Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good times

Thursday 10 July

Woke up at the crack of dawn again but no problems sleeping. Didn't even need any painkillers - well, when have I ever had problems sleeping? Maybe 3 times tops in my life!

Dr G came to see us at 6am again. This time, he said I could have mixed liquids - woohooo - which means something with a bit more substance like yoghurts, proper fruit juices with pulp, etc.

So for breakfast I had tropical fruit juice, a yoghurt and a small glass of ensure. I am now convinced that "you are what you eat" because finally getting more substantial food inside of me made me feel 10 times better!

The physio also came and this time I was even more mobile. Really, the only thing impeding my mobility was the stupid drip.

D brought the laptop cord last night so after all the morning stuff was over, I plugged in my laptop and modem and checked emails at home and at work. The internet speed was SUPER FAST which was so great! I was feeling so good that I even sent out an email to my mailing list which prompted a TON of extra mail with all the well wishes and virtual cards. So nice!

I caught up on Google Reader and generally spent a good 4 - 5 hours connecting with the outside world via the internet.

When I got tired, I read some more books...

My husband warned me that my MIL would be visiting. I hate having visitors when I'm sick and she knows this but of course, it's all about other people, isn't it?

The only reason why I put up with it this time was because it gave me something to do for the endless hours that stretch on and on while you're confined to a hospital bed.

I seriously don't know how people do the bed rest thing.

Lunch was more ensure, another glass of juice and some more broth (which I didn't even bother with). My neighbour's kind husband bought me a lovely yoghurt drink which I had instead and that was absolutely delicious - thick, full of fruit and substantial!

The visit actually wasn't that bad and she was quite sweet - brought me a HUGE bag of chocolates "I know you only eat Nestle" (actually, I only eat Cadbury's!) and 2 magazines. I was doing NOTHING to make them keep me any longer so I distributed all the chocolates to the nurses, my neighbour and her husband, my other visitors, etc.

Then I had a delivery of a HUGE bunch of flowers from a friend - soooo sweet of her.

And my friend came to visit. She confirmed that she was pregnant and later of course, we found out that she is now having twins. Lovely visit - we caught up, I introduced her to my neighbour and we chatted infertility for a while before I closed the curtain so she could rest.

The nurse then came around to stick the needle in my belly but this time I was prepared and I negotiated beautifully if I do say so myself. No needle in exchange for me walking up and down a couple of times in the ward. Done! The point was to prevent clotting - clotting happens when you lie around and do nothing, so in my mind it was absolutely clear.

I think I was probably one of the only people ever to have kicked up a fuss about the needles because all the nurses were like, "I heard that you refused the injection. Let me give it to you - I give nice injections". Um, no - thanks, but REALLY, no thanks!

D popped in after work and we spent a couple of hours kissing and talking. People are always surprised at how affectionate we are after 13 years of marriage. We're actually toning it down in public!

Supper was yet more ensure and juice, and jelly and custard!

Read a lot again and then went to sleep.

Overall a good day and only one sleep before I'm released from "hospital prison" :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

3 forms of torture

Wed 9 July

An amazing thing happens whenever I've been in the hospital.

I wake up easily at 5 o'clock! This is SOOO not me as I'm more the 11:00 gal :)

I woke, was still not allowed to have anything (not even water) until the doctor came to see me, so I just read my book.

Dr G arrived around 6am, checked my wound and told the nurse that I was allowed to have water and clear liquids.

So that's what I had the whole day - apple juice (I actually really hate clear juices - I like chunky juices with bits of fruit in them), black tea or coffee (I think I had about 3 sips before just giving up - there is no point to tea or coffee without milk), clear broth and in the evening, a tiny bit of jelly.


And because I usually eat so well, I was listless and not myself at all. I had absolutely no energy and didn't even feel like talking (then you really know that I'm not well). My poor husband said I looked very pale to which I said, "you would too if you'd had water the whole day!"

So that's torture 1.

A lady came to fit us with "beautiful" orthopaedic socks so that we wouldn't have varicose veins from all the bed rest. A complete waste of time in my opinion but as I said, I was not my usual spunky self so I had no fight in me.

Torture 2 was the physio who arrived at 8.

The nurse came to us when he arrived and said to press the morphine pump so that it wouldn't be too bad once he started working with us.

So we did.

Then she removed the catheter - heaven! Hate those things. Except now we had to keep going to the loo all by ourselves.

Anyway, the physio started with my roommate who started screaming when he was working with her.

I'm a big baby anyway with pain so hearing those screams just terrified me.

