My Fascia Sling Surgery Part Three
If anyone thinks we all trudge off to UCLA with the idea of a vacation in mind, think again. Yes to normal people a California trip fills the mind with vacation thoughts but to mesh injured women it has the opposite effect. Our trips are filled with uncomfortable travel, appointments for tests and doctors and sitting around for sometimes hours in waiting rooms. There is nothing like your own bed when you are not well and hotel rooms never meet your requirements to feel better. In fact once you have been out there a few times, you have more of a feeling of dread and the urge to get back to home as soon as possible, once your surgery is over. If you think it is bad enough for us, then it is worse for our travelling companions. They are bored out of their skulls and sit around much more than we do. At least we are in bed while going through surgery, while they are sitting on hard chairs and have worry about us to add to it. So planning a trip is not a happy event. That being said, it is the best thing we can do for ourselves and those who truly love us will do it because they love us too.
The last thing my daughter wanted was to go back out to UCLA with me, but she did. Because of my right leg nerve injury, I am very slow walking and need to use a walking stick when away from the house. So I am truly not a fun companion although I do my best. So the morning of surgery we had to be there at 10.a.m. for surgery at eleven so we walked from the Tiverton. It was not long before I was clad in my surgery attire, gown, hat and bootees and was lying in the pre-op room being checked over. I knew exactly what to expect so I tried to relax and go with the flow. Dr. Kim came in to tell me everything was on schedule and I should be in at eleven. I had noticed a small baby bump when I saw her in her office, and I asked her when her baby was due. She is a tiny person and to me it was pretty obvious and I hoped she was excited. She said early August and it was her first baby and they were both excited and nervous. I truly wish her luck and so much enjoyment from her child. I did not hesitate to tell her that they are doing wonderful work at UCLA and how much we all appreciate it.
A female anesthetist then came in to talk and begin the going under process, so once again I went over my drug allergies with her, just to make sure I was not given any of them. She was very pleasant and chatty and it made the whole process very easy. By this time I had given myself over to their hands feeling as confidant as one ever is in these situations. Soon I was wheeled away and remember nothing more.
I had mentioned to her that after past surgeries I had had a neck pain and headaches on and off for a month and wondered if it was the head position? She said it definitely could be and although they take every precaution, some of us can have this. It did go away after that but as I normally do not get headaches it made me wonder. I had her attention at that time and thought it was worth asking. If I understand something it is a lot easier to deal with and not worry so much.
When I came to after mesh removal surgery last October, I was in a lot of pain which took them a few minutes to get under control. They cannot rush you when giving you drugs to ease it because if you have a reaction it could be very detrimental to your life. They explained this to my daughter who was worried at that time, but this time I came to and had no pain. I was greeted by a very pleasant nurse and asked if I needed anything. My treatment at this hospital has been excellent both times I’ve had surgery. My daughter came in to see how I was doing and this time I noticed I could barely keep my eyes open. Perhaps it was that I was under longer as although this surgery had a time of one and a half hours, I was under three. Dr. Kim told my daughter that there was a lot of scar tissue to remove and I did know that she was going to lift my bladder as well as do the fascia sling along with anything else she saw needed fixing. Basically this surgery was fascia sling and reconstruction.
I have been asked many times how long a woman should stay in L.A. to recover after surgery. I truly cannot answer this because there are many things to consider. Last time I had surgery on Thursday and we headed home on Monday. It was done vaginally except for a four inch incision across my pelvic area to remove the mesh from my nerves and muscles. Although I had discomfort there it was not bad pain. Looking back I could have easily travelled home on Sunday. If you have any concerns you need to ask your doctor because it depends on how it is going to be removed. Most mesh can be removed vaginally, but not all. You will know by the length of time you need to stay under their care. For instance, most women are having vaginal surgery and it is done in day surgery which means you will be there over night and leave at seven thirty in the morning. This means the person you are with must be there to pick you up at that time. If you are having it removed abdominally then they will tell you how long you will be there and more than likely you will be admitted to the hospital. I know women who stayed two days and others five. It is rare for a woman to stay longer but it has happened. Usually it is because she has other health issues from long term mesh. So discuss everything with your chosen doctor when you go for consult..
I truly did not expect this surgery to be huge, so I booked to leave on Friday noon after having surgery on Wednesday. I was not worried about travelling home that soon although now looking back one more day at the hotel would have been better for me. This is because although I have not measured it yet, there is at least an eight inch incision across my lower abdomen and getting up and down and moving around really does hurt. Dr. Kim warned me of this and the fact that I would experience bladder spasms. I have known the latter before so knew what it was and what to expect but this was my first time having an incision across my stomach.
The one thing that was different this time was I found it very painful to walk after surgery and I took tiny steps to ease the pain in my abdomen. So when we got back o the Tiverton via the hospital shuttle, climbing on and off the bus was enough. The Tiverton has wheelchairs which are free to use so my daughter went to fetch one. I was very grateful to be wheeled back to the room.
I never noticed the hospital shuttle before because we rented a car when I had mesh removal. This shuttle is free and it will run back and forth taking patients to and from the hospital. It is easy to spot because it is a big white bus. You can ask at the front desk of the hotel and they will make sure it comes by and we were told it runs by the hospital every fifteen minutes. It did. The Tiverton has everything possible for patients and you should know this hotel is non profit and run by UCLA. There is a full library of books you can read and anything and everything has been thought of to help you while you stay and make you as comfortable as possible. Because it is a nonprofit hotel there will not be any tax added on your bill. Normal rates are $120 a night, no tax on top and that includes a good selection of food for breakfast. There is a link to the form you should fill out to see if you qualify for a discount. Considered is your income, minus your costs of living so it is worth checking it out to see if you will receive any discount. I did and it made all the difference in my costs of every trip. http://meshangels.com/2012/11/mesh-removal-no-money I cannot say enough good about a hospital who offers a hotel stay at an affordable cost. I so appreciate what they do.
I am tired right now because I am laying here typing on my laptop on a pile of pillows on my stomach, so tomorrow I will write about travelling home. I can only give you my own experiences and you may have different ones, so this is only a guide as what to do. Please talk to your doctor to understand your own condition and situation.