Second Laparoscopy: Day 3 post-op

Monday, December 20, 2010

By the third day post op, I was able to stay awake for 3-5 hours at a time, and I had to nap for 1 to 1.5 hours at a time.

Around quarter to nine in the morning, I took my temperature. I had been feeling feverish since Sunday night, so I took my temperature and it was 100°F. Hence, taking the temp again in the morning. The glass thermometer read 100.2F, the temporal therm read 99.3F, and the digital oral therm read 99.3F. I thought glass was the most reliable, though. I asked friends’ advice, which really didn’t come back definitive. So I called and left a message with my surgeon’s office. I never did hear back that day.

Around 9:30am, I had diarrhea. Finally, some movement after all evening yesterday suffering with gas that would not exit. The bowel movement happened right after I had a tablespoon of Miralax with my cream of rice and mango cereal.

I took my first shower that afternoon. Note to self, have a meal and tylenol 3 *before* the shower.

Even though I had a shower seat (graciously given to me by my psychologist, who suffers from Crohns Disease) and I had help stepping into and out of the shower, the cramps and mid-back pain still ramped up after my shower. I was so happy to have had a shower, though! No regrets! I was excited to finally change my clothes. I got to wear the new footie pajamas with the drop drawer in back. Turns out the drop drawer doesn’t go as low as I needed, or else my body is all the wrong proportions for those jammies. But it worked out – it did the trick.

Freshly showered and footie pajamas!

Freshly showered and footie pajamas!


I tempted fate and had a baked brown rice tortilla topped with goat cheese and mushrooms for lunch! These are what I call my pizzas.

I tempted fate again and had Saag Paneer with some rice and a mango lassi for dinner!

It felt soooo good emotionally to have solid food.

However, after eating each meal, the pain under the diaphragm returned, because of the stomach being too full yet for my innards to cope well.
I bitched about it on facebook:
“The residual carbon dioxide in my body is REALLY pissing me off. I hurt a lot. :( Walking as much as I can to relieve the pressure build-up.: – December 20 at 3:36pm  
“Although what is hilarious is that my cat Kiki is following closely behind me wherever I walk in the house. Cutest thing ever!” – December 20 at 3:42pm

Monday was Winter Solstice, so I lit lanterns in all of our windows. It was still raining all day for days.

Solstice lantern - kitchen

Solstice lantern - kitchen

Solstice lantern - computer room

Solstice lantern - computer room


That night, we watched the lunar eclipse from our front door! How exciting to know that this was the first total lunar eclipse on Winter Solstice in 372 years! We watched the first half of the eclipse before my body gave out – I experienced debilitating neck pain from looking up (damned bulging discs), and bad pelvic pain from all the standing in the cold misty rain. The next morning, I watched this cool time-lapse video to see the rest of the eclipse.

On Day 3 post-op, I went through 7 Tylenol 3 pills. I had started trying to take one every three to five hours instead of two pills, but it didn’t really work out. Each pill was staggered by half an hour, though, which is a start.

I had started having crazy dreams and nightmares from the Tylenol 3 as of Day 2 post-op. I kept meaning to write down the dreams…alas, I forgot.

Second Laparoscopy: Day 2 post-op

Sunday, December 19, 2010

When I had surgery three years ago, I counted the same day of surgery as ‘Day 1’ post-op.

This time I’m counting the first 24 hours post-op as Day 1, so that means Day 1 post op began Saturday, December 18 at 10am.

I was finally released from the hospital by 2pm on Saturday the 18th, and we got me loaded into the car by 2:45pm. We got home by about 4pm because my husband drove slow where he could to try to spare me the bumps in the road, and because traffic was really bad. Once on the freeway across the Bay Bridge, it wasn’t so bad. But San Francisco and Oakland city streets are a different story. I was crying.

From December 18 to December 20, I took two Tylenol 3 every 3 hours religiously for the pain, so I was constantly loopy.

I noticed by Sunday (Day 2 post-op) that I could already yawn. I couldn’t even do this very well on Day 5 three years ago. All that “10 deep breaths every hour” stuff in the hospital really paid off this time!

I am walking earlier than last time – though I was made to shuffle to and from the bathroom in the recovery room after surgery last time, I was not ordered to walk the length of the corridor and back again before my release, and I certainly wasn’t motivated to do any walking once I got home.

I had two moments of Note to Self over the weekend: first, if you are allergic to everything like I am, always bring some of your own food with you to the hospital in case you are kept longer than you planned for.
Second, always bring your own medication with you to the hospital, and ask for your own type of meds as soon as possible after surgery, if you know in advance that the morphine derivatives that they put you on won’t work. UCSF seems to prefer Dilaudid initially, then Vicodin for pain managment, but those medications leave me with nasty side effects. The first night after surgery, I was already requesting my usual Tylenol 3. When they discharged me Saturday afternoon, they forgot to give me my last dose of Tylenol 3, despite my asking for it a few times. The day staff on 4 East leaves something to be desired.

As of Day 2 post-op, I realised there’s another important thing to remember: count your pills! Record every pill you take so you don’t overdose or short-shrift yourself!

It was on Day 2 that I got confused as to how many pills I’d taken, and so I did a manual count. Thankfully, my memory of the last 24 hours was good.

