My Traumatic Hysterectomy

Hello to my harmonious readers. I thought I would blog about my horror hysterectomy with the hope that sharing my experience, could help someone else feel less alone.

twelve months prior to getting surgery, I began to experience that time of the month, all month. This wasn’t normal, so I went to the doctor with the goal of getting the pill to regulate things a bit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that simple. The doctor said, no to my request and told me to book an appointment with my gynecologist. Upon visiting my gynecologist on various occasions and having a couple of ultrasounds, I was told that I had too many fibroids and cysts. My gynecologist also alluded that there may be some sinister lumps hiding behind my cysts etc. I was advised that it would be better for my health to have a hysterectomy.

 As this specialist operated at a rural hospital, which was very close to home, and seemed the most appropriate option, as I didn’t want to be too far away from my young family. I booked myself in for surgery. Looking back on it now, I should have had my surgery at a larger, more well-known hospital that had the equipment and staff available to treat emergency complications.  Anyway, what’s done is done and in July 2007 I had my hysterectomy operation. The surgery itself went fine; problems began after. When I awoke from the operation, I was abruptly told by a nurse in a very demanding tone that I needed to get up and go to the toilet. I wasn’t sure if I had the energy to move around, I felt quite sick and I needed more time to rest. However, the nurse was persistent, she told me if I didn’t get up right now then they were going to put a catheter in. I felt quite intimidated and threatened, I really didn’t want a catheter, so I hauled myself out of bed. Suddenly, I had a searing and tearing pain in my stomach. It was an intense, all-encompassing pain, I was scared that I may faint on my way to the bathroom. I explained my pain to the nurse, but she dismissed my concern. I stumbled my way to the bathroom and back before falling into bed and sleeping for the rest of the day.

By nighttime, I felt extreme sickness. It was the worst that I have ever felt. I had a thumping migraine, my stomach felt extremely bloated and painful. I was trying to find my buzzer, but it had fallen off my bed and I couldn’t lift myself up to find it. No one came to check on me throughout the night and so I suffered alone with this excruciating pain.

It wasn’t until roughly 6:30 am the next morning when a nurse waltzed into my room doing her morning check. By this time, I felt that I was dying. The nurse who wasn’t aware of the condition that I was in, calmly, took my blood pressure and checked by other vitals. She suddenly had an expression of fear and shock on her face. She bolted out of the room and quickly returned with the head nurse. My heart was pounding, it felt like it could jump out of my skin. I have never felt so sick and scared in my life. I was praying and begging not to die.

The next thing I know I had the doctor and three other nurses crowding around my bed, all of them had very concerned expressions. Turns out I had been hemorrhaging all night. Thankfully it was a slow blood loss, but I didn’t have much blood or life left in me. I was quickly loaded in the ambulance and whisked off to a city hospital. However, before I left, a nurse came to me and told me not to close my eyes as I would never wake up again. I was petrified by the thought that I may not be around to watch my children grow, and so even though I felt really tired I kept my eyes open the entire ride to the hospital. When we arrived, I immediately went into the operating theatre to get stitched up internally again. I was also given a blood transfusion during the operation. The surgery was a success, but the real hell began when I came out of surgery. My heart was still pounding in my chest, and I felt violently ill. I was wheeled into a room, where yet again, I was left and ignored. I wish a doctor or nurse had come to see me even just once. I felt too frightened to sleep, scared that I may close my eyes and die. Four days later, my heart was still tachycardiac and no one seemed to listen to me about my fears that there was something wrong with my heart. I couldn’t take another minute of being in there. I was expected to get my own breakfast. I could barely sit up let alone walk. I decided that I could receive better care at home. I rang my husband and asked him to come and get me. I came home and tried to heal, but the experience left me with a tachycardiac that wouldn’t settle. I had unrelenting pain throughout my body, I still wasn’t sleeping well, and I felt sick and nauseous. Due to my experience, I had been left with severe anxiety and I lived in a constant state of fear that my heart would stop beating. I also managed to get an infection that required another hospital stay with huge amounts of antibiotics being pumped into my body.  

 About 3 months went by and I was still very ill. My heart was still pounding, and it had developed irregular heartbeats. I went and saw a cardiologist, which was another nightmare.  I had to have a procedure, where they would feed a wire through a main artery in my groin and right up to my heart and give it a stress test to see where the problem was.  For this procedure, I had to be entirely awake. I was petrified beyond words, especially when the cardiologist asked that the heart paddles be brought close just in case my heart stopped beating.  What!!!!! Well thankfully I made it through the horrible ordeal, and it had brought my heart back to a steady beat again. Finally, something had turned out right. However, my anxiety was still through the roof, and anything could trigger a panic attack. I will discuss my journey with anxiety and depression in another blog. Years later I found out from another specialist that I didn’t need to have a hysterectomy in the first place, all I needed was to take the pill.

What I hope you can take away from my story is to trust your gut feeling. If something doesn’t feel right about a diagnosis you have been given, get a second, third or fourth opinion. At the end of the day, doctors are great, and we need them but they’re still human and they stuff up like the rest of us. If you feel that something is not right, don’t put all your faith in one doctor. Also, if you must get an operation, if you can, have the surgery in an established hospital with the infrastructure and equipment to deal with emergency situations if they arise.


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