The nurse then removed the morphine pump and said to me, "you've hardly had any". Um, yes. Apparently that was very unusual because usually patients pump that thing non-stop.

(I have the Secret Weapon though - God!)

When the physio eventually got to me, we did some bed exercises (not too bad), then he made me cough while holding my tummy (more painful but still bearable) and then I had to get up and walk out the ward, down the corridor and back again.

Again, not too bad except for me having to lug the pole with the drip along with me. They'd put the drip in on my wrist (exactly where your hand bends) and it was so sore. In fact, I'm writing this 2 weeks later and when I touch that spot, it's STILL sore.

The walk was slow but I was doing well. The worst part was the getting up and sitting down - the actual walk was...well...a walk in the park :)

He warned us that he would be returning at 4pm to do the same set of exercises all over again. Obviously the second time was easier.

Then... and this was the worst and final torture.

The nurse approaches me with a needle and says she's got to give me an injection to prevent the blood from clotting in my abdominal area.

I'm a bit slow (again, no food will do that to you) so I asked if she was going to stick me in my bum.

No, right in my abdomen.

Oh my word - I think I very nearly had a panic attack. Still, I couldn't fight her off so she gave me the injection which was SO MUCH WORSE than I expected and it burned so much. When she took the needle out, I lay in my bed, crying for about 5 minutes.

This time, my neighbour didn't even make a sound - clearly she was okay with the injection. She told me later that she'd already been through 3 rounds of IVF so she was used to the needle but did say that that nurse gave the worst injections she'd ever had.

D had brought my laptop, clothes and toiletries before he went to work so I was able to change from that horrible hospital gown. I could also check my Google Reader until the battery ran out (I didn't have the cord with me) but then it was back to reading and sleeping.

D visited again in the evening for about 45 mins.

And that was the end of the first day in the hospital - only 2 sleeps before I can go home!

Friday, July 25, 2008


Oh my word - the most exciting thing EVER happened today.

My good friend C had her first complete IVF a month ago. When I was waiting to go into surgery, she tried to phone me so I knew she had the results of her pregnancy test. I couldn't take calls in that ward of 19 ladies (!) so I sent her a quick text message to say I'd call her in the evening.

Well, she was PREGNANT!!!! Huge excitement :)

Today she had her first scan and sent me a text that read, "it's twins".

I jumped on my phone immediately - I am SOOOOOO happy for her.

So when D got home I told him and he says, "can we have one?"


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When I woke

The first person I saw when I woke was Anaethetist Dr G saying, "Dr G had to do a laparotomy instead of just the laparoscopy".

Remember I couldn't speak because they stick that tube down your throat but I do have a very expressive face so I must have started freaking out because he says, "don't worry; Dr G explained everything to your husband"

More of a freak out because I'm thinking, "What happened? Did they find cancer? Did they remove my womb? What???"

Then I got really sleepy again because I vaguely remember hearing a nurse say to me, "we're going to fetch your things and take you to the ward because you're staying till Friday"

Well, they wheeled me up two floors and at least I had a lovely spot in the corner with a beautiful view of a golf course. (You've got to look on the bright side!)

When I woke the 2nd time, D was there and I still couldn't speak AND they told me I couldn't have any water or anything but later, if Dr G approved, I could suck on some ice.

Woohoo! (that's me being sarcastic) I mean really now, what will ice do?

D couldn't give me all the technical details I demanded but apparently, they didn't remove anything they weren't supposed to. Something about my bowel and ovary.

Anaethetist Dr G then walked in with his credit card machine (still a huge source of amusement for us); D paid him and I found when I read the statement that I was operated on for 100 minutes. My word - that's a long time!

When Dr G came to check on me (and my room-mate) about an hour later, he said I could suck on some ice and he would check on me again the next day. By this time, it was early evening, about 7 or 8pm. I could only croak because my mouth was soooooo dry!

My ovary was attached to my bowel (I've had that before with my 2nd laparoscopy in 2004) and because they wanted to be sure to not nick it (as it's so delicate a procedure), they cut me open to fix it properly. Which is fine except I now had to stay til Friday (3 nights in a hospital bed).

The lady next to me had also had a laparotomy and was crying out continually because she was in LOTS of pain. Anaethetist Dr G gave both of us morphine drips - I was very concerned about overdosing but the good doc explained how it will only dispense a certain number of ml every 5 minutes no matter how much you press the button. Very good!

I was quite keen on this morphine drip because the last time I had an op (Nov 2007), I was in pain during the night and couldn't even reach the nurse's panic button. So I tried once with him there, it beeped to show it was working properly and i was set.