Pill counting

Pill counting


Another thing that occurred to me on Day 2 post-op was to remember to count how many hours I am awake and asleep. For the first couple of days, I was up for 1 to 2 hours, and asleep for 1 to 3 hours all day/night.

December 19, 2010, 4:20pm – great news! My bowels work! ;)
It was the thing I was fearing most, just like last time – to have a first bowel movement after surgery. I did not force this one, and it was not solid like last time. I ate solid foods and the wrong kinds of foods too soon after surgery last time. This time, I took Miralax one day after surgery, and was able to have a bowel movement two days after surgery – that’s two days sooner than I did last time!

A note about the weather: it’s hard to go walking outside of the house when it’s pouring down rain. It’s been raining since Thursday, December 16.

A note about my diet: I’m eating cream of rice cereal with mango mixed in. I’m drinking lots of smart water and lots of Trader Joe’s free-range chicken broth. I’m eating jello, almond-milk pudding, and Amy’s brand gluten-free, dairy-free freezer mac ‘n cheese. No meat other than the chicken broth.

A note about what I’m wearing – a nightgown! First time since childhood I’ve worn a nightgown. I wish I would have purchased several of these.

A nightgown is your best friend right after laparoscopy.

A nightgown is your best friend right after laparoscopy.


Second Laparoscopy – Day After Surgery

Day 1 post-op

I had blood drawn at 4am and again at 7am Saturday morning. I didn’t really obtain deep sleep all night, so it wasn’t too bad to be woken up by the nurses. I think I got up for the day before 8am.

Before 9am, my surgeon Dr. Giudice came in to see me. She told me that overnight, my blood count had dropped, and she was concerned. She told me that before surgery, my blood count was 34, and right after surgery, it was still 34, but at the 4am blood draw, my blood count had dropped to 27.

I asked her what that meant. She said that if my blood count gets to 20, they’ll have to open me back up again, because it means internal bleeding.

My heart dropped. Panic began to set in, but I didn’t want to start screaming like Ren & Stimpy in Space Madness. Meanwhile, my surgeon was talking about blood transfusions if I stay in the 20s with the blood count. She suggested that I start asking friends who would be willing blood donors, rather than going to the blood bank.

I emphatically told my surgeon with a smile that my next blood test would be 33. She said that her realistic expectations were 27-29. I told her it’ll work out, you’ll see.

At this point I cannot recall if she showed me all the photos of my surgery on Saturday, or if it had been Friday night. In any case, I’ll detail it, now. My surgeon told me that I am currently stage I or stage II endometriosis, because it was centered on the ovaries and uterus alone. She could not find the 1cm endometriosis implant on the bladder reflection, and said that sometimes, implants disappear like that. WHOA. CRAZY.
She also found no endometriosis on the bowels or the rectum or the vagina, THANK THE GODS.

The left ovary was adhered to the side of my uterus this time, and all the adhesions were cut away and they freed the ovary up again. Endometriosis was burned off the exterior of the uterus and the pelvic sidewall. I think the left ovary is the one that has an endometrioma dead center in it, so they could not get to it without destroying the ovary. I am assured it will not cause pain.
The right ovary had two endometriosis surface lesions, which were burned off of it.

Dr. Giudice took a shitload of photos of my surgery – before and after shots – and they were not blurry like the one single ‘after’ shot I got from my last surgery.

When my surgeon left, I drew a deep breath, suppressed a scream, and then called my husband, who had gone home to try to sleep in a real bed.
I tried to sound as calm as I could, but as the words spilled out about the low blood count, my voice got higher with panic. This news of course made my husband panic. He panics by getting silent on the other end of the line. He then said solemnly that he’d be there as soon as possible. I apologised and said I just need him physically close, is all, and not to worry, that it will work out, but that in the moment, I needed him real bad.

I then posted to facebook, asking if anyone out there is O+
Nobody was who saw that post go by that day. My husband is O+ but the surgeon refused him as a candidate outright, in case we want to have children some day. It messes with the antibodies or something. Feh. We don’t want kids. Feh.

I realised after I’d called my husband that the rental car he was to try to score that day would no longer be happening, and that I’d be doomed to ride home in his moldy compact car. More feh. I was not in a good mood, but I was determined. I had a little talk with my body and ordered it to straighten up. Then I got up and went for a shuffle down the corridor, and I did my breathing exercises I was prescribed to increase lung capacity again and keep the blood flowing well (10 slow deep breaths in through the mouth, then out through the nose every hour).

I can’t remember when I finally noticed it, but the night before, my husband had put some goals on the white board for me…

Goals for the day...

Goals for the day...


At some point, I got my I.V. removed, because I was peeing up to 10oz at a time, and having to pee every half hour to hour. This helped elevate my mood a bit, because I felt more free range at this point, rather than tethered.

My husband arrived shortly before my next blood draw. My left arm was now looking pretty scary from all the times I’d been stuck over the past 26 hours.

My poor bruised arm

My poor bruised arm


My husband leaned over to hug me and I clutched onto his arm and just held on for a minute.

