I thought this would be a great post for people that are due to have a laparoscopy but are unsure of what to expect. There is no point in sugar coating what it's like, so i'm here to tell the truth as always!
Firstly, if you have not seen my previous blog post on tips for preparing yourself then check it out here >> POST <<.
Nerves are one of those things that even if you have had tons of operations, I feel will always be sitting there somewhere in your mind. I've actually had 4 general anaesthetics now and I still get nerves. These first occur when your told you have to have the op, then you come to terms with it, and then about a week before it hits you again. My last laparoscopy nerves hit me after I had put on my nightie up and I was like, okay.. now I'm scared! But one thing to have to remember is; everyone going for any operation will be feeling this, and the doctors understand you will be nervous and usually do their absolute best to help you! Which brings me onto the next heading...
The Medical Staff
On the day of your laparoscopy you will probably see about 3 or 4 different people before you get taken down to the operating theatre. This is normal and actually quite reassuring! I think I saw a nurse first to do my height, weight and blood pressure. Then after a little waiting I saw one of the surgical team to talk through the procedure to make sure I was happy. Then I saw my anaesthetist to talk through the process of putting me to sleep and then after that I saw another surgeon - all before even being given a fancy pair of operation socks! By this point I felt like I knew the whole team and this put me at ease!
The Part Before The Op
For me this was a little bit of a strange experience. I was given my nightie, got changed and then had to walk down to the operating theatre. I was taken into the anaesthetists room and I had to lay myself onto the operating table. The doors kept opening and I could see into the operating theatre where all the tools were out and they were all scrubbed up and for me that made me feel a little quesy! However the team were lovely. I had one person on one side of me talking to me and checking my heart rate and making small talk, whilst the other person the other side prepared my arm for the general anaesthetic. It was all a little rushed, and although I was scared I didn't really get a chance to think about it as before I knew it they told me to count backwards from ten... and I was out in a flash! For those wondering, it takes seconds from when they put the syringe in and you just suddenly go heavy and drowsy. It's not painful at all!
Waking up is a very odd sensation. You feel like your in this strange haze, you can hear noises but not really aware of things. I woke up whilst they were wheeling me out of the operating theatre, so very soon, and I heard a lady speaking to me telling me I was in 'recovery' and did I want anything. It was then that I realised I had a oxygen mask on my face so I took that off although was told to keep it on! The next few hours for me were a blur. I think I fell asleep! You may find yourself going in and out of sleep for a while and that's totally normal. When you finally start to wake you may start to feel the pain of the surgery, I found I couldn't sit up properly and needed some assistance. I also get quite sick once I have had general anaesthetic and that can be quite gross! Some people at this point can sit up and eat some toast, I on the other hand can't! I was however encouraged to get myself up and about and try to go to the toilet. Long story short, they will not let you leave the hospital until you have done a wee, and unfortunately for me; I can never wee under pressure! So this takes me ages every time I have had an op! Eventually, when you are feeling a little better you are allowed to go home and this is the point where you can normally see a family member or loved one!
Now please don't think I am scare mongering.. this is simply my experience, but after a laparoscopy I was in a lot of pain. I had very bad period cramps, found it so hard to move around from where they cut me (I only had two incisions) and felt sick a lot! I also had such a dry and sore throat! The worst bit however was the sharp pain in my ribs and shoulder. When they operate they essentially pump you up with air, and air rises, so it gets trapped. This was so uncomfortable and in the emotional state the anaesthetic left me in; this tipped me over the edge! So do be aware of this. A good tip is to have peppermint tea - it works to help get rid of the wind!
Overall, a laparoscopy is not a hardcore operation and neither is it too painful. It does however naturally cause discomfort and that's why I wrote this post - to allow you to understand how you MAY feel and to prepare in advance. Note that these are just my opinions and experiences and not a reflection of everyone's experience having a laparoscopy!
If you are due to have one soon;