Hoping you all, if you celebrate it, had a lovely Merry Christmas! Snowy here sends his best:

I had a lovely time, although I had a sore head for reasons very different to many other people!

The short version is that I arrived at hospital on Monday, had the Operation Tuesday, all went well so came home on the Wednesday. If you’re willing to read the full story, put the kettle on, make a cup of whatever you fancy, and read on…

21st December 2009

Arrived at the hospital just after 5pm and was shown to my bed after a short wait. I was in a lovely little side room, with just one other lady for company. A view of stunning Selly Oak out of the window, and a little private cubicle to myself. Pretty fortunate don’t you think? I spent the first evening getting to grips with the patient tv/computer thing, which fortunately had free internet, but unfortunately was very limited to what you could browse. There is only so many times you can check the BBC news website so thank goodness for Googlemail chat!

The doctor came to admit me onto the ward, I was found to have a wheeze in my chest, but as this is something I have always had, it wasn’t deemed anything to worry about. I put it down to the fact we had walked up 10 flights of stairs instead of taking the lift to be honest… not something I recommend just before you have your blood pressure taken! Blood pressure was fine luckily, but heart rate a little high, they talked of an ECG but I informed them I was pretty nervous (truth) and thankfully the consultant decided this was all it was. I was so relieved, I briefly panicked at the thought that they wouldn’t do the operation!

I felt like a fraud in hospital this evening, the poor girl on the other side of the curtain was having an awful time, I think she had a bad reaction to the anaesthetic. This didn’t help my nerves, and as I’ve never had an operation before and wasn’t in for anything medically wrong as such, “just” a procedure, I felt quite odd to be taking up a hospital bed. I made myself at home though, Andy popped to the shop while I had tea (Lamb Hotpot and a jam scone, very nice) and came back with some Jaffa Cakes and Practical Photography Magazine, which cheered me up no end. He had to leave about 8.30pm so we said our “ta ra” knowing that next time I’d see him, I’d be bionic!

I slept fairly well, lots of activity on the other side of the curtain. I really felt for the poor girl. I missed my two little girls terribly, but was very glad to hear they’d settled well for the grandparents. Big day tomorrow.

22nd December 2009

Woke up at 6.30am to this fine looking notice:

 

Attractive huh? Especially when your room mate gets served a very delicious smelling breakfast of toast and jam… I distracted myself by having a quick shower, tidy and psyche up. Well, if you call walking back and forth by the window thinking “It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine” psyching up that is.

Soon enough, I was brought the most attractive looking gown to change into, and some fabulous pressure socks. They were very sexy. Seriously, they need to get someone to redesign those, there could be quite a market in them, and who ever thought that a gown that is done up at the back by four measly pieces of string is a good idea? I was walking around with a funny twist in my back, checking no one could see anything!

By 9am I was in the anaesthetic room having a cannula put into my hand, and some sticky pads on my arms and a leg. The glasses and hearing aid had to come off, an injection was put in, the lovely anaesthetist said it was time to go to sleep. It felt like ages before I dropped off, I furiously kept my eyes open darting them back and forth between the people in the room to make sure they knew I was still awake pleading with them in my head to not operate just yet! I spotted the clock ticking, my eyes were fuzzy, (I wear glasses for a reason) but I could just about make out it was 9.05am over the other side of the mask they were hovering over my nose and mouth. Will I ever fall asleep? I was wondering…

And then I was somewhere else!

Boy that was quick. Ooh, I’m woozy, my head feels odd. What’s that on my face? My lips feel thick. Something on my arm vibrates up and down, ah, it’s a blood pressure monitor,  I’m in a different room, I have a bandage on my head and I’m coming around! Whoop! I’m alive!

Seriously, I had no doubt that I’d not be ok, but I suppose it crosses everyone’s mind just before an operation. The knowledge that they’re going to put you under general anaesthetic (must learn how to spell that word, spell check is getting annoyed) and your life is in someone else’s hands. I was thrilled it was over, the anticipation is often more troublesome than the actual operation I feel.

My first words to the kind gentleman in charge of my obs were “What’s the time?”, to which he replied “20 past 12”, I then realised that they had put my glasses on and my hearing aid back in for me. After the most divine sips of water I have ever tasted in my life, I was wheeled back to the (now empty) room. Shortly afterwards, dinner was served, which despite being hospital food looked incredibly moreish, but I couldn’t chew without it being rather uncomfortable, the rice kept sticking in my very dry throat and the IV line into my hand was a bit on the distracting side when using a fork, semi propper up by a pillow! The rice pudding was nice though, that went down quite easily. I started to feel a bit more chipper, and less dizzy slowly and before I knew it, it was 2pm and my husband and mum were here to see me.

That was when I first started to appreciate the hugeness of the bandage on my head. It was comical. I felt like Pudsey Bear! The tinnitus was something you’d need to have to believe though, the loudest, most overcoming tinnitus I have ever had. It’s completely normal I understand, but very hard to deal with. I was so grateful for some company and a distraction.

Do you want a picture of me post operation? Are you sure?

