Thursday, 12 July 2007

Goodbye cyst (edited July 14th)

The deed is done - the cyst has been removed (and thankfully both ovaries are still intact). I went in Tuesday morning at 7.45 am and went through the admission process in the hospital lobby. R and I were escorted up to the correct floor by a red-coated volunteer - a nice touch, I thought. After a short wait, I was taken through to another room where I changed into one of those lovely robes that tie at the back, though I also had a housecoat that wrapped around the front and some cute little green foam slippers with a happy face on them! We then returned to the waiting room where I started knitting a scarf and we had a laugh listening to the couple nearby conducting their lives out in public on their cellphones!

A little while later (it never seems like a long wait when you have knitting with you) I met with the anesthetist who asked a few questions, wanted to know whether I was prone to motion sickness (I am) and said he'd slip some Gravol into the mix to avoid nausea after I woke up. Must have worked, as I didn't feel nauseous afterwards and was very relieved not to be heaving and straining my stitches!

I took out my contact lenses, put away my knitting, and after another short blurry wait, was told it was time to go. I had been quite relaxed until this point, but when it came time to head for the operating room and hug R goodbye, I shed a few tears. The nurse was very reassuring and she led me into the operating room, on foot, where I had to climb up onto the table myself. That was a surprise - I guess I expected to at least be horizontal, and maybe even sedated, before I was wheeled in! So I got a good look at the OR, bearing in mind my shortsightedness, before the anesthestist put the needle in the back of my left hand and within seconds I was away with the fairies!

A couple of hours later, I awoke in the recovery room. I felt a little shivery but was soon covered with heated blankets, managed to turn on my side which felt a little more comfortable, and after a while was wheeled up to the next floor. They lined up my bed with the one in the ward and I was told to scoot across. Yeah, right, I thought, but thankfully I managed it without too much pain.

All I wanted to do was sleep for the first few hours. My whole stomach area was painful and I was given a suppository, and when that wore off a small amount of morphine jabbed into my thigh, which seemed to do the trick, as after about 4pm I needed no more pain relief.

Being on a public ward (though that's only four beds) means a fair amount of noise. Other people being moved in, their visitors coming and going, nurses taking your blood pressure, oxygen level and temperature all the time.....and the other patients' cellphones blasting their tunes - don't those things have a volume control?

Anyway, R and the boys came to visit me mid-afternoon. Brought me a card and some hugs. While they were there, I decided it would be a good time to venture to the bathroom for the first time. I called the nurse and between them I was escorted to the loo. My dear sons told me later that I looked like a 104 year old woman, shuffling along, bent over! R came right into the bathroom with me, for which I was grateful, just in case I got woozy. I had to drag my IV pole around with me too.

I was looking forward to some food at suppertime, as I hadn't eaten since the night before. However when the food trays came around for the others, I didn't get anything. Turns out my doctor had left instructions for no food or drink, and I had been sipping cold water all afternoon. Just as well, as I would have been really dehydrated without it, as the evening nurse realised that my drip hadn't been working for hours and ended up having to retape the needle on the back of my hand to get things flowing.

The reason for the food ban was explained to me later - when the cyst had been removed, a small part of my bowel was accidentally cauterized, so the doctor had put in a few stitches and wanted to be absolutely sure it wasn't leaking before I ate anything. When R came to visit me in the evening, he brought chocolate and I couldn't eat any of it!

Wednesday morning, I woke at 6am. I had a "window seat" which was nice, as I could look out at the sky, the mountains and the treetops. I got up, carefully, and managed to get out my toothbrush and toothpaste, but then had to lie down again as I felt quite sick and dizzy. When that wore off, I tottered off to the bathroom to freshen up and the nurse provided me with a facecloth, towel and fresh robe. Aha, that's why the shoulders of the robes have snaps - so you can take them off and put them on while hooked up to your drip. I had brought pajamas with me but never took them out of the bag - it would have been impossible to put them on!

For entertainment, I had brought knitting (duh!), a paperback book and my Sony Walkman with the Bridget Jones tapes (also has a radio which was useful once I got to the end of B Jones) but I think if I'd had to stay in a second night I would have had enough of all three.

Breakfast was delicious - just toast and peanut butter, some applesauce, juice and tea, but it was heaven after having been starved the day before!

I had a visit from the doctor who performed the surgery and my own doctor that morning. The nurses kept asking whether I had passed gas - apparently this is the test you must pass (no pun intended) to be allowed to leave. My stomach was very bloated, but it's my belief that the gas that causes the discomfort is not IN your bowels but AROUND them, introduced when they open you up. That can take a while to dissipate, and as I write this on Thursday evening, I can confirm it's still there and still very uncomfortable.

So, once I confirmed I'd passed some gas, out came my IV needle and I was allowed to call home for R to come and pick me up. I put on the clothes I had arrived in the day before, though I couldn't do up the zipper and button on the pants! I overheard the woman in the bed opposite say that she would have brought maternity clothes if she'd known.

I'm sure you'll all be grateful that this is one blog post that doesn't come with photos, eh! I'll be taking it easy around the house for a couple of weeks at least. R has been off work for three days, keeping the laundry up to date, cooking meals and generally keeping the kids in line! Tomorrow he's back at work, but we have a plan for dinner which the kids can handle, and then it's the weekend. No grocery shopping or housework for me for a while - what a hardship!

I expect I won't be kicking butt - I mean pads - at Taekwondo for at least six weeks. Right now, I can't even think about it. Just getting out of bed hurts!

Edited July 14th to add: It occurred to me after posting this that I hadn't explained the procedure that was used. The doctor started with a laparoscopy, where a rod with video camera and light is inserted through the navel. Once he was able to see where the cyst was, he then made an incision (laparotomy) lower down, similar to a Caesarian cut, to gain access and remove the cyst. Actually, there seems to be three cuts, two small ones either side of a larger one, in addition to the one in my navel.


Anonymous said...

OUCH... sounds a little painful. I am glad to hear you are back home and recovering. I hope to see you at the beach soon.


Anonymous said...

Hey Nicola,
Good description of the hospital experience. You did well to stay relaxed through the whole thing. Glad you're mending and taking it easy.


Anonymous said...

Your blog brings back recent memories of my hospital stays! Minus the surgury! Glad it all went well. Wishing you a quick recovery!