Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Vestibulectomy- Day 1

I had my vestibulectomy today. Here's how that worked.

I got to the hospital at 5:30am and was sent up to the 2nd floor. My husband was given a special bracelet that marked him as a patient. I wasn't given anything at that point.

Then, I went up to the admitting desk and told them my information. They gave me a little transmitter along the lines of a Carlos and Gabby's beeper, and when it started beeping and saying 'Return to the Admitting Desk," I returned to the admitting desk. Then, I was given some more information, handed over my ID and insurance card to be scanned, asked if I wanted to fill out Advance Directives (I didn't for this particular surgery, although it IS a good idea to fill out at some point). I had to sign some forms, and then I was sent up to the second floor.

An awesome nurse named Niddah (I think it's hilarious that this was her name) from the Philippines met me there and put me into a room where I changed out of all of my clothes and put them all into a bag marked Personal Belongings. I was given a hospital gown that tied in the back (not a paper gown, a real one), a shower cap to cover my hair and some awesome grey socks with white tracks on them so I could stay grounded on the floor and not slip.

Many nurses, doctors and the anesthesiologist, including two med students/ residents who were going to watch my procedure all came in to speak to me. There were definitely at least five to six people in the room with me. They asked me the same questions several times (my name, how to spell it, my date of birth and why I was there today and whether I had any questions). The anesthesiologist started an IV line. She was Chinese (I think) and named Dr. David, which I took as a good sign. (David being the one who composed Tehillim and all). I had mistakenly taken some sips of water in the morning and had to clarify that it was only sips and not a glass, because apparently when you are on anesthesia they put a chest/ breathing tube into you and they want to make sure there is no reflux and you don't choke on something you've eaten or drunk.

I signed some more consent forms and filled out some more surveys about sex and sexual desire for Dr. Goldstein before the anesthesiologist inserted the 'happy medicine' which put me to sleep. I don't remember anything after that until I woke up after the procedure. When I first woke up, I had a very uncomfortable pressing feeling in my rectum like I needed to go to the bathroom to excrete, but that was not actually the case (it was probably just caused by the strain of the stiches in the vulvar area). I also had an ice pack directly on the vulva region and some cool mesh white "panties" (I could not wear and cannot wear real underwear for a while). I had to change the ice packs several times. I was asked what my pain was, but since I had been numbed in that area in addition to receiving the anesthesia, my pain was at 0.

The nurses didn't seem to have a totally firm grasp on what Dr. Goldstein's instructions had been, so they walked me faster than I thought he intended to the bathroom and I tried to slow them down as much as I was able since he had said to walk with little shuffling motions like an old man. I wasn't allowed to leave until I had urinated, so I drank two cups of apple juice and some water and had some IV fluids attached to me until finally, at around 12pm (and remember, I had the procedure starting at 7:30am), I was able to urinate 150ccs. I was then allowed to be discharged from the hospital after being given the phone numbers of every single doctor or hospital person related to my case and a sitz bath.

My husband and I have a fabulous cabdriver named JD and he came and picked us up and let me lay on a towel in the back seat all the way home (on top of a towel that I had brought).I've been told that for those people who live out of the area and are not so close by, a hotel stay is advisable, but luckily, that wasn't an issue for me. Unfortunately, the cab really wasn't quite so long that I could lay flat with my legs extended, so I bent my knees but still kept them together and hoped it was enough. I shuffled into our house, keeping the thighs together and carefully changed my ice packs and got into bed. Then, I finally ate some food (banana and meatballs, in my case, plus some apple cider to keep from getting constipated, which I have been told I must avoid at all costs). That's the point at which I started getting nauseous- probably aftereffects of the anesthesia- so therefore, I took both Percocet and then let an anti-nausea pill dissolve under my tongue. Within five minutes of taking the Percocet, I got super sleepy and went straight to sleep.

Now I'm up again, having taken an Ibuprofen pill, and having changed the ice again. (Before, I had been using freeze packs from the hospital; now I've switched over to ice inside of a sandwich bag wrapped in a paper towel. I bought a huge pack of party ice from a local store, along the lines of what people normally use to store beer and soda cans in a cooler, so that I won't run out). The deal is that I am supposed to ice constantly and then, 24 hours after after the procedure (so basically, starting tomorrow, probably at around 9am or so), I'm supposed to start taking warm sitz baths for about 20 minutes per bath, 4 times per day in addition to the icing. All of this is to keep the wound site clean and not infected. There is (and is supposed to be) bleeding for this first week, but it is minimal.

For now, this is manageable. I'm not sure how I"m going to take to being caged up in the house for 6 weeks (I suppose I could walk outside and stand on the porch, but I don't really want to be shuffling to the grocery store or anything like that). I guess I'll be able to experience what Martha Stewart went through- somewhat of a cushy house arrest. My husband is an incredible man, on the positive side of things. When I was groggy coming out of the anesthesia, I felt very sad and kept on saying how "I didn't like playing this game." I was also very bothered by the breathing machine in my nose and kept on bothering the nurse and asking her if I could take it off (I must have asked four times) till I finally could. My husband bought me a stuffed turtle from the gift shop that is super cute, talked to me (he was allowed to see me for five minutes every hour on the hour while I was in the PACU, which is some kind of anesthesia recovery unit), and helped me all the way home and now that I am in home. I am just sitting here in bed and he is the one in charge of bringing me food, setting up my computer, and getting me whatever I need. I am very blessed to have a man like him in my life, and I love him a lot.

So here is hoping that the rest of recovery goes smoothly, that I haven't torn or harmed any of the stitches and that I don't do so, and that things go well!

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