This is not exactly lovely --depending on how "earthy" and candid you are about health issues --so you may not want to read.
You might appreciate it more if you read my older blog on this topic--about the lab report that followed me to church one day.
I am home again, back at the computer. They did find cancer (well-differentiated (that's good, I'm told) adenocarcinoma) of the endometrium (uterine lining) which was starting to invade the muscular wall of the uterus but it had not gone anywhere else, not to the lymph nodes. They also removed cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes --no cancers there. Dr. Phibbs, a great Ohio gynecologist /oncologist, was very confident that I needed no further treatments. But in blood work they decided I am just starting to be borderline diabetic and to have hypothyroidism --both common as changes to women my age, I've heard. Dr. Phibbs said meds for hypothyroidism would probably give me more energy and he expected to see me shopping next week! Well, he doesn't know me too well, I guess --because I'm not crazy to shop even in the best of health --unless you give me a scooter to ride! But even then I don't initiate shopping trips.
I marvel at the wonderful bedside manner of medical personnel --it's no wonder they are often beloved . We know that we are a dime a dozen as patients to healthcare people --but they seem to take personal interest and maintain genuine caring and warmth to all their patients.
I kept everybody busy -- as I guess all the hysterectomy patients do -because, at first, we can hardly get in and out of bed by ourselves, reach the sheets to pull them up, reach anything due to the pain of movement -- or do certain sanitary cleansing functions very well for ourselves. And my room had no shower facility --just some common showers in our hallway. We have this little bag hanging out from the stitches --to collect extraneous bodily fluids from inside our bodies. I went through one of those and then they started a different system. The first one was leaky --so I would go to the bathroom and accidenally put pressure on this little bag, and I had fluids flying down my legs and onto the floor! It was TERRIBLE!!! And I could barely reach the floor to mop up anything myself. Then the 2nd one started to leak.
Now we can't figure out how to empty this little substitute colostomy bag (the purpose says our surgical tech daughter in law, is to siphon off the fluids from the incision for faster/better healing. The doctor will remove it completely at his office if I get less than 100 cc's in a 24 hour day. She left before we tried to empty it. So Jon called hospital nurse on how to empty this thing-- it has a little valve with a wing nut and we watched the nurse do it --but it won't produce any fluid for us --My question is: can the fluid that comes out --run back in through the tube to which it is attached, stitched in to the stitches, when I lie on my left side? I think they want the container used to hang straight down --but when that thing leaked, they substituted with something that has to be fastened and drain more horizontally --and I thought it would be good to empty often, as we go --so the fluid doesn't back up. ( Does this make you sick? It does me!!! Why should I suffer alone? ) The incision, btw, looks like a zipper with a neat little vertical row of staples --and is starting to irritate here and there.
When I woke up from surgery, I found I had this stretchy wrap around my middle --fastened with velcro, and perforated for air --sort of a corrugated girdle --that helps to support the muscles and keep one from jostling about --no pulling on the incision. Helps with pain despite it's inherent discomforts. they would loosen it to look at the incision and then girdle me up again. But one day I noticed my skin was corrugating with the girdle -- I had a terrible rash from it --and so can't wear it anymore.
In my hospital room, I really struggled if the phone rang or if I needed help and wasn't near any of the call-nurse buttons. The call nurse thingy is on the TV remote --attached to one side of the bed. I'd feel an urge to "go" and start out of the bed and find my legs were wrapped up in cords and velcro for the blood-clot prevention system. I couldn't reach anything to undo them myself and so was stuck until I desperately figured out a solution --or a nurse popped in. Then one time I got into bed at great personal discomfort and adjusting of the high and low ends of the bed to help me avoid pain, and there was a sharp, short yellow pencil right under my legs --and I couldn't reach it. So I had to maneuver painfully out of the bed after maneuvering painfully to get IN it--and then the pencil fell to the floor.
I was supposed to use the pencil to fill out my menus. But as it was, between the doc and the nursing staff, they were saying liquid diet --no, solid diet, alternately --trying to figure out what I needed --and once I even got 2 meals! And no appetite the whole 5 days.
I had a portable commode in my room that I was encouraged to use if I didn't think I was going to make it to the regular bathroom. I got seated, did my bizznezz, and grabbed f0r the toilet paper and it fell down and rolled over an unsanitary floor to the bathroom. I could only helplessly grab at the end and pull it toward me as it unrolled.
