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SHARING IS CARING

Vaginal Hysterectomy - TVH w/epidural - Pla's Story

From the Princess Stories Articles List

Darn the cramp was awful, I embarrassedly had to beg a lift from a stranger in a golf cart who took me back to the golf club from the 13th hole.

Besides having to gently push out my BMs for 26 years and complaining about pain on intercourse and noticing that I was a bit small in there I had no bad symptoms. Unless of course you include the blockages of the bowel that I had each month when I had to drink water for 3 days as I was so clogged... But the doctors all considered that what I was going through was normal.


My first marriage fell apart because of the painful intercourse but of course it was normal and I am a trooper. So I believed the doctors that it was all in my head.

So there I was sitting at the golf course embarrassed. Why was my pelvic floor cramping? Well I decided that it was another of those not serious symptoms which one has to bear when you are a female.

A few weeks later I noticed that I seemed smaller inside me and that my tampons had to be carefully positioned or they would fall out. That decided me... maybe I should get medical advice.

Yes said the 24 year old doctor... You have a prolapse go and get an ultrasound.

Fibroids, said the ultrasound report. The outside the uterus type. Go and see the Gynaecologist said the young Doctor. The growth is suspicious we must eliminate cancer.

This took 6 weeks as Gynaes here in Perth are busy. I had no pain so it was no big deal. I was more intrigued. No one in my family had ever had fibroids. Websites helped a bit and I saw that there was less than a 1 in 1000 chance that they were cancerous.


The Gynae said on the Friday I saw him I must have the op, hysterectomy on the Tuesday as they might be cancerous. I cried all weekend and decided not to have an op I wanted a second opinion. He scared me with cancer talk again but I remained resolute.

Another 10 days before I saw another gynae who agreed that I most probably did need an op. My uterus size was that of a 14 week pregnancy. He did a D & C and I had a polyp and the next ultrasound showed more than 14 fibroids. further I had a cystocele, rectocele and a uterus prolapse.


Well besides the one cramp - and the other symptoms I had lived with for a long time I decided not to have a hysterectomy just so that I could play golf again. Besides I was too chicken to have one. I really believed that the complications might outweigh the benefits and I might be in a worse off situation after an operation.

I even went to a female gynae (3rd opinion) who agreed with me that while I was coping with the symptoms I needn’t have a hysterectomy.

That was until 4 weeks ago. I had a stressful event and my nether regions froze up like a ball of fire. I who had hardly any period pain was taking pain killers before the period..... That was it.


I called my second gynae and said book me in.

Then I started panicking.

My second gynae, lets call him Jo... not his real name was from another society where men are lords and masters and expect total obedience from their women. It showed in his treatment of me. I can honestly say that the only reason I stayed with him was because I could not find another one and my own doctor had said her female friend doctors used him personally.

The information given to me was minimal. I knew I would be booked off work for 6 weeks and that I would have a vaginal op if all went well. I would also keep my ovaries.

I will be honest though and say that I was very stressed each time I saw him and really, I would have benefitted from reading what he had said but he had no useful pamphlets or flyers in his office.

I was set down for my op on Monday 10 February and by Thursday or was it Wednesday before the op I was groping in the dark. What should I do? How would I feel after the op? What were the possible complications?

Then I found this website... heaven.... I was asking questions right up to Monday morning 3 am before the operation and it really prepared me for what I might expect.

I went to the hospital at 12pm. They knew I was nervous (I read my chart afterwards and they had noted this fact) and had 2 nurses with me the whole time while they were prepping me.

I had to have a full shave down there and at first I let the new young nurse start shaving but when I saw the distaste on her face I realised that I should be doing the shaving and I took over in the more personal areas.

I had to shower using antiseptic soap to wash myself off. I was expecting to have a fleet enema and when I asked for this I think that they realised that they had forgotten and I was already showered and wearing my thigh high anti blood clot stockings.

I did not get an enema. I was concerned that the remaining fecal matter in my rectum would cause infection but they assured me that the doctor would wash it away and that my cut would not get infected.

Although I had stated that I was of no particular denomination they sent in a Catholic nun to talk to me. I was a bit confused by this not realising that they had figured that I was nervous but she was a pleasant sort and I remember talking about girls doing well in all girl schools.

By 2.30pm I was clean, in a hospital robe and ready. The nurses came through with a sleeping tablet and I slept until 4.30. My operation which was scheduled for 4 was postponed to 5.

Luckily I had spent an hour the week before with a nurse in a pre admission consultation, who had told me about hospital procedures and that had helped quite a bit.

I was wheeled on the bed from my room down to the waiting for surgery area and they were very kind. All the staff were kind and I can honestly say that I received 5 star care and kindness from them all.

I saw my doctor very briefly and he assured me that he was not tired and that if he was he would reschedule my operation. I was worried that he was exhausted as he also delivered babies and it was late in the day.


I knew that his wife would be assisting and this calmed me a lot as I do trust female doctors. She was a surgeon. (Jo never discussed this with me I only found out by mistake as I asked for the name of the assisting surgeon when I was discussing the bill)

I was then wheeled into a theatre and my anaesthetist started the epidural. I had opted for an epidural with twilight sleep. But I suspect I received a general anaesthetic as well. I only came out of the theatre about 2 and a half hours later.

I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to epidurals that I surprised myself by agreeing to one. I got the impression it was safer and the doctor had explained that they don’t insert the needle into the spinal cord but into a fatty pouch or sac nearby.

I was made to sit up and he rubbed me with disinfectant. I do remember saying my god when the needle like device was inserted. It was more than a bit uncomfortable but it was bearable. He said that I would feel a tingling maybe first down one side and then the other. I lay down again and he started the solution. I vaguely remember feeling both legs going to sleep and before I knew it I was out.


