con't from Two Weeks To The Day Since Surgery
So you are thinking about surgery. Maybe it is due to a medical problem or maybe you are considering cosmetic surgery.
Think about this first…
Surgery is serious. When someone cuts into you it literally opens up the fragile eco system that is your body and exposes it to errors, infections and complications.
Here are 10 things I wish I'd been told before I went in for my ednometriosis, ovarian cyst and polyp surgery that went sideways and ended up perforating my bladder.
1. The complications after surgery may be worse than the reason you went into surgery in the first place. Take this to heart because it isn't BS. It's real.
2. You could take you much more time to recover than you expected, or you may never recover. Be warned.
3. The drugs that they give you may adversely affect your body and cause you more damage than good. They may shut down your bowels, cause horrendous nausea and make you feel like you are ET and want to "Go Home".
4. If you cannot go to the bathroom after surgery under no circumstances should you be allowed to go home. Do not listen to the idea that you are simply dehydrated despite pumping you full of fluids and all your urine has magically "disappeared".
5. The surgery could affect other parts of your body that you don't expect and will most certainly affect you psyche. You could be depressed afterwards.
6. You may feel as though your intestines do not belong to you anymore and some wicked witch is squeezing them like a water balloon causing you excruciating stabbing pains, bloating and severe agony every time you move. Many people experience this after surgery for weeks on end. Going to the bathroom and going to be tortured have suddenly become synonymous.
7. You won't recognize your own body. You will be swollen, red, black, blue, bruised, puffy, itchy and may even for some weird reason have your skin peel off. This happened to me, might have been all the poison seeping out of my stomach.
8. You won't be the same. I now have a new bellybutton and scarfacebelly. Since this was a laparoscopy I expected very small scars…I have one 6 inch scar and 3 other very small scars.
9. This surgery could lead to other surgeries. Don't make the mistake I made and think that a surgery error won't happen to you. They happen.
10. Don't expect the surgery to solve all your problems. You may go through all of this for nothing. Doctors don't know everything and can't know how your body will react to the surgery.
I don't want to scare you, but then again, maybe I do. After what I went through these past weeks I would hate for anyone else to suffer the same.
How do you feel about surgery?
Would you or have you undergone elective surgery?
I hope to avoid as much as possible any surgery in my life! People should also probably know more in advance about what a serious thing anesthesia itself is….some people have very bad reactions to simply being put under…..and yet so many parents are letting their kids get anesthesia just to get their wisdom teeth out? In that case, the anesthesia has more risks than the procedure itself!
That’s so sad that all of this pain and trauma was caused by an error, a mistake. That’s a very scary job medical people have–how their errors can endanger patients’ lives so severely.
I Have beenreading all but i think i didn’t leave a comment – My father had an horrible knee surgery experience – took him a while to recover, but he’s ok now – Very scary out there in the medical world – I had a bad experience too with doctors – I have a new gynecologist who looks so far will do her job well – I’m going for some more tests in October –
To answer your question – I had sugery once in my life- it went well – thank God!
Jan Graham-McMillen says
In spite of the laparoscopic surgery, essentially they are coming close to slicing you in half internally. I was luckier than most, but these complications that happened to you are more common that people might think.
You are quite right.
The urge it there to just go with the optimistic approach and assurances most doctors make, but it’s so important to know the realities. Your journaling might help someone else make a better decision, or make their own surgery safer and more effective.
My hope for you is that it will have a good outcome ultimately in spite of it all.
Cyber hugs to you, Suzanne.
I’ve tried to avoid it at all costs but your ordeal makes me want to even more!!
I’m terrified of surgery and have seen some people in my family go downhill and die after invasive surgery deemed necessary. It is something that has to be given serious thought. Hope you are feeling better xx
I think western medicine leaves few alternatives other than surgery also. And i think people are impatient and they think they will be better immediatly! Thanks for the reminder and get well soon!
I couldn’t agree more. Anesthesia is very scary.