The rest of the day was a waiting game – I had to wait for delayed breakfast. I had to wait for the nurses to come in when I called them and they were always late or didn’t show at all, which meant my meds were constantly late. I had to wait for the results of the 9am blood draw. Then I had to wait for my urine ‘hat’ to be emptied and realised by this time, nobody was bothering to record my urine output, anyway. I was putting it on the whiteboard in case anyone cared, but the damned hat was full. When someone did come to empty it, I immediately filled it with 10oz again and nobody ever came to check on it again. The daytime nurses really are not in my fan club. The daytime nurses are fragranced, at that. There was one nighttime nurse who was perfumed, but she was not my nurse. I passed her in the hallway and nearly choked to death. She asked me if I was okay. I told her I’m chemically sensitive and that health care professionals aren’t supposed to be scented, anyway. I asked another nurse for a face mask and was happy to receive one with a charcoal filter in it. The scented nurse made rude comments as she walked away. I pfft in her general direction.

So anyway, yeah, the daytime nurses were also scented, but not nearly as bad as the one nighttime nurse was. Thankfully she wasn’t my nurse that night. My nurse was Hannah, and she was the best nurse I had the entire stay in that hospital. I’m in her fan club for sure. She did everything with a pleasant air about her and unconditionally, and really listened and was attentive to her patients. Even when I mentioned as nicely as I could that the guy next door was keeping me awake by his incessant pounding of the call button and his constant adjusting of his bed, nurse Hannah nodded and told me in a non-judgemental tone that the poor man is really ill. She’s a doll. I told her so myself. I’m going to send her a thank you card.

When the blood count finally came back around 10am, I was thrilled that it was 30. I asked if I could go home, and Dr. Wang said I could! Another doctor on the surgery team came in a short while later – the only male doctor on the team – and he told me too that I could go home. He asked if anyone had ever told me I am anemic. I told him no, and that I’d tried to get blood work to prove it, but it always came back “in the normal range.” He told me that my ‘normal’ before and right after surgery, being 34, is anemic. I thanked him for this information, and told him I’d suspected it for years. I told him I have gentle iron tabs at home to take, and he was pleased by this.
Both doctors felt that my surgeon was being a bit too overprotective to keep me longer with the blood count the way it was, but I told them I trusted her word and didn’t want complications to arise later. So they called her up, exchanged the info, and she okayed my discharge with a blood count of 30.

I gently high-fived my husband twice and grinned ear to ear. WOOHOO! I’m being discharged!!

But the waiting was not over, yet. I had to wait nearly FOUR HOURS from the time I was told I’d be discharged, to the time I was actually given a wheelchair ride to freedom. In that time frame, every last one of the people in the rooms adjacent to me, including the guy who was “really ill”, had been discharged! It was a ghost town in that ward!

Waiting to be discharged

Waiting to be discharged


My I.V. port was finally taken out, and I was finally given the discharge paperwork around 2pm, but the nurse on duty did not have the prescription pain meds. She had to phone the surgeon and get it called in to our local pharmacy. In that time, she set the discharge paperwork on top of water the food tray lady had spilled, and then she began writing info on a piece of paper on top of the discharge paperwork, which are carbon copies. So of course whatever she was scribbling went through the copies. Stellar. And she was scented – so I had to put my face mask back on.

I was really glad to be out of there when the wheelchair guy arrived. I forgot to take my breathing contraption. Ah well. I put on my festive fez and off we went!

My husband went to get the car and the male nurse waited with me in the lobby. I was wearing my fez, and the nurse was fascinated by it. I let him hold the fez and examine it, and told him the website where he can get one of his own. :)

Me in my zombie monkey fez, ready to go home!

Me in my zombie monkey fez, ready to go home!


My husband opened the passenger door and I could immediately smell the mold in his car. YUCK!! I braced myself so as not to cry at this indignity, and allowed the male nurse to help me into the car. It was still raining outside, as it had been since the day before. The rain and wind had been fierce overnight. I was given the giant pillow chair to hold onto for the ride home – my pillow chair which had sat in my husband’s car all night, and now smelled like his moldy car. Ugh.

The ride home was just as excruciating as last time. It’s a compact car on bumpy roads. I cursed Mercury Retrograde all the way home for not granting us the ability to have scored a luxury rental car for a smooth ride. I cried, literally cried, on the way home. I took off the fez before the tears spilled, because there’s nothing more sad than a sobbing person wearing a fez.

We got home and I shuffled to the door. My husband was so exhausted that he did not get the wheelchair out of the car that we’d packed for this moment. He walked me to the door and let me in, and then he went and parked his car.

I’m pretty sure I went right to bed. It was excruciating to have to climb into a bed that didn’t have a motor to lower the bed for me. We had to prop up blankets and pillows to get the right incline for me, which also supported my head well enough. And of course once I was settled, I had to pee, so I had to get out of bed again, which hurt like hell. I think I cried a lot that day (Saturday).

Pillowpalooza.

Pillowpalooza.


I averaged being awake for an hour to an hour and a half at a time, and then sleeping for an hour to three hours in between.

I ate chicken broth and jello and drank smart water all night, and continued to take two Tylenol 3 every 3 hours all night.

My husband tried to get some more housework done Saturday night; dishes and laundry I think. He was already mentally and physically exhausted, but he kept trudging along. I kept telling him to stop and take a break, but he wanted the stuff done. But I swear, it broke him. He was near tears himself, the poor man. I could tell that the work layoff had begun to take its toll on his mental state.

