Post Op — Ectopic Pregnancy
After being out for the count, waking up after anaesthetic is strange. You begin to hear things around you before your eyes open. You have no concept of how long you’ve been gone for, and your eyes feel too tired to open, literally.
First things I heard were quite amusing, and I was mentally giggling! I could sense a lady beside me on the left, she was assigned to me. She was ‘discussing’ with another colleague how the anaesthetist was so rude to her. Complained how she must not have realised that she has worked on the surgical team for X amount of years and that she was very patronising. She was fully capable and knowledgable of what she needed to do and she didn’t need instructions given to her by this lady…
From this, I gathered this lady was experienced and middle aged and had worked in this hospital for many many years. Through the complaints, she did seem nice.
So I’m laying there, not able to open my eyes yet, laughing in my head that she must be talking about the anaesthetist that was being so lovely with me that I mentioned previously. All I was thinking was, “what? She was so nice and sweet?” But hey, people don’t like being told what to do when they know what they are doing, so I get it.
The other colleague, definitely younger, in the discussion agreed with this woman to my left and said that she can sometimes be like that and not to worry. Haha, it was a funny conversation to come around to. I just thought, better safe than sorry, never good to assume that someone will do everything that needs to be done. I’m sure she was just doing her job, and she shouldn’t take it personally. But I had no words at this stage. Along with feeling nothing, just stiff, not wanting to move and to thoughts into the change that just took place in my body.
My eyes begin to open, such a blur. I see that I am in a large room, with a big clock ahead on the wall. I think it said 4PM, or around about that. (I went into surgery around 12pm-ish). I was told before surgery that this procedure takes about 45 minutes. Initially, I thought it must not have gone that smoothly as I had been out for a good few hours. But I felt fine, really sleepy and relaxed. Like the best sleep you’ve ever had!
With my next look around the room, I see an IV Stand/Pole holding a blood bag stating ‘A Positive’ and another bag that just looked like water. I then realised that they must have been for me. (I’m really not a fan of blood, so I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t freak out. Maybe I was too drugged up to have a care in the world!)
“I had lost quite a lot of blood in surgery because my fallopian tube had ruptured”
I still haven’t began talking yet, I am just becoming more and more aware of my surroundings, listening, watching, observing and dipping in and out of sleep. Then the lady begins to talk to me and asks how I am feeling. I can’t remember how I replied or if any words could come out at all, but I felt good considering. I was pleasantly surprised. I remember being mega thirsty, I think I told her this but she wanted to wait a bit longer until I came around more, she didn’t want me to be sick.
My head begins to feel stronger, so I start turning my head to look around, I see a young boy in a bed to me on my right. He seemed quite young, around 15–16. All the staff there were interacting with each other, chatting, radio on, getting the job done. It was a friendly atmosphere, and everyone seemed to be happy. (Or maybe this was the drugs again haha).
The lady began to update me on the surgery. She stated that I had lost quite a lot of blood in surgery because my fallopian tube had ruptured (this must have happened while I was on my way to surgery or something, because it hadn’t ruptured when I had my internal scan) and that I needed a blood transfusion. Apart from that, the operation went well and the tube was successfully removed.
This current blood bag I was seeing was my second lot to go in apparently, and I remember telling her that I always wanted to know what my blood type was, I had avoided blood tests in the past up until recently because I really don’t like blood!
I assume a few minutes later (could have been seconds, who knows) the lovely anaesthetist appears in front of me, approaches me on my right, strokes my hair and face again and tells me I did amazing, asks me how I am feeling. In which I responded with something, and I thanked her for looking after me.
She was pleased.
She said some encouraging words and said her goodbyes. She walks back to the bottom of the bed, and spoke the the lady on my left asking her if she had done this, that and the other. (I was now listening out for the responses that were about to come, to confirm whether this was the anaesthetist she was not happy about...) The responses confirmed it, very short and firm answers of ‘Yes’, ‘I did’, ‘OK’, ‘Bye’, and then a sigh of relief when the anaesthetist leaves. Again, I am giggling to myself.
The song ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ by Wheatus begins to play on the radio, and a nurse who is dealing with the young boy next to me starts chatting about it. Her daughter apparently used to love this song when she was a teenager, and that she liked it too, and she’s singing along. I’m smiling, enjoying the song.
The young boy’s response was funny, he thought the song was old. I begin to chuckle, along with the nurses. The nurse says it just shows our age and I said to the boy what do you mean this song is a right tune. The boy laughed and said it was ‘ancient’. (Ahhh I’m only 25 haha. I guess this is what happens when you get older.)
