My stay in hospital wasn’t quite what I had hoped or expected. For one, I was there far longer than I’d intended to be…
On the day of the surgery we turned up at the hospital and went to the wrong department – thanks hospital pre-op staff for giving me incorrect info over the phone. Not a great start. Finally got sent to the right place about 20 minutes later, but thankfully being late wasn’t an issue. My arrival time was 7.30am so I was hoping for a morning surgery slot, which would hopefully mean getting home to Xander sooner. He was staying with Rob’s parents as he wouldn’t be allowed on the ward to visit.
There were 5 of us waiting in the Day Room on the ward, all but one were considerably older than me. All of them were scheduled for full hysterectomies, except one lady who was having a cyst removed via keyhole and would potentially be going home the same day! One by one we were called through to check our details, and then again to speak to the anaesthetist, and then again to speak to the surgeon who would be performing our op. All going well, I thought, and I was 3rd on the list.
But then they moved the list around, and myself and another lady were told we could have water… that meant it was going to be hours before we would be going down. Eventually, at 2pm, I was asked to get myself in my gown as they were planning on sending me soon – I came out of the bathroom after getting changed, to find them waiting with a trolly – it was time.
The porter and a nurse wheeled me down through the basement of the hospital, which was pretty awesome to be honest – like something out of a zombie film. Then a few minutes later I was being pushed into theatre. Suddenly everything was bright and white, and felt a bit serious. The team were fantastic though, joking about how I was lucky to have them after lunch cause they’re more on their game then, and I wouldn’t want hungry surgeons operating on me… at least, I hope they were joking!
The anaesthetist I’d spoken to on the ward struggled to get the cannula into the back of my hand, most likely as I was pretty dehydrated by this point – the Day Room hadn’t exactly been cool – so he got someone else to do it! He was a bit brutal but it got the job done. Then they gave me a sedative (to make me feel “fabulous”!) and then my spinal anaesthetic. I’d had a epidural with Xander (not that it worked very well, or at all) so sort of knew what to expect. I vaguely remember their first go not going very well, as I had a shooting pain down the right hand side of my back, but the second attempt worked and my bum suddenly felt very warm… and that must be when the sedative kicked in because the next thing I remember is waking up in a huge recovery room with pins and needles in my toes and an uncomfortable oxygen mask that was making my face clammy.
As soon as I was with it enough to ask, I got a cup of water with a straw. It was a weird sensation, being completely numb with the exception of my toes tingling – I wonder if that was what my epidural was meant to be like?! They topped me up with a few shots of Morphine although I don’t remember asking for it or suggesting I was in any pain. I was, however, itching like mad, all across my chest. That can be a side effect of the anaesthetic or the morphine, but I’d never experienced it before.
So I was wheeled back up to the ward, where I had a room all to myself! They had to slide me on a board onto the bed as my legs were a dead weight. The pain was starting to emerge now, but I just felt tender. My main side effect was being absolutely parched! All I wanted to do was drink! I was so glad I had a catheter, other wise I’d have been in the loo every 10 minutes with the amount of water I put away.
The first night went well, the obs every hour were a bit of an intrusion but I was still sleepy from the drugs so I easily dozed off again pretty fast. Everything was looking good, I got up and had a short walk while they changed my bed sheets – literally I walked around the bed to my chair but I was exhausted. My wound was checked, the catheter was removed… all was looking good. The doctors decided they wanted to keep me for another night, just to make sure. I was too uncomfortable to walk very far, I couldn’t imagine getting to the car to get home, so I agreed.
And it’s probably a good job I did. In the middle of that second night, I woke up shivering uncontrollably. I figured I was cold, which didn’t make much sense as the ward was really hot. I called a nurse to shut the windows and get me a second blanket. An hour later I woke covered in sweat. I dragged myself out of bed and reopened the windows, removed the blankets and just covered myself with a sheet. Somehow I got back to sleep. When the nurse arrived in the morning to do my obs, they noticed I was hot… I had a fever. Not a super high fever, but in the high 38°Cs. She told me not to worry, got me some paracetamol and told me to keep my fluids up. 2 hours later, and the fever hadn’t budged. 2 hours later still, and it was still high. That’s when the doctor turned up to do some blood cultures… a minor infection, they reckoned, but best to err on the side of caution after surgery. Time for IV antibiotics. There was no chance I was going home that night.
24 hours free of fever, they said, then they’d talk about discharging me. I just wanted to go home and see Xander and sleep in my own bed. I wanted food that actually tasted of something. And decent internet signal so I could watch Orange Is The New Black on Netflix.
I slept better that night, still disturbed as the night nurses were really noisy all night, chatting away just outside my room. Come the morning, and my temp was still up – I cried when the nurse left the room. It meant ANOTHER night for definite. This was Friday now, I’d seen all the other women who’d arrived with me on Tuesday be discharged…
Part 3 is here… well done if you’ve got this far!!