Warning! If medical visuals make you squeamish please be aware that there are medical pics contained in this post.
It was a cold, stormy night… okay no it wasn’t but it was really early, dark out and very cold! I had set my alarm because I needed to be at the hospital early in the morning. I always need alot of time to get going so I always try and give myself 2 hours to get ready. My morning stiffness is an awful creature. It literally takes me hours to be able to get going. My body is not a “get up and go” body. It takes planning to carry out any plans that we have.
I switched on the t.v. I was determined to not focus on what the day was going to be like. The hospital is about 1 hour away. Not one I’ve ever been to because it’s in a different city. Before I knew it, hubby was up and it was time to go. Not much conversation happened on the drive. I just wanted to stay calm. We arrived at the hospital and as we walked in I gave myself a pep talk. Hubby couldn’t go to the ward with me and that’s when reality hit. I had to go do this thing alone. No one to hold my hand. This was me standing on my own ready to slay the pain dragons! Gulp. Sounded great in my head but honestly, not having my hubby there who is such an important part in my journey was tough. He wasn’t going to be able to wait with me and ask questions I didn’t think of. I was also not going to wake up with him at my bedside. This is completely new and foreign to me but there was no choice. I had to do the damn thing!
The nurses were really sweet which helped immensely. After doing all the paperwork I decided to lay down and throw myself into the doccie-series that I had downloaded. John of God. A story about a faith healer who ends up with alot of sexual misconduct charges against him. Interesting choice considering what I was doing. As I watched I nodded off and fell asleep for a bit. It was a welcome relief because I hadn’t slept much and had been up early. It was taking forever for my turn! My irritation and anxiety started amping up. I hadn’t eaten/drank anything since 10pm the night before. It was now 11am and I was thirsty as all hell!
All of a sudden at around 1pm an Operating Room nurse appeared. The nurses scrambled to get me into my theatre robe and panty. Oh my God… those hospital undies! Who are they actually made for and what is the front and what’s the back? I struggled to figure this out while the rather stern nurse waited on the other side of the curtain. I finally got everything on. That sexy gown with the open back and those unmatchable, seductive panties. I enquired about whether I could keep my socks on. I know how cold it gets in that Op room! The stern nurse responded in a booming voice … “if you were not born with it, it’s not allowed in the OR”. I giggled nervously as I removed the socks. Griffindor socks my Goddaughter gave me so we could have matching socks! Yes… I had some Harry Potter magic socks on. I was trying to manifest the magic!
In my mind the less I see the less things I can get anxious about. I hoped. So as they were wheeling me to OR and put me in the pre-op area (which was bloody freezing just like I thought!) I kept my eyes fixed on the ceiling. I did not look left. I did not look right. No. The ceiling would be my compass. At this point I’m antsy. I just want to go in and get knocked out good and solid by the anesthesia. I had done enough waiting that day. My patience had all but dried up. Finally I get wheeled into OR! Let’s do this thing!
The nurse starts with the ‘struggling to get a vein’ problem I have. She wrapped the strap tightly on my arm and then she started smacking my hand. Not tapping… smacking! I kept saying “Tracey, they are going to put the IV in and this will be over. Just suck it up!” She walked away and then came back and proceeded to continue smacking my hand! There was nothing gentle about this particular nurse. This is why I always tell people “Don’t hit your kids on their hands because it’s really sore! I’ve experienced it too many times!”.
Eventually after smacking the crap out of my hand she put the IV in. Here we go! Umm nope. The anathetist comes to me and explains what she is going to do while stroking my head. Me laying there with eyes the size plates, staring intently at the ceiling must have made her realise that this one is an anxious one. I appreciate her taking the time to do that. To settle me a bit. The smacking did nothing to help my nerves!
