Unintended Consequences

Today was my D&C with hysteroscopy. I scheduled it for noon, because I didn’t want to deal with my dad ranting about having to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning for a 7 AM appointment. (You have to arrive 2 hours prior to the scheduled time.) My dad still ranted, even though his wake up call was at 8:30. (He is a strictly 10 AM kind of guy.)

Before we left, my mom had me go get her some water so that she could continue to get in her beloved ice water. (She drinks several 32 oz. cups full of water in a day.) I thought that was a little unfair, but I tried not to hold it against her. I knew that she is still a little skiddish on her feet, especially in the house.

When we got to the hospital, I didn’t have to do mountains of paperwork, since I’d had the pre-op appointment. The guy who called me to the back asked me, “Have you had a hysterectomy?” I almost laughed in his face. (How many people get hysteroscopies and D&C’s when their uterus and other female parts are gone?) Since I hadn’t, the guy made me pee in a cup. (I’m fairly certain that I was not at risk for being pregnant–heavy bleeding + my continued virginity = no pregnancy, y/n?) I did as I was told, though I hate to do the peeing in the cup thing. When I got out of the bathroom, he had me change into the pretty purple paperish gowns that keep you warm and put a blanket on my lap. I was supposed to do all of this and open the door to let the nurses know I was ready at the same time. Apparently, I’m supposed to be supergirl or Jesus or something.

When the nurses came in, they were ready to do the vitals, the remaining blood work, and the IV. I told them, fairly quickly, that I was both a hard stick and a person with hard to hear blood pressure, including with machines. They marveled at the thought, until I explained that these were common traits in my mom’s side of the family. That was interesting to them, but I think they thought at first that I was making this up. (Why would I make this shit up?) Well, the blood pressure came back fairly easily. (125 over 63, pulse of 92, O2 saturation of 99.) The blood/IV was another story. The left hand didn’t work. The left arm wasn’t having it either, though they did get enough blood to check my sugar (105) and my calcium (very low), sodium (normal), and potassium (normal) levels. The right hand also wouldn’t allow for threading the IV tube. (Apparently, they were getting the flashbacks on each, but the veins wouldn’t allow the catheter to be inserted.) So, the anesthesiologist was called in. (I suggested a Cardiac nurse if one was in the hospital, but they weren’t at Women’s & Children’s–they were all at main on the heart floor.) He used a different type of needle and went in on the bundle of veins at my wrist. He got it to work fairly easily.

During pre-op, I had to confirm my name so many times, as well as my birthday and social security number. I also had to explain what was going on and tell them who was with me. I also had to make sure that they had all of my allergies down repeatedly. It was really annoying to repeat the same things over and over. I had my 4 arm bands (ID, latex allergy, drug/food allergies, and fall risk) checked every time a new person came in the room. Once my parents came back, they reminded the CRNA that I get hyper with anesthesia and that I have the staple line left from my gastric bypass surgery. The CRNA said that hyperactivity happens a lot with kids because they have opposite reactions to sedatives, but I don’t know what that means for adults. (I do know that I tend to have the opposite of a normal reaction to a lot of drugs, though.) Because of my history of nausea with anesthesia and problems with GERD, I was given a patch of nausea medicine, a shot of some more nausea drugs, and a shot of Pepcid.

Because of all of the questioning being repeated, my dad asked the pre-op nurse what would happen if they had someone back there who couldn’t answer the question. The nurse asked if he was referring to people who were in a reduced mental capacity and my dad nodded. She said, “We get their family.” My dad said, “So, if they think they’re God–” and she said, “we defer to the next of kin.” I quietly said, “You ask Jesus?” My parents laughed, but the nurse didn’t seem to get it.

When I went to the OR, I had to go over the information one more time, after being scooted onto the table. I was also given something to “take the edge off” or, in other words, keep me calm and maybe shut me up. I felt my brain fighting the sedatives, which is a fairly normal feeling for me. I was trying to hang on to my waking state, but eventually it became too hard and I fell asleep.

I woke up in recovery with a very sore throat. (I had a similar feeling with the sinus surgery/septoplasty.) The recovery room nurse told me that I should calm down and rest, but that wasn’t going to happen. I begged for ice chips, because I was so thirsty. I couldn’t have them until they were sure I wasn’t nauseous anymore. (I had apparently complained before I realized I had come to.) The nurse got me some a few minutes later and then gave me some 7-up and graham crackers. As I ate and drank, my energy began to boost quickly and I was talking quite a bit–not as much as last time. The nurse ended up giving me some Lortab, which I was still a little too groggy to protest to taking. My stomach was cramping really bad and the nurse asked me what kind of dogs we had. Apparently, before I woken up, I had mentioned that my stomach felt like I had a basset hound on it. So, the nurse wanted to know how I knew what that felt like. We talked about dogs until she was sure I was pretty much ready to go to post-op. Before we left my recovery room, she helped me get dressed. (I don’t think they’ve ever helped me dress before leaving recovery.)

In Post-Op, the next nurse was going to hand my parents a script for Lortab. My mom threw a fit, because Lortab causes me to have chest pain. The nurse claimed that it wasn’t anywhere on my file and I hadn’t told them that anytime before. I thought that was funny since I had mentioned it prior to the surgery at the pre-admission appointment, it was in my hospital file before the appointment (I had gone to the main building of the hospital with the first reaction), and it was on the front of my chart. The nurse went out to the desk complaining, and one of the other nurses said, “Well, it is on the front of her chart.” So, she had to call the gynecologist to get his okay to prescribe something else. So I have a few doses of Ultram now. That I can take. Before the squabbling over the prescription, she had checked my BP and it was 123 over 43. I was a little worried about that, but she said it was “good”. I’m still a little skeptical about that.

I got to leave fairly quickly after that. And I am now at home, trying to get comfortable, which is really quite difficult. I still feel like my throat is dry and raw. I think that they might have used the wrong size breathing tube because I came out of surgery with a really raspy voice. (My voice may be quiet, typically, but it almost always smooth–unless I’m sick or have scratched my throat on food.)

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Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.

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