It’s just the last thing we needed when I needed him so desperately to be at beck and call throughout the surgery and the weekend. So to the company that laid him off, I say a big EFF YOU. I say it again. EFF. YOU.

Second laparoscopy – Day of surgery

I slept maybe four and a half hours the night before surgery, but was ready for the day when my alarm went off at 4:30am. I had showered the night before.

It had rained all night. I got my stuff together and off we went in the wee hours of the morning to the hospital. I was very stressed out that we’d be taking my husband’s car to the hospital – I’d desperately wanted a rental car for the day of surgery and the ride home. The reason is that a couple of years ago, the sunroof in my husband’s car leaked, and it was months before he got it looked at, so the interior of the car molded. It smells awful to this day. I even bought him a mold spore detector, and it came back nasty. He sent it in to be analysed and the results came back indicating mold.
He took his car in to to the detail shop to be cleaned, and declared his car all better. But his car was not all better – it still smelled awful. Ever since then, he’s been highly defensive and even angry whenever I bring it up. I have a mold allergy, so I rarely like to ride in his car. We totally smell whenever we ride in his car. He swears he cannot smell it. It’s a point of constant stress between us.

I did not want to have mold on me just before entering surgery. I did not want mold on me on the ride home from surgery. And yet, this is all we had to work with. My car was not an option because the seats are far too low and I feared I’d be in worse pain for the ride home.

We got there at 5:30am like we were told (2 hours before surgery), only to be met with the fact that Admissions was not open, yet! There were two or three other groups of people waiting outside the admissions office as well. My husband went to park the car in a better spot while I waited.

Good morning...waiting for Admissions to open...

Good morning...waiting for Admissions to open...

”It’s


Once Admissions opened, it wasn’t very long til I was registered and sent up to the third floor. I turned in my paperwork at a little window and was given a room immediately. I shared a room with someone this time – an older woman with a jaw injury of some sort.
After I got into my surgery clothes (gown, slippers, net hat), my husband decided I should wear the fez I brought. I was saving it for being discharged from the hospital, but decided what the heck, and put it on. This of course had the whole team of people who came to see me full of smiles and giggles.
A woman named Michelle came in to ask if I wanted to be part of a study for endometriosis, and I told her yes, definitely. I signed all the required paperwork. The anesthesiology team came in and I had notes for them this time – I wanted the drug Versed, and I wanted the intubation tube to be smaller, cuz they’d scraped me going in, last time. I was told everyone gets Versed, now. Woo! Party! heh.

My husband and I went down a partial list of my worst allergies, including latex. I have to thank my husband for remembering to bring that one up, cuz I was focusing on foods. The latex reminder was super important as it meant I’d get a silicone intubation and catheterisation. I focused on the corn allergy, because I did not want dextrose in the I.V., so they gave me a regular sugar/saline bag instead.

I also talked with anesthesiology about bulging discs in my neck, and remembered to bring copies of my MRIs and x-rays which proved the condition. They promised to take good care in positioning my head and neck.

The surgical team came in and introduced themselves – there were four people. Probably the same as last time, but it seemed like a lot. The surgery room sure can get crowded, sheesh!

At some point, my I.V. was hooked up, and I was denied numbing agent – I was told by the woman setting me up that she didn’t carry any on her, or they were running low on it, or something.

After I talked to everyone, the Versed was injected into my I.V. line, and I felt the effects immediately. Soon afterward, I said goodbye to my husband and gave him my eyeglasses and fez for safe keeping, and was wheeled into surgery.

This time, I remember being wheeled into surgery, because they took me so soon after giving me the Versed. I remember entering the surgical room and being asked to help with the placement of my body on the table. Thankfully, the table was not cold, as other women have described on the endometriosis forums. I don’t remember anything after that.

The next thing I remember was being wheeled to a room. People left me on the gurney in the hallway for a few seconds to finish prepping the room. I was in and out of consciousness. My husband says I was conscious upon exit of the surgery room, and says I recognised him. He says I was in the post op recovery room for two hours after surgery. I don’t remember any of this.

The next thing I remember was seeing my husband in the room I was admitted to. I asked how it all went, and he told me they’d gotten all the endo they could see/find. I did not question the fact that I’d been admitted because I didn’t yet realise I’d been admitted.

The surgeon came in a little while later and told me she wanted to keep me overnight for observation, because they’d bumped into the mesentery of the small intestine, which caused immediate bruising. She said she didn’t realise at first that they’d bumped into it with the camera scope, so when they turned on the camera and saw the bruising, they panicked and began searching all over the area for a puncture mark. They called in an oncologist in the event they were dealing with a cancer. The oncologist assured them that it was just from being bumped, and that I’d be okay, and to stop prodding around.

I’m very glad she told me all of this, and of course I was a bit worried. I didn’t like the fact that I’d been admitted to stay overnight, but I was glad at the same time that my surgeon was taking precaution.

