Monday, October 26, 2009

Finishing some details, and how to get ready for a hysterectomy

I started this top in June, used 4 balls of Paton's Katrina, and finally finished it this weekend. There was a long long lag because I mislaid a ball of yarn. I'd try it on, but I am so puffy from surgery still, there would be no point. Yardage 652.

I decided to write out the basic commandments of hysterectomy; because this is yet another topic that NO ONE TALKS about. My cousins will have this in a few-Karen in a few months, Judy in a year or two, Kathleen too ...and possibly my nieces. So here goes-

1) Buy a body pillow. And keep an extra pillow around, because it hurts when you laugh or cough (and of course it is high allergen season for me). Hug the small pillow when you have to laugh or cough-it helps.

2) Gas hurts too. Badly. Plan your diet accordingly. The crazy people gave me broccoli and milk in the hospital! ;-)

3) Plan your aftercare for the worst possible scenario. I thought mine would not go well, and I was right, but I didn't have enough info to plan for THAT. The worst scenario is that you won't drive for three weeks, and the you should count on reclusive rest for a week. Why a week? Because one of the worst scenarios is that they'll nick your bladder while doing your surgery-this has me on a foley for a week so the nick can heal!

a) Shop to fully stock your pantry-and try to have seven frozen easy meals when you leave for the hospital. That "easy meals for a week" will save you from cooking while dragging a catheter. After hospital food so bad my DH laughed looking at it, it was nice that I could tell him how to thaw and bake dinner. And it was sooooo much tastier. If food and groceries aren't your area of expertise, make sure you thank your friend or S/O for the lovely dinner!

b) Find the long barbecue tongs and have them at the ready-bending is tricky for the first few days; the subscription cards from magazines, vitamins you spill, and all kinds of stuff will be easier to retrieve. Put a trash basket by your cocoon spot.

c) What do you wear? You want a knee length gown with IV friendly sleeves for the hospital-and knee length gowns for the recluse week. Yoga pants are good, except if you are a lucky catheter winner. Stuff with elastic waists are good-I'm wearing elastic waist shorts right now. Roomy grannie panties are spot on, too.

4) Use the scented soap you love, and buy a pack of hypoallergenic baby wipes. Be kind to yourself.

5) Get a pedi and a haircut. That helps a lot.

6) Make an activity box before you go in. I rounded up my projects and equipment I need to work while I am at home. I didn't choose challenging projects-I don't think my concentration will be much for the week. I also saved catalogs and the like as hospital reading material.

7) Make people help you. I can fold and sort clothes, but I made DH wash and dry, and pull all the clean laundry to a central pile, because my reach is stunted, and I am not supposed to lift.

8) Take your iron beforehand, and corral your meds. I was anemic in September, and had just rounded the corner with a hemoglobin of 10 when I went into surgery-taking 650 mgs each day. My levels plummeted to the sixes and I ended up having a transfusion. Now that I am home again, the sinus meds, the vitamins, the iron, the pain killers (2!) the horomones, and all the other crap live in one spot-and I just build a candy dish of drugs each morning. When the dish is empty, I have taken everything I was supposed to.

I'll be adding to the list as I think of things.


Diane said...

Your Lace leaf top is gorgeous and I bet it will look great on you... soon.

I'm so glad to hear that all is well and you are cocooning and taking it easy.

Your tips sound perfect for the situation. I have 1 more to add for anyone thinking of getting a Hysterectomy. Get a laparoscopic hysterectomy done! My girlfriend Nancy recovered and was back to work in 2 days. Says it was the best thing she ever did!

I am sure the costs are more but way less recovery time.... Might be worth it.

junior_goddess said...

Oh, Diane-they started with a lapro for me-and it just wasn't going to work. Mine ended up being a traditional with lapro staples as a garnish!

Daryl said...

I'm just glad you doc knew when was enough and wasn't too macho to move on to what was needed. Should have known you wouldn't have simple fibroids, but glad you are recovered enough to knit and blog.

junior_goddess said...

DH saw the pictures. It was over 14cm long, and my fibroids had fibroids on them. I was surprised he even TRIED a lapro.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to hear that it turned out more complicated than it seemed at the outset!
Thanks for the tips. I had no idea about the hemoglobin and that the surgery game plan could change during surgery...forewarned is forearmed!
Hoping that the pain killers are doing their thing and that you are getting plenty of rest.

Sandra D

Trish - My Merino Mantra said...

You poor thing! That really bites. Rest, knit, take your pills, and get better. I hope I never have to use your list, but it's very well thought out.

I love your top, by the way. Let me know how that Katrina holds up. The fitted top I made with it a few years ago is now a very loose tunic, and not because I lost weight, either.

Anonymous said...

So good to see you recovering so well! But, keep taking it easy - or as easy as you can :)

Your rendition of that top is beautiful - can't wait to see it on you.

Your notes should be made part of the hospital handouts before surgery. Maybe your surgeon will consider that? It would be a Public Service!


Chrisknits said...

Can I say thanks, but no thanks, for the tips? Or in other words, I would prefer to ignore the possibility of needing them.

Hope you are back to "norman" soon. Take care.