I had this procedure done to me last week - my first surgery ever and first time sedated. Thank you to the nursing staff and the OR nurse who was so professional. Thought it might be worthwhile to share my reflections from the patient's perspective. Here they are. Comments and discussion are welcome.
1) I was not very stressed or nervous before, having experienced speculum, HSG, pelvic examinations without trouble. I trusted the medical staff fully with respect to the medical procedure (d and c, small polyp removal). I slept well the night before.
2) I did not like meeting the OR team (all 7 of them - 3 men and 4 women) before the procedure! I was not expecting this and it rattled me. I know it was meant to put me at ease and obtain necessary information. But I was mentally prepared to lie down, spread my legs, and be sedated by a nameless faceless team of professionals (robots I guess I had expected). Human interaction on a personal level was not part of my game plan! I did not want to know their names ("Hello I am David so nice to meet you"), chat and make eye contact like at a dinner party. I felt self-conscious and foolish knowing that the smiling face I just met would soon insert objects into my vagina. So during the nurse interview that's all I could think of and I could barely answer her questions.
3) I felt stressed afterward in PACU - mostly due I think to having been unconscious and not knowing the full set of events. I did not realize how much the "losing control" part would bother me. I remember laying down on operating table with gown on but untied in back. Nurse was kind to help position me with gown modestly covering front, with nice warm blankets on abdomen, IV was inserted (painless), I was told I might feel a bit dizzy, legs were positioned, something about cleaning mentioned and then I was gone. I woke up anxious about the antiseptic stains on the front of my gown near abdomen. Where did they come from? I thought this was a gynecological procedure. Who put these underwear and sanitary pad on me? The nurse? Or this silent man pushing me on this gurney? And just how did I get from the table to this gurney?
4) I felt ashamed several days after. I was not expecting it. Feelings were similar to those experienced after being drunk and vaguely (but not fully) remembering the embarrassing night before. I had just willingly starred in my own adult movie (so to speak) for 7 strangers, exposing more than girls in x-rated magazines and allowing sex toys (okay sponges, speculum and instruments) to be inserted at will. Okay I was in an operating room but the close-ups would not be out of place in a hard core movie!
5) One week later I have worked through the shame and guilt. Physically I had no pain, no side effects, did not even take a pain killer. But I did not realize beforehand how the sedation, disorientation and the amnesia would affect me. I felt at one point I had betrayed my husband flaunting myself in public. I have since read about patient "modesty" concerns and this seems to be a hot topic. I do not believe the OR team gawked or made inappropriate comments while I was sedated - not at all. For me it was more a question of putting myself in the most vulnerable position possible (both physically and emotionally) unconscious in a room of total strangers. The trust required was significant and I had not prepared myself for the HUMAN trust element.
Dec 20, '12
Thanks for sharing! I definitely understand where you are coming from and all your concerns. Having had a similar experience before becoming an OR nurse, I am especially conscious of explaining everything we are doing while you are awake. I can assure you that these procedures are done so often those of us in the OR don't think twice about what we are seeing. I do feel that surgeons should do a better job of explaining the process and flow of surgery to recovery etc.