The website portrays the procedure as a quick twenty minutes in a doctor's office, but there's a bit more rigamarole involved in getting it around here. I spent a bit more than four hours at the hospital, all told. Dr. Tarakjian's office told me to come earlier than the hospital's recommended arrival time, saying he usually ran early. That much was true -- I was taken to the OR at 1:30 for a procedure scheduled for 2:00. (By 2:00, I was in the recovery room, where I twiddled my thumbs for a mostly-unnecessary hour.)
We arrived at the hospital shortly after 11:00, and the check-in process went quickly. We sat around in the waiting room upstairs for nearly half an hour, but I suppose that's to be expected. Once they brought me back, they had me change intro a gown (and take out even my plastic sleeper nipple ring, grr) and started an IV of saline, since they hadn't allowed me to drink for several hours. Then they wanted me to take two antacid pills and wash them down with an acid-neutralizing liquid. That was a bit unfortunate, because (a) the liquid tasted like vomit and (b) I'd really been hoping for water. With my gag reflex, that was fun. I managed to get down one big swallow of the vomit fluid, and then I choked. The nurse, at least, was sympathetic, and hurried me to the bathroom so I could wash out my mouth. (Since there were no CUPS in the bathroom, I had to rinse out of my cupped hand, and of course in my haste I splashed water all over myself and had to change my gown.)
Once I was settled again, Ken got to sit with me while some more of the IV fluid dripped slowly into my arm. I was glad he got to stay, because the wait was pretty boring and I was nervous as well. The doctor stopped by, and to my relief there was no problem with my rejecting general anaesthesia in favor of a local and IV sedation. Then the anaesthesiologist stopped by, and we had much the same conversation. He said that without a general, I'd feel some cramping, and that if it got to be too much they could put me under entirely. I vowed to tolerate it.
About an hour after I'd first been called from the waiting room, they were ready to take me into the OR. They let me keep my glasses, which was nice, since I at least wanted to see what the room looked like. It was larger than I expected, and cold. They took care of the latter by putting warmed blankets on me before stringing me up in the stirrups. (The stirrups weren't actually that bad -- they were cloth loops on tall poles, so my legs were mostly sticking up instead of bent in the usual stirrup position. That helped a lot with my tendency to get leg cramps when I'm in stirrups. I would have liked the supports on my ankles to feel a bit more stable, but it was okay.) The doctor had the anaesthesiologist give me some kind of anti-nausea med in the IV before starting the sedative.
And after that? I remember getting the local -- one doesn't generally miss injections in the cervix, but they were just quick pinpricks -- but I don't remember getting a speculum stuck in me or anything else about the procedure. From my perspective, I got poked a couple of times and then the anaesthesiologist was saying, "You're done," and I looked at him with genuine surprise because I thought they hadn't started. He asked me if I was having any cramping, phrasing it in a way that implied I had indicated some kind of pain not long before; I said, "Not really, did I complain before?" He said I'd made a grimace that looked like I was in pain while the doctor was doing the procedure. I said I didn't remember.
They brought over a gurney and had me scoot myself over onto it -- I felt fine by then, not the slightest bit dizzy or out of it. I was wheeled into the recovery room and told it'd be about an hour. Yawn. (It belatedly occured to me that I probably could have asked for Ken around that point, but nobody brought it up and I thought maybe he wasn't allowed back there.) There were several beds in the recovery room, separated by those flimsy privacy curtains. The women on either side of me had had laparascopic tubal ligations and general anaesthetic, and boy, could you tell. They sounded pretty miserable. The nurse kept asking me, "Are you in any pain? Do you need pain medication? Are you nauseated? Are you dizzy?" And I kept saying, "Nope, I'm fine." After about fifteen minutes of this, I asked when I could have some water. "In about half an hour," I was told. Damn. ("You do realize I wasn't anaesthetized?" I wanted to ask, but I have assertiveness problems.)
So I sat there, breathing in oxygen through my little nose tube, having my blood pressure and oxygen levels and pulse taken automatically, unable to literally twiddle my thumbs because I was strapped to too much equipment. I was clearly being held to the same pace of recovery as the tubal ligations, which felt a bit unfair to me. Not much room to protest, though. Eventually I was allowed to sip a very small cup of water, and eat a couple of saltines. When I kicked off the new round of warmed blankets because I was feeling overheated, the nurse took my temperature again. It was fine. Having nothing better to do, I heard all the instructions given to my recovery-mates. Turns out I was given pretty much the same -- "pelvic rest" for an indefinite period, though I suppose I won't care for a while and can call the office for clarification when I do. No heavy lifting, eat bland food and be paranoid about nausea, rest (all probably related to laparascopy and general anaesthesia, which I didn't have). Expect bleeding for several days (I do have period-equivalent bleeding tonight). Finally, I got my own identical instructions, and a big technical brochure about Essure, and a little wallet card saying I Have Implants, and a prescription for pain medication I likely won't need (but got filled, because I can't count on getting more next time I have a painful dental procedure). I was allowed to dress, with many admonitions about being careful if I got dizzy (I didn't). Ken was allowed to come back as soon as I became emboldened enough to ask for him, and then I had to wait to get my Very Last Depo Shot because nobody had thought about that detail until right at the end of my dismissal instructions. They had to send the Depo over from the hospital next door, because the pharmacy at the women's hospital where I had my procedure didn't have any in stock. Finally, Ken was able to get the car, and they wheelchaired me unnecessarily down to the door to meet him. We stopped on the way home at a fast-food place for lunch (though I ate a relatively non-greasy chicken sandwich).
And here I am. Still bleeding a bit, but nothing much, and no real cramping or pain anymore. Ken and I both napped a little when we got home -- he had a headache, and I was a little tired from not getting much sleep last night and from the events of the day. The worst bit was drinking the vomit crud, I swear. Well, that and trying to put my nipple ring back in after three hours out -- I nearly couldn't do it. (I took my tragus rings out, too, and I'm a bit ambivalent about putting them back in. More about that in another, more public entry, perhaps.) The procedure itself? People put nice warm blankets on me and I took a nap. Piece of cake.
So now I just need the dye x-ray in February to verify that everything's closed up nicely, and I'll never have to worry about contraception again. Sounds good to me.