Life as Lou

The Ones Where I Use The Words Rectum and Vagina A Whole Lot, Because I Can No Longer Complete A Sentence With Out Them.

  • March 10, 2012 5:33 am

Dear, gentle readers, where shall I begin?  I have mentally blogged so much of the past few days, and then had it twisted into fiction and butterflies and eaten by lovely, lovely drugs classified as narcotics. So I shall do my best. This will likely take a few posts.

Ten days ago I went into surgery, planning on having a vaginal hysterectomy, a rectocele and and cystocele. All this had come about because my internal organs were being dysfunctional and attempting to exit my body via my va-jay-jay. I am sure many of you are familiar with the concept of pelvic prolapse, but for those of you who aren’t, let me be the one to leave you shaken and clutching your girlie bits while I simply say: yes, your uterus, bladder, rectum, and other organs can actually fall out of your vagina. And it is not uncommon. I’m sorry to add that to your reality; I know my world was happier before that possibility entered my paradigm.

So, anyway.  Surgery day was on leap day, at the Rapid City Same Day Surgery Center, even though it is not same day surgery, being performed by my OB/GYN, Dr. Buehner, who came highly recommended and who deserved every bit of praise he was given.  I’m going to give you a little back-story on all of this.

During one of my first girlie exams I was asked what I did.  This question always poses a bit of a conundrum. After all, I manage a small, international business and have done so for five years. I moonlight as a freelance designer for scrapbooking companies who need some good example art for trade shows. I’ve also written this blog for seven years, raised three kids at home at the same time and now teach an early morning seminary class on the Old Testament. What do I do? The complete answer is just too cotton picking long, and more than most people really care about in the course of small talk, so I tend to answer with whatever answer strikes me at the moment and I answered writer. This does, after all, bring me the most satisfaction, and sounds a heck of a lot better than dilettante.

Well, my doctor’s resident (Hi!) latched on to that and ended up looking me up. In fact, when I walked in for my second exam both she and Dr. Buehner had looked me up to see what I’d written about them, and they announced this with big grins on their faces before even saying hello. Now, our exam was pretty funny, and very blog-worthy, but I’m just careful enough to avoid saying anything potentially upsetting at the risk of leaving the man who will be holding sharp, pointy objects around my my girlie bits put out. Also, I was really busy. That being said, here’s what happened at the appointment.

I always get a little silly at exams. This is the byproduct of me handling stress with irreverent humor and the fact that after my first girlie exam my grandmother (who is hilarious) teased my virginal prudence and general discomfort about the whole situation with a finger crooked up in the air in mock exam form, a few well timed one liners and imitations of her own first exam.  Throw in a seven week hospital stay where I rocked the backless hospital lingerie and basically lost all sense of modesty whatsoever and suffice it to say, I’m a little cracked when it comes to gynecological medicine now.  So when we were about to put my feet in the stirrups and I said to my charming doctor, “bottoms up!” Well, he lost all composure. Apparently, in 29 years of being a doctor, that was a first.

The exam got progressively more lighthearted until, while trying to assess the extent of my uterine prolapse he asked me to stand up, spread my legs and bear down so he could reach up there -that is the actual medical terminology for that you know, “up there”- and feel around to see how low my womb was hanging. Now, picture a woman who already has the giggles, plus a resident who is cracking up and a very kind, endearing man who is trying hard to hold on to some small shred of medical professionalism.  Then use the word “Squat”.

I laughed so hard we barely got the exam completed.

In the end, we decided that surgically removing the offending body parts and putting the ones that ought not to be removed back where God intended was the best route for me.

I showed up on surgery day and they promptly took away my clothes and gave me a huge, one size really doesn’t fit all, purple hospital gown with an interstitial area sewn into it, hooked to plastic tubing with a heating/cooling device that blew air into the gown and left me perfectly temperature controlled and looking like a massive, purple sumo wrestler.  I was supposed to go into surgery at nine am, but my doctor was delivering a little leap year baby boy, so I got to wear the hot sumo gown for an extra two and a half hours.

While I waited for this little guy to make his entrance into the world, I got to meet my surgical staff, including a matter-o-fact nurse named Sue who told me she had a hysterectomy at 31 and it was nothing but good, didn’t affect sexual function at all and saved a bundle on birth control and menstrual supplies. I appreciate matter-o-factness and her no nonsense, straight talk tone set me at ease considerably more than all the soothing individuals who came to tell me about more medically pertinent things like how they didn’t intend to kill me with anesthesia. They were all very nice, but when people are collectively soothing it always makes me nervous, as if the kindness and gentleness triggers my brain to think there might actually be a problem big enough for me to require emotional mitigation, and then I want to panic.  I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day with that, but I’ll go with frankness over calming any day.

My doctor finally arrived and they brought me back to the operating room. That room is intimidating, all sterile and bright and people milling about and trays of sharp objects, so I was grateful when they didn’t waste time giving me the good drugs that made the room swim and fade into nothingness.

