post op day twenty

[disclaimer: i don’t usually post disclaimers, but if body ickiness isn’t something you like reading, then this post isn’t for you! in other words, if you have a weak stomach or don’t like hearing about other people’s surgeries and/or innards, and you read this anyway, then i’m not responsible if you throw up later.]

Preston Halcomb posted this on his Facebook wall when we got home from my post-op appointment Wednesday afternoon: Now I’m busy researching pathology report terminology to better understand Mari’s uterus. lol It is a dark, mysterious place filled with lots of words that require a dictionary.

“Week Three”.

I can’t believe it’s been that long already! Where did the time go!?

I’ve lost two whopping pounds, but I’ve lost so much bloat that it’s incredible; my panties, socks, and bras are too big! My big sloppy T-shirts need taken to the laundry room and left on a table for “free to a good home”. I’ve worn rings I’ve not been able to wear in twenty years; blows my mind. I can even lace my shoes tighter. In fact, I think my shoes are a bit too big now.

I feel so good. I’ve been so incredibly up.

Up is a bit troublesome because I’ll sit here and think, “OMG, I’ve gone manic again,” only to realize, no, I’m not manic, I just feel good for the first time in something like thirty years. Seriously, I feel great, and I can’t remember one time in my adulthood when I’ve ever felt this good. And there’s probably some of you out there thinking, “Yeah, right,” but it’s the truth. All through my adulthood, I’ve dealt with all this pain, depression, the growing panic disorder, and gods know what all else. (A member at HysterSisters said she felt “euphoric” for a time after her surgery. ” I just felt so good that all the pain I was having was gone and I was alive and well,” she said.)

And apparently having all this pain removed from my body has quieted my mind, relaxed my muscles, settled my nerves, given me strength, and (as I said above) gods know what all else. I complained those three weeks post-op that my tinnitus had gotten worse. Which made sense. Without all that pain to glom up the inside of my head, my mind is quieter, so the tinnitus seemed louder. Then I realized yesterday, it’s quiet up there. I cupped my hands over my ears. The tinnitus is still there, but it’s very faint. Very faint. I can live with that. Faint is better than screaming so loud I can’t hear anything else. Also (knock on wood), I’ve not had one migraine since I woke up from surgery. Not one. I’ve had minor headaches here and there. Common post-op. But no migraines and no signs of migraines. :knocks wood:

My surgeon said i’m doing terrific. (In fact, everybody who sees me says, “Mari, you look wonderful!” and everybody who hears me on the phone goes on about “how good” I sound.”) My uterus was enlarged, as we’d expected, but not by much; it was only about an inch larger than it should have been. My official diagnosis was Adenomyosis (the endometrium embeds itself into the uterine wall and bleeds there during periods, which was causing most of my pain), fibroid scarring, “chronic cystic cervicitis with squamous metaplasia” (both due to inflamation, which would have caused that pain), and I apparently had some benign cysts on both ovaries and tubes. Hearing and reading the symptoms of Adenomyosis both relieved me and made me say, “That’s exactly it.” Is it any wonder I was in so much pain?? No cancer, and everything else was clean. I have those three wee incisions on my stomach; the Dermabond started peeling off about this time last week (it’s almost all gone now), and my incisions look fantastic, imho. Here’s a gratuitous picture of my twenty-day post-op belly. I think it looks fantastic!

Also, Dr Midboe-Penn said as long as I’m feeling like i’m doing well without HRT, then that’s what we’ll do. I’d like to avoid it if at all possible for a whole list of reasons, and she agrees; she said to keep her posted. So far since surgery, I had two days (the Monday and Tuesday one week post-op) when I had some horrific hot flashes. I’ve been having hot flashes and night sweats for two years, so these are nothing new. But those I experienced those two days were knocked up a couple of notches from what I’d had before. I’d thought I’d wanted to crawl out of my own skin before, but I’d been wrong. This past Friday, when we went to go to bed, I experienced cold chills. I keep a blanket on the bed year around and had Preston put two of those little “throw” blankets on me, and although I was bundled up like it was -10*, I still shivered. My Trazadone eventually kicked in, and I was able to get to sleep. Preston was worried I might have the flu, since we’d been out most of Wednesday afternoon and then all Friday morning. But I totally didn’t feel like I had the flu. Flu is far and away from what this felt like.