I sent D home shortly thereafter so I could sleep. Of course I had a catheter in (yuck) so I didn't have to bother myself with bathrooms and so on :)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Surgery no. 4

The surgery happened on Tuesday 8 July and I was meant to be at the clinic at 10:15 am so they told me to eat nothing after 12.

Of course that meant that my last meal was at 7:45 straight after gym, and I made pancakes after that which I had at 8:30. I continued drinking coffee and water until 11:55 :)

The next morning, I got up at a leisurely pace, showered and shaved (yes, down there) and dressed in a track suit (their "loose-fitting clothes). I was sure to take a bottle of water with me because already I was parched. I easily get through 2L of water a day besides tea and coffee so it's really hard to not have anything.

Grabbed my ID and all the doctors forms (their office faxed me 9 pages of stuff) and off we went. Got down there with about 5 minutes to spare and "checked in" very quickly, probably due to the 9 pages of stuff I'd completed and signed beforehand.

Then the receptionist says, "come with me, I'll take you through", pushes open a door leading from reception and I'm right in the ward! Freaky and very weird. No corridors or anything!

The nurse showed me my bed and then said to come with her so I could change into those "beautiful" hospital gowns. Of course, they're one size fits all and I'm quite small so even properly tied, the gown was falling off me and I had to hold it to protect my modesty :) since most of the ladies were accompanied by their husbands.

You leave all your stuff (hard for me; I like my things around me) in a locker and then traipse through the ward, barefoot and clutching the huge gown (oh wait - that was only me) and the locker key. I literally was allowed my book and my glasses. No watch (crazy for me - I look at it MANY times a day).

We'd intended for my husband to stay with me until they wheeled me away but they were taking so long (I think I remember asking the time when I was eventually fetched and it was about 1:30 - 1:40) so I told him to go to work. Of course by this time I was STARVING which in a way was good because I was no longer nervous, I just wanted this OVER so I could EAT!


In my defence, I eat ALL THE TIME (healthy, small meals) so by that time I would normally have had breakfast, a fruit, and lunch, and of course, about a litre of water and probably a cup or two of tea :)

an aside...

I love people watching. It was so interesting to watch all the ladies in the ward - some by themselves, some with kids, some whose husbands were working on their laptops. I got to see some women leave after their ops - the one lady put on her jeans straight away (I tried not to be envious but I failed!), the one walked out with her hubby, some woke up starving (that will be me, I thought)


So the anaethetist came to see me and he says, "I'm Dr G and I'll be taking care of you while Dr G's operating" He then explained EXACTLY what he was going to do (I love that - I'm such a control freak). The weird thing is this guy was walking around with his CREDIT CARD MACHINE - freaky - getting his payment from other ladies' husbands who were awake.

I told my husband, D, "if I die, you are NOT going to pay him a single cent" - always looking after the money :)

Anyway, so they fetched me and took me to surgery.

My doctor said when he saw me, "Hi. How are you feeling?"

I remember saying, "Nervous. Thanks for asking" to which he said, "oh, you'll be fine" and then the anaethetist said something like, "you'll feel a slight burn and then in about 30 seconds, you'll be out"

And I was!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This and that

So we checked on what our medical aid would pay for the laparoscopy and .... turns out only 32% is covered. The rest is for our own account.

Since this one is not too bad compared to the whole IVF thing, I don't feel so bad.

I keep telling myself it's okay to pay "expert prices" for health-related expenses.

So I waited for my period and booked my place in the operating queue. He only operates straight after your period because he wants to make sure you're not pregnant.

This was meant to be a laparoscopy but turned out to be a laparotomy (big Caesar cut) because of some complications.

Anyway, because of that, I told my work that I'd be off for about 5 - 6 days and now it's turned out to be 3 - 4 weeks. Good thing I have job issues at the moment because I honestly don't care when I go back :)

I always get really scared before an op but this time I didn't have the luxury of being scared because I had to give a talk to 50 women the day before so I was all focussed on the preparation and doing the actual talk, and couldn't stress :)

(The talk went wonderfully, thanks for asking).

I'll tell you what happened in the next post!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lock up the knives

Today my cleaning lady says to me “where’s your baby?”

I thought my heart was going to stand still.

She was looking at pictures of my sister's child.

So I said, "Oh, that'’s my sister’s child".

Then she says “Marcia, why don’t you have babies? Don’t be late” at which point I stabbed her with the nearest knife.

No I didn’t – I just felt like it :)

I actually just ignored her because I was speechless!

It just starts to feel okay and then something like this happens.


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