It is true that being a Dr. is literally playing with people’s lives.
I’m sorry to hear about your father. Poor surgery experiences seem quite common. Getting a good Dr. is like finding the best hair dresser in the world x100.
Thanks for taking the time to write : )
I know that it isn’t always possible but I will be exploring every other avenue and surgery will be the last on my list.
That is so sad and too common. Seems like one surgery begets another and it just keeps snowballing.
Yesterday I felt better than today, but it seems like the recovery is very up and down. I’m much better than I was a week ago though…so that is good.
That is so true. I thought I’d be better right away. Especially since I had been told to expect to be back at work the following day. The hilarious thing was that while I was barely able to stand or move and my stomach was leaking blood and liquid everywhere and I was in such pain I begged my body to pass out I kept thinking to myself…I must be super weak because apparently all these people go back to work like this! LOL
So true. I always thought, smaller holes means less invasive…but once they get inside it is the same as regular surgery. You aren’t told that your insides will be in turmoil for weeks on end.
I’m hopeful that as you mentioned I can spare someone else the pain of what I went through.
Thanks for the hugs Jan : )
Arash Mazinani says
Wow that sounds awful, I’ve never had surgery before *touches wood* but you never really think about the things you’ve listed you always assume everything will be okay,
Patti @ NotDeadYet Style says
sound warnings, Suzanne. I’ve had surgeries and thankfully recovered well, but you’ve had an absolute nightmare. I am sure it happens more than we thought.
Gabriala @StyleHigher.com says
After I breast fed both girls for a combined total of almost 5 years, I wanted a lift so badly. I started to obsess about it and wanted to get them done. The thing that stopped me was that I would have to go under anesthesia, so close to flat line-my fear was that if something happened, my girls would have to grow up without me. And all because I wanted to get a lift?! How tragic that vanity would push me to that but that is the world we live in. We sometimes care about the silliest things and they seem so incredibly important to us. What stopped me from going under the knife was being afraid of the negative consequences. So I just got a good bra and do the lift and scoop daily now. 🙂 xo
P.S. I can’t describe how bad I feel that you had to endure this. Blessings for a quicker recovery. xo
Thank you for writing this! I think when anyone goes in for surgery, elective or not, they should be fully aware what the risks are. Many people don’t think about it or don’t ask their doctors enough questions. Before I went into the surgical field I had elective surgery with little or no knowledge of what was actually happening. While I recovered, the healing process was much harder than going through the actual surgery. These days I would probably avoid surgery (and especially general anesthesia) unless my condition was life threatening.
Southern (California) Belle
I totally agree! This is very serious. I avoid hospitals like the plague, have heard too many horror stories!! Doctors don’t know everything and they are busy, they’re human and they make mistakes.
I have read reports of 10,000 deaths in Canada every year are caused by medical mistakes. This includes: “misdiagnosis, administration of a wrong drug, improper dose of a given medication, wrong route of administration, retained surgical instruments, transplanting organs of the wrong blood type and incorrect record keeping etc.”
Some reports are even higher.
“According to the CBC News, nearly a quarter of Canadian adults or their family members have experienced a preventable medical error. Quoting a study, the report mentions the magnitude of such errors led to between 9,000 and 24,000 deaths in Canada in a year.”
“Ross Baker co-authored a 2004 study that estimated that preventable adverse events related to hospital treatments — including drugs and surgery — caused between 9,200 and 24,000 deaths a year in Canada.”
People need to be aware.
Happiness at Mid Life says
The only time I ever stayed at the hospital was during childbirth. That was enough pain for me. I am a wimp for pain.
MARLA ROBINSON says
Surgery is a very serious thing. People need to know that it’s very important to seek out the best professionals possible to perform a surgery. My one friend who had both breast and later ovarian cancer, made the decision to fly from FL to MD Anderson in Texas to have her procedures performed because she knew that center had some of the best doctors in the country. Not everyone can do that, but it’s very important to seek out the healthcare professionals that have a great track record. While you can’t guarantee all procedures will go as planned, you chances of it happening are better if you have the best doc. Not all doctors are created equal.