We are all chatting still, can’t remember the whole conversation. The nurse asks me if I want to try a little water, I say yes please because I am gasping and haven’t had a drop since my mouthful of tea this morning! She’s brings over a little cup with a straw and holds it to my mouth. I took a little sip. It felt amazing. I took a few sips as the minutes were passing by. I look at the big clock and it’s nearly 5PM. Time is an unusual feeling when you are in recovery.
My blood bag was suddenly empty, and I was told it’s time to go down to the ward now, and that they will inform my family that I am out of surgery.
People arrive to help the nurse transport my bed to the Gynaecology Ward. The nurse and I are now having a good chat while we are on our way. She’s telling me she has her daughters wedding in Spain soon, and that she needed to decorate her granddaughters ‘wand’ for the wedding. We were laughing about the chaos of planning a wedding and all the craft bits that are involved. Then we seemed to just appear in the ward that I would be staying in the coming days.
This part is very foggy in my mind. But I had said my thanks and goodbyes to the staff who were dealing with me in recovery, and new nurses were appearing. I asked if my family had been told I was back yet, and the nurse said she was about to go and call Dan for me, not to worry.
In the meantime, I was feeling uncomfortable, unable to move myself into a better position, and rather lonely. Pain if I breathed in too hard, or if I tried to move at all. It was really helpless. I began to think about what happened to me and then stopped, because I realised it still hurt physically to do so, but in a slightly different way. I was thinking about how Dan must have been feeling, and what we had lost. It all felt like a bad dream, and the shortest day ever, because I had missed out on half of it so far by being in surgery.
The hour slowly passed by, I was looking around the ward, wondering why every other woman was in there. Feeling jealous of their mobility, looking at my water bag and the tubes coming out of my arm and hand and wondering how I didn’t feel them going in. Wondering how on earth I will ever get out of this bed. I felt swollen. I was too scared to look at my belly. (I get a bit squeamish with wounds and blood, I wasn’t ready to look). I gently run my hand over myself to feel bandages under my gown in various places. I realised that I now had underwear on and a sanitary towel. They must have put this on me after surgery, I don’t remember. How do these things happen without you remembering?
Next thing I remember, my body began to feel like I was imploding and exploding at the same time, I’ve automatically curled up into a ball and every single muscle and vein inside my body I can feel pulsating in pure agony. I frantically in a struggle press the nurse button on my bed because I have no idea what’s happening to me, I feel like I’ve likely ripped open my stitches and done some serious damage internally after what has happened to me.
It lasted about 20 seconds, 20 seconds too long.
I am now out of breath, too scared to move again incase it returns. I was mortified. The nurse then appears and asks me if I am alright. I explain what happened and she responded that this is normal and it’s wind pain, and then she told me how the wind got there in the first place…
“The hour slowly passed by, I was looking around the ward, wondering why every other woman was in there. Feeling jealous of their mobility… wondering how on earth I will ever get out of this bed.”
This is the one thing they don’t warn you about before all of this, is the pain of wind that comes after this kind of surgery. Not the kind of pain you would expect after having something removed from you and holes where they got in, that’s a given. Wind sounds like nothing, but on this scale, and from anyone who has experienced bad wind or trapped wind in any capacity know it’s not nice.
This was seriously on another level, and I really do have a high pain threshold. Apparently, when you have keyhole surgery, they pump air into your body, and ‘pump you up like a balloon’ as the nurse said, so they can get in easier and your organs and vital parts don’t get touched along the way. The air is then released after surgery. But not all of it manages to escape clearly, and this my friends, is the worst pain you will experience after this keyhole surgery.
Dan and my parents arrive about 6PM, with an overnight bag, some goodies, and word of a chocolate brownie from Starbucks. I am dying to eat, I have already watched everyone in my ward eat their dinner in the last hour, and I was skipped over because I had just come out of surgery. I was so so hungry. Massive food envy of crumble and custard, and pie and chips. So I am obviously extremely keen to eat this brownie! Dan asks the nurse if I am allowed to eat, she asked what it is was, and after she went to check with someone, it was a no, ‘we wouldn’t recommend it.’ Sad times. They said they would do me some toast later on. But it wasn’t a chocolate brownie was it haha.
Family were relieved that I was OK and out of surgery, we chatted about what had happened I think. Don’t remember yet again, it’s all slipping away so fast. After half an hour or so my parents left and it was just me and Dan.
