Back in Business

Hello, Friends.

I have been away from the blog for a while.  I had a total abdominal hysterectomy and a hernia repair last month.  Surgery went excellent – but I had a surgeon that I know and trust.  I spent three days in the hospital and that was good.  Private room – lots of pain meds!

I have been back at work for the last three weeks – more or less.  The first two weeks I didn’t make it the whole week, so last week was my first full week back.  I’m sore and tired…but I’m not whining!  This will all be worth it in the end!!!

Like many Survivors – I have struggled with pelvic pain on and off for years.  The last three years have been the roughest with the last 6 months being the worst of all.  I am hoping that this surgery solves the problems.

It is the gift that keeps on giving…being a Surivor of The Invisible War.  It affects us mentally and physically in ways that I don’t even think the medical community truly understands.

In the past I have given recommendations to people going in for their Comp and Pen appointments – things like…wear an all cotton (no metal) sports bra and a pair of gym shorts so you don’t have to remove them for x-ray.  With that thought in mind – I will give a few suggestions for hospital visits.

I spent three days in the hospital – we all know how triggering that can be.  You aren’t really very conscious because of all the drugs and you seem to wake up to strangers over your bed all the time.  I was lucky that I was able to request some accomodations without giving the reason why.

I asked to bring my own pillow and the hospital was fine with that!  In fact, I had my pillow when I went to surgery and when I woke up…It was wonderfully comforting.  Ask about a pre-op cocktail.  More and more the anesthesia folks are willing to comply.  I took a stuffed animal with me as well. 

Find out in advance how your surgery will take place.  If you are outpatient – they take you from same day surgery to the OR to the recovery.  Because I was an inpatient I got to check into my own hospital room and then I really “woke up” right back there.  It was comforting.

Besides those comfort items I brought new pajamas and my own fluffy bathrobe.  Of course, I couldn’t use them until I was disconnected from the IV and the Urinary Catheter – but once disconnected it felt so good to shower and put on my own things.  I used the new pajamas as a “treat myself” shopping trip.  Who doesn’t like something new!  I read on a website to be sure to buy white cotton underwear at least three sizes too big.  That was great advice for an abdominal surgery!!!  They didn’t rub against the incision…in fact – I have a pair on today!  So much more comfortable.

Don’t forget to take lip balm.  Your lips are awfully dry after surgery.  I splurged and bought the lip smakers in Dr. Pepper and Root Beer.  They were a lot more “yummy” than plain old chapstick.

Take an opportunity to request a regular nurse when you are admitted.  Most of the nurses work the same days – so if you ask they will usually be willing to assign you the same nurse.  That was awesome!  I had the same three nurses all the time – and the same CNA’s.  You have a chance to get to know them a little better and then you can feel more comfortable.

Don’t ever hesistate to make your needs known!  This is sooo hard for us as survivors.  You don’t have to be specific as to WHY you are asking for something.  Just say – In order to be more comfortable I need…I have met a few cruel nurses in my day – but not as many as one might think.  Having worked on inpatient wards I know that happy patients don’t push their call buttons!  Call buttons that aren’t pushed means that I have time to do what I have to do – that I am not running around like crazy.

I had great nurses!  In fact, I didn’t push my call button even once in three days. 

So – I am healing.  I have been surprised by some of the strange feelings and emotions I have had.  The last thing I would ever want is a baby – mine are nearly grown!  I was surprised by a sudden sadness that I wouldn’t be able to have a child again.  I had to see my VA Psychiatrist and have some medication changes made – but those have been working out fine.  I have experienced a sense of anger that – once again – I am having to pay for what was done to me.  This is my fifth abdominal surgery – my abdomen is starting to look a little bit like a topographical map! 

Anyway – I am back on line.  Many blessings for all of you.




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2 Responses to “Back in Business”

  1. Myst Says:

    Hey, good to see you back online Joan. Sounds like quite a procedure. Thanks for the EXCELLENT tips about going inpatient for the VA. That’s a real fear I have.. of if I ever have to go in and spend the night or much time there.
    Big hugs to you and Brigid, hoping the holidays aren’t being too rough on you.

    • enemyinthewire Says:

      Hey, Myst!

      We all have to share what we learn – after all…we are the ones who have been through the process.

      The holidays are crazy! But…they always are. Big hugs to you and I hope you have lots of warmth, love and good times!


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