Upon hearing the news of surgery complications

Upon hearing the news of surgery complications


At this point I was told I needed to get up and walk around, and that I was still catheterised. I was still pretty wiped out, and high on pain meds – I found out I was being given regular doses of Dilaudid intravenously. The slightest movement made me very dizzy. Getting up wasn’t going to be easy. I began to fret immediately over two things: how much extra things were going to cost insurance-wise, and dealing with a catheter while conscious – especially the eventual removal of it. *shudder*

I really cannot remember too much of the sequence of the day of surgery. I was in and out of consciousness all day. It was extremely painful to move. I needed regular doses of medication and for some reason wasn’t given the pump they said they’d give me. I needed to be repositioned often, because I hurt and was not comfortable in any position. The act of repositioning also hurt like hell, but nurse Annika was good to me.

It was a long day. I was determined not to stay on the catheter – it was getting increasingly uncomfortable, anyway. By evening, nurse Hannah was on duty, and helped me with catheter removal. I cried out several times but she was slow about it like I requested, and very patient with me. It stung and pinched and hurt so bad. Ugh. I haven’t been in that much pain since childhood UTIs afflicted me.

After that, the goal was to urinate on my own, and that meant having to get out of bed. Nurse Hannah put a ‘hat’ in the toilet bowl to measure my urinary output.

At some point, dinner arrived. I was served Juk and hot water with option of a tea bag. I declined the tea, but was so hungry that I ate a third, if not half of the Juk.

img_2123

 

Not long after, I experienced horrible pain under my ribs, radiating up to my shoulders. I recognised this pain from the first surgery as the gas pain, and I also knew that I had eaten too much too soon, because of the pressure on the diaphragm. The pain was unbearable, and I was moaning and crying. Most likely I was a 9 on the pain scale. I got up to walk at this point.

On my very first walk, I shuffled the length of the corridor and back again! I was impressed with myself, and the pain level in the ribs and shoulder dropped to about a 3. My husband and the nurses were impressed with me, too. But the walk took a toll and as I approached my room, I began to experience bad pain. I was once again elevated – an 8 on the pain scale. This time, the pain was centered in the pelvic region and was of course due to the walking.

My husband had gone home and come back – so he’d had a very long day. He stayed with me until about 11pm and was reluctant to go, but needed to go home because he needs a CPAP to sleep.

Husband, watching over me in the hospital.

Husband, watching over me in the hospital.


Nurse Hannah was the best nurse I had while in the hospital. She cared for me all night and was so patient and unconditional. To pass the hours, I tried to listen to my headphones, and I got out of bed and stood for awhile, and I spent long periods of time in the bathroom, trying to get my brain to reconnect with my bladder. I can’t remember when I was able to urinate, but I was very proud of myself.

Finally, around 1am, I was able to sleep. I could only sleep for an hour to an hour and a half at a time, because I had to keep getting up to urinate.

Second laparoscopy pre-op stuff

I was really freaking out over the surgery this time around because it was happening on a waxing moon in Taurus during a Mercury retrograde in Capricorn. I blamed all the communication errors prior to surgery on the Mercury retrograde.

Hell, the night before my surgery, after I’d continually not heard any fine details back from my surgeon, and I had made the decision to ingest magnesium citrate for the bowel prep, the surgeon’s assistant called me and said I didn’t have to do a bowel prep at all!
I told her it was a good thing I’d already ingested half the bottle! She told me I could just stop at that, and whatever happened, happened. She went on to apologise and said she couldn’t understand why the GoLytely bowel prep type products were all prescription. Weak excuse. She then went on to say I could tell my surgeon it was all the assistant’s fault. She apologised again. Then the surgeon’s assistant said there’s controversy over whether to do a bowel prep for any surgery other than a colonoscopy; that if the bowel were nicked during surgery, she’d rather it be solid matter rather than liquid, which would spill into the abdominal cavity and cause sepsis.

I thought two things after this conversation: 1) She was NOT helping with my fretful emotional state, and 2) she’d better not be at odds with my surgeon during my surgery!

The 5oz of magnesium citrate gave me about 4 episodes of diarrhea. I just had urgency – it wasn’t violent or explosive and I did not have major cramps like the surgeon’s assistant had warned. So, FYI – you might be interested in doing 5oz at a time of the stuff. Let the first round happen, then take the remaining 5oz, or not, depending on how cleaned out you feel, if you need to do a bowel prep.

I went to bed probably just shy of midnight the night before my surgery, and woke around 3am with annoying uterine and right side ovarian cramping. At the time, I was exactly a week before my next period, so the cramping is, for me, “normal”.
The pain was estimated to be about a 4 on the pain scale.

When I woke and was getting ready to go out the door early the next morning, the pain had elevated to about a 5.5 on the pain scale. The ride to the hospital was a bit painful, and I was really in need of 800mg Ibuprofen, but I could not have any. I had not been allowed to have any ibuprofen for the week leading up to the surgery (but I forgot and had some that prior Sunday after having walked around all day at a Christmas fair).

Fretting over bowel prep

Way back on December 1st, my surgeon told me she’d like me to do a bowel prep, since this time she’ll be looking in the recto-vaginal area for endometriosis. She told me she’d send me the instructions for the bowel prep.

Well, last week I still didn’t have the bowel prep instructions, so I began to worry. I’ve never done this before. So I started calling and leaving messages with the nurses.

