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(LONG) Need some support!!  Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago! (LONG) Need some support!! Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago!

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  #1  
Unread 12-14-2002, 04:21 PM
(LONG) Need some support!! Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago!

Hi Ladies!

Just when I was feeling SOOOO much better from having overdone it the week before (during my 2nd wk of postop), I had a MAJOR setback.

I don't know if anyone has any advice on some of the things I'm going to talk about on this post, but, I have very little experience and haven't found a whole lot of info to help me out on the Internet...so in advance, I want to Thank anyone and everyone who may could lend me some advice, or just some reassurance, or share a personal experience, something! I haven't been able to talk about this much because of the sensitivity of the subject and who all it involves, and it just stresses my dh out way too much to talk about it...so I'm seeking some guidance here.

Anyway, Monday night, as my family and I were sitting at home watching tv, about 8:40pm, all of the sudden I hear glass breaking on the bottom level of my home (where we were), over and over and over. Well, so much for the lifting restriction, I grabbed my 35#, 20 month old and literally ran up the stairs at lightening speed with her in one arm and dialing 911 with my other hand. I got to the top of the stairs and my knees buckled under and we all went to the ground. When I had the energy to stand up, a discharge (which was clear thankfully) ran down my leg. I had on flannel boxers with no undies because that's most comfy for me. I felt like everything in my body had come unstitched, you name it...but, I was alive at that point and so was my baby, so I really didn't care.

My dh had run out into the garage to get his gun out of the car to protect us. I mean, we thought someone was breaking into our house to kill us.

Turns out, the perpetrator, who ended up being my father-in-law (fil), must've seen my dh with the gun and sped off. Thankfully, in a way, I was scared for my own health and my dh didn't take off after him because he was worried about me and his frantically screaming toddler. Also, what seemed like every police officer in the entire station showed up and was in my house within about 3 minutes of the call!!! I was VERY impressed.

Well, the situation got a whole lot worse before it got better; but, nothing else about it directly involved my dh or dd or myself (physically), so I won't go into detail about all of that. My fil did end up in the hospital that night due to the encounter with my bil. All are okay...although my fil just was released from the hospital yesterday.

I never in a million years would've thought something this tragic, scary, etc. would've happened to me and/or my family. Turns out, my fil is bipolar. He is on medication for it, but, at this point, I don't know if he was taking his meds, took to much, didn't take it, or what. I do know that he had been drinking heavily and according to my mil, he just focused on some minor mistakes (that cost them about $50 in their family business) and each time he'd have another drink, his rage just built and built and built until he just snapped.

I am really thankful to be alive at this point although I feel like I did a few days postop all over again. I spoke to my Dr. and kept in contact with him every several hours during the first couple of days after this happened...he said I was really lucky it wasn't the 1st or 2nd week postop or the situation could've been very serious to my physical well-being.

I don't know how many of you have been thru something that has scared the living daylights out of you; but, trying to get my hormones in check and heal from this surgery has been trying enough, now this!?! How do you get over the skiddish-ness? Everytime I hear the house pop or settle, my blood pressure skyrockets and I get scared too death. I guess it'll just take time and prayers, and probably some professional and/or pastoral counseling.

Even with the strong meds my Dr called in for me, the day of, I couldn't sleep for at least 48 hours straight, and I was literally tensed up stiff as a board the entire time. My body feels like I've run 100 miles up a steep mountain, nonstop, still today.

My mil says my fil is very sorry and that she told him this could never happen again. Well, that all sounds well and good, but he's bipolar, how can she guarantee that? She said he's going to get some help (counseling and anger mgmt). But, still, from the little I've found out off the web, when you get into a *mania* state of mind like this, there is no reasoning, etc. What if he doesn't take his meds, or drinks too much the next time??? I know I can't live on the "what if's" or I'll worry myself too death. But, I just don't know anything about this or what to do, or what's the least I should insist that my fil do, etc.

THANKS SOOOO MUCH, in advance, for listening and for whatever else you could lend my way. Whether it be a post in response to this or a private e-mail.

Luanne :cry:
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  #2  
Unread 12-14-2002, 04:47 PM
(LONG) Need some support!! Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago!

