Under The Knife

In early April, I underwent minor surgery. I’ve had painful ovarian cysts and endometriosis for years and after trying several alternate treatments, surgery was the last resort.

The procedure was simple and outpatient. They went in laparoscopically via three small incisions in my lower abdomen, removed a mass on my right ovary, drained a cyst on my left ovary and then cauterized my left pelvic floor to treat the endometriosis. Gross, right?

That’s all the surgical detail you need, and probably more than you want. What I want to discuss is a few of my experiences during this whole process.

The first step was being told I’m going to have surgery. It’s not like the doctor says, “So do you want to have surgery?” and then I get to think about it or weigh my options. No. The doctor says, “The next step is surgery. What we will do is…..” and I just sat there, naked from the waist down with a paper blanket on my lap and accepted my fate.

Then I got to wait. And wait and wait and wait. For two and a half weeks I waited until ‘surgery day’. Nevermind the fact that I was planning my wedding. My wedding that would happen one month after I was being cut open on a sterile table. And that my birth control had been changed to a stronger dose. So I cried everyday for two and a half weeks about how beautiful the flowers were and that the color of the napkins would be more ‘dark-navy’ than ‘navy-navy’.

Fast forward to surgery day. I was hella nervous. I put on my coziest sweatpants and headed to the hospital with mom, dad, and fiance in tow. Nurses ushered me back to a private room where I stripped down and put on two gowns (one open in the back, one open in the front) and hospital socks. The nurse started an IV with fluids, something I am less than fond of, and invited my family back to keep me company while we waited.

Now things get interesting. After many stressful minutes of waiting, my nurse came back to walk me to the OR. So down the hall we went, into a cold, sterile room full of gowned and gloved blobs. I hoped most of the blobs were female, because next they had me take off the gown that was covering my backside. I laid down on the table and they covered me up with a warm blanket. Ahh. I stated my name, date of birth and procedure. Two nurses put compression sleeves on my calves, which were fabulous and I asked if I could take them home. They said no.

My surgeon stood at my left side and a nurse at my right. They took each of my hands and told me I would get sleepy very soon. My anesthesiologist peered over my head and I started seeing double. The last thing I remember is asking if they liked their jobs. Then I was out.

Recovery time! I woke up in a yellowish room with a lot of people walking around. I immediately freaked out. I think I was showing signs of anxiety before I was fully conscious because a nurse was already right there and trying to keep me in bed. I told her I needed to leave and I could feel warm tears spilling out over my cheeks as I tried to get up. My anesthesiologist came through a set of double doors and pushed something into my IV.

The next time I woke up, I was much more calm. There was a nurse posted by my bed, probably to make sure I didn’t rip my IV out when I regained consciousness. She wheeled the bed to my room where my family was waiting. Everyone kept telling me surgery went well and that I got to keep both my ovaries (yay!). I was tired. Some people came to see me but to this day I couldn’t tell you who they were. I just kept talking nonsense.

Now, I really hope you’re still reading because this part is crazy. After the madness of returning to my room and seeing visitors died down, I wanted to see my incisions. My mom helped me lift my gown and you will not believe what I saw. You remember what I went to sleep wearing? One gown (check) and hospital socks (check). But when I lifted my gown, I had mesh hospital underwear on! AND after closer inspection, I also had on a maxi pad! This was not a big deal at first. I was mostly just confused about when those got there. But think about it. I am a grown ass woman. It is one thing to maneuver a baby into a diaper, but I would have loved see that room full of faceless blobs putting underwear and pad on me!

All in all, my surgery experience wasn’t that bad. My pain is gone and it brings a smile to my face when I think about 5 strangers putting mesh underwear on my naked, unconcious body. I don’t look forward to the recovery process if I ever have to go under the knife again, but the bedside service isn’t bad.

Peace and love,
Leah

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