Hello loyal so-and-sos!
Some Many Most of you will be happy to know that with this post, the est. 1975 “pelvic organs? come on down!” series is finally coming to an end. (Well… I guess there’s always room for an epilogue post. You know. Down the road a piece. If you’re “lucky.”) I’m actually going to miss this series a lot! It was fun to write and hopefully more than a little bit educational.
If you’re interested in binge-reading the whole series, you can find the previous installments here:
Post 1: Diagnosis: Prolapse
Post 3: The Wide Wide World of Pre-Op
Before we get started with the final post, though, I do have an important announcement to make. At this time I would like to inform you guys that after giving it some long and very serious thought, I have chosen a new, more “action hero” type name for myself*. From now on, I will be known the world over as: PROLAPSIN’ JACKSON.
(Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.)
Okay! So many of you know that two weeks ago I underwent surgical treatment to correct my pelvic organ prolapse. The procedure involved a partial hysterectomy and fairly extensive pelvic reconstruction surgery, and now that I’ve recovered from it a bit I thought I’d give you a little peek into how it went.
Here we go!
1. The surgery itself went great. At least that’s what I’ve been told – it’s not exactly like I was awake – but I believe it’s true since I seem to be healing quite nicely. No fevers, no complications, no infections other than a “maybe UTI”. The abdominal incision looks neat and clean, and last Friday the surgeon took out the staples and replaced them with Steri-Strips. I get to take those off later today.
Even the episiotomy wasn’t that bad, and I was *so* afraid it would be. I mean, it’s definitely tender down below, and the stitches are still there, and it will take a while for them to dissolve. But I was expecting it to be SO. MUCH. WORSE. Obsessing over old stand-up comedy bits like this didn’t exactly help put my mind at ease:
(In all seriousness, though, watch it. It’s Margaret Cho. It’s hilarious. It’s only 3 minutes. It involves the word “Frankenpussy.)
So all in all, the procedure went great and the surgeon was excellent. And for that I’m super thankful. If I’m going to have a Frankenpussy, I want it to be the best Frankenpussy there is.
2. For as well as the surgery went, however, the following 24 hours were easily THE WORST 24 HOURS OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. After the spinal anesthesia began to wear off, and I was taken off of my lovely “Do It Yourself Dilaudid” Machine of Goodness, shit began to get REAL. You see, the doctors decided to transition me from the morphine drip to Vicodin pills, which sounded fine in theory, but in reality it DID NOT WORK. Like, literally. The Vicodin did not work. There was no pain relief, not even a little bit. Only a copious amount of OH MY GOD MAKE IT STOP WHY DID I AGREE TO DO THIS TO MYSELF OW OW OW OW OW OWWWWWWwwwwwwwwwwwww.
Which, coincidentally, was the point when ALL the nurses disappeared.
I think the floor must have been short-staffed that day, because it started to take at least 45 to 60 minutes for someone to show up after I pressed the Call button (if anyone showed up at all.) And before you start jumping to conclusions, it was not because I was a horrible patient and all of the nurses were just ignoring me because they hated my guts — there was just no one around. My mother would go out to the nurse’s station and it would be completely deserted. The one time she actually managed to find someone it was an “Art Therapist” with her hands full of crayons and posterboard.
Now. Don’t get me wrong – I love nurses. As a rule I find them friendly and reliable, selfless and committed, patient and hardworking. They are, for the most part, people who put themselves out there in a way that not a lot of other people could ever do. My nurse friends, as well as most of the nurses I’ve encountered in my life, are amazing men and women with so much integrity and medical knowledge that it’s practically coming out of their buttholes.
When you’re in desperate need of a pee and you can’t get to the bathroom on your own because your abdomen doesn’t work and you’re hooked up to 2348973 IV drips and attached to the bed by a pair of compression socks?
When your meds aren’t working and you’re in such excruciating pain that you don’t even realize that you’ve been steadily crying for SIX STRAIGHT HOURS?
When you’re so nauseous and uncomfortable that you can’t drink or eat or barely even move, let alone take seriously the FIRM AND FAIRLY PATRONIZING RECOMMENDATION that you need to “get up,” “walk around,” and “wake up your bowels”?
When you’re in what feels like drastic physical straits and having to jam repeatedly on the CALL button to get attention and/or send your 65-year-old mother to patrol the hospital hallways in order to find help?
I hate to say it, but the fact of the matter is that, in those moments. you might feel A LITTLE BIT PISSED OFF WITH NURSES.
Thankfully, it all worked out in the end – after about 6 hours, the nurses finally upped their game and got the attention of the doctors, who took me off the Vicodin and gave me new pain meds that actually worked. And afterwards there was plenty of nursing staff and they were attentive and sweet and responsive and we all loved each other and lived happily ever after and had a million babies together.
3. After the pain was under control, things got a lot better. Since then, my recovery has been steady, though it has also been slooowww:
- It took me about 12 days to ween myself off of the painkillers, and I’m still on about 2400mg of Ibuprofen a day. Which means that my pain levels are now manageable but my liver probably looks a piece of beef jerky. A piece of beef jerky from Ancient Egypt.
- It’s hard to sit upright in a chair for long. I have to lay down and rest my abdomen after a while. As for other activities? Walking around is fine (though it makes me incredibly tired), bending over hurts, and laughing KILLS. It hurts so bad that I didn’t even use the tickets I had for Eddie Izzard last night. And I LOVE HIM. So you know it’s serious.
- My stomach/various guts are much better than when I first came out of surgery, but they’re still pretty messed up. I’ve gone from an inconceivable and unholy TEN DAYS OF THE WORST CONSTIPATION EVER to an inconceivable and unholy STATE OF CONSTANT DIARRHEA which I can really only describe accurately with this picture:
- I was given the A-OK to get back behind the wheel two days ago, so I decided to go for a little journey to test my stamina. A *very* little journey. My mother came with me, we drove less than a mile, and we were in one single store for 15 minutes TOPS. Still, this was me afterwards:
So yeah. Recovery is coming along, steady but very slow. I don’t get the “all-clear” to resume normal activity until the very end of June, so until then I’ll be doing a lot of taking it easy.
(In the meantime, feel free to make Prolapsin’ Jackson action figures and send them to me.)
“Willam”: Source unknown. Footage taken from Rupaul’s Drag Race, broadcast on LogoTV.