I finally got a call back Tuesday afternoon, and was told they had no record of me being told I need to do a bowel prep. They said they’d check and call back again. At 9:45am Wednesday morning, my surgeon’s assistant left a messaging telling me “It’s really simple – go to any CVS and ask the pharmacist – they have the bottles of bowel preps – every prep has a little different instructions on it – essentially you have to drink the whole bottle with an equivalent amount of water and you do that the day before your surgery. Any other questions, give us a call back…”

This is the second communication mishap that has happened this month (thanks A LOT, Mercury Retrograde). I was scheduled for a phone interview with the anesthesiologist on December 10 between 11:30am and 1:30pm. The call never came. I left several messages that day to no avail. I called back again on Monday, December 13, and the anesthesiologist finally called me around 4:30pm that day, while I was in the middle of transitioning children from snack time to going indoors. It was a stressful phone call, because I was outside on the school’s telephone, with parents and children all walking past. I finally told the guy to hold for a minute so I could go inside, but the embarrassment had already occurred. Blah. I took 1mg Ativan after that to calm down.

Back to the bowel prep – because I was without instruction from my surgeon, I found information on endometriosis.org. However, I forgot to adhere to the 48-hour fasting rule, and began fretting anew today. I had consumed leftover Indian food (Saag Paneer and vegetable biryani) for brunch before double-checking the bowel prep information again. Whoops. Now I’m chugging water like a fiend, and that’s pretty much all I will do all day.

Another bowel prep site on the web is preopguide.com.

Beware Fleet Phospho-soda! There have been recalls because they’ve caused renal failure!!

I’m appealing to the endometriosis forums for advice right now on what to do for the bowel prep.

I am not amused.

I woke up in the middle of the night itching after a bad dream. I checked myself out – I have a yeast infection! Two days before surgery! Panic set in further and I took 1mg ativan to get back to sleep. =(

The bad dream consisted of tornadoes – which for me suggests major upheaval in my life – sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, but always indicating short-term chaos and turmoil. I guess I shouldn’t have read my horrorscope right before bed. My mother figured prominently in the dream – I kept trying to evacuate her before the tornado hit. We got through the first one, then left the house in her car and ended up driving into the path of the same tornado again. Ugh.

When I got up this morning, I called the nurse line at the hospital where my surgery will be performed and told them of my symptoms. I was told taking Diflucan is okay this close to surgery. Thankfully, I had an extra pack of it in the house. I ate some breakfast and took the Diflucan. Now I get to experience gas, nausea, cramping and intestinal upset right before surgery (side effects of Diflucan for me, though I don’t always experience all of the above).

Today is my last day at work. Last night I cleaned much of the bedroom. Tonight I will use my gift cards to get some microfiber socks and a second nightgown. I don’t think I mentioned that I own my first nightgown since childhood…it arrived last weekend from Land’s End. Ankle-length, long sleeved, soft fabric. It was just too difficult for me to cope with pajama pants after the first surgery, so I’m going the nightgown route this time.

Tonight I will also clean up the living room and kitchen – oh and schedule the rental car – if I can get to it in time. Otherwise, I have all of tomorrow off of work to do that. Although, I’d rather spend tomorrow in constant chill mode, just relaxing and breathing and moving each body muscle in a determined manner.

Surgery comes early on Friday, at 7:30am.

Pre-op update

Monday, December 6: intermittent stabby low uterine/bladder pain – late afternoon. I had consumed caffinated tea at lunch time.

Tuesday, December 7: sharp shooting uterine pain. I doubled over twice, took 600mg ibuprofen about 2:30pm. This was after having consumed caffinated tea less than an hour earlier.

Thursday, December 9: Visit to local family doctor to get peace of mind on the heart murmur that I was born with. I was told it’s barely detectable. I passed a cursory health check and she wrote me a note clearing me for surgery in case I needed the note.

Friday, December 10: Mercury went retrograde. UCSF anesthesiology failed to call me like they had planned, to go over surgery details.

Saturday, December 11: all-day teacher seminar. One of the instructors locked her keys in her car. I chose to call my auto insurance to get the keys out, since she said her husband always has handled the insurance stuff, hence she didn’t know it. The benefit to me waiting for a road service dude was that I didn’t have to sit in a room with 65 women and men wearing toxic scents. Well, for the first hour, anyway. Good thing I’d chosen my seat next to the door before everyone else had arrived.
Got home from the seminar, ate dinner, went to bed.

Sunday, December 12: Attended the (Charles) Dickens Christmas Fair with husband – met up with friends there. Pelvic pain and low back pain hit after walking around for 4 hours – I took 600mg Ibuprofen when I went to bed.

Monday, December 13: saw my shrink, discussed fears of surgery. She donated her old shower stool to me from when she’d had surgery (she has Crohn’s Disease). Husband got home from work that evening and informed me that there would be layoffs on Tuesday. He’s survived four or more rounds of layoffs over the last couple of years, but neither of us were optimistic about this one.

Today, Tuesday, December 14: Husband’s work laid him off. Spent much of the day crying. Had to come home from work at 2:30pm because I wasn’t coping. Husband arrived home shortly after me. I had shots of booze waiting for us. He drank two shots of fine whisky, I drank a shot of rum. We spent the afternoon talking about everything financial as related to the surgery. He’s got 4 months severance and health benefits, so he thinks we’ll be alright. He’s got money in checking and savings. I have nothing – I never have anything – I don’t make shit for pay. It all goes to two credit card bills, renter’s insurance, car insurance, earthquake insurance, special-needs groceries, and Internet access.

