Yesterday I got my eagerly anticipated hysterectomy! Overall it went well and Hestia was practically perfect!
Since last time Brad was really struggling after he drove me to this area (I had to go over an hour away to Columbia for surgery thanks to my insurance), his parents offered to drive us. It was very very sweet of them to offer!
They came over and we left at 6AM, after I had taken Hestia for a long potty walk. Luckily traffic wasn’t bad. Brad’s dad drove us there and Hestia had a good time cuddling with Brad’s mom in the backseat with us on the way down!
When we got into the hospital, I went to check in and no one said a word about Hestia. They didn’t say anything nice or mean, just treated it like it was normal– I was so pleased! They separated Brad’s parents from us almost immediately.
I went to the pre-op area where they placed an IV, had me get changed, etc. I had to ask twice for them to bring Brad’s parents back to the area– I guess most people don’t want a lot of people with them in pre-op. I was glad to have the support, both for me and for Brad!
While we were waiting for Brad’s parents to arrive, Brad got lots of pictures of Hestia and me in the hospital bed. He got some really good ones! For those who don’t know, I really wanted pictures, so Brad did a good job following orders!
Most of the nurses were great about Hestia and very respectful. Many offered their hand to her to sniff before they touched me, saying they just wanted her to know that they weren’t going to hurt me. That was totally fine, Hestia would sniff their hand and then the nurses would do what they needed to do.
One nurse came in and started petting her without asking, which was bothersome, but at that point I had decided that I wanted the best nursing care possible so I’d just let people pet or do whatever so long as it wasn’t hurting me. Luckily that nurse was only in for a few seconds.
My doctor and anesthesiologist came in to talk with me, and that all went fine. They were very conscious about my nausea issues and gave me a patch to put behind my ear for nausea. I can leave it on for up to 3 days to prevent nausea.
The one time Brad’s parents had to leave the room was when a nurse came to shave me down to prepare for the surgery. I am a very open person, but not that open he he he!
Hestia stayed on my bed with me until the last second before they wheeled me down the hallway. I got to the OR and moved onto the operating table, and then the anxiety hit. I started to lose it a little bit, a panic attack was coming on. I think the heart rate monitor showed it, so they put me under ASAP!
When I woke up, the first thing I remember when I opened my eyes was the nurse asking if I was ready for Hestia.
See, they have two recovery areas, recovery 1 and recovery 2. No visitors are allowed in recovery 1. But since I had explained about how Hestia helps me and avoids panic attacks, they wanted her there with me in recovery 1. A nurse carried her in from Brad (who said she was excellent with him while I was out) and put her on my chest. There Hestia stayed throughout the whole recovery.
It was SO calming, just having her on my chest, being able to be with her, snuggle my face into her, and everything. I wasn’t scared at all, being there with her. I knew I could trust that she’d keep me safe and stable. Brad had been worried before I went under about me being semi-conscious and being able to handle her, but I figured the worst she would do would be to say hi to a nurse. She didn’t even do that! She was laser focused on me.
I was in a lot of pain, about an 8, right after surgery. Opiates don’t really work on me, so I had to beg for an NSAID. When they finally gave me a Toradol shot, things got better and my pain got down to a 5. They didn’t want to let me go home at that pain level, they wanted to admit me to the hospital, but I insisted I’d rather go home.
The surgeon stopped by and he told me that there was clear evidence of endometriosis. He even said, “Take that, insurance,” since insurance had not wanted to believe I had it. It was all over my left ovary, so he removed that and my uterus, but left my right ovary.
I was VERY happy to hear I have an ovary left (or right!), because I was worried about the mood swings associated with going into menopause. With one ovary, I shouldn’t have to worry about that, and my moods should be as stable as they were before surgery, yay!
Then they moved me into recovery 2, where I had a different nurse and Brad and his parents were able to be with me. This new nurse was very very handsy with Hestia. Extremely handsy. It was quite annoying, but I was in no state to advocate for myself.
Eventually, Brad’s mom dropped some hints about not petting and talking with and bothering service animals. The nurse admitted that she knew that, but that she “couldn’t resist” or some such nonsense… Ugh!
(Brad’s note: I was very annoyed by this nurse who made a big show of baby-talking to Hestia every single one of the many times she came in the room. After a couple of times of this, when the nurse was out I asked Veronica whether I could tell the nurse to stop and Veronica said no and didn’t outwardly seem bothered at the time. (She tells me now she was afraid of getting inferior nursing service.) So I bit my tongue. I told my parents I was worried about Veronica having to deal with this when she might not be able to advocate for herself. Of course, we survived okay, but it’s not right to put any service dog user through this kind of experience. It’s taking advantage of a defenseless disabled person purely for one’s own unprofessional desires. I followed the preference Veronica expressed at the time, but I was also happy my mom ended up saying something as we were about to head out. We had a chat and now have an agreement that I should use my own judgment in any similar future situations. Service dog users, do this ahead of time with any family/friends involved!)
But she was really the only nurse that bothered me about Hestia. All the other nurses and doctors were totally great with Hestia! And Hestia was a rock star! She was really almost perfect the whole time she was in the hospital.
On the way home, Brad drove so that he could partly recline in the driver’s seat, and I took the front passenger seat so I could recline, too. It was a pretty uneventful ride home, and my pain dropped to a 4 by the time I got home, which was great.
Brad and his family had Chick-Fil-A for lunch while I was out, and they had brought me some nuggets which I had for dinner. They hit the spot. Then Brad went out to pick up Ollie and my pain meds. Overall not bad!
I’m not having too much pain– so long as I don’t move things are pretty minimal. When I move around, it hurts, as does the build up of gas inside my abdomen from the laparoscopic surgery. But I am sure it will dissipate in a few days.
I’m very happy that we found a ginger ale sweetened with agave nectar that I can drink. It has been helping with the lingering nausea and upset stomach that I’ve been having since the surgery.
I’m able to prepare food for myself and the dogs, and even let the dogs out into the yard. Brad is helping a lot, too, but I’m trying not to put too much on him as he has been struggling lately.
I hope you enjoy the pictures! I am a women with long brown wavy hair in a hospital gown on a hospital bed. Hestia is an 8 lb white and black Japanese Chin with a smushed nose. She has on a red and black mesh vest with a green reflective heart keychain on it.