Today was the day. Surgery #5. I got the call yesterday around 12:30pm with my arrival time of 7:45am. Last night, I packed up my necessities (not as much as for my hip surgeries) and came up to my parents. We had some major storms last night with heavy rain, strong winds, and tornado watches….so I didn’t get much sleep. I had my alarm set for 5:20am, but awoke to the storm and one of my parents dogs in my bed at 4am. I wasn’t able to fall back asleep. My mom and I left for Columbus at 6:20am. Luckily we didn’t hit any bad weather (no major downpours) or traffic. We arrived at 7:45am, right on time!
I was checked in, signed all the paperwork, and was taken back to pre-op. In pre-op, I changed into my gown, marked the surgical site, peed in a cup (not pregnant!) then I was taken to my pre-op bed. I had prepared a sheet of my medications/supplements and the last time I took them, so that saved time. Once in bed, it was time for BP and IV. My BP wasn’t great, but it wasn’t terrible either (139/93)- my BP runs all over the place, so knowing that I was in pain and having surgery, I was happy with this number! Next, another nurse came in to start my IV. She wanted to start it on the left, but she didn’t like any of the vein options so she wanted to look at the right side. She found one in the fold of my arm that was acceptable, but it wasn’t her favorite spot….it only took one stick. I had to be there 2 hours early (rather than the typical 1 hour) because I needed Vancomycin rather than other antibiotics because of my allergies and it takes longer to run Vanco. So, then the waiting game began. My mom came back and we chatted, I looked at Facebook, read a little, and rested. Finally around 9:30am the anesthesiologist came and talked to me. About 10 minutes later my surgeon came in, he made sure I marked the surgical site, he went over a brief spiel of his plan and recovery since I’m a repeat customer. I had one question about the potential of a recurrent hernia on the left. I had felt some twinges on the left and since I knew he was going to be in there I wanted him to fix it if there was one. He assured me that there was no way for a recurrence and with the mesh in there I would feel twinges occasionally. The last thing he said to me as he walked out was that this surgery has a higher potential for requiring an open approach due to my previous hernia surgery and scar tissue. He said he was going to attempt laparoscopically but wanted to make sure I understood the potential. The consent had both on it, so I was aware, but I was glad he said something specifically to me about it prior to surgery! I need to be able to mentally prepare for these things!
The surgical nurse came to get me. I said goodbye to my mom and stopped off at the bathroom on the way back to OR. Once we arrived in the OR the nurse stated the time (9:54am) and they all started their tasks. I always like to see the OR’s and this is only the second surgery (of the five) that they didn’t start the Versed before we got into the OR…..typically I am too relaxed and out of it to remember many details! Today I moved over to the surgical table from the cart, talked to the nurse anesthetist, and looked around the OR room before she started the Versed and put the oxygen mask on my face. After that I have no memory until recovery. I remember attempting to wake up which is always difficult for me. My shoulders were super painful! I noticed them and a little bit of abdominal discomfort when I would move. My nurse came in and asked how my pain was (I was doing some deep breathing due to the pain). She offered me some meds. Yes please!!! I also asked for a hot blanket to drape on my shoulders because they hurt so much from the gas they pump in. She came back with IV pain meds and started those and gave me a second dose because I was still in pain. I also let her know I was nauseated, she gave me something for that too, which took that away thankfully!!! When I was finally starting to feel semi-comfortable she asked if I wanted crackers or something to drink. No crackers for me, but I did want some water. After I had some water and rested for awhile (also finishing my IV antibiotic) she asked about my pain again. It was there again. She offered me PO norco, but she wanted me to eat something prior to taking them. She offered crackers again. I told her that my mom had a box of gluten free (and allergen free) crackers that I brought (the last thing I wanted was to be in the bathroom with stomach issues all day today!!!). She said she’d go get them from her and get me the meds. She came back with both and I had some crackers and pain meds. At some point in this process she let me know that Dr. Leff had to convert to an open procedure. Once I finally felt awake and steady she took me over to sit in a chair. She brought my mom back and went over all the discharge paperwork. As we were going over the paperwork my surgeon popped his head in. He asked me how the pain was and I could tell he was checking to make sure I was ok because he had to convert to open. I asked him about the size and repair a little and then he was off to his next surgery. I was very thankful for him stopping in to check on me! My mom helped me get dressed and then we walked out to the car!
It was about 12:45pm when we left. On our way home the sun came out (yeah!) for a little bit. We stopped and got gas because it was way cheaper in Columbus than Dayton and made a pit stop at my house to grab the few things from my house that I had forgotten!
When we finally made it home I went directly to the recliner. My mom set up my ice machines for me and brought me some food! I had made a big batch of mashed cauliflower and chicken zoodle soup last weekend in preparation. My incision site pain was minimal, but my shoulder pain was horrible. I started a chart to keep ahead of the pain. I put heating pads on my shoulders. I got nervous when I got an intense pain in the center of my chest that radiated under my breasts. It was worse when I was standing. It would eventually settle once I sat down for awhile, but would come back every time I got up. I almost called my surgeons office, but did research first and found that it is normal after laparscopic surgery from the CO2. I watched TV and hung out. Mom made dinner. I decided to attempt sleeping in bed because I don’t sleep well in the recliner (last surgery I couldn’t make it in the bed more than 15 minutes!). Off to bed I went. More on my recovery tomorrow!!