My Hysterectomy Journey of Recovery – Debbie’s Story

I had my surgery full abdominal hysterectomy at West Suffolk Hospital. My experience was not great Instead of recovering on the gynaecology ward I was put on the short stay surgical ward, staff were very junior and the experience was very impersonal. I had previously undergone a gynae operation two years ago where things had not gone so well where I ended up in the intensive care so was worried about my care already.

I went down for surgery at 13.30pm and remember being in recovery where stabilizing my pain seemed to take some time. I went back to the short stay surgical ward at 18.40pm – there were 5 other people on the ward – no other person with gynae problems. My husband visited at visiting time 19.00pm for an hour, I was a bit spaced out but remember being pleased to see him.

At about 9.00pm felt in a lot of pain, given paracetamol and ibuprofen. which had little effect but tried to rest, the beds emptied leaving me and one other lady in the bay. In lots of pain and remember being in tears for sometime, eventually an anaesthesist was sent for and I was given some morphine injections. what a relief managed to sleep.

Woke up to lots of noise, people were being admitted to the other beds for day surgery that day, I asked what was the time to be told 7.30am. A little bit annoyed that I was not feeling too well and was in a bay trying to recover with new people coming in with their relatives waiting for their slot in surgery. The staff were focused on getting people prepped for day surgery.

I might as well have not been there. About 8.30am a lady came round with tea trolly and I got my first hot drink since arriving Sunday night this was lovely. About half an hour later breakfast arrived, I was given orange juice and a weetabix, ate a little but pain was back again. Another hour went by I think, a student nurse took my blood pressure and I asked if anyone was coming to see me, she said a doctor would be up sometime today. I asked could I have some pain relief she said she would ask

The anaesthetist from last night arrived and prescribed me some morphine – thank goodness this helps!!! The ward continued to be busy with patients being taken up and down to surgery and nursing staff helping these patients. Not a lot happened to me.

Late afternoon a lady from the surgical team who had operated on me came to see me, said everything went well and that I could go home if i wanted. HORROR here I was on drips, catheters, feeling quite poorly to be told ok to go home! I explained that when I came for my pre op I was told I would be in two to three days at least. I explained that I had no-one to look after me until earliest Wednesday evening. This was Tuesday about 3pm. That is ok she said you can stay till tomorrow!

I was in shock in what i had been told, I know they try to get people home early but this was unbelievable this was less than 24 hours after the surgery. If felt very impersonal and like being in a cattle market. Wow, after the assistant left a NURSE came to see me who was really good, and she was able to assure me that I would not be going home until all the drips, catheters and pain relief was managed, plus needed to see a physio and get some prescriptions ready for me to take home.

The day continued with surgical patients coming and going My husband visited again at 19.00pm for the hour visit on the ward I was so pleased to see him. All the beds were now full of patients most waiting to be picked up to be taken home from day surgery. The Morphine pump helped me a lot throughout the day.

The night staff came on and advised that they were to give me additional saline throughout the night in preparation for me going home tomorrow. I had managed to get in and out of bed my catheter was removed about tea time but I still had a couple of drips where I needed to wheel the apparatus with the cables and drips around when visiting the toilet. Feeling very tired now just hope I can sleep.

By about 21.00pm only me and one other lady on the ward. Within the next two hours 3 other people came into the beds and there was lots of activity, one lady was very distressed in particular. Because I was on the saline drip I was continually wanting to go to the toilet this was going to be a busy night. I was feeling in quite a bit of pain due to having to visit the toilet so often and the lady next to me seemed to be very anxious. I managed to calm her down give her some water as no one was helping her, poor lady!!

So pleased when it started to get light as this had been a long night. More people coming onto the ward for surgery again. Here we go again, cannot wait to go home later today.

What I witnessed while in the ward has been shocking! Considering I have worked for the NHS for 27 years I was shocked at the lack of compassion and quality of care! The day goes by I have my morphine drip taken off me I was told I could take a shower, with no help of course, just get on with it. My stomach is really swollen so cannot see my scar but manage to take my dressings off and clean what i think is my scar. Feels good.

Only few more hours and I can go home. The patients continue to come into the beds today these are medical assessment patients where GP’s have made referrals – lots of confusion about why, what is expected etc. Staff not very good at communicating what is going on. One lady has been referred by a GP because she has had diarrhea and sickness for 4 days, I was not happy that she was sent to the ward, I did not want to catch anything!

Eventually all my paperwork is complete so I phone up my husband to come and get me. At 17.00pm on Wednesday I leave the ward. – Hopefully I never have to go in hospital again – what a nightmare! Lots of other things I have observed but all negative. My questions are why was I not on the gynae war? Where were the qualified staff? Where was my surgeon? Who is accountable for my care? Is this too much to ask?

Since I have been home things are a lot better, my husband has been great. First day husband gave me a shower washed my hair and cleaned my wound. I slept and watched TV, this is my second day little bit more pain today, but I have not emptied my bowels yet.
Will keep you all up to date with my progress which I hope will be more positive now.

Hope you find my accounts useful. Sorry that I have had to report such a negative hospital experience, my husband thinks I should make a complaint!


in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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