Pic is of my drugs!
After the op I was wheeled into a small post-op ward and there was lots going on, most of which I can’t remember. Recall that I had an oxygen mask on throughout the op and for some time after?
Still blissed out from the sedative mix, I couldn’t feel or move below the waist, for a few more hours. As the feeling slowly returned I felt something in my legs, tingling, pressure? My calves felt as if they were inflating and deflating- strange. Eventually I looked down and sure enough the blankets were shifting up and down. What weird effect of spinal anaesthesia was this? So I called someone and they lifted the blanket to show me that the inflation/deflation was not my legs but some pressure cuffs which stayed with me for the next couple of days (preventing DVTs). We laughed! I got used the feeling and quite liked it, especially when I was half awake and it made me think one of our cats was snuggling up to me. Comforting.
I was straight on to some heavy-duty opiates to help with the post-op pain. They made me feel sick so they gave me little magic minty papery squares to melt on my tongue. Started to realise that, as well as the operation, I’ll be on lots of drugs for a while. Constipation here I come.
Can’t remember much about the day of the op. My blood pressure was really low, heart rate was high, and I didn’t wee until the early hours of the next day. It was, quite literally, a shock to my system. Several cups of tea really helped- good tea as well, greatly appreciated.
The staff were all really good again but I did start to feel that the service is a bit pared down the bone (pun intended). Although the time the doctors spent with me was quality time, it was not enough really- to make a human connection and open up space for questions and conversation. Now I won’t see a surgeon for three months, and so far I have seen three different people- one for the initial consultation in July, the Prof on the morning of the op, and another one after the op (who did the surgery, under supervision from the Prof, for which I gave my permission). All the surgeons are extremely experienced and skilled, so that’s fine, but the human connection was a bit lacking.
There was a lot of pressure on beds so I didn’t get moved onto the rehab ward for a couple of days, with a detour one night into a rather unsuitable pre-op room where I was isolated from the ward staff. That night and morning I had to use my mobile phone to call the ward telephone when I needed assistance, and I didn’t get any breakfast. One member of staff was clearly put out that I was in one of ‘her’ beds and was insensitive to say the least, I had to remind them what to do and felt really cut off. There were lots of apologies but still.
The dreaded physio visits- to get you out of bed and supervise you through essential things so that you can go home (asap)- went well. And the occupational therapist came by to do her bit. Again they were all very skilled and nice but there wasn’t much time for human connection. Everyone kept saying (apologetically) that they were really busy. Perhaps that’s the downside of them being a ‘centre of excellence’ and having to meet various targets. I think I’d have preferred to wait a few weeks if it meant a more relaxed, personal service. Hey ho, it’s probably not that simple.
I did well on the physio tasks, and finally got onto the rehab ward where everyone was much more attentive and nice. Then came the most unpleasant part of all. Which I won’t describe in any detail but was to do with my bowels and something getting STUCK! It was sorted eventually but, oh dear, very painful. Not the best time for a visitor, my dear friend Kath who is a nurse and works at the hospital. Luckily she completely understood and we managed to laugh about it.
I was very keen to get home (in retrospect I could probably have done with another day in hospital) so Pete came to get me on Saturday night. Again, it’s all a bit of a blur. Of which more in tomorrow’s blog post.
My bedroom is full of flowers and cards. Very grateful for love and friendship when I feel so vulnerable.