Thursday, June 21, 2012

TIps for Laparoscopy

1. Get a small snack and a drink of water at eleven if you are to have nothing by mouth after midnight.
2. Arrive to the hospital or surgery center 15 minutes earlier than they tell you too. This gives you time to deal with missing forms or parking issues without feeling rushed and stressed.
3. Wear loose comfortable clothing that will not aggravate the incision sites. Wear slip on shoes or have some one with you that will put your shoes on you and tie them for you.
4. Do not urinate when you arrive until given a specimen cup. They will want a urine pregnancy test. (I know that is why some of us are having the procedure but they have to make sure anyway.)
5. Be prepared to get an IV, they will start one, they will not be able to do after sedation, this is how you get sedated.
6. Set up a phone chain or agree to a face book post. This will minimize the work load on the person caring for you. It is hard to take care of someone when you are on the phone with loved ones and friends all day.
7. Take Colace day one and continue for a week or so. Your stomach will not be normal and constipation after surgery is miserable!
8. Eat when you feel like it. Don't eat too much. Small amounts of lean proteins and veggies are a good choice.
9. Walk around as much as you can without overdoing it. Being as active as possible is very important to prevent blood clot and constipation as well as other problems.
10. Ask for help. If you can't reach it, don't jump for it! Don't lean against the sink to wash a dish either. It hurts.
11. Sleep when you need to. It's ok. Your body needs the rest.
12. Make sure that you have plenty of soft clothes clean and ready for the week. Cotton dresses worked well for me. You don't want anything that will irritate your incision sites.
13. Take showers and blot dry, baths aren't allowed and rubbing will irritate the incisions.
14. Have someone stay with you the first two days at least most of the day. You may be wobbly due to meds and it helps to have someone there.

Recovery

    Recovery from the laparoscopy was quick and easy for the most part.It doesn't feel as quick while you are recovering but when you look back you will realize how fast it went. My doctor had told me to plan for a week off after the surgery before returning to work. I didn't think I would need that much, and probably would have been fine to go to work earlier but I am glad I took the full week. I had three incisions, one in my belly button, one on my left lower abdominal quadrant and a more medial one on my pubic hair line. They were very small and closed with skin glue. The belly button incision was the most uncomfortable of the three.
     Before I left the hospital I was given my discharge instructions. This included drinking lots of fluids, taking it easy, taking my pain medicine as directed, and not taking a bath - only showers for a while. I was taken to my car by a volunteer and my husband took me home. We had a printout with all the instructions on it as well. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I was given Versed. This makes you not remember things very well for a while. My husband says that I asked him the same questions repeatedly for a while. This is normal for a short time due to the medications. I was very lucky to have my husband with me. He was infinitely patient. He also helped make sure I didn't fall over while walking to the bathroom and bedroom. I was slightly off kilter from all the medicine. He gave me my pain medication at regular intervals the first day. I dozed off and on a lot.
     Nothing tasted good the first day. Water and chicken broth were about the only things I could handle. Tea tasted like grass, sprite tasted like sugar water, nothing worked. This too is normal for some and a part of the medicine. My doctor had already told us that I might not be hungry for a couple of days and that that was nothing to worry about. I should just eat when I am hungry. My lack of appetite stayed around for a while.I paced around, watched some T.V. and took some naps. I talked to my husband and the visitors who came to check on me. The visitors were great. It helped me pass the time that I wasn't allowed to get off the couch and helped me forget I felt like crap for a while.
     The only real difficulty I had in recovering was that I had some serious trouble with constipation. It got so bad that I was extremely nauseated one day. I had to resort to Colace and Miralax for a few days to get things moving again. I walked around my house, I drank plenty of fluids, and generally did all the things that as a nurse I know to do to keep from getting constipated. However, with the pain medication for the first two days and the anesthesia this still became a problem for me. I would highly recommend taking Colace from day one. This way it doesn't become an urgent situation with lots of nausea and stomach pain later.
     I had only minimal bleeding, the first day I used about three pads, the next day a panty liner was all that was needed and after that no bleeding at all. I did have trouble with one of my three incision sites. I used a Thermacare Heat pad to help with cramps and the glue on the incision closest to my pubic hair line dissolved a little and I had some incisional bleeding as a result. This was minimal and my incision stayed intact.
     I had a very easy recovery and some wonderful people surrounding me that were able to be here if I needed anything. I was able to ask for help when I needed it but encouraged to do what I could in the name of recovery. I only took the Demerol two days and then ibuprofen was enough to keep the discomfort at bay. I took 400 mg twice a day as prescribed by my physician. I know some have complained of lingering weakness and pain for much longer but I was very blessed with it being only a short time before I returned to normal.
     If you have any questions about recovery or the surgery please drop us a line. As a nurse I get to look at it from two perspectives, an infertility patient and a healthcare worker. If any one has any questions on taking care of your loved one following a laparoscopy my husband will be happy to share his experiences as well.

I am a mess today!

