In my experience anyway...
A week ago today I had a Laparoscopy, so I thought I’d share how it went and what’s been happening since…
For those of you who don’t know, the reason I needed a laparoscopy in the first place was because my mirena coil had ‘gone for a wander’. When it was put in, the wall of my womb was slightly ruptured and that was enough for the coil to slowly, but surely, worm its way out of my womb and wander around my pelvic cavity. It was discovered during an Xray (read more about the ‘finding the coil saga’ here).
To get the blighter out, I needed a laparoscopy, which is keyhole surgery where they enter via the belly button and stick a camera down there. They then fill you with gas so they can see properly and make one or two small incisions to the side of the belly button in order to remove said coil. I only needed one incision and it looks like this…
You can’t even see the bellybutton cut!
On the day of the laparoscopy
So here’s how the day went down.
Last Wednesday morning Mike drove me past not one but two hospitals back to where I had my son 5 and half years ago. Clearly when it comes to my nether-regions, that place has first dibs.
And, glad I was too as they really looked after me. Where else would the last words before you black out be “Don’t write in your blog that we told you to take heroine”?
Seriously though, I may joke about my experience but the nurses, my consultant, the anaesthetists were all the bomb.
We arrived at the hospital at 7:30am and I was escorted straight to my dorm room (me and 5 others all looking apprehensive), where Mike and I stared at each other for 3 hours. I was second on the list.
The consultant came to see me to make sure I knew what I was letting myself in for and we had this conversation…
“What about Birth Control?” he asked
“Well, not a coil,” I joked. So funny.
“Are you sure? I can put one back in while I’m there and make sure it doesn’t rupture the womb,” he said, deadpan.
“Erm, no thanks.” I said
“What are you going to do then?” he probed.
Cripes! “Well, we were going to try for another baby.”
“Oooooh, well in that case” and I paraphrase here but this is what he meant…”You can have at it pretty much as soon as the anaesthesia wears off.” Said with all the enthusiasm of someone who doesn’t have lady parts.
Mike said he thought it would be inappropriate to do it here in the ward and my consultant assured him he’d seen worse in the post-natal clinic.
Who are these people?!?
Anyhoo, I learnt a few things I didn’t know before…
- You have to wear compression stockings. I know. I’ve been under a rock.
- You can wear your pants but there ain’t much point because they’re going to take them off anyway.
I was happy as a lamb in springtime that I’d actually done a bit of ‘maintenance’ the day before. That room was FULL of people. And, you know, it’s important that people you will never see again know that you’re well groomed down there. Just kidding. But I felt better knowing I was putting my best foof forward, as it were.
I also opted for not wearing pants as I didn’t like the idea of being undressed on an operating table. Call me crazy.
The Laparoscopy Operation
I got wheeled out of my area, like a big baby in a pram (loved it), around 10:30am and met the two highlights of my hospital trip – the anaesthetists.
They were a hilarious double act who I wished I’d recorded because my memories are so foggy now. I have memory clippets of us laughing about my 2-street town, no idea why, and me taking the kids to school in a helicopter. Huh? And, as I was drifting off they started talking about heroine (hence one of the last things I remember).
The absolute last thing I remember is them saying “you can start counting backwards,” and I asked, or thought, from what number and then I was out.
I didn’t like the feeling of the anaesthetics going in. It felt like the blood in my hand was being pushed the wrong way for a second or two. And, when they put the oxygen mask over my face, until they said it was oxygen I thought they were gassing me!
I felt totally hammered (something I haven’t felt for a while!) but through all that they kept me entertained and my mind off what was going on, and stroked my hand. Awww!
But seriously, that was genuinely comforting.
Recovery from a Laparoscopy
When I came round I still had a mask on my face. It was uncomfortable so I took it off and went back to sleep. A nurse promptly came over and put the mask back on. Then my consultant came to see me. He was like a vision in a dream – did I really see him?
“All very straightforward and the coil is now out.”
“Do I have a nice souvenir?”
“No, it’s in the bin.”
WTF? Incredulous, I drifted back to sleep.
That’s my coil in a happy bin
As if I didn’t get to keep my coil!?? I should have bloody asked. He may well have let me keep it or at least photo it. We’ve been together for 5 and half years, man. And, that thing was a rebel! It deserved some kind of goodbye.
So, I came round in the recovery room at 12noon, an hour and 15 mins after I went to sleep, where my blood pressure was constantly being taken. I hate having my blood pressure taken! But it was a bit low.