Definitely thoughts to consider. I’ve had to have a few minor surgeries, and you’re right, even though you are aware of the risks you often think things won’t happen to you…I’m guilty of this even though based on life experience I’m well aware that bad things can happen in a lot of situations. I’m just so glad you are recovering from the nightmare and you’ve educated many people in the process.
That is just staggering…and sick. I can see though that it is true.
When my husband was in hospital this year for the removal of a kidney tumour during his stay at the hospital they overdosed him. They just kept pumping him full of drugs (it happened at night when I wasn’t there and on the weekend when his Dr. wasn’t there) and that put him in an accidental drug induced coma. He then had to have a brain scan after that to make sure it wasn’t permanently damaged.
All of this because they simply followed the Dr.’s orders and kept giving him pain meds when it was blatantly obvious that he was high as a kite already. Each person reacts differently to drugs and needs to be monitored and then decisions must be made based on that person’s reaction. Not what is written on the chart.
I agree that it is best to do your research and find the best Dr. out there however no matter their experience they are still human and not infallible. The Dr. I saw is a well known professor at McMaster University and hadn’t had any errors in over 15 years of daily surgery. I learned that didn’t mean I couldn’t be her first, which of course I was.
Count yourself lucky and be grateful for every day you are healthy. We all take that for granted.
Sadly I believe that many people endure terrible hospital stays or surgeries that didn’t live up to their expectations or caused other health issues.
Prior to this I would have been the person saying, “yeah when I need to I might get some cosmetic surgery.” Not anymore.
I so happy your experiences went well.
Thanks for sharing this. So many people make the decision to go under the knife without thinking all the way through.
I love that you wrote this, coming from a surgical nurse. It is interesting that it was in fact your own experience and not through your work that you gained your perspective.
It is always the same with people, we never think it will happen to us. Understanding the real risk is vital. I hope people do take some extra time to think they might not be the lucky one, and then beyond that and their coping strategies.
Sorry for the hell you’ve been through.
But thank you for reaffirming my decision to avoid the “easy” surgery for fibroids. As long as I can tolerate the symptoms, I’m not doing any surgery!
I should add that my husband had a very successful and relatively easy hip replacement — only when he couldn’t stand the pain/walk a block. The doctors felt he waited till the right moment.
Highland Fashionista says
I have been working and on holiday, and am only now getting caught up with your true tale of horror. As you may already know, I am a nurse practitioner in a small hospital (basically I do acute care, both medicine and surgery) and your story has really moved me. It will undoubtedly make me a better practitioner. I am angered when I hear that they “perfed” your bladder, and the ensuing dialogue that you had after the fact. I find that in many places there is still a real issue with accountability in practice, and your experience is just a testament to that. I personally feel very strongly about nutritionally-based approaches and treating patients holistically, which often flies in the face of the modern western approach. I also have had some experience with my own cervical dysplasia, and know first hand how many surgeons take the stance that surgeries like hysterectomies will just “sort out” everything and they are very quick to encourage women to just rip out vital organs, disrupting the ecosystem, as you say. Clearly, your case is a testament to the fact that there is no such thing as “routine” surgery, and that cutting things out does not necessarily mean you are “sorted”. sometimes, if truly feels like Western medicine is still in the year 1958. Anyway, know that I am here and have a certain amount of professional expertise, although admittedly GYN is not my specialty (but overall medical management of patients is) Feel free to contact me any time for support.
Highland Fashionista says
Suzanne, what they don’t tell patients quite often is that a laproscopic procedure is no guarantee that you won’t still need to have a traditional incision once they get in there. Many patients have a lot of scar tissue (adhesions) and it makes it very difficult to use the scope. They should always, ALWAYS tell patients this at the onset. You may go in for a “quickie” procedure and expect to come out with a few wee lines on your belly, but the reality is often they need to convert during the procedure, and you wake up with drains et al.