It’s been less than 24 hours since I had my surgery and I have to say I feel unexpectedly good. Everything I read about recovery for this procedure said to expect at least 3 really uncomfortable days with difficult breathing and general malaise. It was not the most pleasant night I’ve ever had last night but certainly manageable.
Here’s a blow by blow of the day. If you are not interested in the details (gory and otherwise), you might as well stop reading here.
8:00AM – This was the time the surgery was scheduled for. Or, rather, when we were told to be there. We arrived at 8AM and ran into the doctor (you don’t really make ‘appointments’ at the state hospitals here) and he seemed surprised we were there when he told us to be there. He promptly told us that the surgery would be at 11AM. (That’s funny, I thought it was 8AM) And, he told us to return between 10:30AM and 11:00AM.
10:45AM – We returned when he told us to and then said, “Give me 30 minutes” and he ran off to…somewhere.
12:00PM – An hour and 15 minutes later, he returned and said, “Ok, the surgery is now. We must go to another building.” I said, “Ok” with a sense of relief because it was a private hospital he was moving me to.
12:03PM – We were running, yes, running from the state hospital to the other hospital. In the snow. And, I had one of those surreal moments that I have here sometimes (another surreal memory from here was when I was at a gentleman’s home from my church and 7 of us were all congregated in one small room eating banitsa and watching ABBA videos at a decibel that made it impossible to talk while he occasionally smacked his dog around) and I’m telling myself, “This is actually happening” while slightly amused by the entire scenario. I wasn’t nervous at all. In fact, I knew that everything was going to be ok while I looked at the back of my surgeon closely following him in the snow.
12:15PM – We arrived at the hospital and I had to fill out some paperwork. I was really pleasantly surprised by how nice the hospital was. Images that I previously had in mind of the post-Soviet operating room with the flickering lights and plaster peeling from the wall were replaced with hardwood floors, brightly painted walls and a warm and cheerful atmosphere.
I met the anesthesiologist, who spoke English, and I was relieved to find that he was a middle-aged man which meant to me that he had a lot of experience putting people under. He was nice and made me feel comfortable.
12:30PM – I met with a physician, a lovely older gentleman, who worked previously as a doctor in Africa, and he did a physical on me and also took an echocardiogram. I passed with flying colors so I was now green-lighted for surgery.
1:00PM – I was escorted to the OR (operating room). I should also mention that my husband (a medical student) accompanied me the entire time. He was a great support and he was also interested in watching the surgery from a clinical perspective.
By this time, I was nervous. And, I told the anesthesiologist that I was nervous. He assured me, made me feel comfortable and they handled things very swiftly and professionally as I slowly drifting off to sleep.
1:45PM – The surgery was now completed. They wheeled me off to a recovery room and I was gently placed in the bed. I was slowly coming off of the anesthesia and this was probably the most uncomfortable part of all. I was very nauseous was shaking a lot. The nurse gave me some anti-nausea medication and I was coming in and out of sleep.
I had a bit of a rough time sleeping last night because the gauze made it impossible to breathe through my nose, but I had it removed this morning and I already feel so much better.
I did a lot of preparation that I feel helped me during the process and now in the recovery period.
Here are some of the things that I did to help me to prepare emotionally and physically for the surgery to promote the best outcome and fastest recovery.
1. I did EFT to help me to emotionally prepare for it. This is a tapping technique that is slightly akin to acupressure and is used on certain meridians in your body to help to ‘unlock’ unwanted feelings, pain, etc. I will dedicate several posts to this technique at a later date. It deserves a lot of explanation.
2. I started taking spirulina and chlorella. These are types of algae that are now used as whole food supplements. Both are helpful to detoxify the body. I knew that I would have to take medications so I wanted to start the process to rid them from my body as soon as possible after the procedure. The night of my surgery, while I was sleeping, I woke up to major night sweats. I felt that my body was already trying to clear the medications from it.
3. I ate really clean and nutritious foods. I wanted to be sure that I was as healthy as possible for the surgery so my recovery time would be faster and I was at much lower risk for complications due to infections, etc. I ate whole foods that were easy for my body to assimilate and process.
4. I took arnica montana tablets. I took these tablets several days preceding the surgery and will continue through recovery. The doctors and nurses kept asking me if I had any pain and if I needed medications and I was happy to tell them that I was in no pain. I did have a pain prescription written for me but have not needed it yet and I don’t think I will. Arnica montana is a homeopathic treatment and helps with bruising and soreness. I read that patients who took Arnica montana had faster recovery times.
5. I took Omego 3s or fish oil. These have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body and immune system boosting properties.
6. I imagined a positive outcome and trusted my practitioner.
I should also add one final note. The cost for this procedure in the United States can range from $10,000 – $20,000. Your insurance company (if you have insurance) may not cover it because it may not be deemed ‘medically necessary.’ In Bulgaria? $400. Yep.
While this was not a major surgery, it was still surgery. When bodies are cut, they need to heal. It can be scary for anyone undergoing any type of surgery. I think if you take the time to prepare for any type of procedure in a measured and thoughtful way, you are more likely to have a positive outcome.
Live well and be happy!