From what I’ve been able to find online, including the comprehensive list at HysterSisters, I’ve had perimenopausal symptoms for a long time now, which explains a hell of a whole lot! I had no idea! But the migraines, the insomnia, loss of balance (Preston and I always joke that my vertical hold has given out!), tinnitus, increased depression and panic/anxiety, the chronic fatigue, and the outrageous bloating were the absolute worst. I can’t remember ever mentioning it in all of my surgery/health posts, but when my period would come around, I’d swell up so bad that most of the time I couldn’t even put on a pair of jeans. I’d be consigned to pajama bottoms or oversized (ie, too big for me) elastisized waist shorts and capris. Jeans were totally out of the question. So if I had to leave the apartment for any reason, I’d have to pray my jeans would go on (and close!) and then pray that I didn’t die from constriction while I was out.

Dr Midboe-Penn cleared me for about anything I feel up to – but still no lifting over 10# and resting when my body feels like that’s what I need. Look, my bed is completely made for the first time in three weeks!

I did the dusting Thursday and got most of the apartment but two rooms before I had to go lay down. Since then, I’ve fixed supper twice and our usual big Sunday breakfast this morning! Preston’s still doing the laundry and big cleaning and anything else I feel like I can’t get to on my own. Also, he’s been whining that he doesn’t have as much to do and feels like that he’s not taking care of me like he should be. Maybe I can spend another week in bed to appease his mental health?

He really has taken great care of me, though. He worried himself to a frazzle before the surgery, and the day of the surgery, friends tell me he was an absolute mess. Since I got home, he’s worked himself to death taking care of me. The least little thing, and he’s all, “Don’t you dare bend over!” or “I’ll get that!” or “Don’t get out of bed!” or “Haven’t you been up too long?” He’s taken great care of the apartment, as well, far above what I’d expected. I probably shouldn’t say such a thing, but it’s the truth, and we all know how I am about the truth! lol He’s cooked and cleaned and kept everything shiny and all three of us fed. You know, all the important stuff.

My only complaint is that my outside plants all almost died. Totally my fault. I had failed to tell Preston (and to put on his list) that he needed to take care of them. Whoops. They’re all doing fine, now, once I realized my mistake. But for a few days there, I was worried!

The weight restriction means I still can’t pick up this little guy until I go back for another exam next month.

I must admit, though, that the day he was here, I did pick him up. Several times. He’d pull up to my knees, and I’d lift him. Preston and Dr Midboe-Penn both got onto me for that. I understand, though. I waited how long for this surgery? I totally do not want or need anything to come along and screw it up – especially self-inflicted! But he’s so cute, and he kept looking up at me like, “Why aren’t you holding me, Auntie Gammie?” Broke my heart! (If he really was my grandson, he and I both would be in some big trouble! lmao) But really! How can you leave that much cute off your lap!?

I asked her when I could go out and buy my bicycle (I the colors of that bicycle!). She said, “Go get it on your way home and ride as far and as much as you want!” I’m waiting because I can’t lift it, and I’ll have to take the bus at least part of the way home when I do get it – so it has to be lifted onto the on-board bike rack. I searched all over online and looks like the bike weighs somewhere around 30 pounds! I lifted it down from an overhead rack at Wal-Mart when I first found it several months ago; I’m surprised it’s that heavy!

While I’m waiting to go get my bicycle, I’ve been taking walks. I’ve walked all over the place. Sometimes I’m tired enough when I get home that I want to nap, and sometimes all I want is just to lay down with a book and read. I’m spending more and more time “sitting up” (I sound like I’m Micah!), but if my belly starts to feel the least bit “tired” (or gassy or just “blah”), I’ll lay down.

Our biggest concern is my blood pressure. Down to 98/64 when the nurse took it Wednesday. My surgeon said she’d let my therapist handle that since she’s the one who’d prescribed that particular medication. (I had a visit with my therapist on Friday. More about this further down.)

I had mentioned in my last surgery post that I was concerned about walking all the way to the bus stop and getting on the bus to and from. After it rained the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, before and I wasn’t able to get out and take my walks, I was even more concerned. But the only trouble I had was that Preston and I left the apartment entirely too early – by twenty minutes – so we had to stand there for the longest time; I was able to make the walk quicker and more comfortably than we’d thought. Then, the kneeler on the bus that picked us up would go down only so far, so I had to haul myself in (with Preston’s help). Coming home, one bus didn’t have enough room for me to sit down and no passengers willing to let someone post-op have his seat, so we had to wait an extra half hour for another bus.

Miss Kitty is still enjoying being my personal nurse – and has enjoyed all of this extended nap time right along with me! And if she thinks I’ve sat up too long, she’ll come poke me, and if I tell her, “Just a minute,” she’ll get mouthy and bossy. Bless her heart, she’s worn herself out taking care of me, is what she’s done. I’ve probably said it before, but it’s the truth – I never would have dreamed she would take care of me like she has. Also, she’s been good about getting around my belly. Since I’ve been home from the hospital, she won’t go near it (although if I’m on my side, she’ll sleep with her head on my boobs!).

