So it’s taken me a while to bring myself to sit down and continue with my story, it’s kind of overwhelming reliving it all while typing it. And if you thought the last post was heavy things are about to get a WHOLE lot heavier.
Last time I left off with me crying at the surgeon’s office. After that I had a colonoscopy to determine if the endometriosis had found its way through the bowel wall, that was just a day procedure and was easy peasy. My surgeon didn’t find anything and he was optimistic that he might be able to just remove the lesions and not have to remove the bowel. The surgery date was booked and I received all the paperwork in the mail (gosh the wait time is short when you go through the private system!)
The surgery date came up quicker than a greyhound chasing a rabbit and all of a sudden it was the next day, I took the amazingly fun bowel prep and made my way to hospital at 6am, I always manage to be first on the list which is at least one good thing! I had to wait for a while, my mum and husband were with me waiting and I was in pretty high spirits, I had the full get up on, the gown, tight socks and hairnet. I remember thinking, ‘please don’t give me a stoma’, that was the only thing I was really worried about. I actually don’t remember anything after that, I normally remember getting the aesthetic and feeling my head get fuzzy but I don’t remember a thing, I remember waking up and being wheeled to my room, I couldn’t even open my eyes to see my mum and husband, I just felt them kiss my face and squeeze my hand before leaving.
I was in surgery for 6 hours, I had two surgeon’s one gynaecologist and one colorectal and they both had a lot of work to do apparently. The endometriosis had penetrated through the bowel wall too far so 15cm was removed. When I woke up properly sometime in the night my left arm and hand were so swollen the nurse had to cut my wrist band off, I had fluid pumping into my left arm so it was swapped to my right. I have very uncooperative veins so the nurse asked an anaesthetist to do it. My right arm started to swell too so off came that wrist band, I was so worried and half out of it I remember telling the nurse through tears ‘I think something is really wrong!’ I had a mini panic attack, threw up and went to sleep.
Once I fully woke up I realised just how awful the hospital was, I was in a ‘room’ (if there’s no door is it still considered a room?) with three other women. One of whom had her entire family with her nearly 24 hours a day. She was so sick and had visits from doctors all through the night, I was so concerned for her that I couldn’t sleep. Another lady was bedridden and constantly calling for the ‘pan’, she also liked to leave her TV on all night. The last lady was complaining about how awful her stay had been and how she had to remove her own drip (she was a nurse) as she’d been waiting hours for someone to do it for her. Nothing against the nurses, I think they were all great but it seemed like they were very short staffed which made the wait times very long and the nurses and patients very grumpy.
I really don’t like morphine, it makes me very sick, I had a button to push to release a dose but I rarely pushed it as I’d rather feel pain than get sick. My surgeon came to see me every morning and would feel my tummy, it hurt so much I grabbed his hand and pulled it away, he was annoyed with me for not pushing the morphine button and reluctantly agreed to let me come off it and take tablets instead, you’ve got to take the small wins! I started walking around the ward very slowly, I couldn’t sleep so I would walk a lot. The physio was very happy with me, it’s very common to get pneumonia in hospital after an operation so they encourage you to move around as much as you can. Gosh I hated that place, my surgeon wanted me to stay for longer but I insisted on going home after 5 nights. I had a CT scan to check the join in my bowel before I was discharged and the results came back fine so off I went, armed with a bag full of prescriptions.
I found that when I got home I still couldn’t sleep, I felt so tired but I was so restless and just had a desire to move around all the time. As it turns out I was having an allergic reaction to one of the drugs I was sent home with, one afternoon my eyes started rolling and I yelled out to my husband who called an ambulance. I had to wait at the hospital on the trolley for what felt like an hour, then into a room and more waiting, it probably wasn’t very long but when you don’t know what’s wrong with you it’s very scary and I was thinking ‘why isn’t everyone as worried as I am, hurry up!’ Apparently my reaction to the drugs is very common (mostly for children HA!) so they knew what was happening and I was finally given an injection to counteract the drugs, it took two shots for it to work but what a relief. I went home and felt so much better without that drug in my system, I actually was able to get some sleep.
A week went by with nothing to report, I was moving around slowly and was still in pain but I was due to go back to work the following Monday. Then came the day that changed everything, I woke up during the night and I was passing blood. I called both the surgeon’s emergency lines and requested call’s back, they didn’t call for hours and all the while I was panicking with the surgeons warning of possible trip to ICU running through my head. Finally I heard back and was advised to go see my GP, I made an appointment and went down to the doctors surgery, by this time I wasn’t feeling well at all, I was taken from the car into the doctors in a wheelchair. The first thing they did was take my blood pressure and it was in my boots so they called me an ambulance.
The ambulance arrived and I was taken out in a wheelchair, I can’t even remember what I was thinking in that ambulance ride, the sirens weren’t on so maybe I thought it wasn’t that bad. When I got to the hospital I had a CT scan, at first I was told the results were inconclusive but then a doctor came and told me the join had broken down and I needed emergency surgery, he told me that this was very risky surgery, he asked me to say goodbye to my family before I was taken up to theatre. I don’t think I’ll ever forget how hard my brother squeezed me before leaving.
By this time it was late at night, maybe 10pm. My Mum and husband were with me, they stayed with me right up until I was taken into theatre. Lucky for me my Mum is a theatre nurse and I was at the hospital where she works so she knew everyone there and they were all telling me I was going to be fine and that they would take really good care of me. When I was wheeled into the theatre room I was so scared and crying, the nurses who were friends of my Mums, were holding a hand each until I fell asleep. I woke up in so much pain it felt like my stomach was on fire, I just remember saying ‘it hurts, it hurts’, the anaesthetist gave me a very strong pain killer which definitely took the pain away but it made me very out of it, I’m not one of those people who enjoy being out of it so it wasn’t much fun.
I was taken to ICU, the nurse told me my Mum and husband were still there and wanted to see me, I was so messed up on the drugs I said I didn’t want to see them, or more accurately I didn’t want them to see me. The nurse ignored me (I’m glad she did) and they came in to see me. I don’t really remember much but I don’t think they stayed very long, I’m pretty sure it was about 2am. I stayed in ICU overnight with a nurse by my side constantly monitoring me, every time I would start to drift off to sleep I’d start having a weird drugged up dream and would jerk awake again. The next day I was taken to a ward, I was happy to be leaving ICU as I thought it meant I was ok and out of danger, turns out I was maybe a bit optimistic again.
Phew, that was rough to write, I think that’s enough for now, I’ll continue my story next time. I do want to say that I really would hate for anyone to feel sorry for me, yeah what I’ve been through wasn’t fun but everyone has been through something that isn’t fun. I have an amazing husband, a super supportive and caring family, friends that I laugh with, a home and a job. Life is good! I guess the reason I’m telling my story is to make you understand my motivations for living a low tox life, you might think I’m a crazy hippy but I don’t ever want to go through this again, so if reducing the amount of harmful chemicals in my home has a positive affect on my life then hell yes I’m going to do it!