My next memory is when I woke up in the hospital bedroom. ( I was really lucky in that my medical insurance paid for most of the cost of the room and I only had to pay about $US 20 extra a day for a private room) I did see my husband and I went back to sleep. I had a drip into my hand, a catheter and my epidural still stuck into my back. I also had compression booties which pumped my legs during the night.


I had pain but with the epidural I was able to control it myself. On a scale of 10 I never rated my pain at more than 3 and mostly at 2. It felt like my worst period pain plus about another 50% pain. The epidural was linked to a syringe and I was able to squeeze the plunger and feel the relief immediately through my spine. I was given pethidine, which they say is very addictive.

I was woken on the hour throughout the night when the nurse took my blood pressure and checked on me. I was able to almost stay asleep during these checks and I just stuck my arm out so that she could go about her business. My blood pressure was never much above 80 over 55 for the first 2 days. The nursing staff said this was a result of the pain killers. They also checked my pad for blood loss every now and then.

I had the awful experience of having a bladder that was so full it felt like it was going to burst. The nurse felt that the catheter was working but I could see nothing coming out and I knew that I was too full. So I started squeezing the plastic tube to get flow going. I managed to drain one and a half litres and I can tell you the relief was great.

They removed the catheter during the first day so I did not have to sleep with it in a second night.

I then had to attempt to stand up and go to the bathroom. I also desperately wanted a shower. I looked clean but I felt sticky.

I sat up on the edge of the bed and thank goodness the nurse made me stay for a few minutes. I was trying to understand what the meals lady was saying when I realised that I was about to faint. I had the time to say this and fall back onto the bed.

According to the file I tried to sit up again and I fainted again.

Fainting is a weird experience. I always feel that the world I leave is more real then the world I am entering when I come to. Of course I was weak and tired after that and thank heavens they let me sleep.

About 2 hours later I decided I had to walk. I sat up very slowly and made sure that I was not going to faint by moving very slowly. The first attempt at urinating was not too bad. They put a dish into the toilet to catch the urine to measure it. I was not surprised to see a fair amount of blood as well. (A little blood will seem like a lot). My first attempt was very sparse but at least I was able to pass some urine and then have a shower.

I went back to bed and then I was able to sit up and eat a bit. My doctor seemed pleased by this.

I kept the epidural in for the next night as well but by the next day it had dislodged a bit and was pressing on a nerve. I would get pain in my upper hips whenever I pressed the plunger. After discussion with my doctor not the anaesthetist we agreed to ditch it.

I think that the nurses use a lot of psychology in dealing with patients. They want us off the pethidine as soon as possible and they pointed out to me that I was handling the pain very well as I had only used half of the possible dose over the period. The doctor said to get as many things out of me as possible also to reduce the risk of infection. I was pleased. I lost the drain in my hand and the epidural.

During the day I had to call the nurses when ever I went to urinate and they would not only measure the potty contents but they would also do a bladder scan and see if I was retaining urine. They only stopped this monitoring when they were satisfied that my bladder and urethra were working correctly.

The rest of my stay in hospital was uneventful. I would walk at least 200m each day but I spent most of the day sleeping and watching the odd bit of TV. I never had the same nurse twice which interested me but they were always kind professional and friendly. They caught me reading my medical records once or twice and this did not seem to phase them. I left on the Friday morning.


I was able to control the pain with an anti inflammatory, Naprosyn and Panadeine which had a bit of codeine in it. My tummy did get a bit sore from these and I think I took one on an empty stomach so I was also given Zantac to prevent acid production.

I wanted to know what the doctor had found inside me. He assured me that I had no endometriosis and that the ovaries were still inside me. He said they found another fibroid pressing on my bladder. He also commented that he did not have to effect major repairs on my cystocele. He stopped himself short maybe he was scared he wouldn’t be paid the full amount. Who knows why they do not want to give us information. He did say that the uterus was sent to the path lab for analysis but he did not expect to see anything. So farewell my uterus.

Of course they would not let me go home until I had voided my bowel. I had not understood that the bowels just freeze for a few days after the op. They gave me an enema and after things had worked they cleared me to go home.

Jo told me I could do anything pretty much that I liked except for weight lifting exercises... he said that I could attend to washing, ironing, cleaning the floorand normal household duties. He even stated that a one off moving of a wardrobe would most probably not affect me too much. He made it clear that I was not to call him if I had an infection as this would be normal and the body must heal itself...(huh?). Thank heavens the nursing staff gave me different advice and this was entered into my chart in writing so I had something different to go on. And especially thank heavens for this site as I knew that he was being too slack.

The trip home on Friday ( day 3 and a half) was a bit scary as I found the jolting of the car a bit painful but it was not too serious. I slept most of the day and I had a bit of pain but I had walked almost half a kilometre in the morning so perhaps I had overdone it.


By the Saturday I hardly needed pads anymore as my pv loss was scant.

Unfortunately on Saturday I went for a walk and an overboisterous dog (not mine) kept on jumping up on me. There was no one to help me and I could only get rid of him by punching him in the shoulders as he was trying to paw me. I suspect this might have set me back a bit but now two days later I have no pain only discomfort and I am off the pain killers. I am able to walk lots more and everything seems to be functioning. I am holding thumbs. Jo said not to call him if there are problems so I have asked this website for a bit of comment on this issue... Thank you Hyster Sisters.

Today is the start of day 8 after the op. Wonderful. I am starting to clear up my mind and to get the cobwebs out. I shall be walking lots more.


My Doctor has said that I can swim in the sea and I shall be taking him up on this offer.


In all for a rotten experience it has been a successful operation so far. If I can just avoid an infection I will be over the moon.

Paula
Perth Australia

02-17-2003 - 02:41 PM


SHARING IS CARING


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