Surgery Day

I apologise for the lack of blog posts but since my surgery, on Friday 22nd February. I’m so far behind and so much has happened I could probably write a book on the past week alone. As things are starting to improve slowly I hope to be able to get a couple of posts done each day, we’ll be up to date in no time.


We were up before the sparrows fart in the morning, as we had to be at the ward by 07:00. I didn’t get hardly and sleep and as I have been more apprehensive about this than any other surgery I’ve had, I didn’t feel great either. I was nervous but I didn’t want that to show to Mum and Dad, or anyone else come to think of it. I just wanted to get in there, shortest wait as possible and get it over and done with. There just seems to be so much riding on the outcome of this surgery. My Dad took me to the hospital and up to the ward, where all the patients for admission sat waiting in a seminar room. Dad left me not long after, as we were both worried about him hitting the rush hour traffic on the way home. When the ward opened everyone rushed to be in the queue, I sat and let everyone fly by me, then tagged on near the end. We gave our name to the clerk and a nurse whisked us down the corridors to our bed. For some reason, probably NHS loyalty points, I was in a single room, the toilet was difficult to get the wheelchair in but it was manageable. My hospital letter had said to be at the ward for no later than 07:00. The second letter said that if you were on the morning list you would need to be in at 07:00, and then gave all the instructions on eating, drinking etc. It stated that if you were on the afternoon list you need to be at the ward by 11:00 and the all the instructions again, from this I knew I was on the morning list. After an age the Anaesthetist came round, introduced himself and said the he would go through the paperwork with me but another Anaesthetist would be doing the procedure, as he was not on all day. I thought he must have an exceptionally short day if he was not doing my anaesthetic. Later the registrar came to see me, went through the procedure and he said that my Consultant had seen the letter I emailed him (I had sent him the original letter in early December but found out at my pre op assessment he did not receive it. I Emailed it to his secretary on the Monday). I asked him about being catheterised as I thought I would be bed bound for a day or two, explaining the issues I have with balance etc. on a bed pan. He told me that the procedure was really simple and I wouldn’t be in theatre long. They expected me to have all my mobility and I could be out that evening, he did tell me to make sure I went to the toilet before being taken to theatre. I asked if it would be a while before I went to surgery and he told me that I was last on the list. My friend, Ro, who I know from working at Addenbrooke’s as an ODO (Operating Department Orderly) in 2005 came in to see me. She is a great bubbly ray of sunshine and now a Theatre Sister, we sat chatting for a while and catching up which was great. I told her of my confusion over the time I could go home as in Clinic I was told I would be in for a few days. She went off to find out what she could and said she would pop back later. I spoke to a nurse and asked about the time I might go down and was told I was last on the list and it would be this afternoon. I told her that the letter read that I was on the morning list, she told me that everyone on that ward is on the early list but it runs all day and they get everyone in at 07:00. After mentioning that I had carried out the instructions of not eating from midnight and not drinking from 06:00 I asked if I could have a drink. It was 09:45 and I was lucky to get a glass of water before the 10:00 deadline, I then sat back for the long wait. Hours later Ro came back to see me again and she took me down to the concourse so I could get a paper as I had nearly finished reading my Bookazine. She didn’t like to say anything, as she knows I hate staying in hospital but I was down for an overnight stay. I could cope with an overnighter, Ro also mentioned she had told everyone in my chain of theatre care to look after me, she also spoke to my consultant about me too. At 12:00 I asked if it was OK to self-administer my medication, they were fine with that and I could have sips of water to take them with. At about 14:00 I was asked to get slowly ready for theatre, this involved the obligatory gown, hospital dressing gown (which I’ve never had at Hinchingbrooke) which is basically the same as a gown but fits the normal way round and a little non slip sock to keep my tootsies warm. At 16:15 a young guy came to collect me, following the registrars instructions I went to the toilet and at 16:20 we were on our way. As the ward I was on closed overnight I was told my wheelchair and bag would be waiting for me on the ward I was going to. There are loads more theatres at Addenbrooke’s now than when I worked there. They don’t have the orderlies and theatre health care workers any more but they have been merged into one job, which I would have loved to do. I’m sure I recognized the anaesthetist from when I was working there, he was an Asian guy but had these amazing grey like coloured eyes. There was also an anaesthetist over from Holland, who was seeing how we do things in the UK, and also the ODP (Operating Department Practitioner) assisting the Anaesthetist. The Anaesthetist told me they would do an epidural and a local nerve block. I had explained to them that I have no idea why but the pain in the left leg has always been much worse than in the right, even for the same procedure. They scanned my groin for the nerve to do the block but were finding it difficult because I have not been very mobile, which makes it much hard to find. In the end he told me that they would do that when I was asleep. My Consultant came in and had been called to help with another operation but wanted to talk to me about what they were going to do. He told me that they would see what they could find inside (even though nothing showed up on the MRI scan but friction), scuff the end of the bone and because the weight of the stump was an issue they would do some liposuction. He told me that he had never done liposuction on an amputee before and they don’t really have that many above knee amputees through there. This left me slightly more confused and even less confident but I had to go through with it. He asked the registrar if the liposuction kit was there, then told him to get one ready. The Consultant then went in the Theatre and had a long discussion with the registrar, while the Anaesthetist started the epidural. The epidural was done and went reasonably well, which considering I have a degenerative condition in my lower spine and have facet joint injections down there was quite a surprise. The Dutch Anaesthetist had put the cannula in before the epidural, I could tell it wasn’t in that well but considering they were going to put me out with it and I could manage that then I didn’t care. After all that there it was, the oxygen mask on my face and the inevitable sleep that was very soon to follow. In recovery as I was waking up I was asked if I was in any pain, all I could feel was a stinging in my hand from the cannula. I told the nurse and she disconnected the drip, which gave instant relief, I new it wasn’t in properly. I looked at the clock and it was 19:30. At something like 19:45 I was about to be wheeled to the ward, another person asked the recovery Nurse where we were going, she said we were going to C8 but now we were going to L5. At this point I had no pain at all anywhere, it felt great and I kept drifting in and out sleep. While I was on the ward it was exactly the same, just got some rest and pain free. They were looking at my drug chart and needed to give me some of the medication I went in with, I told them it was in my bag but it turned out my bag was sitting on my wheelchair down on the admission ward, which was now closed. They told me they would try and get someone to get it for me. I have no idea what time it was but the epidural started to wear off and I had a localised pain, It felt exactly like someone was pressing their thumb as hard as they could in the back of the stump. As the epidural wore off the pain obviously spread and it became much worse. The pain was like nothing I had experienced before and it was across the whole of the back of the stump. At about 02:00 I asked the nurse if I could be catheterised as I was desperate for the toilet but knew I would struggle to use the bedpan or commode, I was told that they wouldn’t because of the risk of infection. The nurse said she would get a bedpan, in no time she was back and her and a trainee nurse tried to help me get on it. It was the low type that looks like a dustpan but it just dug in the back of the stump, we tried stuffing a pillow in that side but it was no good I had to get off it. She then went off to get a commode, again her and trainee tried to help me, with the nurse taking the weight of the stump while I used my arms to try and push myself across onto it. Eventually I was on but again we had to stuff a pillow under the stump. I was left to go but as busting as I was I couldn’t, I managed a little bit then stopped, managed a little bit more then stopped, this went on for ages until I felt reasonably empty but I had to get off as the pain was so bad. They helped me back in bed and all I could hope for was a long amount of time before I wanted to go again!


Surgeon 1

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