I’m writing a few posts about my health issues.
It’ll make the most sense if you read from part 1: The problem with my head. Each post has the next link below it, this is part 4.
If you wish to talk to me about what I write, please do so via twitter: @antheaw, or on Facebook if we’re friends there.
It’s my birthday! And I don’t feel nearly as awful as I’d suspected! I’m getting a tonne of messages asking how I am which is lovely, if a little hard to keep up with.
As Monday the 12th of January (operation day) was the first day operating this year for North Harbour Hospital where I had my surgery, they weren’t open when we arrived. There was one other patient waiting outside, it was very strange, and still dark at 5:45am.
When we were shown in, I was taken to my room first and given a gown to change into. I promptly put it on backwards. I had compression stockings put on (I have to keep them on for a week!) and some precursory medication given. Beta blockers, blood thinners, stuff to reduce stomach acid. People came and went and mum made herself comfortable in the recliner in the room, wrapped in a blanket.
I met the anaesthetist and while she was very nice and smiley, she was also very brisk. I’d been worried that paracetamol does nothing for me, and that I usually take tramadol and neurofen to help my migraines (though I have only had this once in about 4 months), but this was dismissed as “different pain responds to medication differently” and she was off.
Just after 8am it was time to go, and I was wheeled in my bed through the hospital to theatre. Mum’s tears as I was rolled away were probably the hardest part at this point so I had my brave face on.
The nurse and orderly handed me over, my identity and operation being performed were double checked and I was taken into the operating theatre. It wasn’t quite Shortland Street! Very bright and there was a large white board with “Whittle” on it had a long list of writing, labels for mysterious instruments.
I moved to the operating table and positioned myself in the middle. Monitor sensors were put all over me including my forehead, and the anaesthetist inserted the IV lure and injected me with something that started making me woozy. The gas came next and I was out.
As with the last time I woke from general anaesthetic I don’t remember much. I remember being wheeled back into my room and “them” saying to mum “here she is”, and then I drifted in and out of sleep. It was after midday so I’d been away for about 4 hours.
I was up out of the bed by about 2pm, sipping 30mL of water every hour. Pain was definitely present but the nurses had that under control pretty swiftly. I moved to the recliner chair and around 6pm my dad and sister came to visit.
I have five “entry points”, about an inch long each tightly sutured, they should all heal well. One aches more than the others.
The night after the op was ok, every few hours I would wake up, page the nurse and have my wires unhooked so I could bathroom and do a few laps of the hallways. They get you “mobilising” early and often, as during surgery your body is inflated with gas and that gas needs to come out, so walking about helps get it moving. I had maybe 4-5 hours sleep and the hospital kicked back into day mode from about 6am.
I started my 60mL of water per hour and had to down my regular medication crushed in water – it was like taking shots from a toilet bowl and I have to do that every day for the next month. Worst.
Mum arrived again around 11am hoping to take me home, I showered and had my wound dressings changed. We had to wait for a particular bodily function before I could progress, and I was pacing around my room like a pregnant woman willing the baby to move along.
I was home by about 4pm the day after surgery, responsible for sticking to the fluids and monitoring the pain relief schedule.
The night was pretty bad, I got nauseous and diarrhoea had me up in the night, some dry retching. I phoned the nurse day 2 post op (yesterday) and she said it was all fine, all normal, just residual effects of the general anaesthetic.
During day 2 I managed to get all my fluid in, an optifast shake, some berrocca, water, and I had about a cupful of extra protein milk too and it all went well. I managed a small walk, a visit from a dear friend and to pat Local Cat. My insides seem to have stopped warring and making awful noises for now, and I almost managed to sleep the whole night last night!
I forgot what day it was when I woke this morning, but my phone was particularly busy with birthday messages so I was soon reminded. I’m up and about, feeling pretty good just not as nimble as usual.
I have a lot of fluids to drink! I’ll be on this liquid diet until two weeks post op, then puree and soft foods before slowly reintroducing (very well chewed) solid foods. I haven’t had any discomfort from taking in liquid to my new tummy yet so let’s hope the good-ness continues to last!
Yes, my head has been a bit sore too – the past two days but nothing really beyond the usual.
Will I do anything special for my birthday? Nope, but I plan to celebrate in 6 months time when I’ll be healed and hopefully doing much better!