Monday, October 12, 2009

Razor's Edge

So, you know how much I hate doctors and needles and hospitals and the like. I really feel like the universe is mocking me. I mean, I guess I never really spent time thinking about it, but the idea that I would ever need to have surgery had just never crossed my mind. I made it through childhood with nary a broken bone, ER visit, etc. The most tramatic thing that happened to me prior to having babies, was getting my wisdom teeth taken out at the age of 16. They did it right in the dentist office.

I won't go into detail regarding my births, though they're here somewhere in the old posts of this blog, but keywords would be natural, midwives, midwife center and NO NEEDLES.

Again, universe laughing at me...

The quick backstory - I had 2 prior episodes of abdominal pain that I interpretted to be constipation. I even actually went to a DOCTOR the first time and he told me to eat more fiber and drink more water. As such, I was less inclined to go to the Dr. again the second time. The third time it occured (3 weeks ago), the pain was just so much more intense and my husband put his foot down and took me to the ER (first #1), where I was given an IV (first #2). One of the doctors first couple thoughts where, "Do you have a history of ovarian cysts." The answer to this is yes, I've had a few and I had a rather large one during my last pregnancy, but everyone said it would resolve after the pregnancy. He thought not and off to ultrasound I went where I had a belly ultrasound (Hey, this is familiar) and an internal ultrasound (first #3... wha????). They indeed determined that I had a cyst the size of a baseball and released me with instructions to contact my obgyn the next day and figure out what to do about it.

Contact my who? I don't have an obgyn anymore. I have midwives... Who when contacted, said... yeah, we don't do that. You'll have to call the surgeon. Which I did, and amazingly was able to get an appt. the next day with his partner. At the appt., I was given two options: 1) Have surgery now, 2) Monitor it, but likely have surgery later. At this point, the backstory to the backstory is that M. had just accepted a new job that would require him to be in NJ 3 days a week that started the week after the immediate surgery would be scheduled. So, I figured I might as well get it over with, and there I was with all sorts of consent forms and papers and papers telling me of all the horrible things that could, might, probably won't but we have to tell you anyway. I walked out of there with my head spinning. Is this really happening?? To me?? The doctor-hater??

I calmed myself with the knowledge that this was a laproscopic proceedure, outpatient, recovery in 2-3 days. Easy, breezy. The surgeon is well-respected in one of the best hospitals in Pittsburgh, which happens to have some really good hospitals. He does many of these every Tuesday.

Monday before surgery - no food. Just clear liquids. And a laxative. Surprisingly, I didn't mind the lack of food. I expected to be starving. I guess those of you that fast know about this, but I've never fasted in my entire life. Had to get bloodwork done in the morning. Best vampire nurse I've ever had in my life. I'm notorious for having tiny veins and passing out. Hence, the previous NO NEEDLE policy.

Tuesday - Mom picks me up at 6 am. Hospital at 6:30 am. Pre-op at 7am. Peeing in a cup, weight, blood pressure. So far so good. Get in room... Urine was questionable for pregnancy. WHAT?? Have to do a blood draw to be sure. This vampire nurse... not so good. Couldn't get blood from vein in arm. Had to use hand. Ouch. This is why I hate this. NOT PREGNANT. It was about this time when I started to lose it. You are poking me with awful needles and telling me I might be pregnant. I had so much going through my head. Maybe it was an ectopic pregnancy which was why I was in so much pain? Pregnant at all? I am totally not prepared to be pg again. I am done having kids. But my mom was there and she prayed for me, and I think there were a few more of YOU out there praying as well, as I calmed down and got wheeled upstairs for surgery.
Can I tell you how incredibly helpless you feel when you have someone driving you around on a gurney in a hospital? It is a really horrible feeling. I'll get into this whole dependency thing later.
Anyway, up on the surgical floor I meet the Anesthesiologist. I go through my now well-rehearsed speech about tiny veins. He tells me I'm in very good hands, but then proceeds to smack and flick my hand to find any veins, then tells the other nurse he has to use the smallest needle possible, so it may take the drugs a while longer than normal to take effect. I'm all, please do not start working on me until I'm really out.
Then it's into the surgical room. It's a good thing the drugs were already pumping, because when they got me in there and I saw all the people and machines and instruments and lights and, well, everything you see on TV, I was freaking out. Scootch over to the operating table and then it was lights out.
I wake up 3 hours later in recovery. Recovery is really weird. Big room with all sorts of other recovering people. Still half drugged and wondering what is going on. Mr. Nurse comes to drop the bomb. Doc couldn't get you done laproscopically. You've been cut open and you're being admitted. In my still loopy drugged up haze, I took this news okay. But then I was there FOREVER. 3 more hours. The heavy meds worse off and I was SOOOO thirsty and I wasn't allowed to drink anything. He finally had mercy and gave me a little swab of water. Finally, they found me a room.
Wow, this is getting really long. Anyway, finally get situated in my room, but they can't find my mom. She was on the other floor waiting for them to tell her where I was. I wait for the nurses to leave and then call her myself. Geesh. She gets to me and I finally get the whole story as to why I had "REAL" surgery. This cyst was really mean. It wrapped itself around my fallopian tube 4 times and then buried itself behind my uterus. Doc had to take out the entire fallopian tube and the mass. He couldn't do it laproscopically because there was too much chance of internal bleeding and he couldn't get behind the uterus that way. Silver lining - he was able to save my ovary. When I met with the Doc the next day, he further explained that my tube was completely mangled and leaving it there would have put me at serious risk for ectopic pregnancy. Since I still have another set of ovary/fallopian tube, my fertility has not been seriously compromised. I was not that concerned about this, re: no more kids, but I was a bit concerned about hormones. Since I have both ovaries, I'm okay hormone wise. Phew.
So, I'll start to sum up. In hospital for 3 days. Released with instructions of no stairs or lifting for 2 weeks. Take it easy for 2 more weeks after that, and full recovery in 6 weeks. And I thought I'd be good to go in 3 days... universe laughing...


Blogger Kerri Smith said...

whoa. that's really good to know! I'll count that as "worst possible thing that could happen when I go in for surgery" in a few weeks, so then anything less will be stellar! you never had the internal ultrasound? welcome to my world! :)

6:27 PM  
Blogger stella g. said...

Erin, i can't imagine. i can't imagine going in for one "routine" thing, and waking up on the other side having had a completely different surgery. besides being a trooper, i'm glad you told your story. and you did it well! glad you're back home recovering. even if you are going up and down the stairs... :)

5:42 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

you just told the whole world that i'm disobeying doctor's orders and doing stairs!! :)
Thanks for the support, guys. I appreciate it more than you know.

6:42 AM  
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