It’s been five days since my latest surgery and I’m feeling excellent! By far this has been the easiest surgical recovery I’ve ever had. I’m so immensely grateful to God for a less painful, less complicated, less messy recovery and to the stellar medical team that assisted.
This was my first “true” laparoscopy: my first laparoscopy (surgery #1) turned into a laparotomy. My second laparoscopy (surgery #4) was both a laparoscopy and a surprise episiotomy. Now that I’ve had a “true” lap, I find that recovery is not nearly as intense as being cut open. Such a relief!
Since I’ve been doing so many bullet-style posts lately, I thought I’d keep up tradition today. It’s kind of a long read, so I broke it up into two posts. This first part is about my surgery experience. The second part will be about my surgical treatment and diagnoses.
Here’s the recap of part 1:
I had to be at the hospital at 6:00 a.m. on surgery day. The hospital is an hour drive from my house. I also had to shower with special antimicrobial soap both the night before surgery and the morning of surgery, so I was up at 3:30 a.m. to begin the festivities. Plus I wanted to do one last sweep of my house to make sure it was tidy and that all necessities were in reach of my bed, where I planned to convalesce for the next several days.
Jake had nursing clinicals the day of my surgery and wasn’t able to stay with me for the long haul. Fortunately, his clinical site was in the same town as the hospital, so he drove me to the hospital. He stayed stayed for an hour before having to leave for clinicals. Jake was dressed in his nursing scrubs, so I was accompanied to the hospital by a tall, good looking male almost-nurse! There was some initial confusion about that, because the hospital staff thought that Jake was an employee! Once that misunderstanding was straightened out, all the nurses went completely gaga over Jake. They kept fussing about him being a male almost-nurse and giving him nursing tips and advice. It made his day.
Dr. Din’s surgical orders were written as though I’d be spending the night in the hospital. My previous two surgeries (surgeries # 3 and # 4) I spent between 2 to 3 nights in the hospital, so I had packed an overnight bag this time just in case. Dr. Din was simply being overly cautious, and all the nurses were surprised to see that I had overnight orders for a same-day surgery.
And I had such great nurses! They were simply wonderful and professional! If you read my previous post, I talked about how getting stuck with the hand IV needle is one of the worst things about surgery to me. When I asked my nurse, Dawn, for an arm IV, she agreed… until she realized that I was having robotic surgery. Apparently patients can only have a hand IV when the doctor is operating with “the robot” (that’s what all the nurses called it: either “the robot” or “robo-lap”). Dawn was very understanding about my concerns of hand pain. She investigated my veins and told me that I have “teeny tiny veins, no hand fat, and thick vein walls” which meant that I was a “tough stick.” These are all her words. Dawn warmed my hand in a heated blanket for 15 minutes before getting my IV ready, which made a huge difference in helping to plump up my vein! The IV needle hurt, of course, but it was the best hand stick I’ve ever had. I was very pleased. Unlike the terrible blood draw from last week (which looked like this a full week later)…:
…my hand IV had minimal bruising. Here’s what it looked like mere hours after surgery:
The anesthesiologist also let me pop a Maxalt pre-surgery (migraine medication). I’d had a migraine for three days pre-op, and the medical teams was concerned that anesthesia would make my migraine worse. I was more than delighted to be able to finally have some relief.
All the usual suspects stopped in my room pre-surgery to ask me routine questions and do their respective prep work: anesthesiologist, nurse assistants, OR nurse, and Dr. Din himself. Twenty minutes before my scheduled surgery time, Nurse Dawn slipped a healthy dose of Versed (a sedation medication that is similar to Xanax, but on mega steroids) into my IV. The Versed combined with my Maxalt had me sooooo chill: I would’ve agreed to any procedures at that point! I suppose that’s why they had me sign all my consents before giving me any meds.
The Operating Room:
The OR room was the standard spaceship-like, high-tech operating room. Instead of the cold, hard, metal table that I was anticipating, the nurses had me scoot onto a surgical table that was covered in eggshell foam. In my medicated state, it looked like the exact same kind of eggshell foam that you’d keep on your mattress at home for extra padding. It was so cozy and soft, and I totally didn’t mind.
The last thing I remember was Dr. Din standing bedside patting me on the shoulder. My lack of sleep—combined with the Versed and Maxalt—knocked me out cold before they even administered the anesthesia. I sure made the anesthesiologist’s job easy! From there, it was go time.
My post-surgery wake up was typical: as in, I didn’t want to get up. Come to think of it, I’m actually like this pretty much every morning in real life too… I kept falling back asleep each time the nurses shook me. To my great annoyance, the nurses continued to shake me and tell me to wake up until I finally, reluctantly listened.
Upon waking up I was in a decent amount of pain, but not nearly as much pain as I’m used to experiencing post-anesthesia. I felt a strong, deeply painful urge to pee and rather weepily asked for a bedpan. Of course I couldn’t actually go pee once they brought the bedpan. The bladder is the one organ that takes the longest to “wake up” after surgery, so it was a figment of my imagination that I needed to pee at all.
I stayed in the recovery room for three hours. A new nurse periodically checked my stats. I begged her for ice chips. She brought me a delicious cup of ice chips, but, maddeningly, would only give me one chip at at time! Then she’d set the cup down—just out of my reach—and disappear for fifteen minutes. Those long minutes she was gone I would give that cup the stare down and will it closer to me with the power of my (still-medicated) mind. In my post-anesthesia fog, I concocted asinine methods of how I could somehow move the ice chip cup toward me… except I was just too groggy to actually try them. Every fifteen minutes the nurse reappeared to give me one single ice chip (so agonizing—I wanted the whole cup) before she left again. I remember feeling so very sad about my ice chips. She was not my favorite nurse.
After recovery, I was transferred back to a room. “Room” is a loose term: I think it was actually the pre-surg area all over again, and each ‘room’ was only separated with curtains. Jake was able to come see me here. My recovery nurse, Gerri, also fell in love with Jake in his scrubs! They talked shop over my head most of the time.
Gerri was kinder than my previous nurse: not only did she let me have A WHOLE ENTIRE CUP of ice chips, she also gave me two cranberry juices and packets of crackers. I liked Gerri very much. She more than made up for the Ice Chip Nazi.
My post-op meds consisted of Toradol for pain (which is a joke of a narcotic painkiller IMO), Zofran for nausea, and Dilaudid for pain, and some other medication that I can’t recall.
I specifically requested Dilaudid instead of Morphine. Morphine doesn’t really touch my pain, and it gives me incredible nausea. I’ve learned that the hard way. Dilaudid, even though it’s five times stronger than Morphine, manages my pain well and doesn’t make me nauseous. To my relief, the docs were very accommodating of my request for Dilaudid.
I was sent home with a bottle of Percocet, in the lowest dosage available, which I initially thought was very uncool of Dr. Din. I’ve ended up not needing as many of them as I usually do during a recovery, so it all worked out in the end.
Next up in Part 2 is what was found and diagnosed in surgery, plus my recovery.
I said all that to say this: I’m not completely sure why I typed this first part of the surgery out. It was a very standard and unexciting surgery. *But* if this info might one day help someone else who is about to have her first laparoscopy and give her an idea of what to expect, then it’s worth these 1,525 words after all.