23/2/12: At 6am everyone on the ward is woken by the nurses, I take my final ‘Preload’ sachet/drink – it seems really civilised as I haven’t had hours and hours of nil by mouth. I’ve been allowed to stay the night before only as I live 100 miles away, otherwise I’d have arrived at the hospital for 7am. I’m asked when my last bowel movement was (21st). It turns out I was due to have an enema yesterday (it didn’t happen – this comes back to bite me) and now time has run out as I’m first on the list for surgery at 9am (I’m very glad as I was dreading an anxious wait)!
The anaesthetist comes to my bedside wearing a suit, it’s the first time I’ve met him. He’s tall and very well spoken, his warm manner instantly puts me at ease, he squeezes my hand, he has no clipboard. I forget to ask for a pre-med and am not offered one, there is no waiting around. The woman in the next bed pops over to wish me luck.
Wearing a surgical gown, my glasses, anti-DVT stockings and slippers (it’s too warm for a robe), a nurse walks me through corridors and a lift to the anaesthetic room and I’m asked to hop on a trolley. I’m not physically ill, and I much prefer walking to being wheeled and feeling helpless – great idea, and it saves money.
The anaesthetist, now in his scrubs, tells me that he likes to keep people under for as little time as necessary, so he won’t administer drugs “until he sees the whites of the surgeon’s eyes“. In the meantime he puts the needle in my (non-writing) hand, ready for the surgeon’s arrival. At 9.16am the tall charismatic surgeon bursts into the room with a big smile (not yet in his scrubs), and shakes my hand (he’s much more laid back here than in his office, where I’ve met him twice before). The atmosphere is very upbeat and some how slightly British sitcom-like, I feel in the best possible hands. The anaesthetist asks if I noticed much of a difference on Decapeptyl. “Life changing”, I say. “Now you can get on with your life”, he says. I’m asked to state what operation I’m having, my name and DOB (I’m asked my name and DOB multiple times per day whilst in hospital), and my wrist tags are read. “The first drug is like the wooziness of a gin and tonic”, says the anaesthetist, “and the second is like the ice..”
I wake up confused in the recovery room, not knowing where I am; I come around again back on the ward, realise the op’s happened, and feel massively relieved and calm. I have an oxygen mask on, a drip and a catheter (which is not uncomfortable, I’d worried it might be), and my ‘observations’ (blood pressure and temperature) are taken every 2 hours for the next 12? or 24? hours. I enjoy the morphine, luckily don’t feel nauseous at this point, and have very woozy grateful/relieved thoughts for the rest of the day.
My throat is sore from the pipe that’s been down it (which you never see) and my voice is very croaky. My wounds are all covered with sticking plasters (with tiny bits of tape underneath):
- 1) a small incision inside my belly button
- 2) a small incision just above my pubic hair
- 3) & 4) small incisions at the positions of the ovaries
- plus I have stitches inside the top of the vagina
- there is a only a tiny amount of vaginal bleeding
I’m a bit swollen but there is NO external bruising (a tiny amount subsequently appears). My chest area feels tight due to the gas used to inflate my abdomen during the laparoscopic procedure (the gas can take a while to disperse). Aside from that I’m in no pain.
I get a nurse to quickly ring my partner using my mobile, so he knows I’m ok. By 5pm I’m making notes in a pad for this blog. A doctor comes to tell me that it was all “very, very straightforward” and that they’re delighted.
For dinner I am offered a regular meal (bad idea!), but I request soup and jelly only, eating a regular meal the day of an operation would make me sick. I request a laxative and am prescribed Mil-Par. I use my regular HRT that evening. During the night I think I have my first ever (and to date only) hot flush (though it’s hard to be sure since everyone complains about how hot the ward is, and I have to sleep wearing the aforementioned stockings) so I apply more estrogel (6 pumps total that day) and it goes away.