I spent this evening cleaning the bedroom, as I was scheduled to do before my surgery. We also went grocery shopping. My husband was invited to a friend’s house to drink – I was invited too, but declined because the nesting effect is so strong right now before surgery. And well, I’m not supposed to be drinking alcohol, especially so close to surgery, anyway.

Tomorrow is my last day at work for four to six weeks. I am taking the day before surgery off work as a mental health and preparedness day.

I don’t recall if I went into details before my last surgery – about the emotional aspect of having surgery. There’s a lot of normal irrational fear of dying, fear of something going wrong, fear of nothing being found. My added irrational stress is that we’ve just entered Mercury retrograde in Capricorn on a waxing Moon in Taurus. Also, with the surgery being a week before christmas, if anything goes wrong, my husband is left to mourn every christmas season.
Rationally, scheduling the surgery at this time works out best, because we both have the time off work (holiday shutdown), and because the deductible has already been met, so out-of-pocket cost is about $300 (and it doesn’t roll over to the next year). The surgery works best right now especially, since we don’t know what kind of insurance we’ll have after this. So the timing is shitty, but at the same time for the best.

I just wish I could stop getting myself worked up to near-panic mode.

For the record…

I have officially hit the “terrified beyond recognition” part of the pre-operative emotional roller coaster.

I’ve been saying for weeks that I don’t want to go through with the surgery. I’ve been saying for weeks that I’m in denial about it even happening. For weeks, I’ve also been able to discuss rationally how the procedure will be beneficial and why it is necessary. You will notice how the two conversations are mutually exclusive.

Today I had my breakdown. I am now drinking Nigori, because I can no longer cope with the emotional overload.

I am Day 4 of NOT being bedridden. Yesterday at 11am, I went to the Dickens Fair with my husband, and for some insane reason, I thought we’d be spending only a couple of hours there, going in to meet our friends, get stuff on my holiday shopping list done, and get home again to look at bed frames and get some homework done.
Then my husband signed us up for a 6:15 stage show viewing. I told him about how I thought the day would progress, and he replied that he had no idea where I’d gotten that notion from.

I was moody for the rest of the day.

When we got home last night, we needed dinner. We went out to eat – I think. Hell, I can’t even remember, now. Then we came home and waited to hear back from friends who had to bail on evening plans, which was fine by me, because I was exhausted, anyway. It was only my second day on my feet, walking around all day, and my lower back was exceedingly sore.

When I woke this morning, I was moody again. I sulked and avoided homework until it was 11am. Then I hopped in the shower. Then I realised I’d had nothing with protein to eat all morning, and there was nothing in the house. So I went to the grocery. This is when I had a full on internal emotional collapse. The guilt overwhelmed me because homework was still not getting done. I have no idea what to eat anymore because of all the foods I have reactions to, and it’s hard for me to find time and energy to put together a menu for myself each day. I wandered aimlessly in one grocery store, then called my husband from the parking lot of the second grocery store, telling him I had no idea what to do or how to care for myself any longer.

He instructed me to go to Boston Market and just get a quick lunch. I obeyed…after wandering aimlessly through the second grocery store.

I came home with a seed grinder for the seed dietary recommendations my naturopath gave me last month. I’ve not applied a single one of her recommendations, yet, because a lot of the stuff is too hard to find, and I don’t feel like dealing with the castor oil mess, yet, and well I was too stingy to get a seed grinder until today.

…the laundry timer just went off.

And I’m supposed to get back to my homework.

And I’ve already cried about how unfair it is that I can’t live like others do, I can’t eat what everyone else can eat, and I have to have these surgeries.

I can’t take care of myself right now.

I’m not managing, well.

Hopefully the last of it

I did wake up relatively pain-free, but not without having had a bit of a rough night.

I went to bed by 9pm because of the pain and immense fatigue. My husband came to bed sometime before midnight. I know because not long after, we were awakened by the phone ringing. It was my neighbor – her parrot had just died, and she was sobbing hysterically.

I got dressed and walked to the back of the house – she lives in the smallest unit in the converted Victorian. I spent the next hour with her – holding her, hugging her, talking with her, listening to her. I cried a lot, too. I have lost pets dear to me before, so I knew the pain. And I liked her parrot – he was quite a character. He was 20 years old. She said he hopped out of his cage and started making weird sounds, and flapped as he staggered across the room to be with his human. She put him up on her shoulder and I guess he tried to settle, and calmed for a moment, but got all twitchy again, then got weaker and weaker, and just fell into her hands and died.

Chili 1990 ~ 2010

Chili 1990 ~ 2010


My husband had to be up at 5am to drive an hour to the other work location for an early morning meeting, so I knew that me getting up at midnight and being gone for an hour like that was sure to disturb his sleep. It’s two hours earlier than he usually has to get up, so he was already not sleeping well to begin with. The fact that he had to get up an hour and a half before my alarm also meant that my disruption in sleep would greatly affect me.

