pass, and so the second night in the hospital was over by next morning when the nurse came in with her ear thermometer to “wake” me up.

By then it was already Wednesday.

Surgery

Day of the Surgery

I was taken to my room at the end of the hall way where I was given a bed, a closet and  of course the lovely and unevitable surgery dress with a sexy one-way panty hose with pad. The nurse asked me if I had shaven my parts, which I hadn’t thought of. So she did it instead, quick and painless. I had been given a pill to relax, which worked quickly:) and before I knew it I was taken to the operating theatre.

Preparation

Once there I was rolled on a large metal table which acted as a kind of slide to get me on the operating table. Probably some kind of hygiene barrier. Then I was taken into the pre-operating room. On my body the medical staff put on the ECG sticky pads, the blood pressure arm band and a needle in my left hand for the fluids to be adhered with antibiotics, pain killers, electrolytes etc. As I was waiting there I started chatting with a nurse practitioner about what was going to happen next and she was happy to do that. Meanwhile I got my pre-dose of antibiotics and was listening to the sound of my heartbeat on the screen right to my head.

The Water Problem

Then I told the anaesthetic doctor I had drunk two large mugs of warm water that morning. To be honest she was quite irritated about that. But a colleague of her had told me to drink as that would help my circulation. She had seen quite a few – noticeable elderly –  people getting into trouble during surgery because they were dehydrated. She had also told me that drinking water before helped to dilute the stomach fluids, which, for what ever reason they got into the lungs could prevent damage . Well anyway, I had done it and told the lady that I had only been doing that of which I had been advised to do.

Anaesthetic

The nurse practitioner was asked to put the mask near my mouth so I could get a taste of the first dosage of anaesthetics. Finally the head of the anaesthetic team came in, asked me how old I was and if I had any allergies, and after I stated my age and that I wasn’t allergic,  it was time to get things done all of a sudden. The mask was put on my face and the next thing I remember was waking up with much pain. The surgery had taken about 2 hours, so until about 12 pm, but because I wasn’t a happy chappy,  I had to stay in the recovery room until about 4 pm. I had been given lots of pain killers (or so I like to think) and it was all very endurable. Thank goodness!

I blissfully slept the rest of the day and most of the night. Day one accomplished!

Decision time

Back to health in three months? That would be great, but also, what? Three months? That long? Let me explain…

So last week, now about 6 days ago I had a hysterectomy and had my bladder lifted. Having been home now for 2 days I thought I’d like to share a bit of my personal experiences so far. No, I am not a medical professional, and my story will not necessarily be the same for everyone and of course no advice should be taken without previously consulting your doctor. I would just like to share the things that lead up to this surgery and my path to a – hopeful – speedy recovery and playing tennis again.

A little bit about me

I am a 54 years old,  happily married mum to three boys and since my eldest son, now nearly 20, decided to be born bottom first in a normal vaginal birth I think I stretched it a bit much. I wouldn’t have done it anyway else by the way. 2 Early stage stillbirths and 2 normal births later (1999 and 2006) my bladder decided to investigate the world and started popping in and out of my vagina. Lovely…. Fortunately I didn’t have problems with leakage most of the time, so doing sports was not an issue, and the adventurous bladder wasn’t sticking out all the time, so I kept going on as normal.

And then, some 20 years later: Welcome to the world of the menopause! I was not  only having hot flushes, night sweats and  irregular and a then diminishing periods, but the diminished production of estrogen was apparently also contributing  to weaker connective tissue around my lower body parts. So my bladder had a feast and could adventure out most of the day, especially after long hours of ironing, doing housework, teaching, lifting. By. then, however, it really started to drag me down.

The Uterus Challenge

After a while my uterus got curious as well and also started to peep out. It was definitely time to address the whole issue. So around september last year I paid my gynaecologist a visit to discuss the options and after investigating the whole down-under thing we decided to have the lift surgery. “Oh, and by the way, since you have no use of your uterus anymore, I suggest to have that taken out as well…” Well, swell.

However, then it got stressful, because, as I’ve had a perfectly healthy one so far I wasn’t inclined to have it removed. Many other questions came to mind. As I was a bit nervous at the time I didn’t think about these at the time unfortunately. However, as a girl who is always looking for a balance between conventional and ancient wisdom I started looking for answers on the web. By then it got really interesting and even more confusing. Nowadays you can find so much on the web, but you really have to dig for the correct information and then trying to find something that would suit my personal questions, hmm,  quite a challenge so to say.

Fortunately for me I know two people who’ve had the same surgery and they both said they wished they’d had it done years earlier. One of them is back to playing tennis again. Great! So far, so good.

Second Opinion

I got advised to have a second opinion and found a specialist for the urinary tract who did a scan and discovered a cyst near my right kidney. I had known about it before to be honest, but sort of mentally blocked it away and removing that will probably the next surgery I need, but let’s not get distracted here. This specialist also strongly advised the hysterectomy. He told me, however, that since I hadn’t been incontinent so far, this could very well be the case after the surgery. So far, my urine flow had been partially blocked because of the prolapsed bladder and lifting it could very well change that. If that would happen, however, that could be easily solved. Okay…

The reason to have the uterus removed is because the weight of the 80 gr baby room can cause a possible faster relapse of the bladder prolapse. Lifting the uterus is a more invasive procedure as well. Doing as suggested would be a pure vaginal process, which causes less stress on the body. It all sounded logical. So, I entered the pre-surgery intake talk fully confident about the fact that the hysterectomy should take place; or so I thought…

Intake Procedure

I had a wonderful female doctor who discussed the whole thing with me and she got me doubting the whole thing again. Bother! She told me that it was my decision to have a hysterectomy. Yes, leaving it in could cause a faster relapse, but taking it out could cause different prolapses of any sorts. Anyway, it would always be very difficult to predict anything as it depends on so many factors. In the end, however, we made the decision to go ahead with the whole procedure. That was Friday a week ago. The following Monday (January 30, 2017)  I went in at 8 am.