When they took me off of the IV's and the morphine --(which made me chatter gaily with my visitors --but not hallucinate), I went through terrible nausea with the Percocettes and the Darvocets they tried on me --and cried out for Dr. Kevorkian! Not really. But nausea is probably my most depressing experience when I dare to think death might be preferable --after all, I often tell my husband, "I have lived!" And "I do not suffer well," and I won't be disappointed if God takes me swiftly some day --except for all the loving people, good family and church times,weddings and graduations, ministries, family and church music missed.
In abdominal surgery, they handle your intestines, and sometimes it seems the intestines will think they should just lie down and die because human beings touched them --like some mother birds and animals who won't touch their young if humans come around. So the doctors have us taking all sorts of medicines to promote bowel activity, tell us to pick up our emptied, stitched bodies and march down the halls to get any pent-up gas moving. (Like a trumpeting marching band, I guess! ) Some of the pain meds made my mouth stick together and killed my appetite. I was taking a cocktail of pills for this and that--and almost as bad as nausea was the eventual diahhrea which they say is common due to the IV antibiotics and the medicine to promote digestion and bowel activity. When the move would come, I had no choice but to dribble across the floor --it was like what we used to call "baby diaper mustard." Perhaps it's because the bowels are starting over and they act like new born bodies. We start on liquid diets and then go to soft foods --and then the Hard stuff!
Today, my first evening home since last Tuesday, my worst experiences are coughing or sneezing (though I don't seem to be ill) --hurts the stitches --and I'm feeling the stitches more than ever before. And I hate wearing that little bag -it's a colostomy bag of some sort. But I'm living to tell you ALL about it, welcome or not.
I had two C sections before this, so I remember a lot of it from before --and can you imagine, then we also took home a baby to care for. It probably made for a speedy recovery.
Right now, my babies are grown up and are helping to care for their mother. John & Charlotte are working and baking favorite things in the kitchen, John made up my special rented bed in the sun room where his Grandma also sleeps -- as I DARE NOT have those diarrhea spells on our carpeting --it would be so hard to clean--and there is so little warning for them. And I can't bend over to clean them myself! I won't have to climb steps for several weeks this way--but I will probably go up stairs sooner when I'm sure I'm safe for the carpeting!
One thing I don't get, they tell me not to lift more then 5 pounds during the next few weeks --and take it easy--but walk around the house a lot. Yet, if I get into my bed, I'm putting the strain of DEFINITELY over 100 pounds on my musculature/the incision, etc.
We rented this hospital bed from the hospital --and it has guard rails the full length of the bed both sides --and is hard. To get in the bed is a pain. I've figured out no easy, painless way to do it --and lifting the head of the bed doesn't help since the guard rail ends up going up with it and has to be traversed by painful means.
At the hospital, our 4 visited us. plus the minister (twice), Courtney and Inga, (Courtney and the minister kept Rob and Jon company through the surgery. Steph and her boys and Rob looked out for my mother and brought her up to see me at the hospital. I got 7 bouquets of flowers --you would have thought it was a funeral. Beautiful floral arrangement including tulips, a promise of spring.
And the beautiful church is bringing meals every other night for a couple of weeks --just to look out for a family in their "family." Tonight was Patty's B's delicious chili and cornbread --I ate light, being a good girl --and avoided beans! They often do this ministry for church people if they hear of their upcoming surgeries.
Church --a caring community within the larger, impersonal community. Can't over-recommend it.
As for hysterectomies --well, I can't exactly recommend them, but if you need one, it will be worth it all. When we think of what Jesus suffered willingly for us, seems I could put up with my nausea and pain. I also thought of our soldiers who have suffered so terribly, receiving disabilities for life because some people think suicide bombing and roadside, market-place terrorism is pleasing to God. One thing about Depression and Nausea --they are both typically self-limiting. You will get thru it!!
Despite my criticisms of these indignities of life, Am. health care is amazing, probably the leader in providing the most advanced care for most of their citizens. Our country would be glad to be the health-care providers of the world --if the warriors would just QUIT their murderous ways, their oppression and suppression of freedom and democracy. Warring is the one area of human development in which most of the world has not made any progress, at all, sad to say. Refusing to defend anyone, letting the Pol Pots and Hitler rule, is not the solution. What the world needs most --besides sanitary engineers --is good ol' Gospel Revival and evangelistic ministries.
"God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance and have eternal life."--the Bible