Monthly Archives: December 2009

I’d rather not know…

Other than the general joys of surgery and hospitalization for the first time at age 33, I discovered some things that really suck about the world of being sick enough to require care at a hospital.  (And one extra from my experience at home, too!)

  • Because I presented at the ER with a fever and headache along with the godawful pelvic pain, they had to test me for the flu.  If you’ve never had the pleasure of a nose swab, I wouldn’t recommend it.  Too bad they didn’t have such a test for my pelvis to determine that, yes, it was full of infection.  Seriously, the flu swab was the worst part of my entire time at the hospital.  Yes, that includes the first couple days post-op.  Yes, that includes what I’m about to tell you.
  • I never knew what a Jackson-Pratt drain (a.k.a. JP drain) was and wish I could forget.  But I had the fun of having one inserted during surgery to try and remove all the excess yuck out of my pelvis (TMI, I know) in the following days.  When it was removed a couple hours before hospital release, it qualified as the second most unpleasant part of the entire experience.
  • Health care professionals will walk away from you when you’re vomiting.  Oh sure, they’ll help get you an emesis basin and make sure you’re not choking, but as soon as they know you have things under control, they’ll just move on to their next task.  Eventually, they’ll come back and clean the basin.   (Be sure to let me know if this was an unusual experience or not…)
  • The staff checked my blood sugar for the first 72 hours, but not the last day and a half.  Hello?  I wasn’t eating anything solid for the first three days.  Hello?  My favorite meal consisted of diet lemonade and beef broth.  Of course my blood sugars were going to run in range.  Once I got home, I saw how solid food affected things and it hasn’t been pretty.   I know, I know, I’m still on heavy-duty antibiotics and my body is healing, but it might have been nice to have been warned those last couple days in the hospital with a couple of blood sugar checks.
  • It can take several days for water retention to go away after days on IV fluids. This is day #5 at home and this morning, I can finally say I’ve reached my pre-surgery weight.   You would have thought that with restricted liquid diets and little appetite once solids were re-introduced, I would have lost weight.  Ha!

Overall, I do greatly appreciate how smoothly the experience went.  I had excellent nursing and support care, which made going through such a difficult surgery and post-op much easier.   I only have a couple gripes about specific staff members, but I never have to see them again.   I hope.

For now.

It’s been a week tonight since we walked into the ER, not knowing how much the pain, how much the illness would end up affecting our lives.

I wish I could say it will just be a memory soon enough.  I’ll have the scar.  I’ll have the knowledge that my body was so incredibly infected.  I’ll remember that my white blood cell count was through the roof and that the doctors couldn’t get my blood pressure up or my fever down prior to surgery.   And I know there are still unresolved issues.

Do I have the follow-up CT scan in January to see what is there and what is not?  If there’s any sign of an appendix, it may require even more extensive surgery.  If there’s any sign of right ovarian tissue, would it be enough to produce monthly hormones?

Because the left ovary still has that dermoid cyst and there would be no guarantee of removing only the cyst itself should that pain return.  And then no guarantee of not being thrown into automatic menopause.

I’m trying to stay positive.  I’m alive and I have my husband and the cats by my side.  I have tons of people – family, friends, internet pals – surrounding me from near and far, wishing me well on recovery.  I look at my older niece’s get well card and smile at how she’s growing up to be such a caring individual – and I think of how her older brother continues to excel at everything he does.   I look at the videos made of my younger nieces and can’t wait to continue to see them grow.

I will get better – maybe even faster than normal because of what good shape I was in prior to all this shock to my system.   I can’t shake the feelings of “what next?”, though.  Not until I start feeling better, not until I can take back my household chores, not until I can stop taking the piles of antibiotics and pain pills and iron supplements.

This is normal for now.  Excited for the holidays while keeping a watchful eye on my body.  Catching up on reading and laughter while minding how much my body can handle right now.  Looking forward to 2010 and all its possibilities while keeping those “what nexts?” close at hand.

For now.


On November 14, I went to urgent care because some mild chronic pelvic pain had become worse and I began having symptoms that were unpleasant.

For the next three weeks, I went through different stages of feeling like crap, a couple days with fevers, and not being able to exercise because of the pain that was increasing.

Friday night, I spiked a high-ish fever and my pain had increased signficantly.  Instead of another inconclusive ultrasound like the day before, a CT scan was necessary and revealed a 10-cm abscess where my right ovary should be and a dermoid cyst covering the left ovary.  I joked on Facebook that both of my ovaries must hate me, though deep down, I knew what questions had just been discussed with the GYN on call.  Possible removal of the uterus and both ovaries.  I’d be going through menopause at 33, not good for someone with family history of early heart disease.

Thankfully, they have been able to save both ovaries, though the dermoid cyst is still in there.  There is a chance that my appendix burst and that is what the abscess on surrounding my right ovary was.  I will have follow-up CT scan in a few weeks to make sure appendix tissue is gone and to check up on the right ovary.

The surgery was not able to be done laparascopically, so I have an incision from just above my pubic bone to just under my belly button.   This recovery will take awhile – it’s been humbling to rely on other people to wash me and help me to the bathroom.

No diabetes issues, mainly because I’m not eating much.  All readings have been 120 mg/dl or lower.  (I was actually 60 mg/dl at the time surgery began on Saturday – I think they used a little dextrose to bring that up.)   Once I do eat, it might change and I may need a temporary dosage of insulin.  I don’t know when I’ll go home.  Originally, that would be tomorrow, but since I’m not keeping food down and not too mobile, I think that may be delayed a day or two.

Blog entries may be few and far between for the next few days.  To all who have already brought me well wishes – thank you so much.

(Edited 12/11/09:  it turns out that perhaps the right ovary was part of the abscess after all, according to my operative report.  We won’t know until the follow-up CT scan what has become of the appendix or the right ovary, if I even choose to do the scan.)


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