pelvic organs? come on down! (part 4 of 4)

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 2: How to Fix Dem Sagging Girl Parts

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.)

*not true

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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.

Useful!

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.

However.

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.

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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:

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  • 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:

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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.)

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If you haven’t already done so, consider following est. 1975 on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Pinterest! I add fresh, hilarious material every single day.

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Photo credits:
“Willam”: Source unknown. Footage taken from Rupaul’s Drag Race, broadcast on LogoTV.

44 Replies to “pelvic organs? come on down! (part 4 of 4)”

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I had a similar experience with my csection. I just can’t believe they expect you to get up only 12 HOURS AFTER SURGERY. WTF? Are you kidding me?! They had me on Percocet which did ABSOLUTELY nothing except make me so constipated I couldn’t go for 6 days. I was better off with straight up ibuprofen (I was given morphine only once, bastards). I have never felt such pain in all my life, trying to get out of bed after that. Got to my feet (with 2 people helping me) and fell right back down. Had a similar nurse experience too (shift change-my husband may have gone into full attack mode) but it was followed the next day by another nurse coming in and telling me she knew I was due for pain meds about when she was going off duty so she came in early to see if I needed them. I think I may have kissed her.

    1. At one point my mom managed to track down a nurse on the opposite side of the floor who came in and refused to deal with the pain issue because she “didn’t know me.” WELL THEN FIND A NURSE WHO DOES KNOW ME, BECAUSE I’M DYING HERE!

      A different nurse that same day told me in a very threatening manner, when I was upset and crying with pain, that I had “better not be mean to her.” I was like: “Oh, excuse me. I didn’t realize I had to barter for your medical care. I thought I was already paying a million billion dollars for it. Also, I would be a lot nicer to you if my whole body didn’t KILL, which you don’t seem to be doing anything about.” (Well, I was like that in my head. In reality I was just like: “WAHHHH!”)

      I have nothing against nurses – in fact I have *SO* much respect for anyone who is in the nursing, caretaking, and medical professions – but I just had a lot of bad luck with the nursing staff that particular day. The rest of the hospital stay was wonderful though.

      1. Yeah, nurses are great overall. It’s tough slipping through the cracks though. I can’t believe the attitude you encountered! Wow, just wow. And I just LOVE Prolapsin’ Jackson. I don’t know that you can use that name since your insides aren’t falling out anymore (hopefully).

  2. FUCK YEAH! SARAH’S BACK!! Foul-mouthed, gross-talking, genius-picture-making Sarah. The only one I know who can make agonizing pain and horrible recovery this hilarious. I mean, sure, you can’t walk around for long, can’t sit up, are shitting rivers, are still poppin’ pills, and have a tender frankenpussy, but you’re back. For reals. I’ve missed your posts. Maybe don’t drive around or walk too much so I can read more, mmmkay?

  3. Prolapsin’ Jackson. That’s sheer genius. This is hilarious…in an I’m-sorry-you-had-to-go-through-that-glad-it-wasn’t-me kind of way. *hugs* I’m gonna go do some Keigels before I read the other installments.

    1. LOL. Okay, so you reminded me of this. Here’s a public service announcement for all you loyal so-and-sos about Kegels. If you’re still in good pelvic condition, yes, by all means do them. (Though you need to make sure you’re doing them correctly. Kegels done wrong can actually hurt you.) But if you’re already suffering from prolapse as severe as mine, be warned that doing your Kegels is essentially useless, as the damage is already done. It’s like taking a broken rubber band and trying to stretch it back into wholeness again. If you have concerns or questions, definitely talk to your GYN and/or a physical therapist.

      /serious business

      1. My firn GYN prescribed kegals and some vaginal hormone cream to try and “beef up” (her words, im so not even fucking kidding you) my lady bits. Or Harley Parts, as my grandma calls them. I cant even. ffs

    1. Hey Kris! Well, the whole process did suck and may well continue to suck for a while but I’d like to believe it’s better than the alternative – being completely incontinent and sexually inactive by the time I’m 50.

  4. Okay…this was funny until I got to the part about you having to miss Eddie Izzard. That made me teary. THAT is tragic. 🙁

    Hope your frankenpussy heals up nicely.

    1. Thanks 🙂 I know, the Eddie Izzard thing is so tragic. What are the chances of me getting to ever see him live again? Probably pretty small, given his potential political career.

  5. Ok, so im 33. Even though im pretty sure im NEVER having another baby, thats pretty much the only thing keeping me from having the surgery. Its been rolling around my brain for the last 4 years or so, and is a lot of the reason I had baby #2 at 30 years old. The thing is, “pretty sure” is not “absofriggenlutely” so, im waiting. Bc thats what you do when deciding to rip out the baby making lady bits. Or so the doctors tell me.

    I just happened across your post by way of Mommy needs wine, not whine- and im pretty glad I did, as this is the first I’ve come across someone actually sharing the whole process.

    I have just one question. .. How did the giner turn out? ?? Please tell me it made the whole thing worth it? Like “OMFG I can totally become a vagina model!” Worth IT.

