…and A Merry Christmas Was Had By All

December 2010

My 2 week delay for surgery ended up being a nice reprieve. Except for the fact that the pain from the fibroids got worse over the fortnight, I was able to enjoy my birthday and wedding anniversary and finish the all-important Christmas shopping. Santa is just not as reliable at getting it all done as he was when I was 5.

As the date drew closer I realised I was really nervous about the surgery. Nervous about several aspects of it: the resulting pain was one, but for some reason the actual prospect of going under anaesthetic and  maybe having something go wrong became a real fear. I have had several surgeries over the years, but this was the first time I was gripped by that fear.

The hospital, different to the previous stay, was about 20minutes further away, so we were up at 5.45am and on the road. I was shown through to a waiting room to be processed, admitted, and meet with the anaesthetist. With Christmas 10 days away, the waiting room was full with surgical patients all waiting for their pre-festive season snip. 4 hours later, it was finally my turn. The anaesthetist came in to prep me and the next thing I remember I was in my room waking up from the surgery. That was really strange. All the surgeries I’d ever had before, I was awake when being wheeled into the operating theatre and did the count-down backwards from 100. I felt a bit ripped off! I always liked seeing how far I could get before I zonked.

The first night, I had a drip with fluids and pethedine with a self-administering clicker. I was aware that it’s good to stay on top of the pain and not wait until the pain starts before having pain relief. I’d never used a clicker before, so everytime I woke through the night I gave it another click so I wouldn’t wake up in pain. The night seemed to go on forever, so by the time the sun rose, I realised I’d probably been waking up every 15 minutes or so and having another hit of meds. When General Melchard (surgeon) came to see me, the nurse pointed out that I must have had a rough night as I’d clicked an awful lot. Needless to say they removed my clicker!

I had a fabulous view from my room. It was extremely therapeutic for someone who lives on a boat to have something beautiful to look at while recovering. I even took photos of the sunrise while I was coming out of my pethedine haze! In fact, everything about the hospital was top class. The nurses were great. The food was gluten and dairy free, and yet tasty! A physiotherapist came to see me first thing in the morning to help me get out of bed and have a shower. That was quite an experience with all the tubes and drips hanging off me. Just after, the doctor came and ordered everything to be taken out, including the drainage tube that was stitched into the wound. If childbirth is anything close to having a 20cm tube of rubber removed then give me a puppy cos that was so painful I went into shock. I couldn’t stop shaking.

The next morning I woke up with random sore muscles. I updated my Facebook status with “I need a massage and a cup of tea”. 5 minutes later, my friendly hospital physiotherapist popped in, gave me a massage, took me for a walk, and made me a cup of tea. Uncanny!I wish I’d asked for chocolate and cash instead!

The rest of my hospital stay was uneventful aside from trying to get the right combination of pain relief for when I went home. I didn’t like taking endone, also known as hippy heroin, so I switched to panadeine forte followed by nurofen. Except for a headache I suspected was coming from my neck from lying in bed too long, I was ready to be discharged on Day 5.

The night before, Hubby decided to get our hosueboat ready for my return by taking it to the nearby marina to fill up with water and use the shore power to vacuum. Awwww, you might say. What a sweet thoughtful husband. Well yes, except that while he was at the marina, a very strong wind picked up suddenly, making it impossible for him to weave back to the mooring through the other boats, for fear of hitting another boat or getting beached on the sandbar. By the next morning, the wind had not abated, so he was still stranded in a little cove nearby taking shelter. I rang his mum to come for the 90 minute drive to collect me. He was stranded until 8pm that evening. Not entirely his fault, but not his finest moment either!

My recovery at home was fine except for the headache that got progressively worse over the next 2 days, by which time, it was far worse than the pain from the surgery. As I am medicated for high blood pressure, I decided to check what my reading was – 149/97. Not good. I assumed that was the culprit, as the hospital had taken me off my BP meds while I was there. My sister, a nurse, and my GP both agreed it was a rebound headache from the panadeine forte. With a history of low back pain, I had practically lived on panadeine forte for years. Now I realise that I was probably getting treatment for neck pain and headaches that were being caused by the codeine that I was taking for the lower back pain. It has certainly made me realise that plain old panadol isn’t the lightweight you think it is.

Throughout my recovery, I haven’t given any thought at all as to whether this operation will enable me to fall pregnant. At this stage, I’ve decided it’s quite a low priority. The fibroids have made me feel so unwell and I’ve already gone past my cut-off age for trying to conceive. I was looking for something that would help me make the decision to close the door on this chapter of my life and it’s going to be 3 months before I can try to conceive anyway. By that time, hopefully, I will have made my decision either way.

So Christmas has come and gone and I am trying to get as much rest as possible as I have a big singing engagement on New Year’s Eve. I need to sound great, look fabulous, and most important, be upright.