FINALLY – I feel human again!
After 24 hours in hospital and one afternoon at home, sleeping off all the drugs that were still my system, I woke up this morning with a clear mind and ready for action. Sadly, a very painful foot has cancelled out the “action” part of my plans, but it’s great to feel like myself again.
I was originally scheduled to be second on the operating list for Monday, but then I heard that I had been moved to the top. Which meant that I had to get to the hospital early-ish to settle in.
After all the compulsory checking in and weighing in and blood testing, all that was left was for me to wait.
And wait until they wheeled me to the surgery rooms down the passage, where I had to wait a little longer.
By this time I was royally freaking out. Convinced that I was going to die under general anesthetic, I thought they’d at least give me something to calm me down. But nothing was forthcoming… and then they took my contact lenses away!!! Cue more freaking out…
Luckily Da Husband was there to keep me semi-calm and cracked rude jokes to keep my mind off things, but it also stressed me out. “Should I just say my last words to him now?” “What if I don’t come out on the other side?” “Why does he insist on being with me when he could have just dropped me off at the door? Does that means he suspects I’m not going to make it????”
When the anesthesiologist, Dr Luc Evenepoel, finally arrived, I was ready to tell them that this had all been a big mistake and that I should rather go home. But I didn’t. Instead I told him that his Cycle Tour results were impressive for a man his age. “But know this,” I added, “if I don’t make it out alive, you will start in the last start group of every single cycle race you enter from this point on.” I also reminded him of my two expectations: 1: Survive the operation. 2: I want to do triathlons again.
Now, I don’t know exactly what I thought was going to happen during and after the surgery. But my vision of the upcoming events was something like this:
- I walk into the theatre.
- Say hi to the surgeon, Dr Chris Narramore, and remind him to work on the correct foot.
- They hook me up to monitors and struggle to find a vein (I remind them to use a butterfly needle).
- I panic a little but fall asleep, after making a final “lamb to the slaughter” joke.
- After surgery, I would fully recover in the recovery room, be wheeled back to my room where I would spend the afternoon eating, blogging, working on my laptop and catch up on some series.
What actually happened:
- I was wheeled into the theatre (not allowed to walk).
- I reminded Dr Luc that I chose life.
- I looked for Dr Narramore who was nowhere to be found (I have a feeling he arrives, just at the right time, like a rockstar, gloved hands in the air).
- Dr Luc told me he was just going to give me a little oxygen.
- LIES, ALL LIES!
- I smelled something funny and asked him, through the mask, what it was.
- Then asked again.
- And when I got to the third panicked “WHAT THE F…” I was out like a light.
- Waking up was weird. My foot was wrapped in thick combination of bandages, cotton wool and a surgical splint, and elevated. I remember somebody talking rather loudly in my ear (to wake me?) and asking if I had a headache because I kept on pinching the top of my nose between my eyes.
- I woke up again in the room, wondering why the lady next to me was wide awake and chipper when I was feeling so shite (turned out she had an epidural).
- I woke up again when Dr Luc came to give me the good news that I made it through (no shit, Sherlock – and here I thought I was just in hell), asking how I was doing, and giving me instructions on how to use the self-medicating morphine drip.
- I woke up again when they told me I my lunch was getting cold, and I complained about the drip in my left arm and it being too painful to eat (I’m left-handed).
- I woke up every time they came to test my blood pressure, and stayed awake for long enough to have a semi-decent conversation with Da Husband and Da Kids, as well as with the bossman Sparkles who popped in with a slab of chocolate.
- But mostly I slept, and slept and slept.
- Until I woke up at 2am with the most hideous pain I have ever, EVER experienced in my life. And I knew at that instant that the drugs had worn off.
After the worst night EVER, I had breakfast and waited for the physio to come and take me for crutch walking lessons. But while I was still attached to my drip, that morphine button was working overtime (even though I knew the limits programmed into the machine) because of the agony I was in. The entire cut was burning like a mofo. It felt like somebody was hacking away at my ankle bone. But the problem was that while the morphine was numbing everything else in my body, it didn’t even take the slightest edge off my foot.
So when they came to detach me from the drip, I felt like my body was made of pink candyfloss and fluffy clouds, with me unable to string a sentence together, while my foot had a life and pain centre of its own.
When I arrived back home, all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep, but I couldn’t think of anything worse than getting up a flight of stairs, so I flopped onto the couch where I slept for the rest of the day.
And finally, after one very unladylike crawl up those steps last night, I arrived at my bed, which will be my central resting and working hub for the next few weeks.
After waking up, feeling awesome and pain-free, the cut’s burning pain and the dreadful ache from inside my foot is back. For now I’ll just obey the doctor’s orders and REST for the next few days.
I’ll try my best… but can’t promise anything.
Lessons from a Hospital Rookie
After this little hospital stint, I realised that there were so many things I didn’t know! So, if you ever have to go in for similar surgery, remember these tips:
- If you wear glasses, don’t try to cheat the system by putting in your contact lenses. They will find out and insist that you remove them before surgery.
- Don’t pack too much. I had three sets of clothes, two pairs of shoes and a laptop bag full of goodies. I spent 99% of my time in hospital in a very unsexy surgical gown, and I slept for most of my stay.
- Don’t pack two shoes. Just pack one for the good foot.
- Skip the sexy lacy number. You are not allowed to wear a bra when you go for surgery and you are ONLY allowed to keep your broeks on if they’re 100% cotton. Mine wasn’t and I was forced to wear a hospital-issue disposable pair. Not flattering at all.
- Bring head phones. If you share a room it can get very noisy with all the moaners and pukers around you.
- Chat to your fellow inmates. About 30 minutes before my roomie was discharged, we found out that our kids aren’t only at the same school but that they are classmates too!
- Decide where you are going to stay at home, especially when you have a double story house. It’s cool to stay in the living room, but if the only bath is upstairs, you may want to stay in the bedroom instead.
- If you don’t stay flat on your back with your foot elevated above your heart, your ankle starts to swell – which is very painful.
- If you’re a mother, chances are that the household will not be run your way while you’re incapacitated. Get over it. Your husband / partner is trying his best. Just let go and focus on getting better.