Mesh Removal UCLA & Travelling Home
Between answering emails and comments from my blog since I came home and of course trying to get well from my mesh removal surgery, I have not been able to write everything that can help you get through your own mesh removal experience. I do know many women follow this blog and they too will be travelling out to UCLA soon and they want to know more. This morning I received a set of questions that need answers and they were well written. These are the questions.
1. How soon after the surgery did they fly home?
2. How long would they recommend one wait before flying home?
3. With catheter what were the challenges?
4. Without a catheter how did they manage incontinence problems in plane?
5. Did they wear a long skirt or could you wear loose sweat pants?
6. Did they have bleeding issues as well?
7. Is an airline bathroom adequate enough for disposal of sanitary items?
8. How did they manage sitting that long?
9. Were they given adequate pain medications?
10. What did they do to prevent blood clots in legs?
Please understand that we are all flying from every direction and length of time the trip will take will vary. Also take on board each of our own mesh removal journeys are different. By that I mean the type of sling removed, how many pieces of mesh are removed and how much damage was done in prior partial mesh removal surgeries. I can tell you this. I had one sling only. You should also know that mine was caught up in the nerves and bladder causing me to have a lot of pain and difficulty walk. Take the wheelchair if you have any issues. I wrote about the way you do this and the expenses after I came back from my first consultation. This blog will take you where you need to go.
Now to answer questions.
#1. I left for UCLA the Monday before my removal surgery the following Thursday. I gave one extra day before surgery in case of any plane delays. This was because when flying home from consult, the weather was bad with all planes were grounded and we had to stay overnight in Dallas. If you are late for tests the day before they will CANCEL your surgery. They will not do it without those tests, so spend one more night before to be on the safe side. So because there ere no delays, we had a day free on Tuesday, tests were done Wednesday, then surgery Thursday. This is standard for most people. Had we had a flight delay, I would still have been there in time for tests.
My daughter asked me how long did I think I needed to stay after surgery. I had no clue, but gave myself until the following Monday before I flew home. However, we could have came home a day or two sooner and I don’t think it would have made any difference. I know that now of course. Changing our flights would have been costly, so we hung in. In other words you will have to guess, make a decision and then pull something out of a hat.
#2. I think I answered that in #1.
#3. Yes, the beloved catheter. Gosh how I have a hate relationship with them. They are the most uncomfortable gadgets ever made especially as our vaginas are compromised by removal. It is bloody painful to say the least. But if removed too soon, the swelling can cause you not to be able to go, so Dr. Raz recommends one week and he shows you what to do to remove it after you get home. It was easy. He did tell me if I had any problems and cannot go, I should go to my doctor or an emergency room and have it put back in for another 5 days. Then see how it goes. Now the two women who are driving back to their homes after removal last Thursday are staying in the UCLA area longer because of family. If you have followed my diary since I got back home, you will know my catheter removing fears. Fortunately I have done okay. These two ladies are going to be seen by Dr. Raz this coming Wednesday to have theirs removed and they had surgery last Thursday. One week. That’s the easy way to do it, but if you are like me, trying to save costs, you can do it at home. I know many women who have done it at home and all have been okay.
#4. I can’t answer that of course, but I can share with you my terribly embarrassing situation when flying home. Had I know it would happen, I would have bought the right product before leaving UCLA. We flew from L.A to Salt Lake City, where we changed planes to come home to Houston. I was highly uncomfortable on the ride to that city and the catheter was driving me crazy. You should know I was wearing an extra heavy pad because of the bleeding but it was not enough for this problem. I tried to change position but as always there is not enough room to move around so I stayed where I was. I was sitting on a memory foam pillow with a black pillow case on it that I had taken to help with comfort. I was wearing a loose long black skirt. I am so grateful I was. When I stood up to get off the plane I had leaked around the catheter and the pad did not catch it all and I could see it on the pillow. I was horrified and felt so embarrassed, I grabbed up the pillow and hoped my skirt was not a tell tale sign that I had pee’d myself. I told my daughter I had to go to the restroom and fortunately they had a baby changing room that I went in and locked the door. I spent time cleaning my skirt and pillow and then myself. I was so afraid it would happen again I used layers of their paper towels in my underwear as well as two pads. Uncomfortable but I had to do something. It was a horrible ordeal, one I am so embarrassed about but I do not want it to happen to you. Hence, my embarrassment could be your savior. I took quite a bit of time to do all this and by the time I returned to my daughter she looked at my tear stained face with worry. I told her I was okay and she went to get us something to eat and drink while I composed myself. So the gist of it is, had I known, I would have bought incontinence underwear and not relied on a pad. But what was strange about the ride from Salt Lake City to Houston, it did not happen again. Obviously it was the position I was sitting in.
#5. I answered that I wore a long black skirt. It was made of a fabric that did not show my ‘accident’ and dried quickly after I washed it off. Other women told me they have worn track suit pants.
#6. You will have bleeding and for me it was like the beginning of a period. (been a long time but I do remember) Heavy enough that I changed several times a day to feel clean. It almost stopped by the day after I go home, and then it was watery. That lasted only a couple of days. None since.
#7. I have flown hundreds of times in my life. They always have disposals for sanitary towels on the planes.
#8. You don’t manage sitting that long at all. You jut don’t have a choice. To get through it, I reminded myself that I could either do this once or I could have partial mesh removal after partial mesh removal and be living in fear of having yet another surgery. I know this has happened to many women. So I told myself to suck it up and go with the flow. I am not the only one who had to do this, many have gone before me. It would be so much easier if I could have had it done in Houston, but I have heard from Houston women and no surgeon does full mesh removal. I wanted my life back on track and made the choice to go to UCLA. No one can do that for you.
#9. Yes, they do give you adequate pain meds. You fill the prescriptions downstairs in the same building. My daughter did it. I was given antibiotics, high dose Ibuprofen and a heavy pain med. I took Ibuprofen during the journey but nothing else. I have not needed any pain meds since I left the hospital. You may be different. I did not want to take any meds I did not need and began my supplement plan one again as soon as I got out of the hospital. I want to get well!
#10. They did nothing in particular and I was a bit concerned of course, but my BP has been great since I began taking a high dose B-12 supplement (5000 mg) quite some time ago and I was not particularly worried, even though I am sixty-five. You can buy elastic stockings for travel if you are at all concerned. They sell them at good drug stores.
I hope this helps many women because these questions were valid and well written. Even sharing my embarrassment is worth it to me if I spare you the same. If you travelled home and know something else that could happen because it happened to you, please share it in the comments. This blog has always been about helping other women and women helping