While she is stroking my head the anathetist looks at me and confused, asks me “Aren’t you feeling sleepy?” “Not at all” I responded. Oh my God. Really? All I’ve been looking forward to is being knocked out and it’s taking forever to happen! What the hell! Knock me out already people! Careful what you wish for. She looked at me and then said to the nurse “We have a tough one here”. I saw her crank up that IV like a woman on a mission. I felt the rush of the burning sensation anasthetic gives you when it enters your veins. The Anethetist then started rubbing my arm acknowledging that this was a painful part but I would soon be asleep. Yes please! It was such a solid dose that I don’t even remember feeling sleepy or seeing the room spin. She Mayweather-ed me. TKO!
I woke up with two nurses standing by my side and hooked to some machine. The nurse softly asked me how I was feeling. All I could say was the word “pain”. I just repeated it to try and communicate my level of pain to them. The nurse then asks me “The first time you woke, you wanted to throw up so we gave you something for nausea. Is that gone now?”. Wait. Back up a bit here… “when I woke up before?” When was this? I had zero recollection of this! She really did knock me out!
The nurse then proceeds to tell me that during the op my blood pressure dropped really low. I have a problem with low BP. They were unable to give me pain meds at that time for fear that it would drop my BP even lower and that would be a disaster. So this is why the nurses were standing next to me…and the machine…they were monitoring me. She proceeded to give me a jab in the bum and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the ward!
The whole OR saga lasted much longer than I had anticipated but since I had had complications it made sense. I was so out of it. I can’t tell you what I was even thinking while I was laying there, still with a nurse at my bedside monitoring me. It hit me. I want to get out of here and go home and be warm and comfy! Pain was not on my radar at this point because they had given me some really good stuff! Yay! I relish the time, however limited, that I get to experience what feeling pain free feels like. You know, like a normal person!
I started plotting my escape. They made me eat a sandwich and I did as they asked. Okay so now my BP was regulated again and I had eaten. I had a message from hubby saying that he was waiting for me in the parking lot. If I wake up from anasthetic and he is not there I tend to make insane, heavily medicated decisions. I once pulled the pipes out of my throat, called a cab and went home. Hubby was looking for me and so were the hospital staff! I hadn’t actually been discharged! Hubby finally found out where I was because the security company called him. The alarm at home had gone off and when they went to the premises they found me (still heavily medicated and just had hectic injections in my hips) trying to climb through a window! Both of us had to explain that I had just had a procedure in theatre and was still wonky from the anasthetic. If embarrassing myself was a sport I’d be on the Olympic team.
I asked the nurse when I could leave. I had been told that I needed to stay for at least 4 hours post-op to make sure there were no immediate complications. Oh, hell, no. That would mean that I’d be there for another few hours and since it was late in the day they might keep me! No Mam! Not going to happen. In response to my question the nurse asked me “Is your ride here?” Amazingly I was quick on the draw. “Yes, my ride is here already waiting for me” I said very quickly. She said she would get the paperwork and my script ready for me quickly. At this point they were supposed to be running another IV for pain and I declined saying I was fine. That turned out to be a dumbass move if I do say so myself! Totally regretted it later!
There was a long drive home and I just wanted to get home. The nurse left to attend to the paperwork and I thought I’d get dressed in the meantime. I tried to move and holy hell. I couldn’t. I literally couldn’t. I tried reaching for my clothes from the bed because I couldn’t get up, that was a nope too. What the hell was going on???? Eventually the nurse appeared and had to help me dress like I was a baby. Again…what the actual hell! The nurse got a porter to put me in a wheelchair and take me to the car. Walking was almost impossible! On the ride home, every bump in the road or braking too hard had me holding on for dear life as the pain gripped me.
I came home with a wound care sheet. I was basically supposed to do very little during the first 21 days until the staples came out. The Op-site plaster had to stay on for 21 days as well to keep the wound sterile or I would have to go to wound care at ER everyday. I looked at hubby. We had planned for this. I had made sure that we did a deep clean so that he wouldn’t have to while he took care of me. I also made sure there were alot of ready made meals to alleviate the pressure of cooking. My husband is not into cooking. He has learned to make a few things but it dawned on me. He would be cooking for the next 21 days at least! Oh boy.
