The 18th of November.
Today has not gone at all how I expected. Up at half past five, at the Women’s by half seven. Mommy came up to the ward with me (mainly because I couldn’t carry my overnight bag on the chair), then left me with a couple on my right and one in the far corner. The nurse (whose name I can’t remember) came to clerk me in, and was amazed by my history (as are most people). She was grateful for my drugs list, gave me a red wristband (allergies), then the healthcare assistant, Mercy, came to do my obs and bring me my anti-DVT stockings. While getting changed, I took a sneaky sip of water to help my dry mouth, then I sat and listened to the corner couple having a hushed, Jeremy Kyle-style domestic. She was really stressed about whatever she was having done, and he was telling her to “Just deal with it like everybody else in here.”, which was not very helpful. They both wanted each other to fuck off, but she also wanted him to be able to stay because she’d freak out if left alone. I gleaned that she wants a hysterectomy but nobody will do that because she’s only 23. Poor girl.
Miss Byrom and Gerwyn the anaesthetist came to see us all individually. She just ran through with me again what she was going to do – remove/separate the adhesions, attempt to do a smear, and take biopsies if deemed necessary. Gerwyn was very nice (as are all the anaesthetists I’ve met) and he was glad to have my latest lung function results. He mentioned that he wouldn’t be intubating me (for a short sleep I’d bloody well hope not), just putting down a smaller breathing tube. That was fine.
I was second on the list, so while I waited to be taken down, I decided to use the time productively and do a blog post. While I was writing, the girl in the corner came to the conclusion that she didn’t want to stay, but before she came back, the porter came and he and Mercy took me down to theatre.
I moved over to the theatre gurney, and was wheeled into the anaesthetic room. I met some new people, confirmed my identity and what I was having done, then Gerwyn had to find somewhere to cannulate me. The first vein didn’t want to co-operate, then the one on the other hand was only too happy to squirt blood everywhere. Still, it was in, then he gave me some morphine to relax me, put the mask over my face emitting gas that smelled of vanilla, and off to sleep I went.
I awoke maybe 45 minutes later, conscious that some time had passed but not long. No dreams. I was acutely aware that things were inside me and that I needed the toilet. I was told that in theatre they had put a catheter and a pack in, which would be pressing on my rectum which was why I felt like I needed to poo. The nurse in recovery was pleased with how awake I was and that I was drinking and talking, so she called the ward and the other nurse looking after me (Rachel) came down. I asked her if the lady in the corner had stayed and it turned out she had. Change of heart. The boyfriend had had to leave though because them’s the rules. She checked the inco-pad underneath me and we found that the catheter had come undone, so she screwed it back together and changed the pad so I had a clean bed.
Back on the ward, they said I would have to stay for at least six hours, until half past four, when they could take the pack out, then the catheter, and I’d have to pee without it. This was not great news but fine, I could deal with it, I just had to adjust my position regularly. It was really, very uncomfortable, and the need to poo did not abate at all. I was brought some tea and toast which at least made my tummy stop rumbling. I texted Mommy and Christine to let them know how I was, and finished off the blog post. Visiting started at 2, so I asked Mommy if she’s come then with some coffee and lunch. To pass the time, I worked on my Christmas scarf and tried to ignore my discomfort.
When she arrived, I explained in more detail what had happened this morning and told her about the whispered argument in the corner (which seemed to have been forgotten when he returned). I drank my peppermint mocha and ate my panini, all the while wriggling around. I tweeted and crocheted, and we kept hearing the nurse ring a particular doctor about him coming to see the lady in the other corner, then she could leave. She waited for him for four hours, and in the end, he didn’t even show up, just gave some instructions on what she needed to do. I would have been fuming.
