I am an older woman – 77- and feel very alone and unsupported. My family and closer friends are a long way away, and I did not feel able to leave everything and go to live with my daughter for a few months, having the procedure in her home area. It’s a lot to ask of her when she has family and a very busy life, and she lives hundreds of miles from my current home. I foolishly assumed I would be able to do more post-op, and also that there would be support via GP and hospital.
Now I find nobody will commit to a thing until after the op, so how can I plan? I did not expect a firm date or specific details at this stage, just to know what might be available on discharge. Nobody will even discuss it with me, and my daughter has been heavily criticised by the hospital staff on two occasions, which is outrageous. She has young children, a husband etc and to leave them for a month or more would be crazy. If the (small amount) of information given had been more thorough, I might have realised that I had little option but to go to live with her.
I was supposed to have a chest X-ray – consultant wanted this pre-op – but it has been omitted from appointments and when I enquire I am told I can “have one post-op”. That seems crazy. I have good contact if I want it with nurses, but had just one meeting with consultant, and as others have pointed out, one does not have all the questions prepared when the diagnosis has just been presented and the decisions are being made.
So, I have ended up feeling very ill and strange, now think I am suffering from “fear of surgery”, had to go to A&E in early hours last week, and after hours of “dry vomiting” and exhaustion was given anti-depressant. Seeing GP today, but I know he is disapproving of the medication. However, he has given me a minute daily dose for the moment. I am seeing him today, with a list, but he never seems to know much or volunteer information.
I have often felt that I will get to the hospital and turn round and come away without the treatment. This is not typical of my attitude, but I am also recovering from the recent death of my husband. I had to watch him having ever more inappropriate treatment at the local hospital, and however hard I fought for him it was not enough.
Normally I would keep things to myself, but I want to say – help!! I will be in a town I don’t know well so that I don’t have to face the local hospital where my husband died, a couple of friends are making journeys to visit me, some of the nurses at outpatients have been very kind, but I need much more support or I am terrified I won’t go through with it, and that I am told would be a one-way street with pre-cancerous condition.
My nature is to get on with things and look after myself, but, will I even manage to get out of bed on my own? Will I be able to survive those first weeks with occasional help? I know everyone is different in their rate of recovery and their attitude to the op, but I do even at my age, feel I will be physically less and mourn somewhat the loss of what makes me a woman.
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Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.