DEAR LUANNE,

I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR AWFUL EXPERIENCE. I HOPE THAT THINGS WILL CALM DOWN FOR YOU SOON, TRY TO RELAX AND TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF, YOUR DD NEEDS YOU TO BE STRONG AGAIN. KEEP IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH YOUR DOC AND I'M SURE YOU'LL BE BACK ON TRACK SOON. I AM 3 DAYS POST OP, HAD A TAH/LSO AND AM FEELING GREAT. I HAD A TRAGIC EVENT HAPPEN TO ME ON 11/25/02, MY FATHER COLLAPSED IN A FOOD LION AND DIED INSTANTLY, NO KNOWN CAUSE IT IS BEING INVESTIGATED. I HAD TO GO FROM FLA TO PA FOR HIS FUNERAL,
AND HAD TO RESCEDULE MY SURGERY FROM 12/4/02 TO 12/11/02.
MY DAD WAS COMING TO FLA FOR MY SURGERY. IT HAS BEEN DIFFICULT, BUT I AM TRYING VERY HARD TO BE STRONG FOR MY 11YR OLD DAUGHTER AND 18YR OLD SON AND MYSELF. MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AND HOPE YOU CAN FIND PEACE SOON.


TRICIA
  #3  
Unread 12-14-2002, 05:11 PM
Thanks for sharing!

Wow Tricia, I'm so sorry to hear about your father. Good luck in your recovery as well with all you are going through.

I guess we'll all get through our difficulties; but, this board has been a great help and understanding what others are going thru and sharing has really helped me.

Thanks again & my prayers are with you as well!

Luanne
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  #4  
Unread 12-14-2002, 05:20 PM
Luanne

So sorry this happened to set you back in your healing. Saying for you and your family. Is there any way that youcan get an alarm system installed in your home? It might deter your fil if an alarm goes off on him. Also praying for his health.

Take care of yourself and remember your training.
  #5  
Unread 12-14-2002, 06:07 PM
Good idea...

State Farm had just sent us a letter telling us our insurance was going to go up again since we inactivated our alarm system from a year or so ago. Truth is, the one we had before kept going off for no reason and the police were getting into the "crying wolf" scenario and charging us.

We were just talking about getting a nicer alarm system...which would be great for if we were already in bed and something happened. I'm hoping my mil will call me from now on if my fil leaves the house drunk or something from now on, just in case. We only live 8-10 minutes from their house.

From the sounds of it, my fil has left her alone at home many times in the past several months; but, has just gone and had a couple more drinks at a bar or something and returned home. She said that's what she thought he was doing this time. But, she also stated to the police that he had 7-8 drinks (I think he had more) and that he kept getting more and more enraged about his bad day at work for each drink he had. It just seems to me that if she knew he was mad about that, and that he was mad at his sons, and he left drunk and mad, that she could've called us. But, I wasn't there, and I don't understand the whole bipolar thing, so I can't say forsure. But, I will be putting in my opinions about what happens from here on out, for whatever they're worth.

Thx, Lu
  #6  
Unread 12-19-2002, 12:35 PM
(LONG) Need some support!! Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago!

Lulu, hello, and I'm so sorry you had to go through that! I hope and trust that any setback in physical healing will take care of itself with a little more time.

I'm a psychotherapist so I want to talk a little about three of the non-physical things you're dealing with: bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and post-traumatic stress. I suppose for liability's sake I need to say something like: This is not meant to take the place of advice from a professional who knows you and can speak to your specific needs. There; it's said.

About bipolar disorder: this mood disorder is very challenging at best. Most people who have it do respond to meds that keep their moods stable. However, med needs can change suddenly, or almost unnoticeably over time, and what worked one week may not always work the next. Also, for some people, the manic state can come on gradually as just a feeling of intensifying well-being. It can feel good to be manic, especially in the beginning stages, and people often stop taking their meds because they want to feel good, and because their thinking is starting to get confused. Or their mania can be primarily irritable -- maybe your fil is like this -- and irritable, angry people may lack the desire to take their meds.

Add alcohol to that, and you can get a dangerous combination. Both mania and drinking heavily will destroy judgment; plus, alcohol changes how the brain responds to psych meds. Your fil may need to be treated for alcohol issues as well as for his bipolar disorder.

If you haven't already, I would strongly recommend you contact your fil's doctor to let him/her know this happened, and to also make sure s/he knows about the extent of his drinking.

In my state (Wisconsin), if a person with a mental illness behaves in a way that is dangerous to themselves or others, particularly if they are off meds, they can be taken by the police to a psychiatric facility and detained. This emergency detention has to happen at the time of the incident. Once detained, the person will see a judge, who will determine if s/he has to comply with treatment, which will then be monitored. If the person is drunk, they are usually taken to detox first, to determine if the incident was due more to the alcohol or the mental illness. Each state is different in its rules in this area; you may want to call your local Alliance for the Mentally Ill (or the national one, which has a website) for more info.

After an extremely frightening incident like you went through, most people will experience something called post traumatic stress. This is normal! In PTS, people often have intrusive memories of the terrifying incident. They may have flashbacks. They will be easily startled and generally be anxious and on edge. That's exhausting enough, but PTS also generally interferes with sleep (because you're so keyed up) and can interfere with digestion (same reason).