I was so glad to see him, after being in 3rd person mode before the surgery when we had the news. It was good to be able to have him there alone. No nurses, doctors, consultants and who knows what chaos around me. I don’t remember what we spoke about, but I am sure the obvious was brought up. But I still felt like it had happened to someone else, and not us. I was hoping to wake up from the nightmare after I slept that night, get back to work, excited about being pregnant and what the future held again. But I knew under the surface, that this had shattered. I wasn’t ready to admit it to myself yet, which was fine. I was physically trying to get through this and that was enough for me in this moment.
The Specialist appeared in the ward and walked over to my bed. (The same guy who had done the internal scan on me earlier). He smiles at us and says that the surgery went really well, and that he had successfully removed the tube, and had checked everything over down there, my right fallopian tube was perfectly healthy.
I am going to be able to get pregnant again, it will just be a little harder as I will only be able to get pregnant when an egg is realised in my right ovary and through my right fallopian tube. Which ideally should be every other month, as that’s how it works apparently!
This was good news, we were pleased that we didn’t have to worry about having children in the future. We were and are still hopeful… don’t worry :)
After this news, me and Dan are chatting. Dan is supposed to be flying to Las Vegas tomorrow (Friday) and we were discussing whether he was still going to go or not. We hadn’t come to a decision on this yet. He had planned this stag do for his best friend, Vegas for the whole week! He was super excited about it, and had been planning for hours on end for the last 5 months, full itinerary for 16 people. This was no easy decision for him to make, and I could see that. We were told that recovery is fast, and that I could be going home Friday after lunch (this is so hard to imagine because I couldn’t even move without cramping up again — I didn’t believe them!)
We concluded, no decision today, seeing how the next 24 hours go, re-evaluating the situation tomorrow.
Then, I have visitors! Our close friends by now have heard through Dan what has happened. So 2 of my friends had arrived to visit me, Emily & Lois. I had told Dan to pre-warn them to not make me laugh or cry because of the crazy wind pain spasms my body goes into when inflicted! Also warning them that it may happen and not to freak out when it does, because it is pretty scary to watch (Dan had already experienced watching one after my parents had left!) But first, I really needed to wee.
I pressed my nurse button, and one appeared. This was going to be my first wee since coming out of surgery. I was not looking forward to this. She asked me if I wanted a bedpan or walk to the toilet. I 100% didn’t want to walk anywhere. So insisted on the bedpan, she reappears with a rolling chair with the bedpan placed in it, closes the curtain and tries to help me get onto the chair.
This was the worst.
It took me so long to turn and get myself in a position before I could begin to move out of the bed. I was in agony, and trying not to bring back that the wind pain again. Low and behold, it returns with the vengeance, the nurse is watching me cringing knowing theres nothing she can do. Everything is pulsating I feel like I’m going to fall out of bed. 20 seconds passes and it stops, I am out of breath and I have to continue my journey to my toilet.
Why the wind pain and just why again.
I just wanted it all to go away.
The nurse reassures me that the first time getting out of the bed is the hardest and that once I do it, it’ll be easier next time. I didn’t believe her, but eventually got to the toilet. She left me in peace to have my wee, and that’s when I realised that I was also bleeding heavily down below. (P.S. Have you seen the size of the sanitary towels you get in Hospital?? No joke, length of my arm and thicker than a nappy! I felt like a granny. My knickers were great and helped the cause, NHS whites, netted and high waisted, completely see through because the material was like bandage dressing!)
So by the time the ordeal with going to the toilet was over, the warning being issued out to my friends while I had the palaver with the toilet. They arrived by my bedside.
I was happy to see friendly faces, and I could see the look of not being sure what to expect or what to say on their faces as you can imagine. What do you say in these situations? I’m not sure. But we talked, I told them how my day had panned out and how this had all progressed, I was actually in high spirits. (I think it was still all the drugs in my system, and I couldn’t feel the pain, apart from the outbursts when the wind came to haunt me). We giggled, smiled and chatted. But within a few minutes, visiting hours were over and it was time for them to leave already! I was so sorry I had wee’d while they were there because it took so long and wasted time, I didn’t realise how hard it was going to be. (Thank you guys for coming xxx)
We said our goodbyes, and then my goodbye to Dan. Told him I loved him and that I was sorry for what had happened. You can imagine his response.
But I was sorry, even though there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening inside me. Sometimes it‘s still how I feel, like I am somehow responsible. But no-one is responsible for this and I am beginning to accept this day by day.