     Something my husband and I agree on is being real. I don't want to come off as this couple that has it all together and never hurts or becomes angry because it feels as though God is listening to everyone else or maybe he just got confused and gave the wrong person the baby. I don't want to come off that way because we are certainly not. I am certainly not that woman. I woke up a mess today and it hasn't changed through out the day. When I woke up this morning all that was running through my mind was how we have one more scheduled day to have sex and then I begin the two week wait to see if I am pregnant. We are going on vacation this week and I was really hoping that the time away would make this two weeks easier for me. However, the universe has decided that this should not be. I can't use scopalomine (motion sickness medicine) as it is a Category C ( has shown studies in animals to be harmful to fetuses). So, I may well spend my cruise throwing up and being a terrible disappointment to my husband. I am praying this is not the case. And while the larger part of me knows it doesn't work this way, a small voice keeps saying, "He hasn't given you the child you have been praying for, why would a little motion sickness bother him." Again, I know that there are greater tragedies in the world than my not being able to conceive and being sick during vacation but this crap is painful to my husband and I. Once in a while, we feel that pain very acutely.
     I realized while pulling my hair into a pony tail this morning that my sister ( also trying to conceive and a longer story than I want to go into today) goes to the lab to have an hcg drawn on the 26th. This happens before I get back from vacation. So my vacation could possibly come to a close with the news that my sister is having her second child. There are so many emotions tied to this that I can't possibly discuss it all with out sounding like a bitter, mean, selfish person. And maybe today that is what I am. I have been talking to my heavenly Father today, following the example of those in the bible. I have told him my true feelings of hurt, betrayal, sadness, and grief. I have told Him I remember all my blessings and the times He has come through for me. I have also reminded myself and Him that I will continue to serve him no matter what happens here, but that I will need a lot of help and strength because alone I am simply not capable of withstanding this possible blow. I have conceded that his plans and sovereignty are beyond my capability to understand and will settle for comfort. I have discussed with him my confusion as to why my husband and I waited until we had degrees, good jobs, insurance, and a happy marriage only to be denied what we have so diligently been preparing for.
     I face the knowledge that now that my sister has begun a journey of clomid ( however ill advised for her situation) and I may come home after years of trying with my spouse only to start my period and hear my sister is pregnant all within a week. I have to admit that this makes me want to miss boarding the ship and spend the next year in Belize paddling a kayak around the reef, jumping out to snorkel. Or move to Maine and buy a house on the coast. It seems that in my mind the ocean's tides bring healing. In my mind time stops when I can hear the ebb and flow of the water against the sand or rocks. It brings a comfort that I find no where else. Maybe this is because when standing next to the ocean, its vastness and immense power reveal to me the power of my God. In this revelation I find peace. God is greater than my problems and pain and there, at the water I can see him in a way I simply do not in my every day life. I realize this doesn't make a lot of sense. That is ok.
     The knowledge that this month is our greatest chance of conceiving after having surgery and that with each successive month the chances get smaller makes this month weigh heavy on me. There is a lot of pressure. Adding to all of that is the endless stream of comments such as,"just relax" and "If you will just get drunk and have sex it will happen."  These things make life a little harder. I know these are well meaning people who want to help but it is so frustrating. These comments put the blame on me and I really don't need any help with that.
     I also know that I may well come home and be pregnant. This would be wonderful for my husband and I. This rough day in which I have been a mess hasn't convinced me that this is impossible. It is just a day when reality has slapped me in the face. Here is hoping to a more emotionally stable day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Surgery Day

     The day of the laparoscopy hadn't quite dawned when we left the house for the hospital. I had not been allowed to have anything to eat or drink since midnight. Since I know how hard it is for me to go with out water (the minute you tell me I can't have it, it becomes the only thing I think about), I enjoyed a nice long drink of water at about eleven the previous night. I took a nice long hot shower and shaved my legs. I put on loose and comfortable clothing and did not wear makeup.
     When my husband and I arrived at the hospital we were checked in by friendly people, I was given some forms and a nice little name bracelet. I was taken back to the ACC (ambulatory care center). My history was taken and my IV started. The only hump in the road was a need to do my pregnancy test by blood test instead of a urine test. I didn't think it through and used the restroom when I was taken to my room. Since I couldn't drink anything I couldn't produce more urine for the test. After a short time in ACC I was taken back to peri-op. This is the area that you are held before the operation. I met the person from anesthesia and my OR nurse. Anesthesia was very nice to me, very descriptive and very concerned about how I felt. The nurse happened to be a lady that I graduated nursing school with. This was a pleasant surprise. I liked her in school and she was very good to me as a patient. I also had a chance to speak with my physician at this point. This conversation was very comforting to me. Hearing his reassurance that he would take good care of me made me feel much more calm.
     I was then taken back to the OR . I was given a medication called Versed. This medication is a sedative and also makes remembering things difficult. Things became a little patchy for me after the medication was given. When the Versed hits you, you can become quite chatty. I am sure it was amusing for the people who can remember it.I however have to hope that I didn't manage to say anything too embarrassing while I was under that influence. I saw the nurse that would be assisting in the surgery.After that I think I fell asleep but cannot be sure as the Versed makes you able to follow commands but unable to remember doing so. I remember waking up coughing and a male voice saying softly that it was just the medicine as he adjusted the mask on my face.Then the surgery began. I was comfortably asleep, not even a stressful dream to speak of.
     I woke again on the way back to the Peri Op area. I was very sleepy but felt like my bladder was very full. The first thing I heard was a very patient voice telling me I had a catheter and that it was draining my bladder. I didn't feel pain or anxiety on waking but my first catheter was very uncomfortable.When I was able to be aware of the catheter, it didn't bother me quiet as much. After a while of waking up some more I began to feel something like menstrual cramps. They weren't too bothersome for a while, but at some point that feeling changed to pain. I let the nurse know and was given morphine. At this point my doctor came in and spoke with me. He gave me the results of the surgery and assured me that this was good news. Now we had a reason for my trouble conceiving and it wasn't unexplained infertility. He assured me that the surgery went well and to expect a speedy recovery. I was then taken from the Peri Op area and moved back to ACC.
     The entire experience went as smoothly as possible. Every one was very nice to me from the person who checked me in to the volunteer who wheeled me out. I was very pleased with the care I received and for the way my husband was kept informed during and after my surgery. I will post again about recovery. I will also post a separate entry containing tips for preparing for the laparoscopy.
   

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