Westlife: the removal

Came back from hospital two days ago, and that was probably the longest and worst week of my life. At least the last time I came home with a tiny, angry bundle of baby. This time I came back with a swollen, sore midriff, a pile of drugs and the menopause.

Actually, M and I read through the symptoms of the menopause and reasoned that I had actually started the pre-menopause bit anyway. I’d been waking up with night sweats for a month, my periods were getting irregular, I was forgetting things, and Martin claims I’ve been more irritable than usual during that time too.  I thought I had been the epitome of pure reason and calm, but he begs to differ.

According to the surgeon, I had an uneventful radical hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and bilateral pelvic lymphadenectomy to treat a moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma of the cervix, and it was done at St Thomas’s.  Not so sure about the uneventful bit, but they gave me an epidural and backed that up with patient-controlled analgesic (morphine pump controlled by me – woohoo!). They got worried about my blood pressure, and the haemoglobin rate, so gave me a blood transfusion a couple of days after the op, which almost instantly made me feel a lot better, despite my protests. Apparently they hadn’t noticed that I had rare antibodies in my blood which made it difficult to match, so they had to order some in, and it only arrived two days later. See that? I’m special, me.

They also had to dissect my bladder to do…ermm…something to it, which meant that I had to stay on the catheter until Monday. That put me in a really bad mood.

I drifted around on a sea of pain and irritation for about 24 hours, and then they took me off the morphine pump, which stopped the hallucinations at least, and stopped the nurses shouting at me for losing my cannulae. The consultants were all rather pleased with themselves, and reckon they’ve picked up everything horrid, and sewn it back together nice and neatly.

I had loads of visitors, in fact Friday turned into a bit of a mob session with seven people turning up.  C came in to see me a few times, and was most interested in my catheter bag, and in the prospect of being wheeled about on one of the ward’s wheelchairs.

Saturday was a horrible day. My digestive system went into some kind of shock, and I could barely eat a thing. It was hospital food, I know, but I had at least managed to nibble on the odd piece of toast, or eat a bowl of cereal. I was really low and tearful too. Then on Saturday night, I threw up mightily, and felt OK again. Been feeling OK ever since, apart from the PAIN.

The catheter came out on Monday morning, and they let me go home in the afternoon with a pile of drugs to deal with the PAIN. So, I’m on:

  • Enoxaparin Sodium Injection (40mg) that’s right, an injection. I’ve got to keep injecting every night until 12 July. Each one leaves a little deep blue bruise on my thigh, so I’m thinking of making a join the dots picture
  • Paracetamol (1000mg – which to me is 1g, but I’m but an arts graduate) four times a day
  • Omeprazole (20mg) – every morning
  • Ibuprofen (400mg) – three times daily
  • Ferrous Sulphate (200mg) – twice daily. Turns your poo black. V scary.

Oh yes, why do drug names have fairly standard endings, like -ol, -in, -ole, -on? Is it taxonomy-related? See? I know words like “taxonomy”.

I’m supposed to be going in for a post-op appointment today, but they haven’t called to confirm the appt, and I think the junior doc was a bit confused about which Wednesday he meant.

So now I’m at home “under hospital conditions” for a week, which appears to mean that I can’t go out that much, and I have to take lots of rests. As from next Tuesday I can start venturing out, and doing other things as long as I keep taking afternoon naps.

There seems to be a lot of death around right now.  Nobody wanted to tell me while I was in hospital, but some friends lost their daughter to leukaemia, and M’s colleague died of a heart attack last week.  A few months ago another friend-of-a-friend died of cancer. All of them in their thirties. I can’t escape the feeling that I’ve cheated death again…


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