But yay! I’m healthy!!

I go back for what should be my final post-op exam with Dr Midboe-Penn on 10/09.

This was great. On the way out to check-out after my appointment, I saw my regular OB/GYN down the hall. I put my chart on the check-out desk and said I’d be right back. Dr Dillon saw me and held out her arms, and she gave me a huge hug and said i looked terrific. She said, “Whenever you pop into my mind, I think about that first day you came into my office. I’ll never forget that.” We both agreed that day was awful. But then I hugged her again and told her thank you for helping getting me fixed. She slapped me on the back and said, “Go enjoy your life!” I suppose I’ll see her again when it’s time for my annual exam on my birthday (what a time to schedule it, right? but that way i don’t forget!).

So, that’s all that.

On Friday, we got up at the crack of dawn so I could make it to a 10am therapy appointment. I ended up having a complete meltdown, which Preston and I both blame on hormones (or lack of hormones) and post-op body/brain fogginess. I didn’t behave well, I admit. But I still think the situation could have been handled a lot better than it was. I’m still considering transferring to UK outpatient psychiatry. I just can’t handle the stress I go through when I go to CKBH. My blood pressure is always through the roof whem I’m there. And no wonder! Every time I go into that clinic, something happens, and I end up upset. I think it’s telling that I texted Thomas later with, “Had a meltdown at CKBH today,” and he wrote back, “What they do now?” Right?

I love my therapist to pieces, but the clerical side is for the absolute birds. As great as my therapist is, I don’t think the clinic is worth the stress.

To begin with, I have to take two buses to get there. So it’s almost an hour, depending, trip one way. That second bus runs only every seventy minutes. The bus out of and into my neighborhood runs every half hour. It makes trip planning and appointment scheduling a complete pita and takes an entire day! (When we got home Friday, Preston said, “Now I understand why you’re gone all day!” and I said, “And think, I didn’t go to Wal-Mart to get my meds on the way home; that would have been another hour.” He looked really tired! I was tired; that’s why I skipped Wal-Mart. We both napped when we got in. Okay, we all three napped.)

Anyway.

We get over there Friday morning, half an hour early – even though we’d gotten off the bus one stop down and gone into Shell then made a run by the bank before walking down the street to the clinic – and I go to sign in. The rececptionist informs me that what they call BlueGrass Care (it’s what you get through that clinic if you don’t qualify for Medicaid) had expired on June 30th and that my appointment that day would be $50. I had an absolute cow. I asked why. She said, “Because your BlueGrass expired in June.” I said, “Well, I was here on the 13th of July, why didn’t someone tell me then, and I only paid $25 that day just like I always do.” She said, “Because your BlueGrass expired.” That’s when I started getting angry. Was that all she knew how to say? So I asked again, “Why didn’t someone mention this when I was here in July?” She said, “I don’t know, but I can let you talk to the person who takes care of this stuff.” On the phone.

Well, the person on the phone talked to me like I’m three. When I’m in a good mood, talking to me like I’m an idiot is the quick way to get your teeth knocked down your throat; I just have no patience for people who treat me like that. The lady on the phone only repeated what the receptionist had already told me. I also have no patience for people who don’t answer direct questions. I yelled at her; I can’t remember what she said exactly or what I said exactly, but I reached the receiver back through the window and let it drop onto the desk. They’re lucky I did that and didn’t throw it through the glass partition. (Meanwhile Preston’s out in the waiting area trying to hide under the book he brought to read because he knew I was getting ready to explode.)

The receptionist said, “I don’t think you can be seen today if you don’t have the $50.” I had already paid my $25 fee before all this hell started breaking loose. I said, “I don’t have $50 because nobody told me I’d need it. Maybe if someone had warned me ahead of time, I could have come to this appointment far more prepared than I have.” At this point, I could feel my blood pressure rising, and Preston wanted to pay the other $25 out of his pocket, but I wouldn’t let him. All I wanted to know was why someone hadn’t done his job and let me know my aid had expired. One more time, she said, “I don’t know. And I’ll have to check if you can still be seen today.” I said, “Oh no, I’m not leaving. I’ll see [my therapist] today. I’ve already paid, and I need my meds refilled, and rescheduling with Heather is a pain in the ass. I bet she doesn’t have anything open for a month, and I won’t and can’t wait for another month.” (Preston said I’d started yelling a long time before this.)

