I should have written about it at the time because now things get hazy.
It was around 4pm I think, when I made it up to the ward. I wonder how long between when they finish the surgery and you wake up? Is that a long process? My phone was dying, I’m not sure what I was doing. I probably had people fussing around me. Ah yes, I remember. Obs every 15 minutes (meaning blood pressure, pulse, oxygen levels and temperature). Every 15 minutes for the first hour. The cuff stayed on me. Then it was every half hour for an hour. Then it was every hour until 10pm.
I asked why so much obs, because I thought it was a bit weird.’You’re tachycardic’ they said. ‘So we need to keep checking.’Ah yes, i’m often that. That means my heart is racing. Over 100 beats per minute. Oh I just get that on any Tuesday afternoon.
The following day I noticed it was very low. I think that was after the Oramorph. I felt slower. My pulse had slowed to 86. That didn’t feel usual.
Around 8pm I think Mr K swung by. He looked exhausted. He said ‘you’re swollen. I said you would be.’
Yes. Gold star.
He asked if I had questions.
I couldn’t think of any.
I said thank you.
He said he would see me in the morning (he didn’t, but a member of his team did).
I have since joked about my black eye, saying ‘you should see the other guy’. Well, the other guy looked exhausted. He had been working hard too.
I figured I would ask him in the morning if it all went according to plan and when he thought I might get results.
Just before I’d gone into surgery I asked Mr K if they could message my parents in Australia when I got out. He said of course. He told the registrar to message my parents. He said to make sure he said happy birthday to my mum when he messaged. It was my ma’s birthday on the day I went in.
Happy birthday Ma.
I didn’t have them listed as my next of kin, my parents, because they weren’t in the country so the system couldn’t manage it. But my team messaged them. (I have friends as my next of kin and every time I go into surgery I am so grateful to have friends who I can count as family, who are happy to be my next of kin. My life is very rich, I am very, very lucky.)
Dad told me he grilled the registrar on how the surgery went and when they would get results. Daaaaaaadddddddd. Probs good he did though because I didn’t get the chance to ask at that time. Though I did find out the details myself later.
I asked and asked for some ice. I needed it for the swelling and I needed it for the nerve pain in my face. I just needed ice. They seemed to not really have any. In a head and neck ward… no ice packs… Seemed mad. Eventually someone managed to get me a whole lot of ice cubes, though I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with them. So one of the lovely nurses went and got a box of surgical gloves and started filling them with ice. She then put them in a towel on the cabinet next to me. It would have to do. The ice really helped.
I met the ward night doctor. I liked him. We chatted about my eye. He tried to look in my eye but with all the gunk and discharge I couldn’t open it. I asked for something I could wash my eye out with. He said he would go and see what he could get me.He told the nurse to keep an eye on me.
I laughed and said ‘ayyyyyyyyyy’.
He realised what he had said. I think he felt sheepish at first and then he giggled.
So he said he could get me something to wash my eye out with, so I could open it but then apparently that was not so possible. I asked for saline, I asked for water, but nothing came. So I took my fate into my own hands. A tissue, some water from the tap and I just wiped all the gunk away. and HEY PRESTO I could open my eye a little. I felt worlds better.
As I left the bathroom I ran into him.
‘Hey, what happened to your eye, you can open it!’
‘I may have defied orders and taken matters into my own hand and wiped it.’
‘I… hey… I did not tell you that you could do that.’
‘I know.’ I said with a cheeky smile.
‘Well… I guess… let me have a look at it.’
He shined a light in my eye. Look left. Look right. Look up. Look down. It looked fine.
‘I promise to behave now.’ I said. (Mostly).
The next day I heard the nurses talking about the note in my file that said I had been naughty and wiped my own eye. Well… if you’re not going to give me anything to wipe it with, what would you expect? In fact they didn’t get anything for me until later the following day so… I am happy with my decision. I needed it. That was way too long to wait.
A nurse got me a sandwich at 6pm the night after the biopsy. That was all I’d had to eat since the following evening. She also got me a cup of tea though she said I technically wasn’t allowed hot drinks yet. I promised I would wait until it was cool. I accidentally broke that promise. But there were no untoward effects.
At about half 9 the pain was starting to set in. I asked for my pain killers. I eventually got them at around half 11. That was a long couple of hours waiting for the nurses who kept saying they would get to me and I had to wait my turn.
By midnight I had finished my antibiotics and I finally got to try to sleep. I put my ear plugs in and I crashed out.
I was sleeping so deeply, so heavily when the nurse came in. It took me a while to come to. I sat up and looked confusedly at her. She held out the arm cuff. I looked at it. I looked at my arm. ‘Obs’ she said.I looked at my arm. I looked at her, holding out the cuff.’It’s obs time’ she said.Oh.I took out my earplugs.I held out my arm.I squinted at my watch. 6am. Oh my goodness. I slept the whole night through! That is a FIRST! What an amazing thing! I could not believe it! It wouldn’t be long before they came in for drugs and then breakfast. I lay back and waited.
I waited a long time. There wasn’t much point in going back to sleep but a doze would be nice. I’d kept my earplugs out because they would be coming in soon. There was a weird noise that kept going through the night, I was by the nurses station and apparently there was some machine that kept making a loud noise at regular intervals.
I had been lying there for so long. They must have been taking a while with the drugs this morning. I thought maybe I’d put some Headspace on just to chill out. I glanced at my phone as I went to put it on.
Argh it had been 12:30, not 6am hadn’t it! DAMNIT!
I put my earplugs in and managed to sleep until 6:30 at least…
Sleeping in the hospital is never a straightforward affair.