It wasn’t moving much so they decided tea and toast might do the trick. Off back to my cubicle I went where I forced down some naff white toast and jam. Still my blood pressure remained low.
“How are you feeling?” “Are you dizzy?”
I didn’t feel normal but I felt OK. The only discomfort I had was in my shoulder! I’d been warned this could happen because while they try to get all the gas back out, some can get stuck.
It wasn’t until after I was sent off to loo that my BP went back up.
All good to go!
On the way home we stopped off for a McFlurry and a chocolate milkshake (I had stomach ache for the rest of the day). And then it was home to rest on the sofa.
I thought I’d be really groggy and tired but I wasn’t. I felt tired but alert.
I put on the last of a series I’d been watching, called “Flesh and Bones”.
I hadn’t totally enjoyed the series up this point. My friend recommended it saying, “it’s a bit raunchy”. Perfect prerequisite for entertainment, if you ask me. But it’s also quite dark so I found it a bit distressing! Whenever I see my mate she’s like, “haven’t you finished it yet?!”
A bit of an odd postoperative choice but I think, actually, it chose me (I tried to watch The Office but it wouldn’t work). This episode was all about the main protagonist’s rebirth and 50% of this final show was ballet dancing.
I felt mesmerised by it and emotional thinking of my own rebirth – I was most certainly still delirious!
I was finally free of a foreign object that was stopping me from moving on with my life, from having the baby I feel is missing from our little family.
I also felt terrified at the prospect. Not only could it take a very long time to get pregnant, it also might never happen for us. But either way, I could see a little babe padding down the hallway towards me. Then Mike did pad down the hallway.
“Are you nearly crying?” He asked as I was watching the ballet.
And he kissed me and went to get the kids.
The days after a laparoscopy
On the day I didn’t feel too much pain and slept pretty well. It was a bit awkward to get up from a lying position but not too bad.
The next day I felt pretty chipper and wrote the majority of this post. Everything felt a lot more tender and swollen so after a little walk in the morning I spent much of the day lying down/milking it but walking around every once in a while.
I had been warned that I might feel a bit low the day after, due to the anaesthesia wearing off, and I did have a few moments of… “this hurts, will I ever be able to exercise/move normally again?” feelings.
But moving around helped and I spent some time in the garden with the dog in the early evening which cheered me up.
It was the day after the day after the operation that I started to feel pretty low. I didn’t want to see anyone and spent most of the day in bed feeling sad and not at all tired. I’m a fabulous napper but I just couldn’t seem to drop off.
I did a few things to try and stop a complete mental downward spiral like having a shower and putting on clean pyjamas and taking the dog out in the sun a few times. I also got a few deliveries from friends that cheered me up (read: made me cry because I was an emotional wreck on the edge of reason!) to know that people were thinking of me.
This low feeling stayed for the weekend. I went to my parents’ and ended up watching Philomena. I cried like a baby!!
A few tips to help recover after a laparoscopy
I’ve learnt a few things the hard way that may help, should you go through something similar…
- Have a shower and put on clean clothes. Even though I was getting back into bed, it was nice to feel clean again!
- Stand in the sun/rain/weather a couple of times throughout the day. It’ll at least help you sleep at night.
- RELAX – the world will wait a few more days for your domination. Watch some stupid films and chill the hell out.
- You’re going to be an emotional wreck (or not, I’m sure either is fine but this is a heads up in case you are), so go with it. The sun’ll come out tomorrow, or maybe the day after, but it will come out again.
- Don’t push away the people who care about you and are taking care of you. They might not be doing things the way you’d do them but they’re still doing them for you.
- Ask a friend to call on you a couple of days after – I didn’t want to see anyone afterwards but I think it would have cheered me up massively. My operation was a minor one to remove a foreign body. Others may have needed something more distressing, such as a fallopian tube or ovary, removed. If you think that I felt bad, if I also had to deal with something like an ectopic pregnancy on top of it, I would have felt 100 times worse.
- If you really don’t want to see people, still reply to messages. Be honest about how you’re feeling (I’m finding that easier now I’m feeling better), ironically it’ll start to make you feel happier.
So, that’s where I’m at folks! Am I crazy? Or did you feel similar to this after an operation or laparoscopy?
I’d love any tips on how to cheer up and recover quickly!
My stomach in general feels bloated and a bit uncomfortable (picture me currently sat with jeans unbuttoned, belly hanging out), so while I’d like to get back into exercise, I’m going to hang fire on that marathon for now and just work on walking the dog further than the end of the road!