Blog 17 Part One - pre surgery
It’s the night before I go in for surgery and to say I am nervous is an understatement. I have checked my bag a million and one times, everything is ready all I have left to do is finish writing my letters. I have written letters to my kids, my parents, my brother and sister and also to my ex-husband. It sounds morbid I know, but I had to write everything down so everyone knew what would happen if I wasn’t there anymore and doctors had drummed it in to my head for years that there would be a high probability of death via surgery as I am overweight. Trust me when I say that stuff stays in your head. So once everything is done I try to go and get some sleep as it’s about 5 hours now before I must be at the hospital. Two hours, I got a whole two hours’ sleep. Ah well, it was more than I thought I would get.
My mum and dad are awake when my sister turns up to drive me to the hospital. I should point out here that when I am scared and nervous I am not a nice person, I tend to shout and snap a lot. You know the advert of the dog left in the street and they go to rescue it and it barks and bites because it’s scared? Well that’s what I am like. My sister is trying to talk to my parents but I have run upstairs to kiss my babies while they sleep. I come downstairs and grab my bags shout a goodbye at my parents and walk out the door. As I said I am not great with people when I am nervous or scared. Yes, I know my parents are probably very scared too but sadly I am having a selfish moment and just want to get out of the house.
Another side effect of my nerves is inappropriate humour. Sitting in the hospital with my sister I make some not so nice jokes about toe tags when they put an id band on my ankle and when they ask if I could pregnant I point out that unless sperm can fly through windows there is no chance. I go and speak with a very charming anaesthetist who tries to put me at ease as he tells me my blood pressure is higher than normal and I need to remain calm. He assures me that everything will be ok and I shouldn’t worry. It’s not long at all before I am whisked upstairs and have to say bye to my sister. 5 of us are shuffled in to a lift and taken to the 5th floor where we sit and wait to be called to theatre. I am the first to be called. By now my heart rate is so high and I am ready to run out the door and out the hospital. The anaesthetist I saw 10 minutes before walks in and starts to talk to me and ask me to get on the bed so they can get the arm things put up and basically strap me down to the bed before knocking me out. The heart monitor is going nuts and he asks if it’s ok for the other guy in the room, who by the way is pretty hot, he asks if that guy can put a mask over my face. I nod as I don’t want to talk, my heart is still racing and I am really scared. I have been in surgery once in my life and it was 20 years ago and I was not conscious for any of it. The anaesthetist must be taking pity on me as one puts his arms across my shoulders and holds the mask away from face slightly while the other one strokes my brow, he has very nice cold hands which is a bonus. He also tells me he will be there the whole time and won’t leave my side. I doze off in a drug induced haze to the sound of my anaesthetists telling me everything will be ok and to just relax.
I wake up. As promised the anaesthetist is right there as is a nurse. I am kept down in recovery for a few hours till a bed is open for me on the ward. I sleep through most of my time in recovery but each time I am woken to check my vitals I apologise to them and then thank them. Ok by 5pm I am up on the ward and there are the nicest people here on the ward with me. I am feeling uncomfortable and there is a tube hanging out of my stomach with a bottle attached to it weirdly. I have to be honest I can’t feel any pain right now which I am very grateful for. I am sure this all to do with the anaesthetic from the op. I am not complaining though this is the first time I have been pain free in a very long time. It’s not until 10pm that I realised Houston we have a problem, I need the toilet and I am not sure if I can stand up. Now maybe I am being weird but there is no way in hell I am using a bed pan. I would like to thank the nurses who sweetly helped me stand up and then helped walk me to a toilet. Can I just say that having a heavy bottle attached to your insides but still hanging outside your body is not good when you need to walk and holy damn no one tells you that all your core strength goes after hernia surgery. I have the strength of a new born child. Now I know why babies eat, pee and sleep only. That stuff is tiring.
The next morning my surgeon comes to see me on the ward. He is so pleased with me but then tells me how difficult my surgery was, they found an artery burst while they were taking the gall stones and gall bladder out. This had burst before the surgery and was probably the reason I was feeling unwell a day or two before the surgery. There was a 2.5 cm gall stone blocking the duct making the artery bleed out very slowly thankfully. The surgeon managed to get all this fixed before turning his attention to my umbilical hernia. Now they told me last year it was the size of a large grapefruit, then a baby’s head. By the time I had surgery it was the size of a new-born. That was not what my surgeon was expecting. He told me everything is ok but the incisions are larger than expected and it was a very tough surgery. I assumed at the time he meant tough for him – I was wrong it was tough for me too. He does tell me that as I have been able to get out of bed etc I can go home. I have never been so excited in my life to go home. After he leaves I maybe rushed it on the getting dressed front and my blood pressure plummets and the nurse quickly shoves me on the bed as I pass out. I wake up with hospital bed raised at the foot end and my head down near the floor. I ask a nurse to change the bed back to normal so I can sit in the chair for a bit. It’s not till 5pm that I can go home and my mum and daughter come up to the ward to walk me down and take my bags. Walking is tough, painful and tiring when you have no core muscles working. I have to stop every few minutes and it takes me a grand total of 25 mins to walk a 3-min journey to the car. I can’t wait to get home and get in to my own bed.
