OK -- it's time for my "second" castle story.
I called the the night of the 18th to find out that I was to be at the hospital at 7 a.m. For my hysterectomy, I was supposed to be there at 11 a.m., so I was glad I'd "get it over with" this time! I called my dad, who was ready to come over and take my kids to school and daycare, to tell him he was "on" for the morning, as we'd be leaving for Rochester at 5:15 a.m. (or "0-dark-thirty" as dh would say)
We got to the hospital at 6:45 a.m. and we were taken to a pre-op room fairly near where I was before my hysterectomy. The only difference was that I didn't have my own bathroom, but I didn't have to do enemas and the lovely betadyne douche like I did last time, either -- so I could live without the bathroom!
I donned my beautiful gown, robe, TED stockings and slippers, and we settled in.
Last year, we were trying to pass time watching TV -- but I don't think we waited for more than 45 minutes total. Also, last year, just as things were getting really "personal" (enemas, etc.) my aunt Ellie showed up to take dh off my hands at the perfect time!!! She has great timing. Anyway, this year, after I got dressed, we waited.
Last year, we watched Dan Rather's career unravel -- he was getting in trouble over those forged documents used to back up a news story. This year, it was hurricane coverage. It got so depressing to watch it, that I even made the supreme sacrifice and watched an hour of "Sports Center". I made this sacrifice because dh, who was rather hungry (having only had a cookie and a 7-up since 5 a.m.) was getting crankier by the minute. I kept telling him to go eat -- they'd page him if I got called. He refused. He said, "I'm not leaving you." Admirable, but he was making me even more nervous!
So we waited some more. By this time it was 12:05 p.m. (yes, we had been in this room since just about 7 a.m.) and I still hadn't been called. I think dh was about ready to go and strangle someone, and I was frankly wishing that my hospital was the kind of place where they would give you the "pre-op cocktail" so that I wouldn't have to listen to him say, "What is going on here?" one more time.......
So then I heard a voice in the hallway -- "Maybe she won't want to see me!" It was Aunt Ellie again. I swear, that woman is an angel! She walked in, gave me a beautiful card and a Chicken Soup book, and sat down. I looked at dh and said, "Now, go eat. Ellie's here with me. They'll call you if they are ready to take me to surgery." So he reluctantly left. And of course, about 15 minutes later, they DID call me.
They took me to the pre-op holding area (looked like the very same room I had been in for my hyst -- they probably all look alike). Like last time, I was with other women on my side. The other side of the room was male patients. I remember one man was very elderly and the attendants were all speaking very loudly to him.
The ladies on either side of me were having hysterectomies and ovaries removed. Just like at my hysterectomy surgery, one of them had cancer.
Differences: I didn't get shaved at all, even though the incision was going to be in the same place as my last incision. And, although the last time I was almost ignored before my surgery, this time I had at least 4 different people come up to me and chat. Also, and this was really strange, I thought -- a nurse had me write my initials on my abdomen. She said that this was a way for them to acknowledge, one last time, that the patient understands what is being done. They didn't have me do that last year.
I waited in the pre-op area for at least an hour and a half. By this time I was wondering what in the world had happened to the surgical schedule -- but I also know that emergencies crop up at all times. The last person who came to see me said, "I'm so sorry. This has been a crazy day. A weird day." I know he couldn't say anything more.
They wheeled me into the OR at about 2:45. They got the probes put on me, hooked me up to the IVs. I was chatting away with them. They gave me some happy drugs. Another difference: this time they actually put a mask over my mouth and nose (I don't remember that happening last year).
When I awoke in recovery, I was immediately more alert than I had been after my hysterectomy. I've been in a few recovery situations in the last year -- and after my hysterectomy, I was in so much pain I couldn't even speak when I first woke up. This time I was in pretty good shape.
They made the "first cut" at 3:15 p.m., and I was back in my room by 6 p.m. DH had been kept company by my uncle Dave (Ellie's hubby). Notably, I did have a private room -- when I had my hysterectomy, I had a roommate for two of the three nights I was in the castle. I'm no snob, but I've just reached a time in my life when I don't want a roommate!!
I noticed right away that I was MUCH better off than before. One of my docs (the assisting surgeon, I found out later) stopped by and said they had been able to open just part of the incision -- it was about 8 inches long. He said they opened me up and the hematoma was just looking at them.... right in the middle of a big cavity which had never closed up. They were able to resect part, but the back part was stuck to the abdominal wall so they had to scrape part of it off.
Said the thing looked like a slightly flattened, large grapefruit.
DH took off at about 6:30 looking extremely tired. I was scarfing down Jell-O by 8 p.m. (after my hyst they didn't give me anything but ice chips for about 6 hours because I was so out of it) and actually walking the halls at 9! I got up and went potty, and I said, "Can I walk?" The nurse said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Yes" -- and I did two complete laps of the floor!
I found I didn't have a morphine in my pump (it makes me itch) but they gave me fentanyl. It was OK, but I'm still not a fan of the PCA pump. I tend to push the button, then doze off and wake up with everything worn off. Not good.
Didn't sleep much during the night. When doc showed up at about 7 a.m., I asked how long I would stay. He said, "You can go home anytime!" I asked if I had the option to stay, and he said he'd hate to see me get a bill for $1035 for another night in the hospital that insurance wouldn't cover. That was my signal that I was going home! I asked if I could eat, he said -- Whatever you want. I was famished so I ordered a big breakfast, but couldn't eat much.
DH finally showed up at about 1 p.m. (he had taken our son to pre-school) and had no idea I was to be "sprung". I didn't bring my cell phone, and can't call long distance from the castle. So when he walked in, I said, "I can go!" I was home "in my couch" barely 24 hours after I first went into the OR.
I came home on my first hysterversary. The irony is not lost on me. Soon I'll write an update on how I've been feeling since surgery.