Meanwhile, the entire backside of the clinic was in a complete tizzy because of the cow I had. And nobody was answering my questions. Still. Although someone did say that I would have to renew my paperwork and handed it to me through the window to fill out. So I stood there and filled it out, because by now, I have all that information memorized – I just had to take it to Preston so he could fill out his two little pieces and sign his name – and handed it back. She said, “I can’t take this. You have to get your Medicaid denial letter first then bring it all back in together.” I said, “I have last year’s letter with me. Will that do?” She looked at me like I’d sprouted an extra head. She said, “No, we have to have a current denial letter.” I said, “So if I can’t be seen today, gods know when I’ll get to see [my therapist] again, and I hope you know it can take up to a month to get into the Medicaid office.” She looked at me as if I’d sprouted a third head and shut the window.

So now they’re all in an even bigger uproar. And the lady I’d spoken to on the phone came out to take me back to talk to me; Preston didn’t budge, but in hindsight, maybe he should have gone with me. lol All she wanted was to go on about how the appointments there cost anywhere between $90 and $400 and how I should be grateful of the discount I get. I tried to butt in and say I didn’t give a damn about how much the appointments cost. All I wanted to know was why all this hassle was happening in the first place. She explained about their renewal policy, and I told her I knew all about their renewal policy – I’ve been going there for three years if I count the time I spent going there with Thomas before I started – that I just wanted my questions answered.

She said I need to go to the Medicaid office and get a denial letter and bring it back with my paperwork, and they’d make me another appointment with [my therapist]. I told her, for probably like the nine thousand squillionth time, that I couldn’t wait another month for another appointment. She made it sound like we could just pop into our car, drive to the complete other side of town, go into DCBS, come out with a denial letter, drive back across town, and present the finished paperwork. She didn’t want to listen when I told her that if you go over there without an appointment, you may or may not be seen and that you have to sit there all day. That I’ve gone there before at 8am and sat until 5pm and had to go home empty-handed. I swear she acted like I was making stuff up!

She kept going on and on, and I finally told her exactly how much I hate going to that clinic and how crap like this happens every time I have to be there and that I wanted my questions answered. She kept going on about the money. I got up and went back out to the lobby. I was so upset I couldn’t even tell Preston what was going on. Through this entire fiasco, I kept saying, “I’ve just had surgery, and I don’t feel well,” but seems to me like nobody wanted to listen to me at all about anything.

She came back out some time later and wanted to talk to me again, and I told Preston to please come with me. At the door, she said he couldn’t come back, and I demanded to know why. She’d only said, “It’s going to be okay,” and, of course wouldn’t give me a straight answer. I said, “He’s the one who pays this bill. He’s coming back there with me.” She just kept saying he needed to go back out to the waiting room and that everything would “be okay”. Preston was going to do as he was told, but I was still demanding answers I wasn’t getting. He told me when we got home that they probably violated a gazillion HIPA laws

At one point, the therapist who used to see Thomas came out and asked me if I was okay, but by that time I was a complete blubbering mess. All I could do was sit there and cry. I think I told her I was okay, although she could look at me and know better. Before she went back inside, I said, “Now you know where Preston gets it from, huh?” and she laughed.

Afterward, one of them came out to take me back to take my blood pressure and weigh me, which is their sop. I always weigh either two pounds heavier at that clinic than I do at the UK gynecology clinic, or I weigh two pounds less. That day, I weighed two pounds less. My blood pressure – surprise! surprise! – was 135/98. omg I almost had another complete cow. I wanted so bad just to throw myself on the floor and scream, “See what you people do to me!?” Preston told me when we got home and laid down that I’d been shaking, that he’d not seen me shaking like that in years – nor had he seen me that upset in a very long time (I told him he should go to therapy with me more often!).

I finally got back to see my therapist, and took Preston with me, and we all just collapsed onto chairs and took long deep breaths and huffed out. We had a great session, like we always do. She was concerned about my blood pressure being so low after surgery with Dr. Scheinberg vaginal rejuvenation surgeon and knocked my Propanolol back from four times a day to two. I see her again in November. If I go back. I’ve still not made up my mind.

So that was my week last week. Yesterday, I was so exhausted I spent most of the day in bed reading.

And here I am now. Writing up this ridiculously long post.

I’m going to go put my shoes on and take a walk before it gets dark. I need it after writing this post and reliving Friday. Maybe I should have stopped at the end of my post-op appointment! HA!

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Author: Mari Adkins

Appalachian gothic fiction writer - my works reflect a love of literature flavored by the darkness and magic residing in these ancient mountains. In my spare time, I'm a Simmer, I tumbl, I journal, but I always have a very strange sense of humor. I have lived away from the mountains and lived deep in the mountains. I currently live in Central Kentucky with my lifepartner and his cat. The mountains, their culture, their superstitions, their particular magics, will always be in my blood.