Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 6

Picture of Rowanberries in Novosibirsk, Russia
Rowanberries in Novosibirsk, Russia
"When I awake, I am still with you."  Ps. 139:18

 I was in a little pain, not exactly comfortable, but I was ok.  I was on the other side of my adventure.  And ...still with You.  I would have still been with You either way.  But...I am here, and still with You. 

Joey left to go home.  I told him to sleep and not to come back until Thursday.

Sometime in the early hours on Wednesday I had my last pain shot. 

Around 8 AM they took blood to check my iron, then gave me an energy drink.  When they finished dripping glucose, they unhooked me from the IV, leaving the port in, and took the stand away.  

 I am always with You.  (Ps. 73:23)

In the early afternoon I had my first visitor.  A nurse and a doctor bustled in ahead of her.  They cleaned my incision, put a smaller bandage on it, then wrapped me in a post-op abdominal belt/bandage with velcro to support the muscles around the incision when I moved around.  With their help I traded the hospital gown for my own nightgown and robe.  Then they delivered me to Alyona and she helped me make my way down the hall on my first trip to the bathroom.

Alyona brought me goodies: fruit, herbal tea, and a thermos for me to brew tea using hot water from the water cooler in the hall.  She came every day while I was there, always bringing me something.

The first meals they gave me were oatmeal and cream of wheat, and the rest of the week I continued to have a variety of porridges for breakfast: barley, buckwheat, rice, and all very yummy.  When they started letting me eat heavier there were cutlets, fish, chicken, borscht.  I ate my meals at my little IKEA table.  

I had a steady stream of visitors throughout the week.  They always asked the doctors what I could eat.  In Russia it's customary for friends and family to bring food from home.  While the food ordered from the cafe was good, the doctors wanted to see me eating specific things to get my iron up and my systems moving again.  My friends brought fruit (including pomegranate and persimmon), boiled eggs, veal cutlets, and drinking yogurt.  

Ira called and asked the doctors if she could bring me coffee from my favorite coffee shop - they said yes.  That was a treat.

Lena came twice in one day.  She found out that the doctors wanted me to have veal, went home to make it and brought it back that day.  (It was very good!)

Yulia arranged to come see me even though she has two small children at home.  

Those who couldn't come called.

My daughter and I in the clinic in Novosibirsk days after my hysterectomy.
The nurses began to say that I was popular.  The truth is I have very loving friends.  Some came a long way to see me; some came in spite of their own responsibilities that are hard to get away from; some came more than once. 

I also made friends among the staff.  Some would drop in to check on me and stay to chat a few minutes.  Many of them saw my kids when they came with Joey, and for those who didn't see them there were pictures on my phone.  I was treated to their pictures and stories of children and nieces and nephews.  I exchanged numbers with a woman from Uzbekistan.  

Instead of a place of fear, You have made it a place of peace and comfort and rest.  

"Surely the Lord was in this place, and I was not aware of it." (Gen. 28:16)

I didn't see a ladder with angels; I didn't see You standing at the top, and yet I met You here - or rather - You met me here. 

Mornings and evenings they hooked me up to the IV.   I found that all the different things they were dripping into my IV made me have to go to the bathroom VERY badly.  They had to unhook me a few times during the process to let me go.  I offered to take the IV stand with me to the bathroom, but they didn't like that idea.  

Wednesday and Thursday evening they gave me something in my IV for pain (for the night).  Friday evening I told Yulia (the nurse) I didn't want it.  She said if I changed my mind to tell her.  Although I didn't sleep as well that night as I had been sleeping, I didn't change my mind.

Originally I was to go home Saturday, but my low iron (6.7, or 67 in Russia) bought me two more days at the clinic.  I called Joey with a list of meds they wanted me to take.  He picked everything up at the pharmacy and brought it all to me the next day: liquid iron, chewable iron, and antibiotic, all of which I administered myself, and something that they gave me in my IV to protect me and my liver from all the iron (or maybe from the anemia).   The liquid iron was in a glass vial that I had to break on both ends to pour into a cup.  That was new for me.

I wore the T.E.D. stockings and the abdominal belt all week.  If I was lying in bed I unfastened the belt, but to sit up and move around I fastened it back.  

The last several years we have not had daylight savings time in Russia.  That means that in Siberia the sun comes up around 10 AM in December, so breakfast around 8 AM was always very dark.  Even so, the mornings bustled with surgeries, nurses, and patients - sometimes children.  The evenings were quieter and emptier, though I was never again the only patient like the first night.  The surgery department was very quiet on the weekend.  When Olga Andreevna came by to see me, she said it was because no one wants to schedule surgery before the holidays.

Late Sunday morning a young lady came to get me to have an ultrasound downstairs.  It showed that there was no internal bleeding to cause the low hemoglobin.  That cleared, she said that I could leave the next day if my iron was up. 

Michele and her daughter in the clinic after hysterectomy in Novosibirsk, Russia.
Michele and her daughter in the clinic after hysterectomy in Novosibirsk, Russia
Joey and Aleicia came by to see me.  (Joshua was searching for a turkey for Christmas.  You can buy a turkey for the holidays in Siberia, but the stores don't exactly abound with them.)

"They may let me go home tomorrow," I told them.

I guess Aleicia had concerns about how I was hobbling around, because she turned to Joey and asked, "How are you going to get her home?"

Joey answered solemnly, "I'm going to pull her home on a sled."

I went ahead and packed a few of my things that evening just in case.

Monday morning: up at eight, and downstairs in my nightgown and robe to have my blood taken before breakfast.  Others waited to have lab work done, but they were not from upstairs like I was - they were in their street clothes. 

Around lunchtime they told me that my hemoglobin was up to 8.0 (80) and that they would release me.  

I called Joey and packed the rest of my things.  They said for me to keep the post-op abdominal belt and to bring it back when I came for my next appointment.  Over it I put on the clothes that I had worn the previous Monday on my walk to the clinic, then pulled on my boots that had been standing in the corner all week.  They still had the bahili covering the bottoms.   I took the white garment bag containing my coat out of the wardrobe.  

Leaving my room, I felt a bit nostalgic.  I had good memories, in spite of having surgery. 

Yulia gave me a hug goodbye.

"I liked it here," I thought.  But You have a way of making places holy.  Of making everything holy. 

Downstairs, I took my coat out of the white garment bag and hung the bag back in the cloakroom.  Joey retrieved his coat from the cloakroom, and made an appointment for me for the next Sunday.  He asked about the extra two days: no extra charge.  In the foyer we shed our bahili and put them in the used basket.  Our taxi waited out in the snow. 

That part of my adventure was over.

Michele Womble days after hysterectomy in Siberia.

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Related Posts
Read: My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 1
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 1
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 3
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 3
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4
My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 4
Link to My Hysterectomy in Siberia Part 5
My Hysterectomy
in Siberia Part 5

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