Hysterectomy Recovery: Week 1

hysterrecov

It’s been 6 days since my hysterectomy. Six long days. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions, but I suppose that’s par for the course. (You can read about my uterine journey here…as long as you’re not too squeamish.) Before my surgery I thought I had a pretty good handle on what to expect for recovery. I’m young and healthy. How hard could it be to snap right back? But it is slowly sinking in that my expectations weren’t very realistic. This recovery is already more of a process than I thought it would be. Here’s an overview of what’s it’s been like so far:

Surgery Day:  I’m beyond grateful that I had such wonderful care on surgery day. Everything went extremely well…especially the part where I was hallucinating in the recovery room. (Those meds will mess with your head, you guys.) It was so nice of that little gray cat to join me in my hospital room as I was waking up. And the imaginary lotion I kept rubbing on my arms was equally as enjoyable. But seriously, I had a wonderful care team. And I was pleasantly surprised that they sent me home the same night so I could get a good night’s sleep in my own bed.

Pain:  When I first came home from the hospital I was on alternating Vicodin and prescription ibuprofen. The first few days were pretty intense. Lots of pain from the laparoscopic incisions, as well as pain on “the inside” too. A great deal of laying in bed, and plenty of sleeping. Another huge source of pain in the first day or two was the gas! Whenever they operate laparoscopically doctors fill your abdomen up like a balloon with air.  The gas pain comes from any air that gets left in there after surgery.  On the first night it was scary bad. I couldn’t catch my breath and it felt like I was having a heart attack. But thankfully, after a very flatulent night three (sorry for the TMI) the gas pain subsided. Today, almost a week out, Tylenol and Advil are doing the trick. I’m happy to be up and around getting a few small things done around the house. My main struggle is that I’m just  plain tired! Apparently a healing body will wipe your energy right out. Who knew? I generally wake up feeling good. But as the day goes on I start dragging. I have to re-assure myself that it’s okay to sit on the couch and do nothing. Maybe even *gasp* take a little nap in the day. This is a new concept for me. 

Entertainment: Being laid up has really given me a chance to discover obscure daytime TV. For example, there was super rad Beverly Hills 90210 marathon on one day. I had forgotten how dramatic that show was. And it was fascinating to see how teenagers from my era interacted without cell phones. On one episode Brenda got separated from her friends in Palm Springs and it took her ALL WEEKEND to find them! Hilarious. Another fantastic way to pass the time has been watching bootlegged broadway musicals on YouTube. There are tons of them, you guys. I also watched lots of Little House on the Prairie — set in the 1880’s…yet somehow ripe with 1980’s hair styles. And then there was a fascinating documentary on the Roosevelt family, just to keep things legit. But you can understand why I’m glad the “laying in bed watching TV” phase has passed. 

Emotions: The emotions involved with this surgery and recovery have taken me by surprise. I was told to expect a feeling of loss, like I’m “less of a woman” without my uterus. Nope. None of that here. What I’m feeling right now is complete frustration. My mind is telling me to get up and get going, get back to normal. But my body is resisting. I’m exhausted. And it’s hard to wrap my head around that. Probably the most frustrating is that I have these two persistent assholes (my husband and my mom) who care about me so much that they are forcing me to follow doctors orders and not over-do things. Can you believe that shit? She won’t let me drive my kids anywhere. And he won’t let me carry a damn load of laundry upstairs. It’s making me feel helpless. And useless. And crabby. And grateful, I suppose.

I knew going into this that it was going to be a difficult thing for me to hand over control of things for a while. And logic would say that I should be enjoying this break. But it’s not that easy for me to sit still and rest. I miss driving my kids around in that stupid minivan. I just want things to be back to normal. And I know they will. Eventually things will be better than ever, right? Until then I’ll count my blessings. I’ll  thank my husband and my Mom for picking up the slack and forcing me to sit down. And I’ll smile to myself every time I think about how I was supposed to get my period next week. Hey! I guess things really could be worse. Perspective is everything.

Comments

  1. Thank you, Marie, for your post. I am officially 7-days post-op and am finding it extremely helpful. I’m trying to decide how open I want to be with my experience…thank you for candor.
    Aisha Johnson recently posted…At Last, My Project Table has Come AlongMy Profile

  2. Layla Coats says:

    I’m researching and found this a positive, the exact surgery I’m told I need, my only question that still in my mind, orgasim. Is this part still working? Very frightened as I read a lot that says no…..

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  1. […] more of a toll than I expected. I wrote about it on one particularly cranky day. You can read it here. So week one wasn’t exactly the rest, relaxation and respite from my family that I was […]

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