When approaching any type of surgery, you usually gloss over the details of recovery – I know I did. It’s kind of like the list of side effects on pharmacy inserts; we don’t think about them until they actually happen to us. But after I underwent my first laparoscopy, I was surprised by my recovery period and what all it entailed. I therefore want to share my story with others, so that they won’t be shocked like I was.
Most people go home and sleep after a big surgery, especially one involving anesthesia. Not me! I was released from the hospital at 11:00 AM, and I was so uncomfortable for the rest of the day that I couldn’t sleep. The biggest reason for this was the air they pumped into my body during the surgery. I had no idea how painful it would be! My lower abdominals were completely bloated to the point of a faux pregnancy. I was also bruised pretty badly around both of the incision sites, so I pretty much looked like a gangster mommy-to-be.
The instruments they put in my vagina caused some major bleeding. I experienced the same flow as that of a normal period, so I had to wear a pad for the rest of the day (tampons were prohibited for a week after surgery).
Because they cut through muscle, I couldn’t stand up on my own. My husband would grab my hands and propel me forward if I wanted to get out of bed. Sitting on the couch wasn’t a possibility, due to the pain involved in standing up and bending over.
It hurt to go to the bathroom, because I was forced to sit at a 90 degree angle on the toilet, thus squishing my stomach muscles together. In fact, all bodily functions – including breathing, digesting food, and drinking – hurt because they would cause my intestines to move, thus increasing the amount of pressure on the area.
However, nothing hurt worse than the pain of lying down in a completely horizontal position. Doing so would cause all of the air in my abdomen to rush up into my lungs and chest, which pretty much amounted to the sensation of a heart attack. I had to sleep in an upright position for four nights after surgery for this reason alone.
I was given a prescription for Percocet and ibuprofen to manage the pain.