Exercise “Battle of the Bug” Commences

Because of being ‘Nil by mouth’ from midnight I managed to get left in peace first thing in the morning, apart from the obligatory medication at about 06:00. I managed to get some sleep throughout the night but was extremely apprehensive about this surgery and what it would be like after. Having surgery is always get in, go through the pain, couple of rough days, on with the rehab and then it’s all over red Rover. Even for a seasoned patient professional like me two stage surgery was daunting. It’s another new world I was heading into, another unknown, and I was scared.

I was third on the list and it was anticipated I would be taken down around lunchtime. The first person round was the Anaesthetist asking all the usual questions, all the consent and paperwork had been done the previous day. A little later a lady came in and introduced herself. She was a Consultant Plastic Surgeon, a very nice lady but what she was telling me wasn’t so nice. She normally comes in after the Orthopaedic Team have finished to closed the wound. She told me how she brings tissue from the calf round to the front and over the knee, there could be nerve damage, problems with walking and lots of scarring to the back of the leg. This wasn’t really the best conversation to be having but at least I was aware of what could happen, although I was originally told there would be no need for the plastic team.

I went for a shower, which I hoped would make me feel better. The other advantage of the shower was it seems to take me ages to have one, which I knew would help kill some time. It did take quite a while but more importantly it did make me feel a bit better. Not long after I came out the Plastic lady came back to see me. She told me she wasn’t needed for my surgery but it was good to have the chat as sometimes they’ll be used in the second stage. I was quite relieved to be honest, as good as plastic surgeons are the previous chat had not made me feel any better about the surgery.

I couldn’t believe how quickly they seemed to come for me and by 11:20 I was with the Anaesthetist. My consent form was missing from my folder so while they were tracking that down the Anaesthetist was trying to cannulate me. Unfortunately I’d got cold so my veins had buried themselves, again, he decided to try and get a cannula in to put me to sleep then get a better one in while I was asleep. Being rather evil he tried the vein on the back of my left thumb. This was very painful but thankfully he stopped, then he went for one in the back of the right hand. This was painful but not as bad as the thumb, he put some local anaesthetic through it so he could put me to sleep and that’s exactly what he did next.

Later I came in and out of sleep in the recovery room where I had been since 14:55. At one point I felt that ever familiar feeling of badly needing a wee. I asked about the catheter they were going to put in, the Nurse said there wasn’t one there and they would try me on a bed pan. Regular readers will know that just doesn’t work with me so then she went to get a catheter. Unfortunately, and never before, I had an accident in the bed so she fitted the catheter and changed the sheets. I noticed the Anaesthetist had tried three times to get the cannula in on the left wrist before getting the one in he was using on the right wrist.

I’d had two blocks put in the right leg but despite that I could feel the drain, which was both uncomfortable and painful. I must have been in need of sleep because I didn’t leave recovery till 18:30. I managed to get a bit more sleep back on the Ward (helped by the fact I was in a quiet side room) but unfortunately my night was about to get bad. At 20:30 they rolled me on my side to check for pressure sores, they rolled me on to my operated side but to my amazement it was the most pain free way of laying. I went back onto my back and the rest of the night was spent in pain and asking for pain relief, nothing seemed to work though. By 03:30 the blocks had worn off, I wouldn’t say I was in anymore pain than before they wore off, just more aware of my leg and foot and able to move them. It was a very long night.

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