After what seemed like five or six months of chagim, today begins my own personal three-day holiday which will end with the festive Evicting of the Girls Downstairs. I wrote about them previously, but what I didn’t share was the eviction notice, offered to me by my surgeon’s scheduler. (SPOILER ALERT: I’m going to be talking about pre-surgical bowel cleansing. If you can’t stand the poop, get out of the bathroom. This is a nice way to say if you don’t want to read about my ehem, evacuation, then this isn’t the blog for you:). OK? Ready? Because the sh!t is going to fly! HA!)
Because this surgery has best results when the patient is as ‘clean’ as possible, I have to do a “GOLYTELY SURGICAL BOWEL PREPARATION.” This is a fun-filled 2-3 day process. I’m not sure if it is done before all hysterectomy/oopherectomy’s or not. Your own mileage may vary. The days break down like this:
TWO DAYS PRIOR TO SURGERY: My eviction notice notes that two days prior to surgery, I must mix the solution and store it in the fridge because, “the solution will taste better if chilled.” The prescription for this delightful beverage came with a couple of Reglan tablets for the accompanying nausea Golytely always brings. Fantastic! Nothing I’d like better than to have to poop my guts out while puking in the garbage can. Just like college! Only I’m doing this to myself on purpose, and not just because I don’t know how to hold my liquor! Once it is mixed and filled with lukewarm water to the 4-liter mark, I can put it in the fridge and forget about it till tomorrow.
ONE DAY PRIOR TO SURGERY: Now the fun starts! I can eat a light breakfast, then must start on clear liquids at noon. Because not everyone views the words ‘clear’ and ‘liquid’ the same, my notice breaks down what is acceptable: “…broth, soda, tea, coffee (without cream), jello, popsicles or juices without pulp, etc…” Once I start in on my Golytely, I’m restricted to clear liquids “for the remainder of the day, until your surgery.” To me, that says, “don’t choose Golytely night as the night to go see a movie with my husband.” Why? Because at 12:30 pm tomorrow, I will take a Reglan tab to stop the impending return to college days on the other side of the desk from where I sit now. At 1 pm I will begin drinking a glass of Golytely every 20 minutes. The eviction notice suggests mixing it with “..Crystal Light or any powdered drink, sweetened or unsweetened. Drinking with a straw may also help. Serve over ice.” My own addition? “Chase with a shot of tequila” just to get the full college regression.
Let me tell you, finding a suitable flavoring agent for what seems like will be drinking antifreeze (and the first ingredient IS polyethylene glycol) was a daunting task for someone with allergies like mine in addition to the Kosher factor. I ended up with Crystal Light Pure, which has no artificial flavors or colors, and is circle K Kosher. We’ll see tomorrow if it hides the putrid flavor of the instant bowel evacuator!
If all goes according to manufacturers’ instructions, I should begin evacuating my bowel approximately one hour after after the first glass. One thing to look forward to: the eviction notice offers hope with, “Eventually, the bowel movements will become clear.” Huzzah! That will be a joyus moment in the hood! I will no longer be required to evacuate my bowel as once it is clear in PoopVille, my job here is done.
DAY OF SURGERY: No longer concerned with my evacuated bowels, I can turn to other areas of consternation. We begin with a message found at the bottom of the eviction notice. This is written in letters larger than the rest: DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING BY MOUTH AFTER MIDNIGHT THE DAY BEFORE THE SURGERY. While I understand the concept, I have a problem with the language. Wouldn’t it be easier to say, “nothing to eat or drink after…” What’s this “do not take” language? Who is the audience? A bunch of doctors or the general public?
OK, now back to the party! I apologize for any side discussions on my part. Tomorrow around 2 pm I will contact the hospital to find out what time the Prom begins. My surgeon said I will be first, around 7:30, which means I will have to be there at 3 am, just because the hospital likes to be sure the patients are groggy when given additional medication. If it is anything like the last surgery (and its not, but this part will be similar) I will be given a bunch of sweet swag, including a bracelet with my name and birthday on it, a new dress with a very ‘Lady Gaga’-esque look to it that I will be told to put on so it opens in the back, and offered a lovely new hat made out of blue lint the hospital generates with the washing and drying of laundry. Once I’m dressed in the patient uniform, a member of the gang charged with hooking up the smack line will come and get my IV started. Then the drug pusher will come by, talk to me about the drugs I like and don’t like, then give me a little sample to calm my nerves before the prom. What if no one asks me to dance? What if everyone laughs at my stupid hat? What if the surgeon plays music I can’t stand? The drug pusher will then assure me that after the party is all said and done, these things might make me feel like puking. This time I will ask for more of the good stuff that keeps me from blowing my chunks, because vomiting will be insanely uncomfortable with incisions in my belly. The thing that is cool about these parties? Everyone has a mask on, so it doesn’t matter that you didn’t put on any makeup that morning (who can put on makeup at 3 am?).
After the party the cleanup will begin, and this is the part I am dreading. I will be put into instant menopause, and because my breast cancer was 90% estrogen receptive, I will not be able to use any hormone replacement therapy for any of the side effects. Instead, I bought myself a little hand-held battery operated fan AND two cooling wraps for a buck a piece on eBay. They are supposed to minimize hot flashes… lets see how they work.
From there, I am not sure of the rest of the party schedule, and it is probably a good thing, because they always have the good stuff when it comes to pain control. Since I get to dance with a robot (the DaVinci robot-assisted surgery), my hysterectomy/oopherectomy is supposed to be much less painful. However, an endometrial and cervical biopsy taken last week will tell what type of surgery I will have. If the biopsies come back negative (and please G-d, make it so), then my surgery will be minimally invasive. If they come back positive, it becomes a different surgery and an oncologist has to be brought in to do a Sentinal Node Biopsy. But I’m thinking good thoughts and hoping it is as minimally invasive as a hysterectomy/biopsy can be.
Eventually, on the day after the prom (what I think is really, really early) I will be sent home to continue partying at my own house. The prom might take a toll, so no lifting, no exercising (walking OK), no, ehem, intercourse, no baths (showers are OK, Thank G-d) until the surgeon says it is OK, probably 6-8 weeks. What I don’t understand (and I’m not a party planner, so why would I) is that I am supposed to be in the hospital less than 24 hours to remove FOUR ORGANS. I will be limited in my activities for almost two months, not be able to drive right away, but will only be in the hospital overnight? Really? Less than a day? I can see an ACL repair, ok, but we’re not even talking about an appendix, here, we’re talking about removing the seat of future civilizations! Taking off the sweater muffins gave me two nights, but removing the baby factory and all its out buildings apparently does not warrant anything more than a one-night stand. I guess I should be happy that I will get dinner and a movie out of it.