After many considerations, which I’ll be happy to share another day (read about them here), I elected to have a tubal ligation. This was not a light decision by any means. When I share with others that I took this step they want to know more than just why though. They want to know the process. They want to know about recovery. Ultimately, they want to know if it is worth it. So I decided to keep a journal of those recovery days. If you are one of those interested parties, read on.
Day of Surgery, Wednesday
My Friend and soon to be caretaker, drove me to the hospital at 5:30 am, a popular arrival time for same day surgery apparently. The vibe in the waiting room was one part nervous, three parts exhaustion, and two parts complete anxiety. I was surprised at the efficiency of the staff, and especially how put together and chipper everyone was at 6am. Once checked in, I followed a series of corridors to the next phase: poked, prodded, and naked.
Then, stylishly clad in a blue hospital gown and bright yellow slipper socks, I said goodbye to Friend and was taken to the next phase of my adventure: benzos. I chatted for a bit with my surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the OR nurse. Incidentally both my surgeon and my anesthesiologist were women; which gave me a great deal of comfort. The anesthesiologist asked how I was feeling, and I said “This shit is great.”
The voice saying my name over and over was not a familiar one. I struggled to open my eyes and negotiate where I was. “I’m so thirsty”, I said. Being intubated was not easy on the throat. The nurse bribed me with a drink as soon as I was awake enough to go to recovery and meet up with my friends. It worked.
I forced my eyes open and let them push my bed into a different corral of curtains. I was greeted by the original poking, prodding nurse and soon after the smiling faces of Friend and Boyfriend.
My motivation to get out of the hospital as soon as possible was very much based in how wretchedly nasty the ginger ale was there. Nasty it may have been, but it did help me burp. The gas used in this procedure would hang on in my system three days later. Every burp and fart was a cause for celebration.
I was home by noon.
Getting home sucked. A lot. I vomited immediately upon arrival, a revisit of that terrible ginger ale. After no food for about 13 hours, all I wanted to eat was rainbow sherbet.
Pain- about a 5
I spent the rest of the day in bed. Friend made me rice cooked in chicken broth. Boyfriend went to the store for my prescriptions and Gatorade. I vaguely listened to them bond over salsa recipes. I napped. I napped some more. I tried my hardest not to move, ever.
Day Two, Thursday
Slept well despite a 2:00am dose of Lortab. By morning my nausea had subsided to be replaced with pain.
Pain – 8.5-9
Nausea – 3.5
I stumbled to the couch and binged an entire season of Flea Market Flip. Semi-reclined was bearable; I used this opportunity to finish a decorative banner made from tie-dyed t-shirt scraps I started 4 months ago.
Ate more rainbow sherbet. Ate more rice. Put on a new nightgown.
The painkillers didn’t do much to kill the pain. They did do a great job in making me very whiny and disagreeable. I wish my caretakers were psychic so they would know what to feed me. My dogs spent most of the day outside. My children are with my mom, they’ll stay another night away.
I have consumed all of the Gatorade. I start craving spinach dip.
I haven’t pooped since Tuesday.
Day Three, Friday
The pain is still intense. The nausea has returned.
Pain – 8
Nausea – 6
Take a shower and plead to the universe to not let me fall over. I am light headed and emotional most of the day. I start watching a new show on Netflix. It’s too horrible to admit. I nap intermittently, which has no impact on the storyline of the horrible show.
The spinach dip craving is almost as intense as the pain. Doctor’s office expressed zero interest in changing my pain medication. I am keenly aware of every centimeter of my abdomen.
Friend abandons me and returns to Atlanta. Thankfully, she brings me spinach dip first.
Boyfriend works late and falls victim to my emotionally distraught reaction to every word he says. He brings me spinach dip. I almost forgive him.
I have not pooped since Tuesday.
Day Four, Saturday
The pain is approaching bearable. The nausea has greatly dissipated. I’m pretty sure the spinach dip is magic.
Pain – 5
Nausea – 2
Boyfriend took the day off of work. I’m not sure where he is. He has apparently confused “I’m fine,” with “Yes, you should sleep in and cut your grass. I absolutely don’t need you to psychically attend to my needs.” My children are home. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with them. I’m better able to move around as long as I don’t actually have to move. Boyfriend brings me Miralax. I’ve stopped taking the anti-nausea medication. I’m out of rice.
I have not pooped since Tuesday.
Day Five, Sunday
The nausea is gone. The pain is mildly annoying.
Nausea – 0
Lightheadedness and general malaise – 8.5
I think the Lortab is making my blood pressure drop, Dr. Google would later confirm. Without knowing this, I hopefully put on a bra.
I nearly pass out and immediately regret the bra. Boyfriend is working. My mom came to get my children. Friends, via a group IM, coax me into calling the on-call doctor. The on-call doctor assures me the general feeling of shittiness has nothing to do with Lortab. I convince myself I’m dying and take a nap.
When I wake up, I POOP!!!!!!
Day Six, Monday
I have to start teaching today. I have to put on clothes, and brush my hair. I dread the walk across campus. Boyfriend argues to drive me. I argue back, “I’m fine.” My walk ends up being well over a half-mile from car to classroom. I text Boyfriend to say, “I should have let you drive me.” He responds by promising me dinner.
While lecturing, I stumble over my words 85% of the time. My brain is mushy. I feel weak. Class is short. I walk the Green Mile back to my van and go home to nap while I await dinner.
Day Seven, Tuesday
I am officially back to my regularly scheduled life. Magically I get the kids to school on time. I stay alert and present for the clients I see. I am feeling better physically. My appetite is back. My body feels mostly normal.
Full recovery by Thursday, eight days after the surgery. Incision site is a bit angry and sore, but otherwise I feel energetic, and almost completely healed.
And now, on the other side of all of this, what I can definitely say after having had a tubal, is that I am a loud and verbose advocate for vasectomy. I do not regret my choice. But I would buy the T-shirt that says Snip That Shit.