Part 2 Post Surgery
Ok I do not make a good patient at all which is probably why I am sitting here totally alone. So, I came home from hospital and well let me tell you something they don’t warn you how annoying post-surgery is. I can barely move without wanting to fall asleep from all the effort it takes. I know I had my stomach muscles cut etc but damn.
For a few days now I haven’t been able to sleep as nothing I can do makes it comfortable. I am not really in pain, I’m sore don’t get me wrong but I am ok. The incisions seem to be healing very well. I have 6 incisions in total, one of them is quite a hefty one too and that is from the hernia surgery. Ok so for one week I had folk around me helping or trying to help I should say. I am really cranky and best left when I am not feeling 100%. The best thing to do with me is to leave me in a room with my stuff and just bring coffee in every hour. I am bored, I can’t walk and I want to bite everyone’s head off.
6 days after surgery I have my check up from the neck up at the clinic. Yes, I get to have a psych evaluation. I am not sure if it’s to do with my next surgery or just to check I am ok or what, have I mentioned how clandestine tier 3 is? Seriously you never get told anything till you are in your appointment. Anyway, I am in my psych appointment, tired, worn out and can barely breath. It seriously took me a lot of effort to walk to the clinic from the car even though I was dropped off about 200 yards from the door. I am using crutches to prop myself up I still can’t stand up straight so therefore become overbalanced at the drop of a hat. I sit and chat with the lovely doctor who waited for me to get my lame hobbling arse in to her office and it turns out I am not mentally unstable – Yay me. She thinks my ex-husband leaving me with a toddler and an 8-week-old baby has a lot to do with how I have been over the decade and that he sold our house and all the other bad crap. She said there are two defining moments in my life that have, well for want of better words, they have knocked me on my arse. She agreed that I am trying my best to regroup and sort my life out now which is good. She wanted to know what I did for fun and where I went socially etc, I had to point out to her that I don’t go out, I go to class and I take care of my kids and I am at home with my family and that is it. So according to her I am a total billy no mates, which is kinda right. After everything went up in smoke a few years back I shut myself off from everyone, all my friends and most of my family. So, my task is to get out there and start being a little more sociable. We shall see what happens with that huh. I did book another treat of seeing Jonathan Pie again.
My parents go away for a break a week after I get out of hospital and I like having the house to myself, but I am getting bored very quickly and I really can’t do anything. My sister comes to visit me and tells me off for getting up and cooking and doing day to day stuff and I tell her it’s fine I need to get some strength back or I may end up hurting someone. After 3 days on my own I realise why they tell you to not do anything at all and just lie down and recover. I have split one of my incisions open, not all the way but enough to worry me. Lying on the sofa I cover it up and hope to hell it starts to clot and dry up. All the others seem to be healing but the big one wants to be a pain in the arse. Every time I get a phone call I tell whoever it is that everything is ok and I am healing nicely. I do get sick of being asked how I am all the time. I have one thing that is my saving grace and will relax and soothe me no matter what. I get to have a relaxing bath. Ok so I can’t have bubbles and so on in it but I get to relax in hot water and feel my muscle stop aching. It’s utter bliss. This is all I need in the world a hot bath and coffee brought to me on tap 😊.
My kids are not huge fans of my recovery and like all good teenagers do not really want to help out with things, it’s not till they see me struggling that they turn in to the most amazing humans I have ever known. My son turns in to my chief coffee making and runs to the shops to fetch whatever is needed and my daughter for the first time ever becomes the best at housework (seriously I have had problems getting her to pick up a cup) she is washing floors, washing clothes, tidying and sweeping. I am so pleased with my babies and how well they are helping.
Ok so I am now 3 and a half weeks post op and have another clinic appointment, this is just a weigh in and check-up. I see the doctor who put me forward for my gall bladder surgery, she can’t believe how different I am. I should point out that I am much happier as I am not as tired or sore now and can move around a lot more than before, although sitting in the car with a seatbelt does cause me pain. I have stayed the same weight she thinks but it’s best not to weigh me as I am still swollen from surgery. She lets me look at my full medical notes and OMG it’s scary reading them. I didn’t realise how bad everything was in my surgery until I read these notes. I would like to say a huge thank you to my surgeon for saving my life because after reading the full notes he did save it. It’s quite scary to find out that I actually was in so much danger whilst in surgery and to see exactly what happened because a hospital ignored me and refused to help me, I would have died if I had been left any longer than I already had been.
On a plus side though after leaving my appointment I am being put forward for what is called tier 4. This means I will be put in for a 3-hour appointment and attend lectures about what happens in the bypass surgery, how it will affect the rest of my life and what to expect with recovery etc. I can then go on the long-awaited milk diet and hopefully if all goes to plan I could be having my surgery by Christmas/new year time. Let’s see what happens huh. Til then I have to keep up with either maintaining or losing weight, they don’t want me to put any on which is great because I don’t want to put any on. So, I now have to carry on as I am until I hear more from them about my next appointment which should take about 3 months. My blog posts until then will probably be me whinging about some craving I will get lol. Take care all and mucho love xx