In people who don't have a history of past trauma, PTS will ususally fade on its own. (In fact, it doesn't become PTSD -- the Disorder -- unless it lasts more than 6 months.) The things that help: Talking about it to someone safe, as much as you need to. Journalling, if you do that. Taking steps to increase your physical safety (i.e. the alarm system). There is a non-invasive therapeutic treatment called EMDR that can bring a quicker resolution to the trauma. If you decide to see a counselor, you may want to find one who has been trained in this technique. Finally, meds to take the edge off your anxiety can be helpful when symptoms are at their worst. Oh, and it helps to remember that the anxiety, memories, etc are all part of the healing process after a terrifying incident -- they help you stay safe (by keeping you aware of your surroundings) and to integrate the experience so it can fade.

Hope this helps! Stay strong (you are!) and concentrate on your healing. Let me know, if you like, how things turn out. Rosy
  #7  
Unread 12-19-2002, 12:47 PM
(LONG) Need some support!! Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago!

(((Lulu)))
Sweet sister, I am SO very sorry to hear about this happening to you! I admire you for your strength, girl! I have had a lot of set backs physically since my hyst-and the things that have happened with that have scared the daylights out of me. I am scared to death now that something is going to happen and I'll end up back in the Castle. At 7 wks post op, being a good little Princess, I got the flu. I began vomiting....and the GUSH....fluid and blood. I was rushed to the ER and into the OR because I'd ripped wide open and was prolapsing. I'm afraid to sneeze too hard now, for fear it will happen again. I admire you and your DH for your actions during this incident..I can't imagine how awful it must have been. I wanted to send you love and hugs and prayers.

Take care, Sister!
  #8  
Unread 12-20-2002, 09:41 AM
I know how it feels to be scared

Luanne,

So sorry this had to happen during your recovery. Please keep in touch with your dr. and try to rest.

Bi-Polar disorder and alchoholism are quite an explosive combination. My DH has suffered from both for years. I'll send you a private message with more on this.

The startle effect and not sleeping are definatley to be expected. I suffered those effects after my mom was killed in a car accident by a truck. Everytime I heard a truck make a noise on the road near me I would jump!

Tricia, so sorry to hear of your father. Going through the greiving process while trying to heal is going to be difficult.

I will be praying for both of you!

HUGS! Donna
  #9  
Unread 12-20-2002, 01:14 PM
(LONG) Need some support!! Had a terrifying ordeal a few days ago!

LULU
I am sorry to hear of your scare with your fil. My fiancee is bi-polar and it has to be one of the most frustrating things to have to cope and deal with. I can't imagine adding alcohol to the mix! I have checked out books on the subject, gone to some of his therapy sessions, had sessions with him and by myself as well. I need to know EVERYTHING I can on the subject. I call it "fighting with a ghost." He looks ok (physically on the outside), but he is at war with himself in his head. I would urge you to install a new alarm. If for nothing else, YOUR peace of mind. Let the officers know what is going on with your fil and they can possibly patrol more. Knowledge and understanding go a long way toward healing. Yourself and your fil. I know in times past, my fiancee would have an "incident" of some sort, and either not remember or be totally embarrassed. He's not usually violent and is pretty quiet, so when he gets loud or in someone's face, I know I need to call his DR. Meds get changed quite often at times.
Just talk things out with your DH and get as much info on bi-polar as you can. Good luck and try to relax and have a happy holiday.
  #10  
Unread 01-23-2003, 09:50 AM
Thanks everyone (& update)

1--I did have an alarm system installed a few weeks ago.

2--my fil is not seeking counseling of any sort, for alcohol or bi-polar He said he would after he healed up from this whole situation; but, unfortunately I can force him.

3--my fil seems like he's his normal self again, loving and going about life in a normal sort of way. I'm not letting my guard down though. I realize, now, how such a minor incident can cause him to flip, and the alcohol only makes it worse. We've been out to dinner a time or two with him since and both he and my mil drank to the point where their eyes glazed over and they shouldn't drive. The sad thing is, you can't tell them. I pray every day that they don't get a wakeup call by slamming into someone drunk. It hurts me to feel the way I do in that I want to call 911 and report a drunk driver as soon as I now they leave the restaurant just so they'll be off the streets. But, they'd probably go right back to it.

Anyway, I don't want to ramble any longer. I just wanted to let everyone know I (and my family) are okay and have taken measures to protect us should something like this ever arise again. I have armed myself with knowledge and an alarm system. Now, if only the prayers will keep working to where I don't have to put them to the test.
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