When my alarm went off, I snoozed and snoozed til the last possible minute, but of course it’s fretful sleep when you hit snooze repeatedly. I was able to shower and get to work on time, though. I was thankful that the pain had passed.

However, by the time I got to work, I was already hypoglycemic and achey. The weird thing is that they did not expect me in today or tomorrow! It was written on the calendar and everything. The secretary was pretty confused, and said I’m always good about letting everyone know when I won’t be in, so how she wrote me off work like that was weird. I half jokingly told her not to worry, I might not last the day, anyway.

And so it was. The pain set in by about 10:45am, and the bleeding returned. It was all the stooping and bending, all the sitting down on the hard floor and getting back up again that did me in. But that’s what a preschool teacher does – a lot of moving around like that.

I was hoping that last night’s massive pain and bleeding had been “the last gasp” as my husband calls it, but I guess not. Although, the bleeding did not return with force today. It was just a bit of spotting. The pelvic pain was the thing that returned with force. I asked a fellow assistant teacher if I could do the snack cleanup duty instead of group time overview (because it meant more stooping and bending and getting up and down).

Even washing up some dishes and loading the dishwasher was too much for me. As I was drying the food containers a parent had brought, one of my head teachers approached me and told me it was the first day of her period, and her cramps were really bad, so she was going home. I wished her well and told her I hoped the pain would not be too bad for too long.

I returned to class and was on my way to get my water bottle when my other head teacher looked at me and said, “are you in pain?” I stopped and blinked. I thought I had masked it well enough today, cuz I was trying to stay up and about instead of giving in to the pain. I sighed and said I was just about to take some Advil, that the cramps had ramped up again.
The teacher told me she had worked with her friend’s sister in this school before, and one day she passed out from the pain. My eyes grew wide. I reassured her that I have never passed out from the pain, and that I would go home if the pain got too bad.

She replied, “You don’t look good. You should go home. We’ll be okay.”

So I took 600mg Advil and wrapped up the snack cleanup that hadn’t been fully finished because the newest assistant seemed a bit overwhelmed today. It’s okay – she’s doing an awesome job. Duties just sometimes get behind the pace of the schedule. We go with it and try to keep the flow. She provided overview with the children at group time to be there for another assistant teacher who was running the group, and I cleaned up and it worked out.
I made sure the afternoon supervisor would be okay without me, and then I saw the children out to the lunch tables at 11:30am with the rest of the lunch staff, and then I went home for the day.

The other weird thing that happened was when I phoned my husband to tell him I came home early. He asked, “Came home? From where?”

I blinked at the phone.

“Uh…from work. I had to work today. It’s Thursday.”

He replied that he didn’t know I was well enough to return to work at all, after having seen the condition I was in last night when he got home from work. I giggled – he’s right, how could he have known my plans if I’d not told him, “tomorrow I think I’ll be okay enough to return to work.”

So I told him how I had felt better and how after a few hours, the pain returned, like it does.

He told me to take it easy for the rest of the day. Sweet man.

I got home and ate my leftover Indian food (Saag Paneer and rice), and felt the crushing weight of fatigue upon me. But my mind would not let me sleep. I’m 15 days from surgery and all I can think about is getting things in order before the downtime.

It didn’t help that I got restless by being home all afternoon.

The carpets were filthy.

I vacuumed.

I COULDN’T HELP IT!

I wanted to clean out the fridge. I wanted to clean the bathroom walls. But I didn’t, because I knew it would make the pain so much worse. As it was, the vacuuming brought on a new round of cramps. I knew it would, and I did it anyway, because I was antsy and had cabin fever. The fact that it’s raining again doesn’t help the pelvic pain or my joint pain, either. Bleh. And I’ve been freezing all day. I had the furnace on and the space heater. Stupid hormonal whack. Stupid illness.

That’s how it goes.

I crawled into bed at 8pm, and texted my husband. He was exhausted from his long work day, and was now on his way to band practice.

Aww man! I forgot he had band practice tonight.

I’d been waiting for him to get home so he could declare how exhausted he was and just order us some food.

Poop.

So out of bed I got and made some gluten-free mac ‘n cheese with canned tuna.

It’s the same thing I made for lunch yesterday. Le sigh.

trader-joes-gluten-free-rice-pasta-cheddar

 

But I’m being responsible and eating what’s in the house, instead of ordering out like I did last night. And besides, the bills need to be paid up so that I don’t worry about ’em during recovery from my surgery. The more bills and such I cover right now, the easier the financial burden will be on my husband when he has to support me for a couple of months while I get back on my feet financially after having been off work for a month. I’ve been doubling up payments on one of my credit cards, too. Paying bills online today was one of the things I was able to check off my pre-surgery To Do list. The other thing I checked off the list was scheduling the ECG. I had no idea my family doctor could do that in office! Oh. Crap. Gotta make sure the insurance will cover it at that office, though.

Anyway, so here we are at 9:30pm. I’ve taken a total of 600mg Advil and 2 Tylenol 3 half pills today. And actually, I might take another half pill soon, because the low and mid back pain is increasing like it did last night before bed. :(
I need to get out of bed one last time to put away the uneaten portion of the mac ‘n cheese for tomorrow’s lunch.

Here I go.