Friday, September 9, 2011

Not the Average Week

Warning: This Post May Distress Some Readers

Hello, dear blogworld.  Yes, I am alive - although I'm sorry to say it was actually slightly touch & go for a moment.  I did not manage to blog between coming back from holidays and going in for surgery - however, I have a draft holiday post on the go so that will come.  It was just so slow loading photos that I haven't finished.  But anyway, far more important things have been happening & I need to share my story, if only to get it all down properly so it's a bit clearer for myself.  Please bear with me.

I went in for my fibroid surgery on Wed 31st Aug, first up in the morning.  It was at a small private hospital in Sydney's eastern suburbs, as there were only 2 hospital choices given to me by the surgeon.  Afterwards the surgeon came in & said the surgery went well although took a bit longer than he expected.  He started laproscopically but could not do it that way & had to do open surgery, which meant a bigger cut and a longer recovery time.  He removed 10 fibroids, including one really large one.

The next day the nurses told me my haemoglobin was low (this all didn't mean much to me, not being a medical person) and the dr wanted me to be given a few units of blood, via my IV.  Okay.  The dr came back to see me later & seemed happy with everything, and that what was coming into the drain had lessened & asked the nurses to take it out.  I won't go into all the details, but as soon as they did I lost a lot of blood, my blood pressure dropped very low and they were all trying to stem the blood and get my pressure back up - which they did.  So I didn't think there was anything to worry about.  There was a time when they tilted the bed back, so my head was lower than my feet.  Apparently this helps raise low blood pressure.  However, I felt something (that I assumed was wind/gas, as I had been pumped full of air when the op began laproscopically) rising in me, into my chest, behind my rib cage & I was struggling to breathe.  I got very distressed & was crying at this point and they tilted me back ... and everything settled down.  A dr on duty put a few stitches in the wound & then everyone left me, I thought all was okay now.

About 5 minutes later, a nurse came in and said my surgeon had requested I have an ultrasound just to check everything was okay inside and, as they didn't have the facilities, an ambulance would take me to St Vincent's hospital.  I was thinking, "Tsk ... I don't want to go anywhere, I'm fine."  but the ambos arrived & off I went, chatting to them on the way.  It was a short journey to St Vinnie's ... and this is where things changed.

We got there, and there were about 20 people waiting for me in the ED.  They were surrounding me, all concerned faces and lots of questions - everyone seemed to be asking me the same questions & it felt kind of chaotic.  And they had stuffed an oxygen mask on my face so it was a bit hard to answer.   Then one dr said, "So Natalie - do you understand that you've been brought here for emergency surgery and this may involve a hysterectomy?"  (as opening lines go, it needs some work, right??)  I was going, "No NO!" and starting to cry.  There was an older lady dr there who gave him a look & kind of took over the conversation.  She was much more gentle & reassuring in her communication style.  I said the reason I'd had the fibroid surgery was for fertility purposes, and she explained that they would do everything they could not to resort to this, but had to warn me that if it was required to save my life, it was a possibility.  He needs to work on how he communicates this to (relatively) young women.

Then the senior surgeon/Consultant (basically the head gyno guy at St Vinnie's) introduced himself, and there was a social worker there who asked me if there was anyone she could call.  I said yes, my husband and amazingly, was actually able to tell her his mobile number off the top of my head (WTF?).  Then the surgeon said "I'll call him" and he popped out to personally call my husband.  I then remember actually being wheeled into the operating theatre before they gave me the anaesthetic.  That did not happen with the first surgery.

And then I woke up in Intensive Care and my husband was there.  The crux of it is that I had massive internal bleeding and was essentially near death ... but didn't even know it.  They did not remove anything I was born with, they were just able to stop the bleeding.  I was then in ICU for about 24 hours, then moved up to a ward early Fri evening.  The dr who made the tactless opening remark about the hysterectomy turned out to be the one who came to see me every day - he is called the Fellow, which I think means he is the right hand man of the Consultant.  I was finally allowed to come home on Tues evening, which was good as I was not going to stay there another night!

