So, this isn’t exactly live, but it’s as live as possible. Please excuse the wandering tense in some parts – obviously while in theatre, I couldn’t take a notepad and pen. I also couldn’t control my addled mind after anaesthesia. Anyway, enjoy!
2100 Can’t eat anything except toast and cereal now. Going to dance to Lady Gaga and try and forget about food.
2108 Dancing has made me hungrier. Going to have pre-surgery shower now. Must remember not shave my inner arm.
2121 I’m out of the shower.
2122 I can literally only think about food, and this ridiculous blog I am doing. I don’t even really like toast.
2129 Think I’m going to go make some toast and pretend it’s chips. Shaved my legs in readiness for walking round hospital in a backless gown and slippers. Do you think sparkly moisturiser is a bit much?
2140 Have been successful in making a decision on tomorrow’s entertainment:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
A book on forensic linguistics
I think there’s enough variation there to keep me occupied all day.
2141 Went for the sparkly moisturiser in the end. New question: Do you snore under general anaesthetic?
2250 Had some toast and orange squash.
2239 Bedtime now. Alarm is on for 6am. Exciting.
0633 Slept in. For the love of god – of all the days!
0650 Ready to leave now, parents are faffing.
0700 Outside the hospital. Time is exact on this one actually, as the radio pips have just told me the time. Crap.
0702 WE CAN’T FIND WARD 20.
0708 I’m here. Mum has gone now.
0710 Trying to make Bed 25 homely.
0715 A nurse has just walked down the corridor outside my bay and knocked a box off the wall. It’s all terribly exciting.
0742 My nurse for the day, Kevin, has just been to see me. He’s taken my blood pressure, temperature and pulse – apparently the latter of these is up, but I can’t think why that might be.
I’ve got to do a urine sample, but there is a small dilemma in this: I don’t need a wee and I’m not allowed to drink anything. This is so they can check I’m not pregnant. I’m not, but apparently this is one of those situations where my word is not good enough. I’ve got a nice pot with my name on for when I’m ready.
I’m first in for the operation, and the list I’m on starts at 9am. I need to get changed in about an hour. Once I’m out, I should have about half an hour in Recovery. Kev says if I am feeling unwell or in pain I need to tell them there as the doctors in Recovery can give me more drugs than the nurses on Ward 20.
Anyway, I should be home by lunchtime which is good. As I’m first in, I get an escort from theatre staff.
Kevin asked me if I have any piercings that they need to tape over because I can’t remove them. I told him I have already taken out my ear piercings, and he asked if I have any body piercings, because people have them all over now. I think Kev needs to calm himself down, but I laugh and say no. He also advises me I need to take my bra off when I get changed so they can stick monitor things on my chest. I’ve been under general anaesthetic before but not for about 13 years and I’m not sure how I feel about getting my junk out.
0804 I’ve just been to do my urine sample – Kevin said a few drops was okay, so a few drops is what he got. The pot to piss in (ha ha ha) comes in an envelope bag thing but has no lid. This is causing me some concern.
Isn’t it funny how medical matters make it okay to talk about things you wouldn’t normally talk about? You’d never post a Facebook status about going for a wee, would you? Well, I wouldn’t.
0811 Anaesthetist has just been. He’s asked me all the same questions Kevin did, and told me what’s going to happen. They’re going to put a tube down my throat, which seems to be freaking me out the most, but it will have been taken out by the time I come round.
Mr Surgeon is going to come round shortly, and Mr Anaesthetist has left me some paracetamol and an antacid to take. I’ve also had to sign a declaration, the fourth clause of which the anaesthetist told me not to worry about:
“I understand that in the event of an emergency, the anaesthetist will take all live-saving actions.”
0817 A couple of ladies in nice scrubs have come and taken my trolley away so that it will be in theatre for them to bring me back on. They’ve made the same joke to both me and the lady in the bed next to me: they are nice and don’t make us walk back from theatre. HAHAHAHA.
Kev has just brought me my pre-med and let me have the whole glass of water. That was nice of him. He also took my urine sample – it wasn’t meant to have a lid. It was surprisingly orange.
0834 Mr Surgeon has been to see me. He asked me the same questions I’ve already been asked by Kevin and the anaesthetist. Kevin has just popped round and asked if he drew on me. He certainly did.
I’m all changed and ready to go now. Might just have to go for a nervy wee.
0852 It’s time to go. Theatre nurse came into see me with volume three of my hospital notes, they’re really thick. She asked me all the same questions and then we went.
0901 I’ve now arrived at theatre. On the way, me and the theatre nurse had a little chat about my life and I told her about me going back to uni in September. She asked me “What do you normally do?”, which I thought was a strange way to phrase it, but wasn’t sure how else you might ask that question.
I’m now laid on a trolley with my gown open down my back. They’ve just taken my glasses off me, as well as my mum’s dressing gown that I borrowed. I still have my slippers on, and I’m not sure if I shouldn’t take them off.
I’ve answered all the questions I’ve been asked a million times already today and then the anaesthetist asks me what I do normally. I think it’s definitely odd to be asked the same bizarre question more than once.
They’ve put a cannula in my right hand and done my blood pressure, pulse and temperature. I at this point realise what is going to happen imminently and said “I’m a bit scared, is that normal?” and then inwardly tell myself off for asking such a stupid question. They assure me it is normal and that they would be concerned if I wasn’t scared.