Go on then, you can have a squint at this:

I felt like a bit of a banana with that bandage on, it gave me a constant frown and I have a very good excuse for some new glasses now. I started to feel a lot more human once Andy helped me get changed into some joggy bottoms and I had been to the loo. I also sent him to the shop for some jelly tots, and later on had my Mum fetch me some lucozade. I realised why I fancied these later on that evening, I had very little taste, so fizzy stuff on the tongue was just what I fancied!

The pain relief was fantastic, honestly – apart from the tinnitus and the dizzyness, oh and the fancy hair band made of bandage material, you couldn’t tell I had just had surgery. Oh, and apart from the huge blister forming on my bottom lip, I think they had been a bit eager (read that to mean rough) posting the tube through my mouth during the operation!

Just before I was due another dose of the painkillers, I started to feel the effects that the op was having on my ear. It was a bit like I had just descended from a flight in a plane. Sometimes when I fly, I get a horrendous pain in my ears, it really is eye watering, like a big hot needle has been jabbed in my ear canal, has caught something inside and is trying to get back out again. Once I’m back on the ground, my ear feels blocked and very bruised – I don’t like to fly often as a result! But the bruised feeling I get once I’m grounded, was very similar to how my ear felt after the operation. The bandage was heavy and hot as well, but I knew that was only temporary. The wound itself, was sore, but nothing too bad. Nothing a mug of Horlicks didn’t sort out!

It wasn’t long after the afternoon visiting finished, that a nurse popped in to tell me that they had an emergency coming in and they needed my bed. I had been transferred into the main ward. Noooooooo! It wasn’t that bad though really, my bed in the main ward was right next to the nurses station, so there was now someone nearby all the time. I don’t like pressing the nurse call button, preferring to wait until someone is ‘passing’ to ask a question, so this suited me better actually. The comedy bandage fortunately matched some other bandages on the ward (although I was the only one with my kind), so I didn’t feel quite so much like a banana in there as I feared.

Tea consisted of chicken sandwiches, which was when I realised that bread now tastes of cardboard. Hopefully it won’t last long. The strawberry mouse was delicious though, to smell and swallow :-D Evening visiting was very much welcomed, seeing my Mum and Andy was a real treat, although hearing about their mixed grill and crumble for pudding, wasn’t. Hehe. I was missing my family, especially my girls, a huge deal. Visiting times in hospital really are a godsend.

As I watched the lady in the bed opposite me, tuck her tissue under her pillow before she settled down to sleep that evening, I realised just how much rely on routine and home comforts to get us through difficult times. Being in hospital, wasn’t an unpleasant time for me, I wasn’t in for a life threatening condition after all, just a procedure to aid a disability I have. But it is still very daunting, and I found myself realising that I too, have a little routine that I play out before I go to sleep. I took a quick look at a photo of the girls that I had in my purse, to replace the “look in” their bedroom that I do each night, and then took my glasses off and placed them somewhere I knew I’d find in an instant if I needed to. My hearing aid came out next, and was sat next to the glasses (on their right), and I tucked my arm under the pillow, tentatively put my head down on top and imagined a big yellow smiley face to scare away the bad dreams.

I was woken at 12.30am as I needed another antibiotic drip put into the cannula. It stung like mad, I couldn’t sleep much until it was finished. I was due another 12 hours later, fantastic (!). The discomfort of my head, and the ever growing blister on my lip could be trebled, if I didn’t have to have to go on another drip!

23rd December 2009

All was forgiven when I woke at 6.30am to a cup of tea. I forgave some more when I was given some cornflakes. And everything was definitely right with the world when the nurse drew the curtains to take my bandage off!

I then had to go to x ray, to check that the coil was in the correct place. I haven’t had many x rays, are x rays normally this strange? I had to sit on a chair, by this huge machine that looked like a big paper guillotine. The nurse told me to press my head against this metal plate and as she moved me into position, my nose and mouth squashed against the plate akin to a child pushing their face against a cold window pane to make a funny face. It took longer to get my head into position, than it did for the picture to take!

Back on the ward, and I was told that the coil was indeed fine and in the correct place, I was free to go home! Yay!

I started to pack my bag. Only to be told I needed another antibiotic drip and something to eat first.

                                                                     

Ouchie.

 

 

An hour and a half later, I’m being discharged and I’m good to go!

 

 

 

 

The best thing about being away from your children, is seeing them again. I was so delighted to be back home that evening. I was so glad to be home. Christmas? Knock me out!

24th December 2009

Oh boy, where did the dizzyness come from? I started off very dizzy immediately post op, but generally managed my balance just about ok. Today however, woah! It’s like someone has stuck a wooden spoon in my brain and stirred it up a little bit!

Had a photo taken of behind my ear, so glad the consultant didn’t shave too much hair off, it’s easily covered by a bit of clever brushing. I was told afterwards that he commented on how thick my hair was though, so perhaps for once, it was a good thing!

26th December 2009

I’m now on day four and I’m still very dizzy. Christmas was a good one, and I have smashing family so I was looked after and not so much wined, but definitely dined for the duration of the day!

Today, we’ve taken another comparison shot, the mesh bandage has come off now, so you can get a real sense of where they cut, and wahey, some hair is already growing back!

Will write more as the days go by.

Well done if you’ve read the whole thing, treat yourself to another cup of tea!

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