Rest of my evening…
Visitors had all left. 8PM each of us in the room are alone again. There wasn’t much interaction between people in this room currently. I was in bed 7, right next to the window and the bed to my left was empty and so was the one in front of that. There was a lady directly in front, but her English was very broken from what I heard when the nurses came round to do our medication before bed. We smiled at each other. I think we had an understanding that we were both in pain and that was enough. I was wondering why she was in here, and I am sure she felt the same.
Feeling the need for pain killers, who knows what I was on but I felt like I needed more to numb the pain. They gave me some pills, medicine to squirt into my mouth, and an injection into the right side of my belly. No idea what any of them were for, but I was up for all the help I could get. I felt so awake this evening, even though I just wanted to sleep so I didn’t have to think about the wind coming back again or how uncomfortable I was. But I think I had such a good sleep while under the anaesthetic that I felt fully rested and awake now. I tried to continue watching ‘Suits’ on Netflix, I managed about half hour and then stopped. I couldn’t concentrate.
The lady in front of me was vomiting really loud bless her, into a cardboard bowl and nurses came and closed the curtains around her for some privacy. Plus I didn’t really want to watch as it was rather painful to do so. Our windows were open, the breeze was blowing in and I could hear it raining really hard. It was relaxing, but it felt like every hour they were doing my observations, because of the blood transfusion that I had. Tracking how I was adjusting to the new blood.
During these hours, I was now drinking plenty of water by myself, the water was no longer being pumped into me via the tube dangling out of my left arm. I had been brought toast as promised, but I really couldn’t eat it all, my appetite was gone. My bladder kept filling, I’d call the bell.
The same nurse as before came over and asked if I wanted the chair again, I said yes. The wind attacked, again, while I was trying to get to it. But you just have to get over it and focus on the task at hand.
I probably had these wind pain outbursts every half hour while I was awake this evening. I wasn’t getting used to them. So much pain every single time.
After two wee’s, the nurse asks me if I want to try walking to the toilet for the third one. I look at her, and see that this probably wasn’t a polite request but a nice firm way of telling me it was time to do this now. Annnnnd I was dreading it.
She helps me out of bed again, standard procedure now, wind pain spasm, her cringing, carrying on. I manage to get on my feet but it felt like everything was going to fall out of me. Ouch. I couldn’t stand up straight, I was arched over and the walk was pathetic. Felt like a 20 minute process me getting out of bed and to the toilet. Eventually we got there, she told me it would be alright and to call the bell when I was ready for her to come back.
This was an experience, trying to get into pee position was tough, this toilet was a lot lower than the seat that was being brought to me twice before. Man it hurt so bad around the wound site. As I manage to sit down on the seat, out of breath. I begin to pee and it felt amazing. I now see my sanitary towel and knicker in all their glory, there’s still lots of blood. I do my thing, and I call the bell. I needed a new sanitary towel and help walking back. A different nurse appears and asks what’s up, I said I needed a new towel, and help getting back. (I had also dropped the current towel on the floor and couldn’t pick it up myself, gross!) Her response was yes of course I’ll grab you one now, but you don’t need to call the bell to go back to bed, you can do that yourself now… with a reassuring smile on her face. I was thinking, where is the other nurse?! I need help haha. Anyways, she returns with the towel, I sort myself out and try to stand again using all the disabled handles that are in this toilet. It is was really difficult, but I manage to scrape myself across the ward and to my bed. It probably took me 30mins to get back from the toilet, and back into bed properly/to a remotely comfortable position before I was likely to have to repeat this process again fairly soon. Sigh, so tiring.
It was a long evening... I don’t think I fell asleep until around 2AM. There was the vomiting that was happening quite frequently ahead of me, a seriously loud snorer on the other side of the room, and nurses coming back and forth to answer nurse calls. I’m frequently having to use the toilet by myself, wind pain spasm, agony of moving myself, getting to and from the toilet and back into bed. This on repeat a few times. But later, while I had headphones in trying to get myself sleepy, I had heard two other people be brought onto the ward, placed next to me in those empty beds. I was just listening to what was going on alongside me while listening to some Hillsong United albums in my headphones quietly. All I wanted to do is fall asleep, switch off, and wake up the next day and all of this would have just been a really bad dream.
This is the end of this first day, pre and post op. What a day huh! As you can imagine I really didn’t know what had hit me yet. Or really realise that we had experienced a loss throughout this. I was still taking it as it came physically and it was all I could manage at this time. Things began to get more emotional as the days passed, and I will continue to write down this journey in blogs to come. Only our close family and friends knew what had happened at this stage, some knew all, some knew I was rushed into surgery but didn’t know why and others completely oblivious. To be continued…