I ask if they still get you to count to ten, because that’s what they did when I went under anaesthetic when I was younger, and they say I can count to ten if I want. I don’t want to. Then they say they’re going to put a bit of anaesthetic in and that will make me feel a bit drowsy. They do, and it does, and that’s it.
1005 I wake up, I think. I don’t feel like time has passed, but I also feel like time has passed. I’m crying and my throat is sore and the recovery nurse tells me to cough.I ask for my glasses and if I’m allowed to bend my knees, they’re really stiff. She hands me my glasses and says I can bend my knees; I’m not really sure why I thought I might not be able to, but always better to err on the side of caution, I think. I ask how long I’ve been in the recovery room for and she says 50 minutes, and I don’t think that makes sense because my operation must have taken longer than 10 minutes. I ask if it’s five past eleven, but it isn’t. I’m confused, and the recovery nurse is confused.
1010 I blink, and five minutes has gone past. I’m still crying and now my jaw has started wobbling, as if I’m cold but I’m not. Recovery nurse gives me an oxygen mask to calm me down and that makes me cry more but my jaw stops shaking a bit.
I look at my left arm and it has an enormous bandage on it and it really, really hurts. Taking Kevin’s advice, I tell the nurse and she says “Well, you’ve just had an operation on it”. I’m tempted to have a little joke and say “What? Someone could have told me!” but think better of it. Still, my banter has not been affected by this experience which is good.
It’s good I mentioned it anyway, because that prompts her to look at my form and she notices that the surgeon hasn’t actually signed to say I can have any medication, so she has to go get that sorted. Thank you, Kevin.
1018 Another chunk of time has passed. I’ve got a drip of fluids going into my right hand which I have only just noticed. The recovery nurse has asked her colleague to keep an eye on my while she goes to get my form signed, and he gives me a tissue to blow my nose and dry my eyes, but I can’t really reach. He says not to worry about the crying – it happens to some people, but not to everyone. I continue to protest that I am not sad and I am not cold, I think mainly to convince myself.
1025 Original recovery nurse is back and she takes the oxygen and the drip off me and says she is going to call Kevin and get him to come and get me. She takes the monitors off my chest and lifts my gown but completely exposes me to the whole recovery department in the process. She apologises but I’m not even bothered, which is strange.
She asks me what I normally do (!) and I tell her, and then ask her if people snore under anaesthetic. They do, but I didn’t. This is good. Mercifully, Kevin is here now.
1030 I feel a bit of an idiot on this trolley, being wheeled around the hospital in tears with my bent knees, giant bandage and wobbling chin.
1035 I’m back on the ward and still crying. I don’t know why I can’t stop. Kevin has left me to calm down.
There’s just one lady left in the room, from the original four of us this morning. The lady next to me was on the same list as me so she went around 9.45, which is presumably when I came out. The lady opposite was on the same list as the lady next to her, who also went at 9. I’ve been chatting to this lady, but I can’t remember what about. Maybe my shaking chin.
A nurse comes in to see her, but I really want to sit up all of a sudden, so she comes and adjusts my bed for me.
1102 Kevin came into ask me if I want tea and toast. I most certainly do!
1130 I’ve made a right meal out of eating this toast. My lady-opposite-friend is getting changed and asks if she has to take her bra off, and I tell her she does and why. Out of nowhere, a nurse comes in and corrects me and says it’s actually because of the metal in the underwire. I’m pretty sure she’s wrong (because, you know, you’re allowed to keep piercings in if you tape over them and they’re made of metal) but I don’t say anything. I’m a good and wise person.
1142 Opposite lady has gone for her op now, and I am alone. God, how ‘woe is me’ is that?
1150 Neighbour lady is back, and I feel quite isolated as they have closed the curtain between us and now I can’t see out into the corridor. I might have a bit of a doze.
1205 Kevin, like a knight in shining armour, has come back and has asked if I want to get up. I do. I feel a bit wobbly, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to struggle with the logistics of getting dressed.
1230 I am now dressed – tights were a mistake. Kevin comes back to do my discharge note. My dressing isn’t going to be changed until it gets taken off for good and my stitches are dissolvable. They didn’t move the nerve in the end, just decompressed it. I can’t take my bandage off until the date they ask me back – unfortunately, the day I should be able to go back is a bank holiday, so I have to wait for three extra days.
I am distraught that I won’t be able to see my scar until August 29th. Also, this bandage is massive, I doubt I will be able to fit many of my sleeves over it. I ask about washing, and Kevin says I will just have to wrap it in cling film.
He then goes to phone my parents to get them to come and get me.
1239 Kevin comes back, because my mum isn’t answering her mobile and no one is answering the house phone. Brilliant.
1241 I call my dad and ask him to come and get me.
1247 I call my dad again to remind him it is Ward 20, as my mum kept saying Ward 22, which I think is the maternity ward.
1308 Opposite lady is back already! She’s sitting up and she isn’t crying and her chin isn’t wobbling. We have a little chat.
1310 My dad is here, and I am off. He says “That’s a big bandage”.
1330 Me and dad go pick mum up from town, as I’m not allowed to be left on my own anywhere. She gets in the car and says “Ooh, that’s a big bandage”.
1402 I am now at home, and have demolished a McDonald’s, as is a post-general anaesthetic tradition which my parents and I remembered. I think I’m going to take some medicine and have a nap. All is well.