The Surgery-Part Four: Recovery

The final installment of the “series”: The after party….I mean aftermath!

At 3am I was up and couldn't really move so this happened.
At 3am I was up and couldn’t really move, so this happened.

 

For me, the 24 hours immediately following my surgery was a bit blurry. I still had all types of sedatives and anesthesia in my body, plus some percocet. Oddly I was wide awake at 3:00am for about 3 hours the first night. (which is when the above Instagram post happened)

The basics are this: You will be in pain. You will need help. You will need naps. You will get bored. You will feel better every day.

 

Pain: Everyone is different, but for me, the first three days were moderate in terms of pain. I’d say my pain was anywhere between 7-10, and 10 only being the first 18 hours or so.If your procedure involved a full (open) or partial (a hybrid) myo where you had a 3 inch or more incision, your abdominals will be almost useless for a while and sore.  Very sore. The basics of sitting up on your own, even rolling over in your bed will be pretty much impossible for the first few days. You get creative after a while and figure out how to maneuver around, but at first you’re like a little baby-unable to move without an adult to help you. Be prepared to be uncomfortable. You will be sore, inside and out. Don’t be ashamed to take the pain meds your doctor prescribes for you. (as instructed)

Coughing, sneezing, and laughing will bring discomfort. Hug a pillow tight/close to your for sneezes and coughs.

If you had a laprosopic procedure, you’ll have residual gas in your body that will make you a little uncomfortable for a few days.

I slept for about 3 hours when I first came home, and I only got up to use the bathroom walk, and take some meds. A word of caution on your first trip to the bathroom: If you had a catheter inserted your first trip will….sting a little. I’ll just leave it at that. It will pass after the second or third go.

I was sore, I had cramps, and it was difficult to move. But, you need to move.

Moving Around: I had to walk every hour or two around the apartment. This is something you will most likely be told to do regardless of the method or if you’re out patient or not. Walking helps prevent complications after your surgery. Walking  helps to: 1) Clear and improve blood flow to your lungs and 2) Prevent blood clots. (More details on post surgical movement here)  No ones asking you to walk a mile, but quick lap or two around your apartment or one level of your house will get the job done. It will be slow going at first, but after a day or two, you will start to move a bit better.

Appetite: I didn’t really have one for the first 3 days. When I did eat, soup, crackers and toast were plenty. Mostly I ate because I had to eat with the medicine I was taking. Your appetite will slowly increase. (vanity plus: you WILL lose weight.)

The downside was people around me were eating awesome food that I just couldn’t partake in. They had Pizza Hut (one of my favorite things!), my mom cooked one night, and everyone  sat around the table and had dinner while I laid in my bed drifting into a percocet induced sleep. I couldn’t stomach all that heavy food, but that doesn’t mean my inner fat girl wasn’t sad that she missed all that tasty food.

On a related note, you won’t want to eat anything too solid because…well, it has to come out. Again, your abs will be compromised, and any straining is not recommended. Colase or other stool softener will be your friend. Also, many pain meds can cause constipation, so help with your visits to the bathroom via softeners is a great thing.

 Help: Because you’ll be in pain, and your abs will be shot, and you’ll be tired….you’ll need help. You just will. I needed help getting in and out of bed, walking, getting food, putting on lotion, doing my hair, pretty much everything. The first 3-4 days for me were when I needed the most. Because I had a hybrid procedure, and my incision was not clear across my bikini line, I think I was able to start to bounce back a little sooner. (One of the benefits of a laproscopic or hybrid procedure) My family was great, and made sure I was comfortable, made me get up to walk, brought me snacks, pretty much waited on me hand and foot. That probably won’t happen again, so I enjoyed it.

Rest: Naps are awesome no matter what.  When recovering, you will need to take them more than you think. Not so much because you want to, but your body will let you know that its working hard and needs to recharge. I couldn’t even make it through a movie or more that 10 pages into a book the first few days. Listen to your body: rest when it tells you. You probably won’t get to rest like this again for a long time…maybe never, so take advantage

Boredom: After a few days, boredom/cabin fever will set in. Going from bed to couch, to bed is not that entertaining. Books, movies, and company, even Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great, but you start to get stir crazy after a while. For me, the mere fact that I couldn’t really go anywhere made me fidgety. Again, selfies and social media filled a lot of my bed rest time.

(Exhibit B)

Bed rest pop art

 

My recovery was pretty average I guess. I did have a  high fever for 2 straight days around day 4, and went to the ER. I felt pretty miserable and sluggish. They gave me an IV and sent me to get a CT scan to make sure there was nothing going wrong.   The contrast solution I had to drink (which I think they mixed with something to make it more palatable) wasn’t so bad. The machine itself was fine, I’m not claustrophobic or anything, but something about the actual scan process made me horribly nauseous! As the scan went on (probably lasted all of 1 minute), I got more and more sick. By the time I got to a point where I thought I was going to spew everywhere, it was over.

Those 2 days were probably the worst of it.

A few days later, I went for my follow up with Dr. M. Everything looked good.

The good thing was I got to spend time with my friends and family that came to help and check on me, especially my mom. We got to talk and spend time together. I got her hooked on my favorite “rachet reality show“. I’m not even going to mention the name. The fact that it comes on VH1 and can be labeled rachtet should be enough.

I got to watch a good family friend win a Tony award! In that moment, I got so excited, I kinda forgot I had surgery 2 days before. I screamed and jumped up off the couch. Damn near busted my stitches. Literally.

 

The fibroids are gone. Now what?

 

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