In my last post on fear (part one), I talked a little about how God helps us overcome fear (something I have struggled with for years). Am I cured? Ummm, no. Am I in process? You betcha!
5 weeks ago today, I had hysterectomy surgery in Bohumin, Czech Republic.
I am not a person who particularly cares for needles (read that as has almost fainted a few times on account of those tiny evil things). I also worry too much about all things hospital. When I finally got my head out of the sand and turned to the Lord, he told me this: “I am the great physician. I am better than any doctor anywhere.” So this God that I know to be all powerful and who loves me a whole big lot can make sure that my doctor does a great job? Hmm. I suppose that’s a pretty good deal :). Casey and our good friend Rach helped me come up with some snacks and activities to take with me and away I went.
I had always imagined that if I needed one, I would get it done in the States by the American OBGYN that cared for me before and during the pregnancies of both of my boys, did a few minor surgeries on me, and delivered Beni. I did not think that it would happen this way. But, a lot of our life has been kind of unexpected at times.
My surgery was on a Friday but I had to be there by 6am on Thursday (after fasting since midnight Wed.). I received one meal from them (a brothy soup for lunch) and was not allowed to eat anything else until Saturday at breakfast. I was so nervous that my digestive system was not working right. I felt like I had a rock lodged between my stomach and my intestines. I was sure that I was going to have to cancel the surgery. The nurses were super calm about it and gave me some kind of muscle relaxer to calm my stomach. I prayed a ton and asked a lot of people to pray for me. I felt much better by Friday morning.
I was in a room with 2 additional ladies. All three of us arrived on Thursday, and we were all scheduled for surgery on the same morning. One was this super tough 70-year-old lady (Stanislava) that smiled easily and complained about nothing. She was not even scared in the least about the surgery. She and I had the same procedure done. The other young woman (Nikolka) was only 26 and was scheduled for a minor surgery (no organs removed). She was also so brave. They were an answer to prayer for me. I felt really encouraged by their bravery.
All of the procedures that we had to go through to prepare our bodies for the surgery were VERY uncomfortable and I will not list them here. It was all a surprise to me. Every. Single. Thing. I was only told that they would do some tests on Thursday to make sure that I would survive the surgery (blood pressure and heart monitor stuff). Surprise!
Aside: They also did a mandatory COVID-19 test. It turns out that they are different than the ones in the States. In the States, it’s a nasal swab on a long bendy stick that goes through your sinuses and touches the back of your throat. In Czech, it’s a swab on a stiff stick that goes straight into your sinuses (OUCH!) where they scramble it around up there for a while. Either is VERY unpleasant, but just in case you were interested…
Bright and early on Friday morning, we had to do some more not-so-fun preparatory things and then we had to wait and wait and wait. Then, a nurse gave Stanislava a shot in the backside. Of course, I had no idea what the injection was for, but I figured that they would end up giving me one too. When it was my turn, I was very impressed by how painful the shot was. I remembered rolling over and asking Nikolka if we had to have these shots every day. She laughed and said, “no, that’s your anesthesia shot.” Good to know! We were later wheeled in one at a time to the operating room. The operating room looked and smelled very clean, had a joking and talkative doctor, 3 very smiley and chatty nurses, bright lights, and was warm…I felt safe. My waking up from the surgery was a blur but not an uncomfortable one.
The nursing staff was very attentive, patient, and kind. My roommates were a joy to share a room with. They were not noisy and they were very considerate. We did not even have a t.v. in our room anyway. There was one in the common room and that was it. The food was not great, but my Czech roommates also were not impressed, so that made me feel like I was not just being a fussy American.
My I.V. was removed right after my surgery but I had all sorts of other things hanging out of me. I learned something at this hospital. I have always feared the I.V. above all other things in any hospital. It turns out that there are worse things. It’s called, no I.V. Why? Because every single medication or substance that needed to go into me, then, had to be done through shots. I had to have anticoagulant shots every day in my shoulder, shots for pain meds, shots for shots’ sake. I was very much missing my I.V. I had so many bruises. I started refusing my pain meds because I just didn’t want more shots.
The day after my surgery, they came in bright and early and yanked out all of the gauze and tubes from my body in one quick evil motion and I was ordered to march myself to the bathroom. It kid of felt like a calloused way of doing things, but why not? Didn’t I need to walk to get rid of all of the gasses that they pumped into my body for my laparoscopy? Why yes I did. I had to march up and down the three small hallways in our area of the hospital several times a day. I started to call my constant walking my “fart walks.” And fart walks they were. Even at 5 weeks out, I ask Casey to go with me on fart walks in our neighborhood. They’re the best :).
The rest of the days were uneventful. I watched a Czech fairytale with Stanislava on the communal t.v. on one of the days, did lots of embroidery, watched Netflix movies that I had saved on my iPad, sent lots of messages, read a lot of Scipture and other books, and walked a lot. Not a bag gig. My hospital stay was Thursday through Wednesday and I could not have any visitors. It got a bit boring, but I am thankful for modern technology and really great roommates that had great attitudes.
Upon returning back home, our friend Rach had organized herself and other friends in Czech to bring us meals for a whole week, then our Polish church brought us meals for the whole following week. We are so blessed. I am so thankful for how the Lord so tenderly cared for me, despite my fears. I am not alone and the Lord does give me a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Tim. 1:7). I just need to choose to receive the ability to live that way each day.