Pre-op meeting

by Jillian Bogater (Exile From Hysteria)


The nurse released the pressure cuff on my arm and looked me square in the eyes.

“Why are you so nervous?” she asked, noting my 186-over-something blood pressure. “You’re just talking today!”

It was hard to explain how this pre-op meeting made everything real. Official. In seven days, my doctor would cut me open like a fish and remove my lady bits.

If anything, my doctor is no-nonsense. We got through my list of questions quickly.

Will I need a walker? No.

What kind of lifting restrictions? Nothing over 10 pounds for the first six weeks.

When can I drive again? As soon as I stop taking narcotics for pain.

We discussed my ovaries. She’ll definitely take my right one since it is diseased and covered in endometriosis. During the hysterectomy, she also will examine my left ovary and make a decision about its fate. The hope is that it will stay put. The doctor also said she would poke around in my abdomen and break down endometriosis where it’s possible to do so.

I told her about my incessant back pain, and she said if it persists after the surgery I will need to see an orthopedic doctor.

I confessed my growing fear of the surgery, more specifically of the pain afterward. The doctor told me the nerves were normal. She assured me that I would most likely not remember the first couple days, and that I will have a button to push that will disburse pain medication on demand.

Knowing that I enjoy long, hot showers, Matt suggested getting a shower chair for me. The doctor enthusiastically agreed, and said it may come in especially handy in the first few days I am home since my balance will most likely be off. She said I can take up to 15-minute showers for the first couple weeks, then as long as I want after that. Baths will have to wait until six weeks post-op.

She saved the fun part for last: bowel prep the day before surgery.

Next Tuesday at midnight, I will have to stop eating solid food. I can drink what I want until 2 p.m. Wednesday, then I need to switch to clear liquids. Also at 2 p.m., I will begin my bowel cleanse with a shot of milk of magnesia and a Dulcolax laxative. Yeah. Fun times.

Matt already is planning gourmet Jello squares, with a side of chicken broth.

Given that I will spend the majority of Wednesday near a loo, I decided to call in sick to work, and also to cancel a hair appointment I had made for that night. The doctor laughed that I was even planning to get my hair done.

“Once you have that surgery, you’re gonna want to look a mess,” she said.

You know, she’s right. I’ll get a makeover right before going back to work.

Doctor’s orders.