When I came home hubby had to gently put me on the couch. Luckily we have an L shaped one so it made it easier for me to use it as my sick bed. He attempted to put pillows around me but as soon as it touched my lower back I almost levitated like something out of a really bad horror! Nothing could come near my lower back! Also what the hell kind of pain was this? I had never experienced such pain in my life before and I have experience with pain! I felt battered and bruised in the worst way!
As I sat on the couch I tried to reach for the remote. I could not reach for the remote! I had 12 staples, 6 on each side. Everytime I moved just a tad wrong it would gouge into me like claws from hell. Edward Scissors Hands or Freddy Kruger come to mind. The staples owned me! Everytime the staples gouged me I would scream like someone was trying to kill me. It was inadvertent screaming too! It came from somewhere in the depths of my soul and I had zero control over it. I then needed the toilet. I could not get up from the couch myself. I had to call the husband. I grimaced in pain as I got up. With his help I slowly made my way to the bathroom…. and then I realised… I couldn’t sit down on the toilet without help!! Oh hell no. What fresh hell was this?
Luckily they had given me that fat dose of anasthetic. I kept nodding off. This was amazing because I had been suffering from awful sleep deprivation before this. I succumbed to the feeling of being lulled to sleep by the effects of the anasthetic. I finally decided that it was time for bed. Here we go again. I had to be helped up, helped to bed, helped into bed where my husband had lovingly placed pillows to try and keep me as pain free and comfortable as possible. Sleep came swiftly. I woke the next morning wanting to writhe in pain but unable to. The incisions were throbbing and the pain was unbearable. Laying out straight in the bed felt like it was pulling at the staples and again the gouging from the staples were back in full force.
I woke hubby up. I needed to sit. Laying down was painful and uncomfortable and I needed meds! I needed pain meds immediately! He helped me to the couch and got me something to drink. Desperate, I tried to reach for the pain pills because I couldn’t get up to get them. They were just out of reach and those staples yanked me back! I then realised I needed to use the bathroom. This was too much! Everything was hard! My God… how long would this last?
As I sat there waiting for hubby to give me pain meds and take me to the bathroom, it hit me. What the hell had I done to myself? This was just the first morning and I hadn’t even been up for 30 minutes and I was in hell! I was completely immobile. The pain was on a whole other level I had never experienced before and I basically couldn’t do anything for myself! Being someone who has always been independent and hates asking for help, having to totally rely on my husband for everything while I sat there in my pillow fort like a blob was my idea of hell!
What had I done to myself? I did not anticipate that I would be experiencing this. Waves of regret flooded me but this could not be undone. They said the first 21 days were going to be crucial to the success of op. The staples were holding together the tissue/muscle he cut through. I was stuck. For 21 days? Surely not. My follow up with him is only on the 19th of November where we can fully assess if it has worked for me.
As I lay there, thinking too many thoughts, my anxiety kicked in. I was bedridden. If this is how my morning started what lay ahead for me in the next 21 days? When would this pain subside!? My husband tried to comfort me. I’ve never wanted to be a burden to him but now it felt like I was going to be a massive burden. So many things I did not anticipate. This was nothing like I imagined it would be….. it was the start of a very gruelling healing process….
I’m sure the whole procedure and the limitations I had might be a bit hard to imagine. So I’ve added pics at the bottom so you have an idea of what I’ve been working with. In the next blog I will discuss the pure hell and frustration I’ve gone through in the past few weeks. I’m happy to say that most of that pain is gone now. I’m not entirely healed and the staples only come out on the 5th of November. There is so much to talk about around what I have gone and put myself through that I have had to break it up into parts.
I will be back soon with the next part of my journey. I will try and do more regular updates on my social media now that I am out of the woods.
Thank you again to everyone who has reached out. I have been unable to respond to everyone like I’d want to but please know that you reaching out has not gone unnoticed!
Stay safe everyone!
Sending light and love from my pimped out pillow fort ✌🏼💜