    My impending surgery awaits your wise words, Ms Jackson.

    1. TO ADDRESS YOUR IMPORTANT QUESTION: Well, sadly I am only 2 1/2 weeks post-op, which means I am scared to even look at my vagina because it is still Frankenpussy, stitches and all. BUT! I should be completely done with my recovery (or at least the immediate post-op recovery) in about 4-6 weeks from now, so I’ll pop on here then and give an update as to how everything looks/works. I gotta see how sex is too!

      Just to clarify something: I had a perineoplasty, *not* a vaginoplasty/vaginal rejuvenation. (They have Wikipedia entries I’m too lazy to link to.) Anyway, there should be some improvement in tightness and friction (I hope) but it’s not going to be like I’MA HAVE A 12 YEAR OLD VAGINA! if you know what I mean 😉 Though I think my husband is expecting that… sigh.

  6. Prolapsin’ Jackson. You need to trademark that, stat. Buy the domain name, reserve the twitter handle, etc.

    Oh, and I’m glad you’re recovering nicely. Except for the poop river. That is just unfortunate. Let me know if you need some pepto.

  7. You’d think after all that business you gave em, that surgeon could throw in the giner-plasty. You know. Although I think my hubby would be THRILLED with “some improvement in tightness and friction”

    He’s the comedian that asked the dr to “throw in an extra stitch or two” during my episiotomy (?)

    That funny guy. Its a wonder we dont have a soccer team of chillens. Ha.

    1. Upon her husband asking the Dr to add “an extra stitch or two” immediately after childbirth, my friend requested the doc to “add an extra inch or two” to her husband. All’s fair after all!

  8. Hey Sarah, first time visitor and girl, you had me with “Prolapsin’ Jackson”! Read the whole series and wasn’t too freaked out — but I work in an OB/GYN office, so I’m familiar with a lot of this stuff (and the dreaded UDS test with the electrodes and catheters). I am muddling over if I want something similar (ye old uterus came out several years ago — but the bladder does just not want to cooperate!) The whole pain thing — and the catheter thing scares me. PS — how long did you have to wear a catheter after the surgery and did you ever have to cath yourself? That’s the main reason I didn’t have the bladder done at the same time as the hyst — my doc was all, “You know you’ll have to cath yourself?” I was all, “Fuck that!”

    1. Hello Jana! Welcome!

      If pain is an issue for you, the pelvic reconstruction procedure is gonna be shit, George. I’m three weeks post-op and I still have quite a bit of abdominal pain and pain in the perineal area from the episiotomy. It’s not excruciating like it was in the beginning, but it’s definitely there. Make sure to discuss pain meds with the doctors and which ones work best for you… BEFORE you go into the procedure.

      I did not go home with a catheter and I did not have to cath myself. I think I would have passed out and/or died. They took me off the catheter within 24 hours of the surgery because a) it’s an easy way to get an infection and b) they want you to see if you can try and pee on your own before you leave the hospital. My surgeon said about 20% of women who have the procedure *do* have to go home with a catheter, but thankfully I didn’t. Peeing wasn’t easy, but I did it.

      POOPING IS THE REAL ENEMY.

  9. I am glad things went well (if no pain management for hours can fall into that category)! The whole experience sounds like a damn nightmare! (anything that keeps a person from Eddie Izzard is no joke) I admit I’m doing a few kegels after reading this and willing my parts to stay in place. (hang in their pelvis!) I hope you are still steadily on the road to recovery and are resting up! –Lisa

  10. Just getting caught up. You are a hard core fucking mother (although you probably aren’t doing much of that yet, motherfucker just wouldn’t make much sense here). Get that Frankenpussy some business cards. And a plaque for the mantle. If you don’t have a mantle, GET ONE. Bitch is for real.

    And what I mean by all that is this: Hi there, beautiful. Welcome back. xxx+o

  11. I was just sent the link to this today and I’ve got to tell you it’s amazing! I’m having a hysterectomy in the fall wherein they will have to cut me open like a trout so they can untangle my organs because there’s so much endometriosis and scar tissue. Good times.
    So tempted to blog about it now. I thought it might be too “out there” but you’ve shown me the way. Kudos.

  12. I thought I had read every thread on the internet about POP in the last 6 months but this is a new one to me! How’s your recovery? I’m facing the same issues but am delaying surgery for at least a few years (for a variety of reasons, primarily until my girls are older and we’re stationed overseas with the military and discussing my vag is hard enough in English, let alone a local national doctor).

      1. Yay! I’m dreading the day I finally have the repairs and had heard horror stories. So nice to hear positive stories.

  13. So here we are, almost two years later, and I am STILL tossing around the idea of surgery (mentioned in comments above) I’ve reached the “absofickenlutely no” stage on having more kids, so I think it’s time. I’m ready for no more periods (Being able to properly pee and poop would also be nice!)

    Anyway, just checking back in to see how everything healed up. How’s the bladder and bowel function? Would you say bladder leakage is 100% improved?

    At this point I just need to start making phone calls, which means I should get around to that sometime next December lol

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