By the time one of my resident surgeons entered the room, I felt like I was in an episode of some primetime medical drama (if I had my choice, it would be House). Mom was in the corner, her brow furrowed with worry as she watched the lights on the machine go haywire the moment my blood pressure plummeted. My husband’s face, inches from mine was coaching me through the breathing exercises to help calm me and stop me from hyperventilating. I could no longer feel parts of my body. The tears were warm as they streamed down the side of my face. I couldn’t escape thinking, I can’t take much more.
When my left hand started to go numb, I assumed it was nothing more than pins and needles and would pass. Once it began creeping up my arm, I called the nurse. She took my vitals, which were normal and asked to be informed if the numbness worsened. It did. The numbness travelled over my chest to my right arm and down my torso engulfing my entire body. My hands seized forming a claw-like shape with my thumbs digging into my palms. The muscles in my legs convulsed as I began to lose more control over my body.
The nurse re-entered the room along with on-call head nurse and doctor. Their initial assessment was the pH levels of my blood had too much carbon dioxide causing respiratory problems. In her soft voice, the head nurse began to demonstrate the breathing exercises to help regulate the pH levels and combat the hyperventilation. They hooked me up to oxygen and provided me with a paper bag to further assist the breathing. What seemed to be a short time later, one of my resident surgeons entered the room. He ordered further blood work which also revealed an electrolyte imbalance. I was put on an eight-hour IV drip of sodium-potassium and a five-hour IV drip of magnesium. It took close to three hours before I was able to limitedly move my limbs. I would not get full movement until the following morning.
Mom left for our apartment just after midnight and Ciarán made a make-shift bed out of the two chairs to the right side of the bed. I managed to get some sleep thanks to the Ativan they gave me during the chaos. Around nine o’clock in the morning, one of the other resident surgeons popped by my room to check on me. My latest blood test showed my levels were back at a normal level. He mentioned I could spend an extra night at the hospital however he thought it would be best for me to go home and I could not agree with him more. I had been sick to my stomach and my head was fuzzy from the pain medication. All I wanted was home.
I stopped taking the prescription pain medication twenty-four hours after being released from the hospital due to complications. I relied on cbd/thc oil to help with the pain. It took four days and a trip to the emergency room before I started to feel some resemblance of myself again. The first couple of weeks were the toughest. It was hard to walk around at first but by the end of the second week, I had mastered the apartment. With the help of Ciarán, we would walk down the street to the park, about a ten-minute round trip, once a week for four weeks. In what felt like overnight, I was able to walk further and further. Before I knew it, I was at my six-week post-operation appointment. Unfortunately, the sutures on the vaginal cuff had not fully healed, so I continued with no heavy lifting or exercise for an additional six weeks. I was, however, cleared to go back to work.
As I write this post, I have been back at work for a month and is the main reason why I have been quiet as of late. I needed time to adjust to living life again. At first, it felt a bit foreign; I went from being cooped in my apartment for close to a year to working forty hours a week and socializing with friends overnight. It was quite overwhelming. The preparation I anticipated offered no help as I realized I’ve changed. My endometriosis has changed me. My hysterectomy has changed me. I am currently figuring out exactly how I have changed and who I am becoming. For the first time in a long while, I am excited to see what tomorrow brings.