It has now been a few days since I posted the first blog about this ‘moment’ in my life. I hadn’t quite realised how much sitting upright (at desk), due to gravity was a no no! Or so my body told me. Also it is a heck of a lot easier writing on my iPhone notepad with one hand than typing on a keyboard with a cast on! I’m in discomfort and sometimes pain – most of the time. I search for how long this period will last but it seems everyone is different. Well today it is International Woman’s Day, so I thought it fitting I would continue. Although I feel a little bored of it, so forgive me if I bore you!
27th February 2015: Day 2 – We leave the hospital and my womb behind
I wake up in hospital again, although not really having slept for more than two hours at a time. Along comes my cold toast and I manage a better job with the Marmite today – marginally. That is I don’t feed my sheets, and make it look like I’ve had some kind of bowel accident. My wound dressing is blood soaked but it seems dried now (I hope and pray, as that will aid my escape – if it is dried). For today I am supposed to go home. The nurse came and said that my consultant will be around to discuss what to do about pain relief and stuff and if indeed I can go home. She looked at me kindly and said ‘the notes suggest you are to be discharged today, with a query over tomorrow?!’ That horror hit me then I suddenly I felt well enough to get out of there. ‘I think I’ll be fine’ I claimed! But it would still be a while yet before my release. My Mum and sister came in but I wasn’t really much company. In fact I said ‘I’m not really in the mood for talking’, Mum shuffled off mumbling ‘I saw a canteen somewhere, you stay, I’ll go and have a drink and bacon roll’! My older sister and I chatted away. Off they went, after I point out to Mum ‘that bacon roll wont have done your gallstones much good’!
Hubby came back and I was pleased to see him. I was now on the rectal painkillers and paracetamol. Oh the joy. No really – NOT. Then a health care assistant came by. ‘Hiya, I’ve come to take out your catheter’ she chirped. ‘I don’t have one’ I replied. ‘Oh you already had it out?’ She questioned. With an air of achievement in my voice, I said ‘oh no I never had one’. She was lovely though. We chatted about her training and how her Mum was having some Gynaecological issues. ‘Oh but she’s older than you’ she quips, as we chat. About midday my consultant came by. This was before his afternoon surgery. His clean smart look with his colourful tie brought a small smile to my face. Evidently though, with his remark, my smile inside had not told my face! As he said ‘what’s with the face?’ I wont lie, I was apprehensive. Unsure of what he was about to do (I had been warned by a nurse that he likes to swiftly take off the dressing on Day 2, I told her under no circumstances was i going to let that happen) he came over to me and my wound. Lifted the sheet and went for my tummy and my dressing. ‘No’ I exclaimed ‘don’t take it off, it might bleed’ as I held out my hands and covered my abdomen. I really didn’t want anything to stop me going home, especially not a bleed. ‘Oh come now’ he said, paternally, and gently shooed my hands away, peeling off the dressing. It came away, quite easily, and no blood gush, but once again revealing the angry teeth – that is the staples that held my abdomen together. He put a tissue over a very small bleed and pulled my knickers over it. ‘Don’t worry about that just put more tissue over it. It now needs some air’. He continued ‘So no need to see me again as all is fine. But the nurses will make an appointment for your stitches to be removed on Tuesday and a 6 week physio appointment also will be made. The doctor will come round and give you the sick note and prescription for three more days of voltarol. You can go when you have all this’. So that’s that then. We leave the hospital by 3ish and I’m sitting on my chaise lounge part of the sofa in front of trashy afternoon TV by 4pm.
It’s heavenly at home. No hub bub noise and just comfort, well for now, as I’ve just had a rectal voltoral. My hubby makes chicken broth, and my younger sister comes to get my daughter after eating. That said hubby sleeps in daughters bed for fear of knocking me, but has phone on loud for me to ring. I end up coughing for most of the night which worried him and hurt me. His to do list – get cough medicine! I decided not to take the rectal drugs as despite them being just that, they were actually beginning to irritate my stomach. (Yes I do have a very sensitive tum). I was going to see if I could manage on four hourly paracetamol. It seems that I could. But the coughing was hurting me and I had a bit of blood down below. Not enough to worry about I felt. But this day did bring a stool – I did a poo on getting home. Yippee, my bowels work! So, currently by bladder and bowels work. sleep didn’t come easy but at least I was home and in my bed.
