After Surgery Care
So many women are waiting to go to UCLA for mesh removal and as the date for surgery approaches, we are overwhelmed by things we have to do at home. Before we leave and because most of us are Moms, we tend to set everything up for everyone else’s needs in our family, so that they are taken care of. It is an overwhelming experience and sometimes it helps to take a break and just don’t think about it for a few hours. But then of course that is the most difficult part of leaving home for surgery and being a mom.
As the time draws nearer and we have pre –surgery testing close to home, it sends us in a fit of frenzy and fear. Fear that something will go wrong and we are left stranded at a hospital far from home. Fear that we won’t make it through surgery at all. Fear that racks our brains day and night and while we live in fear, the world around us continues on as normal.
I’ve travelled far from home, out to UCLA three times for surgery and I know exactly what every woman goes through. I tried to be prepared for any event just in case, which honestly is impossible to do. Now that I have done this all those times, I can think more clearly about what I should have been thinking about and preparing for all along. My after surgery care.
I’ve written so many blogs covering each part of my journey, sharing the things that I didn’t expect and other women left comments about their journey. All valid help when we most need it. The one thing we can’t expect is prediction. No matter how hard you try, you really can’t predict exactly what will happen. In the end when you reach the day for surgery, you just have to give yourself over to someone who knows how to remove the mesh and fix your problems created by these terrible products.
Before I left for surgery I began thinking about what I could do while I was recuperating at home. I knew that I should get out of bed and walk around, but over doing it would create more problems. Getting back to normal has created more health issues for some women who jumped back into life far too soon. Incisional hernias can be a devastating problems caused by any surgery, so whatever you do, make sure what you do isn’t too physical and allow yourself a long path of healing. I get easily bored by doing nothing but watch TV, so before I left I thought about the things I could do while lying in bed and I set up some small crafts with all supplies, close at hand. After many hours of watching Netflix I was ready to take a break and do anything.
If you have family, going with you or coming to see you that you haven’t seen in a long time while you are out at UCLA, you have to let them know that it is not vacation time. You need them to help you through it, not to clear off and enjoy themselves and forget you are there for a reason. That has happened to women I know and they were very upset. When someone visits California for the first time, the temptation to have a great vacation can be a driving force, but not when you need them the most. Either they are going to be there for you, or forget inviting them.
We all wind up sharing a hotel room with those we love, but after surgery it is very hard. I found the room cleaners were very understanding and if I asked for anything extra they provided it. Make sure you leave a tip for the person most helpful, before you check out. There are things that concerned me as a woman. One was the disposal of the pads I had to use after surgery. It is embarrassing to throw them out and here is a good suggestion. Take a roll of plastic doggy clean-up bags with you and wrap up each pad so that you feel less embarrassed. Ask for a can of air freshener if you worry about any odors. They will provide one.
There will be some bleeding although it should be normal and not flowing or bright red. Take baby wipes with you or buy them once you get there. There is a Target store a stone’s throw from the Tiverton Hotel. This way you can wipe yourself in that area without using a hotel towel. As women we tend to hate making a mess, especially an embarrassing mess. This will explain where Target is from the Tiverton It also tells you how close the Ralphs grocery store is, because it is right by Target. Be sure you fill out a discount card to help you save money or if you have a Kroger card take it with you because they own the Ralphs stores and that card will do the same thing as the Ralph’s card. To stay hydrated after surgery, be sure you buy some bottled water, juice or other fluids that you like but avoid coffee or caffeine after surgery because of bladder spasms. There’s nothing more painful than bladder spasms and your bladder has been assaulted by mesh removal and will let you know if you add caffeine. These are foods and drink you should avoid after surgery
Every surgery is different but if there is any incision for removal, I used baby cream and put some between the tape strips because it allowed the scar to stay supple and heal slowly instead of hardening and cracking open. One I removed the strips I kept using it until my scar was completely healed. My incision healed perfectly. The airlines may take a tube away if you carry it on board, so if you take a small bag on board and no other luggage, squeeze some out into a small container. You won’t need a lot of it while you are away.
Another problem after surgery is feeling like your vagina has been ripped apart. It has. So there is a wonderful spray that can really bring relief and you can use it as many times in a day that you need it. It doesn’t sting or hurt. This is that product
You need lots of a good probiotics after surgery because your body will be overwhelmed by pain medication and antibiotics let along the anesthesia. You can read about probiotics here There are also many liquid probiotics you can drink after surgery such as kefir and you can pick it up at any grocery store.
You may wonder how you will get food to your hotel after surgery. I wrote this blog on one of my trips
After you get home from surgery you cannot lift anything over five pounds or drive so get in any groceries you’ll need before you go and be prepared. If you need anything afterwards many grocery stores will deliver, so don’t venture out if you don’t feel well.
Before you leave put together a good supplement plan. Take chelated magnesium with you because it will help you have a bowel movement after surgery. Pain medications can cause constipation, and we need magnesium anyway. I am not talking about the kind of liquid magnesium you take for a stomach upset. To learn about it read this
Everything else you can take after you get home but order them before you go and have them waiting when you most need them. Read about them here
A few weeks after mesh removal you will more than likely feel really down. This is normal. Your body has been through tremendous pain and drugs and you want to get your life back the way it was before mesh. When you feel better, you want to go back to everything you did before mesh, but you may feel leg pain or just don’t have the energy. Many women feel guilty about all the years they couldn’t do things for and with their kids and then they try to make up for it far too quickly. Sit down with your kids and talk to them. Treat them like they understand and they will understand. Finding yourself getting down or having crying times is completely normal, but you can’t rush healing of both mind and body. It takes a long time. Read about the blues here
Expect and allow a long journey of healing both of mind and body. You will have angry days after surgery because you feel your implant doctor didn’t care nor helped you when you needed it. It takes a long time to overcome it and if you find it overwhelms your life, please get the help you need and don’t put your problems on other mesh injured women. They too are dealing with as much as you are. It can be tempting to use other mesh women as psychotherapists but don’t. Read more here
Every woman’s journey is different. No woman can tell another exactly what she will go through and I am not doing this with this blog. But it helps to understand some of the pitfalls of dealing with after care and going home. I wish you a journey of wellness not of panic and fear.