The wonders of anaesthetic

Anaesthesia isn’t for me. Though I’m not sure 16 hours of it is really for anyone. But to be fair, I had a fun time going in to it.

But I’ll rewind a little. I had stayed in the ward on the Sunday night before my surgery. They had taken out my PICC line a few days before and assured me I’d had my last bloods. Turns out they wanted more, which of course ended up with a couple of people having a couple of tries and fails each. Always a pleasure.

I met Debbie who worked in ICU, who invited me to join a study to help detecting infection earlier in bloods. I said as long as it doesn’t require any extra stabbing, she could count me in! So in I was, and she informed me she would be popping in to take blood from one of my lines over the course of my stay in the ICU. Great, always happy to help. And also happy to have a familiar face I’ll see on the other side of the surgery.

Checking in took forever and we missed dinner. So once it had all been sorted and I had a bed, Dad popped out and got the three of us Honest Burgers, which we then ate in my hospital bay. Sorry other inpatients, my dinner is better than yours was.

I made my first friend that night – one of the nurses, Kirsten I think was her name. We chatted as she sat waiting to see if the aggressive shouty old lady in the bed across from me had fallen asleep (the lady who had shouted ‘hello’ at me earlier as I walked past and asked the nurse if I were boy or a girl).

After my last solid meal, I had to ‘carb load’ and have some special drinks at 8pm and then before 6am. So I got woken up at about 5:30am and I had my drinks. Then I had to have a shower with some special gel and put my surgical robe on (I found out later that I had it on backwards). I saw Deepti had come to say hi quickly before surgery, which was amazing, and I also met the… uh… Like anaesthetic registrar or something? I don’t know these terms. But she was awesome too. I felt settled as soon as I saw Deepti, and I was rushed by an orderly to put my special socks on as it was time to go zooming down the corridors to the theatre!

I went in and the girl I had just met came with me, and I met someone else who I think was maybe managing the theatre? Did I make that up? Anyway, he was awesome (and alerted me to the backwards nature of my gown. He was going to leave the room so I could change but I just pulled my arms in and spun it round and pretended I had it right all along).

We chatted as she prepare all the drugs they were about to give me, and people were zooming in and out. I was in a little room, lying on a bed-type thing, just off the main surgery room. Occasionally my people would pop in and say hi, or any other staff would be running around, all in maroon scrubs, all cheery. I was having a great time. I got little snippets of view through the door as people came in and out, that alerted me to what I was about to go in to. They had a big meeting in the other room, then it was go time.

I don’t remember there being a massive issue with cannulating me, though I feel like there might have been a few attempts. I don’t remember any counting down, nothing like that, I just don’t remember anymore.

The next couple of days were a blur. I woke up with a catheter, two cannulas (one in my hand, one in my groin), a tracheostomy (breathing tube in my neck which meant I couldn’t talk), a feeding tube in my nose, a sore shoulder, a very swollen face and a lot of confusion.

I remember my doctors coming in and having the same conversation with them about 3 times (either they were trying to mess with with me or I was hallucinating/dreaming… I feel like they probably didn’t have time for the first option so we might have to settle for the second). I remember not being able to work out that in order to stop the pain I had to find a specific cord that had a button on it and then I had to press that button in order to cause a series of events to happen that resulted in the pain apparently being better. I remember thinking it was the middle of the day, getting up and sitting in my chair and asking why no one had told my parents I was awake (turns out it was midnight and they had already come to visit). I remember my parents later telling me they had seen me when I woke up from surgery but I have no recollection of seeing them then (apparently I was quite preoccupied with the pain in my shoulder). I remember the catheter causing me loads of pain. I remember having no end of problems with my tracheostomy, thinking I was constantly choking (which went on for the whole 11 days I had it). I remember falling asleep constantly, mid conversation, whenever.

I think it was about 2 days post surgery when I started to get a little bit more sense. But we’ll save those stories until the next post.

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