"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

Monday, January 20, 2014

Abdominoplasty Surgery Day - Long Story

We arrived at the surgery center exactly on time.  My husband and I joined hands in the car and prayed for a safe surgery and thanked The Lord for the chance to make this happen.  Then we got out of the car and he took a pic of me in my new cutie pjs I purchased for this special occasion. :)

"My" nurse was going to be in OR, so the other one prepped me for surgery. She has me give a urine sample, of which I had plenty after our drive, and then had me dress in my gown, compression stockings (knee high length) and socks. She took my vitals had me reiterate to her what I was having done and gathered up my belongings.

Not too long after that the nurse anesthetist came in and got my IV set up and going with some saline.  He was an older gentleman who has been doing this for years and was awesome.  Great bedside manner.

The doctor came in and marked up my body for the surgery.  My husband enjoyed watching what he was doing and asked a question or two.  It was interesting to see how he marked me for surgery.  He was making vertical lines for symmetry because he said my stomach would fall to the side. At one point the doctor needed me to hold up my stomach so he could mark the underside of if and I was reminded exactly why we're doing this.

The operating room nurse came in as well and double checked all the stuff the medical assistant asked me and reminded me what would be happening before and after surgery.  I believe she is the one who walked me back to the operating room.

I wasn't really nervous, but a few times the reality of what was going to happen to my body made me nervous, scared even.  As I walked into the operating room and saw everything there I had a twinge of " oh my goodness, what am I doing?" But I remembered a few things....

  • Many people have had success with this surgery, and lots with my same doctor,
  • My doctor does this multiple times a week and doesn't want to lose a patient any more than I want to die. :)
  • I have prayed and trust that if it's my time to go, then so be it, but I know God is watching over me.
Then I walked over to the operating table and when I saw the little tables laid perpendicularly to the table for my arms it reminded me of the c-section I had with my girls. The OR nurse and the nurse anesthetist got me situated and he started dripping something that would help my mind relax as I waited for the anesthesia to kick in. 

As the nurse was covering me with warm blankets, slapping a freezing cold thing on my thigh (she warned me, but it was still a shock *giggle*) the nurse anesthetist chatted with me a bit. I told him I hoped I didn't say something stupid and he said I wouldn't be talking at all once I was asleep.  "The doctor doesn't like patients to talk while he's working." He grinned and said.  I told him I was totally good with that and wanted his focused attention on his work. Then he asked me about my kids and that's about all I remember...

.... until I suddenly felt myself shaking horribly, chattering teeth and in pain.  It took me a minute to realize where I was and that the recovery nurse was talking to me.  I had been dreaming and then wondered why I was in pain, because pain wasn't part of my dream. [grin] I was almost frustrated with the pain and chattering, but then I remembered where I was.

I kept telling myself to try and relax and to breathe through the pain. I could feel I was clenching my shoulders up and I knew I was very tense.  I was taking shorter breaths because of the pain, but then the nurse told me to go ahead and try and breath normal.  

She gave me a muscle relaxer right away.  Between the relaxer kicking in and me making a conscious effort to relax I began to feel a little better. I picked up the conversation where we left off and told the nurse the shaking reminded me of recovery after the c-section. 

I want to stop here and say that as I made myself try and relax and take normal breaths I told myself this was not forever and I could get through it.  I also realized this is something I learned through exercising.  There are times workouts or runs got really hard, but I just had to tell myself it wasn't forever and I would get through it--I could get through it.  I reminded myself of that as I was coming to and the relaxer was kicking in and I was fine. Sure it hurt, but I knew it wasn't forever. (I sure wish I would've learned to think like that for childbirth.. *giggle*)

I was slightly nauseous, but I was dizzy more than anything.  I think it was the warmth, because as soon as I began to get some fresh air when we left I started feeling better.  The nurse suggested we stop for something to eat so I could take a pain pill when I got home. She said, "There's a Wendy's next door and a frosty might be nice." That sounded great. 