28th February 2015: Day 3 – Saturday and waking at home
Tea and weetabix with prunes. Now that’s gonna keep me going, and indeed it did. Pain and discomfort is bearable so I’m glad I chose not to take the rectal drugs. My gullet/tummy is feeling a bit better for it. I finished reading Fracture by Anne Oakley. I started it before the op, as a colleague thought I might like it given my wrist break. It wasn’t a challenging read, which was good as that would not work for me. But talking me through old bones and women’s bodies (osteoporosis and the menopause) was probably not an ideal topic – still I read on and found it interesting in part. My husband and I did have a little giggle though at my reading – giggling not recommended, well certainly not a belly laugh! . I’m trying not to laugh about the book thing as it hurts but When hubby walked in and saw me reading Fracture He said ‘shall i get you the sequel to Atwood’s Oryx and Crake – The year of the flood‘ as he looked by my bedside and saw a mix of feminist ethics, Nussbaum and I am Malala. I think those are a little ambitious as my head is mushy and tired! He thought Atwood would be more interesting. (I have indeed previously read Oryx and Crake). Although I need easy reading and that is not the easiest of reads. I’m in bed. It’s hard being dependent, but I genuinely can’t really do much at all. Sleep comes again slightly better with the cough mixture.Mind you we watched a couple of Wolf Hall’s. It was good but no belly laughs there fortunately. Bedtime came uneventful, and went as before but sleep was a little better, but still waking.
1st March 2015: Day 4 – sneeze and ouch
The coughing has been helped by the cough mixture, so this means I can sleep for four hours now at night which is great! For the first time I touched just below my cut around the hairy triangle – if there was one just now! And to my surprise it was numb. Didn’t feel like my body. I look this up and I find out that some people never regain full feeling around their cut and below. ‘I hope I do’ I think. Today was when I started sneezing. Three times now and it hurts! I hope no damage is happening. I put a friend off today from visiting. I didn’t feel like company. Although Hubby is here – that’s different. Today is like the others but I didn’t have a nap. Just laid in bed – writing this on my iPhone note pad. Tonight came and more chicken broth, but surprise, I get a home-made apple crumble and soya ice cream. Mmm… The evening just got better – I had a shower. A SHOWER! Now this takes some doing what with the arm in a cast, the very tight DVT stockings and stitches. So call in hubby! He puts on the shower cover on my cast, (I have to be stark naked for this, as once on I cant seem do anything else) and pulls of those not so sexy DVT/VTE stockings. Into the shower – hubby holds shower head over my head as I wanted to wash hair first so that my staples did get too much of a soaking. Of course all of this is with one hand! I then shower all over. Yippee! That was a task and DVT stockings back on! Boo! (although their life is now limited!). 😉
2nd March 2015: Day 5 – more of the same…
Bored of waking up after four hours of sleep and coughing still hurts. I’m wondering if it’s even worth making these notes as I’m boring myself!! But I crack on as maybe it’s just keeping me a little sane. Hubby brings in cuppa (he has taken to setting his alarm to then tend to my tea needs), and joins me with his. Daughter away at her Nan and Granddads while some convalescing goes on. Hubby has stayed in her bed for fear of… ? Anything, my body is a bit broken! Then comes the prunes and weetabix again – but I like it! And it works so cant really knock it. I’m sitting here in bed wondering if my compression stockings are doing more harm than good now they came off last night and back on? Can they cause an embolism if put on wrong? I ponder this while I hear hubby tapping away at his keyboard downstairs in preparation for his conference in Edinburgh next week.
More paracetamol. I’ll just leave the stockings for now. By mid morning I came to realise that maybe peppermint tea really does alleviate wind pain! I hadn’t had any yet today and the gas pain got far worse. ‘can I have peppermint tea please?’ I call weakly downstairs! ‘Of course, any other tea needs?’ He jokingly responds. ‘Yes while you’re there I’ll have a normal one too!’ Mmm… Looking at my body today! I have a half eery toothy smile down below – that’s the staple stitches! My abdomen is still swollen and numb in places. My legs are so covered in hair I’ll probably need buster plug unblocker when I can actually get to shave my legs. By the evening I felt a bit light headed. My pain management is going okay, but it all feels tight across my abdomen. Oh about the stockings. I asked hubby to take them off for a bit after the shower, but I’m not sure they were put on back properly (I mean who knows how to do it anyway!). Tonight they were cutting in just under my knee. I’ve taken them off as worried they might make things worse! Phew what a relief. I guess I am moving a bit. Bedtime arrives – wish this discomfort would disperse. I ponder, ‘will the removal of the metal teeth relieve me of some tight feeling’? I think to myself as I drift off to sleep.
3rd March 2015: Day 6 – Yikes off with the stitches!
