Tuesday 7th August 2018 was the day that a seven year old question was finally answered – is it all in my head?
My day started at 5:45am when the alarm went off, and I had to start getting ready to head to the hospital. I left the flat and started the hour long bus journey to the hospital making sure I arrived before the 7:30am admission time I had been given.
There were 6 of us on my ward waiting for a laparoscopy, and I must have been the youngest there by about 15-20 years. We were all assigned our bed, and given the gown, disposable underwear and stockings we had to wear. The next couple of hours involved a numer of pre op checks, and many consultations. I had four seperate consultations with my anaesthetist, consultant, surgeon and med students who would be assisting with the procedure. I was the last to be taken down for my laparoscopy at 2pm, after six and a half hours of waiting – I read some books and magazines, and watched a lot of Netflix (although it was probably a mistake to watch a baking programme when I wasn’t allowed to eat anything!).
By the time I was taken down for surgery I was exhausted from the early start, the restless nights sleep and not really being able to sleep while waiting for my surgery. The lack of food and drink for the past 17 hours, my pre-opp nerves (I’d never had any form of surgery before) and my needle phobia was a bad combination, especially with the lack of sleep thrown in. There was a small panic attack, and a few tears as the canular went in, but the nurse from my ward had come down to pre-op with me and she was really good. We’d been talking about handbags earlier in the day, so she spoke about them again to distract me and instead of counting down from 10 when they got me to breate in the anaesthetic gas, I was naming designer handbags!
My 15 minute surgery ended up lasting over 2 hours, and I woke up in recovery feeling very disorientated at about half four. I was in an excruciating amount of pain, as they had started to put a local anaesthetic cream on my abdomen to reduce the pain when I woke up, but found out I was allergic to it, so they didn’t use it and I could feel all the pain from my incisions. Because of this, I was given 2 doses of morphine, which was fantastic for the pain, but it made me drift in and out of consciousness. Because of the tube placed down my throat during surgery my throat and mouth were really sore and dry. This made it painful to breathe, and my morphine addled brain dacided it was a good idea not to breathe cause that would help with the pain. Probably not my best idea – and I tried to explain this to the nurse but surprisingly she didn’t agree with me. Once my heart rate and breathing became stable and no longer needed monitoring, I was taken back to my ward to recover further.
By the time I got back to the ward, the other five women had all been discharged and it was about half past five. I kept asking everyone what had happened during my surgery, and if they had found anything, but no one would tell me. They just said that the surgeon had spoken to me when I woke up and that no one could tell me. Obviously I didn’t remember any of this, so I was getting really worked up worrying that they’d found something really serious because no one would tell me – because if everything was fine, why wouldn’t they tell me?
The consultant explained to me that they’d found stage IV endometriosis and adenomyosis during the surgery, and removed as much of the endometriosis as they could – but some still remained. After she left I felt a big mix of emotions as I took everything in. I felt relieved that there was nothing more serious wrong with me and that they had found something wrong so it wasn’t all in my head, grateful to finally know what was wrong with me, frustrated that I had been right for the past 7 years and I hadn’t been listened to and overwhelmed by my everything I’d been told.
I ended up staying overnight for more observation, and had one of the worst nights sleep of my life. There was so much noise on the ward from the patient next to me, who was very uncomfortable and obviously didn’t want to be in the hospital. I was so uncomfortable as my pain meds wore off and the remaining gas from the surgery irritated my diaphragm, sending referred pain to my shoulder and ribs.
By 10am I’d been told they were going to discharge me, and my partner came to pick me up. The car journey home was nothing short of hell. I had a cushion between my incisions and the seatbelt, but they didn’t hurt as bad as my shoulders. Every small bump in the journey sent shooting pain through my shoulders as the gas in my abdomen was dislodged. There were points where the pain got so bad that I couldn’t even talk or breathe. I would get so breathless just by saying half a sentence.
Getting home was such a relief, I camped out on the sofa and watched some of my favourite films, and had my lovely partner looking after me.