Written by Evi Idoghor
“Madam, how are you doing? My name is Yetunde, I am the one who is going to be taking care of you.” A young petite woman said to me, as she carefully rubbed my hand. I swear the anaesthesiologist was just by my side five minutes before I was trying to respond to the person who spoke to me. My throat felt as if someone had just yanked something out of it, and all I could do was groan in response to her. The first time, the intubation had no effect on me; I couldn't tell if a tube had been placed into my throat. However, I felt everything the second time around.
In my thoughts, I was wondering why the place was so hot. What exactly is that on my leg? What's with the oxygen mask on my face? I ripped it off, muttering, "pain, pain, I'm in so much pain..." My mind was exceedingly keen, but it didn't convert to my physical body, which had been subjected to a great deal of stress. "OK, put the mask back on," Yetunde said as she dashed to her desk, where the phone was, and called the pharmacy to request that my pain medication be delivered as soon as possible.
"Yetunde...Yetunde...," I attempted to make my voice as clear as possible, and to my astonishment, she heard me. "Yes!" she exclaimed as she dashed to my bedside. "I'm hot," I grumbled. "Both air conditioners are on; I'm not sure why the room isn't cool." She lifted up my hospital gown just enough to get some fresh air in and began fanning me with a folder that she held in her right hand. Then, using her left hand, she dialed the technician's number. "Hello," she said, "please come to the recovery room, I believe there is a problem with the air conditioning." Before she could return to her desk, I grabbed her hand and said, "Stay with me, don't go." With the agony I was experiencing and the discomfort due to the temperature in the room, I felt as if I were drifting back into unconsciousness; hence, her presence by my bedside made me feel secure.
After a few minutes, I inquired, "Where is the pharmacist?" This pain is too much for me to bear, and I am thirsty. Can I get some water? " Yetunde shook her head, "no madam, you are not allowed to drink anything for now." "But my mouth is bitter!" I insisted. "Okay, I will ask the doctor if I can get you some ice." Then she picked up the phone again, and I could hear the impatience in her voice this time. "Hurry, she's in a lot of pain! I need the medication right away." After she got off the phone, she turned to me and apologized, saying, "madam, I am very sorry, the pharmacist is coming from the other building, he will be here soon."
Another few minutes passed, when anaesthesiologist and my aunt entered the recovery room. I was struggling to keep my eyes open at this point. I recall seeing a mask covering her face as she stood a few feet away from my bed. "Touch her, talk to her, she can hear you," the anaesthesiologist advised. "How are you?" she asked as she drew closer and placed her hands on my feet. "Everything went smoothly, according to the doctor." I agreed with a nod. "I've already spoken with your dad; he'll call you when you're a lot stronger." I nodded again, and she walked away.
Yetunde returned to my bedside, and informed me that the ac technician was outside the room. "Do I let him in?" “No! Where is this pharmacist now?" I asked. By this point, tears were running down my cheeks. "Oh, there he is," she commented. I was given one shot of morphine and immediately relieved of my pain. Then I began to feel drowsy and no matter how much I fought to stay awake, the incoming sleep won the battle.
It wasn't long after when Yetunde jolted me awake with the words, "I am about to do something that will give you so much pain, but I will be quick about it." "Again, with the pain? Ohhhh, what kind of wahala is this?" I bemoaned. "I don't want to suffer any longer." "This time around," I would later tell my brother, "everything was ten times as painful." He chalked it up to being far removed from my initial experience.
The pain I felt after waking up from my surgery seemed like fire burning my flesh. I attempted to move my legs to shake it off, but every movement from my stomach downwards conveyed that searing sensation up my abdomen. So, when she said she was about to do something that would cause me greater agony, I panicked. This is not something I want to go through again! I'm not sure how I'm going to have children; my mind started racing. I can't have another surgery.
“One…two…three…” Yetunde continued, and I felt something open and pressure flow from it, like if you were opening a fizzy drink. I shouted like a woman in labor in response. "I am very sorry, madam, very sorry." Yetunde stated as she sealed a drainage bottle and placed it next to my bed. "What is that?" "It's a drainage," Yetunde explained, "to get rid of the surplus fluid that the operation site is producing.
"As the morphine wore off, I started crying again." My gynecologist then entered the room. "What exactly is going on?" He inquired. I responded, "I am in pain." "How would you grade your pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most painful?" "Seven," I said. "I notice you're having trouble enduring pain, and if you continue this way, the only other alternative is to put you under anaesthesia." "No, I don't want that," I said, shaking my head. "All right." Then he turned to Yetunde, asking when I was given the morphine and advised her on what to do next.
“Your procedure went well,” he said, “we didn’t have to do any blood transfusion, and you had minimal adhesion, which the general surgeon took care of.” Minimal adhesion? Thank God, but would I get a refund since the surgeon didn’t have to do much?Me, I need money oh! I thought, before he said, “we removed 27 fibroids from your inside and around your uterus.” “27? Wow! I thought it was 23.” “Yes, that was what your scans revealed, but they ended being more. The one attached to your endometrial lining was also taken out.” Then he turned to Yetunde and said, “bring it in so we can show her.”
Yetunde returned with a tiny bucket containing many fibroids the size of an adult's big toe and one large one the size of a grapefruit. They weighted 500g when combined. No wonder when I looked in the mirror at my tummy, it appeared to be in the early stages of pregnancy. I assumed my bulging belly was the result of my never-ending love affair with food, and I accepted it as my fate since I had no interest in becoming a gym rat, my husband would just have to accept me the way I am.
After my doctor left, I turned to Yetunde and said, "I want to go to my room," to which she responded, "you are not stable yet; you need to breathe well before I take you back there."
I was irritated with the oxygen mask. Yetunde graciously asked me to put it back on my face every time I took it off. I gasped for oxygen whenever it was off my face. That terrified her. She told my doctors about it, and they instructed her to change the mask to the thin tube that goes into the nostril. "That may be more comfortable for her," suggested the doctor.
I caused Yetunde a lot of grief, from taking off my oxygen mask to refusing to let her close the curtain around me, to requesting her to always be at my side, to complaining about how hot the area was while refusing to let the technician into my recovery room. "Madam, I need to go into the system and submit your information so the doctors can see it." Then she exited the room, and when the door reopened, my cousin was there.
"How are you doing?" my cousin inquired,” I am uncomfortable, and I am thirsty!" "Yes, the nurse mentioned that, which is why she requested me to come and stay with you so you could feel better." "Can I get water? Or the ice I was promised?" My cousin looked in the direction of nurse Yetunde, and she said, "no, the doctor did not approve."
Disappointed, I said to my cousin, "I don't think I can go through this again," just then, she took a seat beside my bedside. "What do you mean?" She asked, "the doctors have already told me that I won't be able to have a normal birth because of these operations."
“So, what are you going to do? Not have children?” She replied. “Abeg, the pain is too much.” I answered. “Okay now, another person will carry your baby.” It was the first time after my treatment I managed to laugh. One hour later, they both struggled to get me on a wheel chair and off to my room we went.
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