I had my open myomectomy on June 10 at 7:30 in the morning at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children. Check in was 5am & my dad dropped me off; Admissions is inside an office with a waiting room in which you sign in then wait for someone in the sealed off cubicles to call your name.
I was the only person there at 5am & it took only about 15 minutes for one of the girls in the cubicles to call me up. I handed her my papers, she asked me a bunch of questions, gave me some other papers (HIPAA crap) to sign, she asked for my ID & insurance card (which was not listed in the instructions, but fortunately I had brought them just in case), & then I spent another half hour in the waiting room, which filled up quickly to the point of Standing Room Only & we all sat/stood there not looking at each other. The dude next to me started snoring.
Someone came to call us to the surgery floor (basement) in 3s. Once there, a girl who talked really fuckin’ fast walked me to a curtained room & handed me a package then explained what to do next to me. I’m not stupid & she wasn’t telling me anything that difficult, but I had just come out of a waiting room coma, so I had to ask her to repeat herself a few times. I also told her that she spoke really fast. I’m not sure she understood me.
I couldn’t remember anything she said but fortunately the stuff she’d given me had instructions. I put on the lavender gown & purple socks, inspected & decided not to use the warm air hose next to the bed.
Next, a tech named Vicki came by to take some blood. She stuck me in one try with a 23 gauge, got her vials, & we chatted about different places on the mainland. Some doctor – not mine, presumably the student who would be participating in my case – stopped by to introduce himself. That was cool except he didn’t speak English very clearly. I told him I was looking forward to going home this afternoon.
An RN – I don’t know why I can’t remember her name because she spent the most time with me – came by after that. She put my IV in (18 gauge) with no problems. She knew my dad, & was pleased to hear he was doing well. The anesthesiologist, a very very adorable older Chinese guy, came by to introduce himself & she informed me he was the favorite of the anesthesia staff. The RN informed him whose daughter I was & he seemed very pleased to meet my father’s daughter. My dad showed up presently & proceeded to receive hugs & salutations from all the nurses. Yawn.
Eventually, my doctor showed up & I was wheeled into the OR. The entire staff was moving super fast; they were strapping my arms down & the anesthesiologist informed me he was giving me a sedative. I asked him what sedative that was because it was really good… then the air mask came down & the next thing I remember is being wheeled out & hearing them tell me they had removed 16 fibroids. I’d lost 800cc of blood. Overachiever, me.
The first thing was the catheter. I’ve been told a Foley is great, but it hurt like a mother fucker. Seriously, omg. I couldn’t feel anything but the excruciating pressure on my pee pee. Good God. When they finally took it out, I could actually begin to tell if I was hurting from the actual surgery. Which I was. The nurse kept trying different IV pain meds on me, but nothing made much difference, & she kept asking me to tell her where my pain was on a scale of 1 to 10. I told her 7, then 5, then 7… & then I told her I was full of shit & I didn’t actually know, ha ha.
My mom & my sister showed up around this time & hung out with me until I decided there was no point in staying there any longer around 4pm. I knew the pain wasn’t going to change. I’d asked the nurses about my chances of ripping my stitches getting up & down, & they assured me it was minimal, so there was no point in my remaining in the hospital. I might as well suffer at home; I knew my dogs needed to pee by now. I took a Tramadol & it seemed to help.
The rest of that evening was just misery. Friends called & texted to see how I was or offer to take me out to eat, which was nice. I had a pathetic pained look on my face probably nonstop. I lay in bed with an ice pack except when my parents picked up dinner; I managed a very little bit of the hot kook soo & then projectiled it an hour or so later when they were leaving. Fortunately I am a skilled puker (many years of alcohol consumption) so there was virtually no clean up & they were able to go home.
The dogs’ reaction to my injured state was interesting. They were careful not to touch me or jostle me, & all 3 camped out on the bed whenever I lay down, all facing away from me. It was almost like a defensive formation. Once I invited them to come closer to me, they eagerly did. I would have intense pain lying down & sitting up, & Boomer would react to this by crying loudly until I informed him I was ok. Then he would happily climb up & curl up against me. Madeline put her head down on my stomach a few times, causing me to cry out; this freaked her out immensely & each time she retreated to the far end of the bed & huddled there in confusion, not looking at me.
Day 2 was better; I could move around. I did a little laundry, walked around. My entire abdomen was (is) swollen & sensitive to the touch; everything inside was bruised, as would be expected. I tried not taking the Tramadol, but the abdominal pain persuaded me back on. I managed to eat some crackers, somen, a little rice & rare steak. I think I managed about 200 calories for the day. My dad assured me my body was in calorie conservation mode so I shouldn’t expect much. Dammit. My parents made trout & mustard cabbage soup for dinner; I ate what I could before my stomach started cramping again.
Day 3 was even better. I was able to take a shower! I called the doctor’s office at 9 to ask if I could remove the humongous bandage, because it was beginning to give me hives, & by 10 my doctor’s office girls still hadn’t gotten an answer, so I asked them to just inform him the bandage was coming off. I picked up the dog poop, took out trash. I stayed on the Tramadol. I managed some half sized meals & found I really liked the snap pea crisps my mom got me. I decided the rare steak I’d cooked for myself Monday night to last the week wasn’t going to last so I put it in the freezer. I really wanted some vegetable tempura. I also noted a lot of gas pain. I was farting, but I hadn’t had a bowel movement. I spent most of Thursday night trying to poop. I knew it was a little early to expect a post-op poop, but I wanted to keep overachieving. No poop occurred. It was very frustrating.
So now it’s Day 4. I pooped today. A bunch of rocks, & I had to put Neosporin on my butthole afterward, but I can’t even describe how excellent it was to finally take a crap. I think the Tramadol has stopped working, so I haven’t taken any today. It still feels like someone punched me in the gut, but if it’s not a damage indicator, I can ignore it. I’ve been careful not to jeopardize my stitches. I did drive to a nearby Japanese restaurant for some take out, & I stopped at the grocery store for poke & bread. My abdomen is still quite swollen, but I’m quite happy with my recovery so far. I’m going back to work tomorrow.
I’m posting this partly because I might not remember all this stuff when the Alzheimers kicks in, but also for any other women getting myomectomies. Feel free to ask questions about my experience if you have any; I’m sure there is plenty I’ve left out of my account. I consider myself a relatively fast healer but I’m not sure if my recovery is faster than average.
Below is a photo of my 4″ incision on Day 3; if you’re squeamish you might not wish to scroll down. It’s covered with an airtight adhesive glue which I assume the doctor will remove when it’s time. There is a bunch of bruising coming out above & below it; today there’s a much larger area of purple. This might be due to my incessant squatting in my quest for an early bowel movement; sitting is pretty uncomfortable because of the pressure it puts on the incision. I also heard that the bandage might have been meant to stay on longer, but I never heard back from my doctor’s office so… meh.