By ten past four, I was counting down the minutes until we could take the pack out. I was the only one left in the bay by this point, so I could be plenty vocal about my need to have to removed. Thankfully, at half four on the dot, Rachel was all ready to do it. The curtains got pulled round, I pulled the sheet down and spread my legs. She put a sick bowl down for the pack to go in, and started pulling out the gauze. I have never, ever experienced anything like it. There was so much pain as it ripped away from the skin inside my vagina, and seemed to go on forever, like when a magician pulls a string of flags from his sleeve. In a way it did seem like magic because I have no idea how they fit so much in there. At one point, we got to a knot where it emerged that there were two packs tied together and we were only halfway through! I was in absolute agony but I told her to keep going because I just needed it to be over. When she’d finished, the blood-soaked gauze filled the sick bowl and I didn’t even feel any of the relief that I’d expected, just sheer trauma. Thank fuck I never have to give birth because that was one of the worst things I have ever been through.
I was still bleeding a lot, so we didn’t take out the catheter in case they had to put another pack in. I really did not want this to happen and I willed my body to stop. Thankfully, it did slow down, and by the time Miss Byrom came round, it was at a much more acceptable rate. She had prescribed some topical estrogen cream and explained how to use it, and gave me a slightly more graphic description of what had happened in theatre. Basically, there was only a tiny amount of vagina that was open, maybe a centimetre, and she really just had to stick her finger through and rip me apart. Brutal, but the only way. Also, they couldn’t see any hint of my cervix or the coil, but they’re definitely in there. Just don’t know how we’ll get them out when it comes to that. Still, she was happy with how I was, so the catheter and cannulas could be removed. Then I would just have to wee and I’d be able to go home! I didn’t expect this to be a problem as I’d been drinking all afternoon, but my bladder was not keen on letting any of it go.
I managed one rather small wee, which was not adequate, then I just had to drink more. I drank glass after glass, watching the clock because I really wanted to get to The Glee to see Tom and Suzi for 8. About 10 past 7, my stomach was as tight as drum with the amount of water filling it up, and I went to see if there was anything to be done that might help. I couldn’t have any diuretics, but Rachel was happy that I had at least done a wee and was confident that I was sensible enough to know what to do if anything seemed wrong.
I went for one more pitiful try, then Mommy and I took the paperwork and cream, and off to The Glee we went! I decided that I would text Suzi and ask her if she could get a member of staff to let me in the back door so I could go up in the lift and not have to climb the stairs, which she very obligingly did.
This meant I was the first one in, and for a little while, I sat alone in the studio while an excellent playlist of musical theatre tunes played. I couldn’t do the kicks on stage that I might have, but I did take a selfie because I’m cool. Then the room started to fill up, and Tom and Suzi appeared! The format was essentially intro, Suzi’s show, interval, Tom’s show. They were both equally hilarious and thought-provoking and delightful in different ways, and I enjoyed myself immensely. I popped into the dressing room at the interval to say hello and have hugs and chats, and I got to wang on about my very strange day.
Time flew by, and suddenly it was time for part two, so we had group hug and a photo before Tom’s half. I think his show was longer than Suzi’s, and by the time it was curtain down, it was nearly eleven o’clock and I was very ready to go to bed. So tired. But I was really happy I got to finish my day laughing so much with my lovely pals.
The 19th of November.
Well I don’t feel great. Having got in late, I thought I’d sleep really well, but all that water caught up with me and I woke up four times to pee. Did not want to wake up at half nine when my alarm went off but I thought I should.
I stayed in my pyjamas all morning, feeling rather delicate and taking things slowly. Mommy and I caught up on I’m A Celebrity, and I finished crocheting the tiny Christmas tree for inside a bauble. Lunchtime came round quickly, and it felt like a beans on toast kind of day. Warm, cosy food.
This afternoon, I had a go with the topical estrogen. It didn’t work quite the way I thought it would with the dilator, so tomorrow I’ll try the applicator that was provided. It certainly went in a lot further than it used to, so the surgery definitely did its job. I was glad I decided to it on a towel as I am still bleeding and had I not, I would have ruined a duvet cover. Admittedly only a rather unexciting one from Tesco, but still.
I then spent a good couple of hours writing four and half pages about yesterday. I really hope you enjoy all the detail. When I’d finished, I finally read this morning’s paper, and made the penultimate bauble. Just one left to go, for the tree to go in. It might have to be a special one because a) I have run out of outer bauble wool and b) the tree seems too big to fit in the same size as the rest.
I think it might be somewhat longer than I thought until I am back at the gym.