Last night I felt a little light headed. Wasn’t doing anything so not sure what that’s all about? Hubby gave me some dinner in the hope that might help. I seemed okay. But now awake and really really tired. ‘I wish I could lay on my side’ I think. Small things eh? The usual routine, hubby got into bed with his cuppa, brief chat and then he goes off do my weetabix and prunes. All working there! The sky is light and I wish I could go for a walk but it’s too soon to walk more than around the house. Just got a text from my older sis (she used to be a nurse) and it said ‘Hi I will be thinking of you today as you have clips out . but the thought of it will be much worse than the having them out believe me I’ve taken so many out and the main problem is fear of the unknown not the removing or pain luv hug and prayer xxxxx’ Aw gotta love her, so matter of fact about my snarling staples. My younger sis will be round soon too. Hubby is going to pick daughter up from her Nan’s as she has lots of medical tests today (CT scan and such like). He will be gone all day. Younger sis (a teacher) managed to get a ‘work from home day’ to keep an eye on me and take me to get these staples out (or clips as my older sis said – ‘clips’? Sounds so much less aggressive than staple, but they don’t feel like a clip!
‘Oh no’, I have some blood when I wipe my nose. I don’t usually suffer from nose bleeds so worry that this is something to do with the op. I look some stuff up and it seems that the oxygen nose thing, dryness and blood thinning drugs given can have some influence over this.Just more crap to think about in my ailing body.
We arrived at the hospital, the car ride very uncomfortable. ‘Mrs Rogers’ the nurse called, my sister and I got up. ‘It’s Dr Rogers actually’ I say. My sister slightly embarrassed by my critique of the Mrs, said flustered ‘oh you’re not that kind of doctor’ ‘no’ I said, but I worked for it and I’m not Mrs Rogers anyway!’ I’m then worried that this might piss off the nurse that was about to take my stitches out! I said ‘oh well’ (me trying to be light hearted, ‘you know I’m a phd actually, not a medical doctor’…. Blah blah trying to be extra nice as we walk into the room where my staples, (the toothy grimace that lie on my lower abdomen), were to be removed – if only! Back from having stitches/staples/clips whatever out! Phew and it was okay – no really! Flinched more than actual pain, but that was the anticipation as there was no pain!
Back home, phew that was an epic journey! Little sis went off and Mum took over, well actually we just sat together and watched deal or no deal! She’s nearly 80 and I’m shattered. After that I decide my book and bed is calling me. Couple more chapters of ‘I am Malala’ which feels like a mixture of the News, Homeland with a pinch of Brick Lane, all through the eyes of Malala a teenage girl. It’s good. But then sleep beckons and off I drift. Phone on silent and dark outside, I remember my niece was coming over to take over from Mum! The text message read ‘can you open the gate please?’. Oops, but it was fine, Mum had sorted it. Off Mum goes and my batteries are re-charged, well with this temporary low level energy anyhow. We chat, while i direct her through making my dinner (which had largely been prepped by hubby and left over from last night!). She then put out the washing on the clothes horse. I know it doesn’t get more exciting than that! Crash on the A12 and Hubby and daughter are held up. The delay is fine as I was enjoying chatting with my lovely niece, young and enthusiastic as she is. A joy to be around. Unfortunately someone would not be having a good evening, as I think of the crash victims that held my hubby up. Daughter dropped back at Nan’s and hubby home. We settle down for some TV. We go for Fortitude and watch the extra long starter one and then another. The evening was tainted by news on my Facebook networks of the death of a 3 year old little girl with the same condition as my daughter (M-CM). God keep her safe and thoughts are with her family. Bed again, discomfort, again and now I have to wait to take my next dose of paracetamol. Two steps forward, one step back as I feel pain. I then drift off, but to awake for more drugs at 5.50am.
4th March 2015: Day 7 – Fabulous friends
Hubby out all day today working. I had friends planned for today! My wonderful friends. So one that I met at uni and shared a house with back in the day turned up with gifts, food and prosecco in hands. Oh she knows me so well (although I did decline breaking open the bubbles just yet!). We had a brilliant few hours catching up, first in the bed chatting. Peppermint tea was made and we continued. But by late morning I felt the need to have a shower! So naked as the day I was born – I stood in front of her. I wonder if we will giggle about his when we are old. I couldn’t do much after the cast shower cap was on! I felt incredibly vulnerable, not with this friend per se, but just usually if we are naked it is a choice and …. Well it’s just different. But we were fine!! She didn’t care, nor did I really. On went the cast bag and she changed the bed clothes while I was in my en-suite shower. One handed hair washing and so on is a sight to behold when the usual ritual is two handed.