I was out for a few hours, about two and a half, and when I woke up my awareness was focused on only one priority, the fact that I was in pain and lots of it.  Coming out of anesthesia is a slow process, and I was in the recovery room for an hour and a half and still have no recollection of being moved to my hospital room after that. I do remember saying one thing over and over during that time in the recovery room, “ow. Ow. Ow. OW. Ow. . .ow.” And just in case they didn’t catch it the first hundred times, more “ow. ow. OW. ow. . .ow”.  At some point during all this OW-ing, I realized what I was saying and said, “Gee, I’m so articulate! Ow. Ow. Ow.” This probably came out garbled beyond recognition, but, hey, I thought I was funny, so I laughed, which only served to prompt more, “Ow. . . .ow. . .ow.”

Somewhere in between all the ows, my doctor checked on me and gave me the picture he took of my uterus that I had requested, and then teased me saying he had sent it off to KFC because it looked like a drumstick. I kid you not. Then he told me he fixed a hole in my rectum during the surgery, and I really hoped that was said as tongue in cheek as the KFC remark, but unfortunately, it was not. I’m sure more was said during this lovely time in the recovery room, but it is all lost amid the drugs, the KFC comments and the word OW.

OK- it is quite late here, and I just took more painkillers, so I will finish this story in the next post.

Part TWO






  1. amy says:

    Your grace and dignity are surpassed only by your hilarity. I’m glad your nether regions are back in their proper places. Sending prayers for a speedy recovery, I’m sure you’ll be back to your to-do lists in no time!

  2. Lanna says:

    Oh my goodness. You are hilariously awesome. :) I love that you and the doc/resident got along so well, with humor nonetheless. I hope your rest and the good drugs are helping you heal up nicely. :)

  3. You really should write a book. You have such an amazing ability with written word, and helping us visualize your situation. Of course, I think we can all say with absolute certainty that we do NOT want to see the drumstick in a future post. We all love you, Leah…but we don’t love you THAT much. :)

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of your narcotic-loving story! And I’m jealous of not having a period…I have to admit that. :)

  4. Gail Williams says:

    Oh Leah, you are one funny lady. I can just picture you and your gyno laughing your heads off. I enjoyed reading your post as I have to have a surgery too. Hip replacement. The one where they use tools usually kept in the garage. EEEEGADS. I am scared I won’t wake up and I will be very mad if I don’t wake up. I have five grandsons to live for and a husband of 39 years. I know, I know, not to worry. Take good care and heal fast, I am sure your three are missing having you up and around.

  5. Laurence says:

    So glad you are in the mood of speaking about all that ! It’s hilarious to read but you must have been through tense and not so funny moments ! Glad you slowly get back to normal, take care !

  6. Anna Sigga says:

    Girl you are one amazing woman – I have said it before and I will say it again, you are THE Wonder Woman!! <3

  7. Cathy Harper says:

    Love your blog entry, your honesty and writing. You are one of the most talented women I know…honestly you should write a book! Take care and I am hoping for a speedy recovery for you!

  8. So glad you came through the op well. Take the rest you need to heal, as I also went through the same op last July for my Prolapsed uterus too, which ended up in complications…but happy to be here today and living.

  9. staceymichu says:

    only you can make a story like this entertaining. that is why you will do great in your recovery even if it feels slow to you. sending you prayers…and I can’t wait to hear the rest.

  10. amie says:

    Sounds like quite the ordeal…very interested to hear the rest of it! (Sorry about the pain!) :(

  11. Monique says:

    Can’t believe you can write a piece about this which actually had me laughing! (You have such a way with words!) I’m so in awe of you …. you’ve such a positive look on life! even after this! Even so, this has to be hard…. you’re in my thoughts dear! Take care!!!

  12. Carol Seim says:

    I am so glad you shared this with everyone–seriously. I wanted to ask what all was going on, but the North Dakota nice in me resisted prying. Let’s just say that I REALLY understand because my husband has just gone through a similar situation–without the girl parts, of course. Now I REALLY feel bad for you :( Get well soon!

  13. msdramateacherlady says:

    Glad to see you back, I was beginning to get a little worried. Sounds like things have gone well so far. Take care, heal quickly and keep smiling. Sending you good vibes from So Cal.

  14. Alex says:

    Never thought I would be laughing while reading about someone’s vaginal hysterectomy :-) Thank you for sharing your story with us. Can’t wait to hear the rest.

    You are one amazing woman! Keep smiling and get well soon. We miss you on the Nook board!

  15. I wish you didn’t have to go through all of that and my stomach was literally in knotts the entire time I was reading your post :( Hugs to you. I hope you start feeling a little better this week :(

  16. Sanisi says:

    I love you. That post made me laugh for a long time, twice. Myles stared at me for a little while I was laughing so hard (during his beloved cartoons, BTW). I just love your attitude.

  17. I love your sense of humor during all that you went through! Hoping you are feeling better soon!

  18. Darci Galligo says:

    Leah you are great! You make my day in so many ways. I also envy you – not your current situation – but the way you go after what you want and live life so abundantly! We could all take a lesson. Prayers are with you!
    P.S. Got your Pampered Chef will send with hubby tomorrow.

  19. LOL – you had me in stitches! Glad to see read the humor in the situation … welcome back and speedy recovery! ♥

  20. Marinette says:

    You’re an amazing woman you know? Love your humor;) Take care and keep smiling my friend♥
    Gros bisous

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