So, four weeks ago today I was sat in the pre-op ward at St James’ Hospital, in Leeds, with my husband, waiting…and waiting…and waiting some more.
I’d been told I MUST be there by 7am, no later. No, I couldn’t arrive at 07:45 to allow him to get home after his night shift, as by then the doctors would be operating and I’d be going to theatre soon after. So my husband took the night off work, and we got there at 06:55, and we waited…
At around 08:30 a nurse came round and did the normal checks, measured my ankles for the sexy stockings you have to wear, then a registrar came round and explained that actually, whilst they had an ICU bed for me, there wasn’t a normal bed so therefore it was highly unlikely that I’d have the surgery that day. We did the consent forms anyway, and he took my husband’s mobile number so that if he had to leave to go to work the registrar would ring him if by some chance I had the operation.
Around 11am the anaesthetist came, and said the same as the registrar, but that the ICU bed was sat empty waiting for me…but again, no normal bed.
13:30 and the porters turned up for me! We weren’t expecting them, the theatre hadn’t rung ahead, and I wasn’t changed or ready. Got sorted and we set off…it was a long way to the other hospital wing where the theatre suite and the intensive care unit were, and the closer we got the more scared I was. My husband was allowed as far as the theatre doors, then he had to go, and once he left that’s when the tears started. (Mine, don’t think he was crying…)
The theatre assistant who came to get me was lovely, they must be used to people being scared and upset, and he decided to ask what I do as a job, upon hearing I am a Nanny he asked if that was the same as a childminder…before I could fully explain the error in his thinking, they’d put me to sleep!!!
When I came round in the recovery suite I was in a fair bit of pain that was soon sorted by morphine, and then taken onto the ICU department where I stayed for 24 hours.
My husband had tried to wait for me coming up, but had had to go to work and the ward clerk came to see me to explain how he hadn’t been able to stay – by this point it was 8pm, and he’d had to leave at 5. He rang the ward later that night and they brought me a phone to talk to him, and he came straight from work the next morning. I was wired up to all kinds of machinery and bags of fluid, but being rather stubborn and determined (yes, I know those who know me won’t agree AT ALL that I’m stubborn…) I made sure I was getting up for the loo and walking where possible, so much so that within a few hours they took me out of the ICU bed and into a normal hospital bed, but still on the ICU ward.
I was moved across the corridor to a less high-intensity ward after the initial 24 hours, and told that the following day, provided I ate something, I would be able to go home. But that upon going home, I’d need to self-inject for the first 28 days with a blood thinning injection, along with taking all the other meds they were putting me on.
24 hours after that, I came home…in pain, tired, struggling, but I did it. I was home for Christmas, with my family, and my life to start.
4 weeks later I’ve lost weight, have a bin liner of clothes to go, another of knickers that are too big, I’ve finished the injections and am covered in bruises, I can’t eat much and am restricted to soft foods still…
And it is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC! I had to go back to work on January 3rd (if I don’t work, 5 other adults can’t go to work either…) It has not been easy, please don’t think that, but equally it has not been impossible, or really hard, or awful. It’s been fine. I have loads of laundry to catch up on, I still can’t lift heavy stuff, and I’m still on my painkillers though I’ve cut down the strongest ones.
In all honesty, for the first time ever, I’m really looking forward to my next hospital appointment and being weighed!!!!