Yay, day clothes on and picnic lunch eaten…. Mmm… Cheeses, samosa, breads… We chatted futures, jobs and all sorts. Time passes and next friend arrives. Now this one I’ve know since we were 12 at school! Seeing each other is like we were never apart! That’s friends. Pain, not so bad, but kind of gets worse as the day goes on. Peeing okay but a bit of discomfort. Door bell goes and off friend goes down the stairs. More flowers. I have many beautiful flowers now but am running out of vases! Friend leaves late afternoon, hubby is almost home, and I go to bed. I awake to the dark outside and we eat delish homemade mildly spicy squash and chick pea soup and settle down to some TV. An Emmerdale and two episodes of Fortitude later and bedtime arrives again. Hubby takes himself to another room. It won’t be long before he’s back, but didn’t want an accidental role or knock just now! Sleep arrives a little later.
5th March 2015: Day 8 – a plateau, do I continue?
Waking up again, this time at 5.10am with some discomfort, I wish I would sleep all night, but no. more paracetamol and again some rest. Wind pain again as I awake at 7ish but this time before the prunes, so they are not the culprit as i was wondering. I wait for my tea needs to be met as my hubby’s alarm goes off at a distance! Today I got more flowers – beautifying the house. Mind you it’s now got to the stage where we have no vases! Off hubby goes to buy one! I try to do some pelvic exercises in bed – tilt, stretch, squeeze is the name of the game I think! More of the same and nothing to add… Except we settle down in the evening to a box set of Breaking Bad – Season 2. Crack of 3 episodes. Fab stuff.
6th March 2015: Day 9 – False joy
Kind of yippee! I didn’t wake at 5 or 6 am to take paracetamol and pee! I think I might actually have woken but willed myself back to sleep! Then woke up at 7. I think some of my nerves might be waking up around my cut. It hurts but not in a way that is worrying me – yet. By 9.30am the single bed was being delivered! Just got to sit back and watch. It’s not like I can even make the bed and I have all that nice matching quilt cover and pillowcases! Oh well some lovely family member or friend will oblige I’m sure.
I’ve had another bed and book day. I started reading one of the Kant’s questions series on Being Human but I don’t have the head for it now!! I am still uncomfortable in two places really – under the cut, outside and inside, but also I feel some discomfort in the bladder region. I shall see how that goes then. I’m tired though now it’s the afternoon with tea and cheesecake in hand, watching deal or no deal as I can’t focus. Too tired. Later on sit at my desk! But before that I go and have a peek at the new bed. Horror of horrors the base of the bed is a different colour to the headboard! How is it that the delivery men brought the bed up three flights of stairs and attached the headboard and not notice that the board was sand colour and the base grey! So on the phone I get. I explain that I was a week out of hospital after hysterectomy and so didn’t inspect the bed on arrival (hubby signed for it!). She was fine and apologised and said ‘we will get the sandy colour base out as soon as possible, but in the meantime do use the bed’! I do believe we will! 1 and half hour later after having sat at the desk top I realise this was not a good idea. So far i have been sitting or laying in bed, or sitting on my chaise lounge bit of the sofa with a wander round the house every now and then. Oh No, sitting at the computer is too much gravity for my internals. Oh well, leave it for now then. And oooohhhh my bladder is in discomfort! Aaarrggghhhh…… No I’m in discomfort! All of me! More paracetamol after an evening of more breaking bad box set. Need to sleep…
7th March 2015: Day 10 The Womb’s ‘lost’ long live the story
I blogged it, last night, the first couple of days, for my friends who want to know and anyone who might be interested! ‘How do I feel?’ I’m asked. Don’t know really. I kind of don’t really care if people in general don’t like it, are squeamish or it’s all a bit TMI or boring. All the time people are sending me shite that I would not choose to read, games I don’t want to play, things I don’t want to share, so why ask me!!? Does that mean I hate social media. NOT ONE BIT. I love the fact that despite the little interruptions, if you could call them that, I get to see and communicate with my vast and wonderful family and collections of friends all over. In ways unthinkable years ago.Onto more important issues – hubby brought me up a toasted cinnamon and raisin bagel covered in crunchy peanut butter and Marmite. Mmm…. Well it is the weekend and I’m hardly going to be cutting shapes in town! Maybe weetabix and prunes for lunch? … Or maybe not! I had hubby’s home made mushroom soup and cranberry bread.
