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.