I am so glad to be home, but will now need 4-6 weeks off work.  I am sore and bruised, and extremely spun out by what has happened.  And can you believe that the original surgeon has not contacted me at all to check how I am?  And, according to the two drs at St Vincent's, they both called him as a courtesy and he did not call either of them back.  So a big thank you to the drs and staff at St Vincent's ... and no thanks at all to my original surgeon.

A long story but there it is.  That's where I've been and what I've been up to.  No pretty photos this blog.  Hope I haven't upset anyone with my story.


  1. Thanks for sharing- I can't believe this happened and some dr's have no tact at all. Hope you are on the road to recovery now.

  2. Oh Nat. I do hope you are recovering well and looking after yourself.
    That's one scary story, but sounds like you were well looked after.
    Glad to hear that there was no hysterectomy required. that would have been horrible considering the reason you went in for surgery in the first place.
    Now for a speedy recovery and a safe one too.
    Then it's onwards and upwards for the baby making!

  3. Thanks ladies. Sammie - it's been very scary indeed!

    I just realised something went wrong with the editing and there was a chunk of text missing in that post, which resulted in one part making no sense. Must have accidentally deleted a bit. I've just fixed it.

  4. Oh gosh! Wishing you a speedy recovery Nat xx

    So glad the tactless surgeon (what was he thinking starting like that?!) redeemed himself with the good post op care.

  5. Aw hon, I'm so sorry to hear you've had such a traumatic time! Sometimes the boys just don't get it :( thinking of you & wishing you a speedy recovery x

  6. What a story! The important thing is that you're well. Rest up, your body went through a lot.

    The tactless doctor needs to work on his bedside manner but I'm more concerned about the surgeon. Not sure if this is the forum to do it but you should name and shame! Not only that he didn't check up on you after the op, but also that he didn't explain to you (and the nurse perhaps) that the transfer to St Vincents is for emergency surgery! That is not acceptable in my book. I hope when you feel up to it that you raise a complaint.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  7. Oh Nat! How awful... I'm glad you came through ok. I too have had surgery at st vincents for... shall we say... ladies' things? And I also have a weird doctor story. I was admitted and was being wheeled into the operating room when the doctor came out to introduce himself before they gave me anasthetic - and it was my first ever boyfriend, with whom I had a very painful break up (he cheated on me) and who I hadn't seen since high school! Talk about weird... Snap with st vincents and unpleasant male doctors!

  8. Ms Curious - that dr wasn't there at the time (they had called him), so to be honest that was the nurse's fault for telling me ultrasound but clearly phoning it through to St Vinnie's as an urgent code! My husband rang and complained about several things, that's why they refunded the fee. We're wondering if there's more to it and plan to try & find out some more facts about what have might caused it.

    another ring - Oh no, how awful that would be! I didn't mean to imply this dr was unpleasant at all. He was a very nice man actually. I just think he wasn't thinking to say that first up, in the urgency of the situation. I'm very grateful to him & the surgeon there & all the other staff.

  9. You poor love! what a horrible time for you and your husband. I hope you recover well and quickly. So glad you are ok and that you can continue along your path to parenthood. xxx

  10. OMG. You are so brave.
    Best Wishes for a super fast recovery.
    Sending lots of positive energy your way


  11. Oh Natalie what a scary situation! :( I hope you recover quickly xxx

  12. OMG I just had a fairly similar traumatic experience, so I have some idea how frightening that must have been. I wrote about it on my blog in order to try to get over it. I'm glad you pulled through and I am wishing you a speedy recovery. All the best xox

  13. Hey Nat, long time no hear?? Hope all is well. Sam. x

  14. Would love an update on how you are going Nat.. the silence is worrying!!

  15. I just read through your blog posts from since you found out to this. I am happy that you got through that ordeal, but was so worried for you whilst following. I hope you heal well and when you are well enough, the baby comes naturally and beautiful.

    You aren't even that old and have complications. I fear, because we had decided to wait, but now wonder if that is wise? Anyways, get well soon!

  16. Nat, haven't heard from you for a while... just popping in to say hello, but perhaps you have stopped blogging? Hope all is well.


Thank you for commenting!