So little sis came over and helped (well actually not helped as that implies i did something!) to make bed up for my friend who is coming on Monday for a couple of nights while hubby is away at a conf. Then she helped me with the shower – I still need a bit of help, largely due to the fact I have a cast on my arm (roll on 26th March and when it comes off!). So standing naked as the day I was born while she puts it on – again. How many people will see me like this!! As once it’s on I can’t really do anything like take of clothes etc… I’m getting used to washing hair with one hand! Still all done and off she goes. ‘See you next week’ she calls up, ‘ta da’ I say as she leaves.
More of the same – still discomfort and more paracetamol. But the sun is shining and I wish I could be outside. Hubby says ‘I know you can’t really walk anywhere, but how about a spin out to Dedham with the roof down’. ‘Yes, great’ I answer with glee. Alas after 10 mins in the car and silence from me (I’m clinging on, not because he is going fast, but because I am really not okay with this), he asks ‘everything okay?’ ‘No’ I say miserably ‘take me home’. He of course does so and on route gets petrol. We get home and he says ‘sorry, I thought it would be a good idea’. I respond quickly ‘don’t be silly it was, but I guess too soon’. The vibrations of the road were too much to take.’ Oh well, I’ve learned in the last 24 hours I can’t sit at desk for long at all, and can’t go out I the car yet. Patience is needed. I go back to bed and sleep till darkness arrives. Later on I enjoy dinner and The Voice. But sleep tonight took an age to come. It’s a quandary as I feel I need sleep to recover, but then can’t get off to sleep.
8th March 2015: Day 11 Sunday and International Woman’s Day
Pondering last nights dinner it was fab – Saturday night so why not, go the whole nine yards! It was roast chicken, roast potatoes and (according to hubby) pimped up Waldorf salad! Superb. Then lemon tart with soya ice cream. Here’s the thing, hubby is a fantastic chef. This has not changed since my wrist break or op! Now I’ve said ‘small portions please, I’m not doing anything!’ He loves cooking for me though. We are now 11 days post op and more days since I’ve been to the gym due to the week before being immobile because of wrist break. Oh what’s a girl to do! It’s not like he’s a ‘fat feeder’!! But I really really miss moving and moving fast. The last two days though have made me realise it’ll be a while before I’m working out. I knew that, but it was abstract. I hadn’t thought what that really meant. It’s hit home though – the reality is I ain’t gonna be working out for a while! Working out!? Just a walk would be good! Back to real life and on my bed, having eaten more weetabix and prunes I awoke in pain. It’s hard as I so want to NOT be in pain, obviously! More paracetamol – I hate taking them but need to just now.
So it’s International Woman’s Day and I’m lying in bed lacking a womb. I remember back to when I shaved my head bald over 20 years ago for charity (yes charity mate), and it was quite long! People asked me (female friends) if I felt I had lost my femininity or feeling like a woman. ‘No not at all’ I actually felt free! Not sure what from, but it didn’t cause me any angst about my female identity. (I did hate the skinhead phase though on growing it out, largely because my clothes looked odd). I found the question odd as I was so much more than my hair. How and why would that define me (okay let’s not get into Mead and Cooley here! I know our appearance as a sociologist is critical in identity formation). But my womb? Well unlike my hair, it won’t grow back, protect a baby, be visible in its absence to others. But I know it’s gone – forever. Not sure I’m really ready to have that conversation with myself just yet as it’s tied into the twin miscarriage, fertility lack (or sub fertility as it was so compassionately called) and I need to heal physically before I go down that route! But I did think it fitting to begin the conversation on international woman’s day. This is because I am now lacking the single most obvious thing (internally) that makes me a woman (the ability to produce children biologically). I don’t actually believe this however is the case of course, nevertheless I can’t take away the fact that the truth is I no longer have a womb. Despite my age at 46 (I know crazy eh?) I will never again hope I am pregnant on a monthly basis or get terribly disappointed when not (or worse still feel exhausted yet again as another tale waggler meets egg, parties, has a one night stand and finds they really aren’t compatible). But I digress? All of this, has an impact upon my life and my work. Women are disadvantaged in that way. I have had to suffer with fractures to my months for years, then the op. Bang. Stop work. I can’t even sit at my desk for long (must remember only 11 days post op!). But in the grand scheme it is a big deal when thinking about work and equality. For all women. Childbearing and gynaecological issues. Still. just on little old me, for now I need to get back to me, or discover new me’s. I then wonder if I can take a short walk out today – I haven’t had an Americano for nearly two weeks!!