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Cestmoi
Contributor

Trauma after major operation and mental health

I have been left traumatised after having major surgery in ICU of a private hospital.

I found myself in excruciating pain, not having eaten for over 24 hours. I had not slept for more than 15 minutes at a time. I cried so much and felt so alone. I asked the nurses to give me some space. I was bullied by the head of ICU as he supported his staff and put me in my place. The tears just kept coming, constantly. He further bullied me the following morning, prior to discharge by straightening my bed from behind and pushing my back forward to look at my surgical wound. I had back surgery. I was sent home with only minimal pain relief. I had to see my GP to get Slow Release pain medication that I did not receive, which was a requisite on notes from my surgeon for post surgery.

It has been two weeks since my surgery and this is still haunting me. I felt and still feel so helpless, escalating my depression.

15 REPLIES 15

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

Thanks @Cestmoi for being brave enough to even share your experiences!

 

I suffered traumatically from a hospital stay, to the point that I won't talk about it. I don't want to relive the experience/s. In due time, when I'm ready, I know it's something I would like to get off my chest. But until I've develop the skills and strategies to cope with the potential repercussions of sharing, the experience is locked up in my internal chest. I am working with my psychologist to be better equipped to deal with trauma before I tackle the trauma. This takes skill.

 

 @Cestmoi , do you have someone you can speak to for support?

 

BPDSurvivor

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

@Cestmoi  Hey Cestmoi I am going to add @Adge  who has numerous botched surgeries over the years and who I am sure will help. My mother also went through back surgery and she had to have psychiatrist visits afterwards it left her so traumitised. Take care. Love greenpeax

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

I hear you @Cestmoi Sorry I'm exhausted, not in a state to reply adequately.

Hospital stays & certainly any major surgery- Are often traumatic.

I was only told this After my 1st & 2nd Emergency Bowel surgeries (16 days in hospital).

Not by hospital staff, but by an outside professional.

Doctors & Nurses in hospital were an actual cause of trauma - Their dismissive attitudes & their life-threatening mistakes.

As well as the surgeries themselves.

Sorry you've had these experiences- Yes it does impact/ affect mental health & well-being.

It's no reflection on you.

You deserve better - So did I.

Hugs.

Adge

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

Another with past medical traumas here, @Cestmoi. I agree with @Adge that we are often not warned about how severely it may effect us, and there must be many of us. The experiences of both of you are so awful, no you did not deserve it, nobody does. Sadly, I have also had many a bad experience with nurses and doctors. I think there may be people in those jobs, not all of them at all but enough, who get off on the power they have in the face of our vulnerability. I've often felt in hospital that I have had to be my most assertive in standing up for my wellbeing - at a time when I am my weakest, mentally and physically. I am extremely afraid of being admitted to hospital now. From the totally obedient and meek 17 year old I was when I was first diagnosed with Crohns Disease, I became the patient who had checked herself out of hospital twice, once at 4am, another one and half days after open-abdomen surgery. I recently refused to be admitted when in Emergency, went home as soon as the pain and anti-nausea meds had kicked in enough to bear it.

 

I am so sorry you have experienced what you have which I know is more severe than anything I've gone through. @Cestmoi it is so fresh an experience for you and a particularly terrible one. Do you have a psychologist to talk about this with? If you do, an emergency appointment with them may be a good idea. Even your GP if you don't have a psychiatrist. Your GP sounds like the person who has most been your medical ally so far.

 

Can't tell you how much compassion I feel for both of you, @Cestmoi and @Adge.

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

Thank you for your response @BPDSurvivor I hope that you do get the skill you need. I have decided to write to the hospital to get this out of my court. It does take a lot of energy and effort, especially when I am still experiencing a lot of pain I feel that is the only way that change can happen in places like that.

Also, yes @BPDSurvivor I am lucky to have close family and friends to talk to. 

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

Thank you @greenpea so very much for your thoughtfulness. I look forward to @Adge reply.  I hope that your mother is doing well now. No one should have to go through this type of trauma in a hospital.

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

I understand completely @Adge about the exhaustion. I appreciate your considerate response. Yes, we do deserve better, especially being in such vulnerable situations.

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

I sure feel your compassion @MazaritaIt is so sad that you had to go through this so many times and what it exhausted you to do. I appreciate your sympathetic understanding of my vulnerability, when I was so ill. In just those 48 hours in hospital, I asked to be discharged twice. The feeling of helplessness was overbearing. I have a son-in-law who suffers from Chron’s Disease. I do hope that you are now getting the care you need. 

 

Yes, @Mazarita, I do plan to see my psychiatrist soon. My GP has been superb. Thanks again for your thoughful input.

Re: Trauma after major operation and mental health

@Cestmoi wonderful that you have friends and family to talk to about this terrible experience in your life. That can make a big difference so as to feel cared for again and that life is not just a shocking nightmare that we need to experience alone.

 

I think that part of these medical traumas may also be the understaffing of hospitals, meaning that nurses and doctors often have so little time and are so stressed themselves that the worst of them comes out, the callousness, the feelings I, you and many others may have had of feeling just like a piece of meat to them. I have a friend who works in a hospital as a radiologist. She talks about something called 'compassion fatigue'. I'm sure working in hospitals is a hard job, all the suffering every day. On reflection I feel that probably most doctors and nurses are there for pretty good decent reasons.

 

But there always seem to be some who are just awful, pretty much every admission except for a few. And those few can make the experience so awful for people who are sick, fragile, vulnerable, especially if we have mental illness as well. Really, so much more training in mental health is needed in the hospital system.

 

Mostly I feel medical people in hospitals need much more education about mental illness and the reality of medical traumas. As I see it, the old established hierarchical nature of the hospital system is another source of the problem in itself.

 

It is a terrible shock when not prepared for what an ordeal hospital can be. My vulnerability in these settings when younger caused me nothing but misery and considerable worsening of mental health. With me the good news is that mostly I do not think about these things all that much now, the healing effects of time lessening the traumatic impact. But I really do have a phobia about hospitals now. Not so great at 58 with more than one lifelong chronic health condition as it's likely I will need hospital admissions again as my age advances. Ongoing fear about that for sure.

 

My Crohns is now in remission and has been mostly for a long time. But remission in this disease still leaves me with fallout from previous surgeries which, aside from the trauma of the hospital experience itself, were actually the most effective of all treatments for my particular case of Crohns. The seemingly unresolvable problem I have is chronic diarrhea for 40 years. Remission is not being clear of serious symptoms of this disease.

 

Aside from the awfulness of the experience, the psychological trauma of it, I hope you will heal well from your surgery and that it will prove to be effective for your long term physical health.

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