Last week I had my incisional hernia repaired laparoscopically. Here’s what my experience was like.
Day 1: Checked into hospital at 9am. Was immediately taken back to change into gown, had IV started in my hand, was asked the same questions 101 times, and signed off on paper work for the doctor and anesthesia. After I was settled in pre-op, my husband and youngest son were brought back to keep me company until surgery time. Fifteen minutes later, kissed hubby and son goodbye, was wheeled into the OR, moved onto the operating table, and given something in the IV to relax. While they were setting everything up, got the mask on, told to breathe deeply, and two seconds later was waking up in the recovery area with a very nice nurse sitting next to the bed. I was very sore in the spot the hernia was fixed, and was given pain meds, and later a cup of coffee and graham crackers. About an hour later, was moved to another post-op area where my husband and son were waiting. They were allowed to sit with me while IV got removed, and I got dressed and such. Was given a prescription for pain medication, an abdominal wrap and taken by wheel chair down to the front where my husband had brought the car. Older son had soccer practice, so my parents came over to give me a hand and watch my little guy. Pain was about a 7 most of the day. That night, had to sleep semi-sitting up, and woke up repeatedly in pain.
Day 2: Woke up with upper belly burning pain, and very sore. Showered, put on abdominal wrap, and got my son off to school. SIL coming by later to help with my 3 year old. Realized that my belly button incision had bled all over my abdominal wrap and through to my clothes. Called surgeons office, and was told to remove that bandage, wash it well and re-bandage it. Pain level was about an 8 all day. No air moving, abdomen extremely sore and tender. Taking pain meds brought it down to about a 6. Sleeping was again semi-sitting, and was up and down all night.
Day 3: Was told to take off bandages today. They were stuck to incisions so tried taking them off in the shower to loosen them up. One stuck so badly it made me sick to remove, made me dry heave, which of course hurt abdomen. Pain level still about an 8 today. Still taking pain meds as instructed, narcotic every 3 hours, and ibuprofen every 6. Taking gas-x for the air pains, walking, and using heating pad, which are all helping. Have help again today. Spend some time on the couch, but also do a little computer work. Sneezing and coughing are still extremely painful. Still have not used the bathroom, but not too concerned about that. Use an ice pack on my abdomen when I go to bed that night. Abdomen is still very swollen and sore. It is now covered in a fire engine red rash because of the abdominal binder and itches something awful.
Day 4: Wake up feeling slightly better. Am able to work on computer for several hours, and do very light chores around the house. Tried hydrocortisone on rash, and am finally able to go to the bathroom but oh boy does it hurt abdominal muscles! Alternate sitting with heating pad and ice packs all day. Only need 1 narcotic pain pill all day; pain is about a 5. Still taking ibuprofen. By bed time, pain is up to an 8 again, and although I’m able to lay on my back, it’s still very hard to roll or move around when sleeping.
Day 5: Still visibly swollen. Walking is much easier today then it has been all week. Go to my sons soccer game, am able to do light chores around the house. No pain pill needed at all during the day, just ibuprofen. Try to take kids to the park in the afternoon, spend most of the time sitting on a bench. Stomach still extremely itchy, red and swollen. Now have a large bruise around incision over hernia. Still have to wear elastic waist pants. Sore again by bed time, but sleep better than have all week.
Day 6: As am still unable to wear “real” pants and am still visibly swollen, spend most of Sunday laying around. Walk around Target and down to the park. Still no lifting but not in much pain. Feel more stiff and bruised as you would after several days of a stomach virus. Still get full very quickly and easily. Don’t have too much of an appetite yet. All in all feeling better though and pain down to a 4 or 5.
Day 7: Wake up still swollen so decide to call surgeons office. Am told I should come in and be checked as sometimes fluid collects under the mesh. However my doctor is not in and I have to see someone else. Arrange for a babysitter for my youngster, drive out there, and see the doctor. He says “no wonder your stomach is bloated looking, you have 10 pounds of extra skin on it!” It goes from bad to worse, where I can’t believe this guy is actually practicing medicine he is so obnoxious. He is completely useless, and says if I feel my abdomen doesn’t normally “look like this” I can go for a CT scan to see if there’s a problem. I refrain from telling him to shove CT order where the sun don’t shine and leave. I will assume I still have muscle swelling from the surgery itself, since he didn’t feel any fluid. Will wait and see; if it is still swollen by next week when my doctor returns, will go see him. Since it’s not too painful, hoping it will resolve itself.
Hope this helps you out if you need a hernia repair and are wondering what to expect! Of course everyone heals differently and has different pain tolerances (I’ll admit, mine’s not always high!) so of course you could have a very different experience from mine.