She helped me try and use the restroom and dress. They didn't even try to put my undergarments on and I was mortified... Okay.. Not really. I didn't even care.  You know you're fuzzy headed and in pain when you don't care and are happy enough to be covered.  My pjs covered me completely. 

I was wheeled to the door of the facility and then my husband helped me into the car.  We brought along a step stool to make it easier to get in our Toyota 4 Runner.  I was advised to sit in the back seat because the doctor doesn't like his patients in the way of an air bag, God forbid it deploys.  So, my husband tilted one of our back seats slightly back and I sat catty corner to him.  We put the stool under my feet with a pillow on top of that because I was instructed to sleep in a somewhat "v" shape for the first bit to not stretch myself out too much.  

He stopped by Wendy's and got me a small frosty which I ate slowly so I wouldn't throw up.  It tasted good, but I was queasy.  The coolness felt wonderful on my irritated throat (from the tube that was keeping my airway open). My husband was so kind and even turned on the a/c to keep me cool and help me get over the nausea. It never got any worse and I'm sure it's because of that.  

I was pretty awake and was able to send a few texts alerting friends and family all went well and I was headed home.  My husband drove carefully and would say sorry if I was jostled in any way. He was so cute! He'd also reach back and rub my foot once in a while. 

I did nod off and on on our short drive, 45 minutes, but also enjoyed relaxing an d knowing I'd made it through the surgery safe and sound.  I texted my daughter when we entered our neighborhood and my husband backed in the garage so I could exit on the side nearest the door to the house.  He told me I had an audience waiting for me and as we walked into the house I hear my daughter snapping pictures on her iPod touch.  A girl after my own heart.  

My husband helped me to he readied recliner and got me situated very slowly; taking extreme precaution to lift the leg rest on the recliner nice and slow so as to not jar my abdomen when lifting my legs. He then instructed my girls to each lift a leg gently to he could place a pillow under them to keep me in a "v" shape. They were eager to help and were very gentle as well.

The roast I had left cooking in the crock pot smelled delicious.. My husband and daughter finished up dinner and I ate a child's portion from my recliner chair.  After dinner the family put a movie on and I dozed off and on before texting a friend for a little bit.  

I have a great team of family that has been so gentle helping me get in new no out of the recliner to use the restroom. My husband also helped me get my underthings on and emptied my drains. I'm not surprised at his care, but it tickles me just how slow an deliberate he is about every little thing.  He won't let me pick up hardly anything just yet and keeps reminding me to not strain myself. 

When I'm in the recliner I am most comfortable and feel recovery won't be so bad.  Then I stand up and I'm like, "Oh my. Yes, I did have surgery today," yowsa. I've gotten up each time to use the restroom and move my legs a bit for circulation, but that's about it.  

There's a long road of recovery ahead of me, but I can already tell that it's going to be worth it.  It's been an adventurous day, but now I'm going to eat an orange and go to sleep. My husband is sleeping on the couch to be near me.   Aww... What a day! And what a man! :)


  1. what a precious husband and family you have! Congrats! Keep on those pain meds. ;)

  2. I just found your blog a couple of days ago and have been slowly reading through it (I'm in mid-2011 right now). I had read that you were having surgery and didn't expect to hear from you for awhile. So, I was astonished to log on to read a bit more and see that you had posted! I am delighted to hear that all went so well for you. And, your husband sounds like a real gem! Take care in your recovery.

  3. So glad to hear this, Leah! Take care of yourself - and stay ahead of the pain! Sounds like you have a wonderful support system at home, which is fantastic. Anxious to hear/see the results!

  4. I'm so happy everything is going so well, Leah! Having a super-hubby helps!

  5. I am so glad to hear you are home and safe! What a wonderful husband you have.

  6. I am glad you are home on the other end of the surgery. Here's to a smooth recovery!