The day before my surgery I was admitted to the hospital. If anyone has been in for a surgery before you know the drill! Bloods, details, samples the usual stuff. I met the nurses on the ward and they put me at ease straight away. Something makes me feel like I was a bit of a novelty when they told me ‘we don’t get many young people here!!’, well, here I am you better make the most of me!! The day was filled with X-Rays and other routine tests. That evening my consultant came to see me, this was the first time Martin had met him. I think he had just come from a surgery with his scrubs on. We had a chat and he explained everything again and once again filled me with confidence as he always has done. When he left I asked Martin what he thought, his response was ‘I was nervous before, but I’m not now’, having someone like him on my side looking after me was the most I could ask for. The anaesthetist was next in queue to see me, and again made me feel safe. ‘I’ve only been doing this for 35 years, don’t worry, I’ll look after you’, it was like he gave me a hand to hold if ever I needed it.
23rd of May. D Day. I was up early, 6.30am for pre-op checks and get my ever so stylish hospital gown on, seriously ladies it didn’t get more attractive than this moment!!! Martin came in at about 7 to see me and wish me well and then it was off to theatre. Some of this morning is hazy because I got a sedative before I went down. I was brought into a room with other people waiting for surgery and all I could think of when listening to them was ‘everyone seems a bit freaked out!’, now the meds probably helped me but still I didn’t feel scared or nervous. After a short while I was brought into a smaller room where the anaesthetist was. Any other surgery I’ve had I was brought into the theatre, they gave me the magic stuff and I woke up later that day, but this was different. My last memory was being in that small room and I got some sort of needle in my hand. Then I woke up.
Now, my aim in this blog is to be as honest as possible, but please keep in mind that this is my situation and this next part doesn’t happen to everyone. I have always been useless with anaesthetics, not that anyone is an anaesthetic professional!!!! I am always sick for days after them, nausea and vomiting being the worst part of any surgery I have. I had told everyone I could think of before the surgery that this always happens, they were probably fed up hearing it. After open heart surgery you spend the night, or part of it in ICU and this is where I woke up. I didn’t just wake up in a fog of meds and anaesthetic but I woke up getting sick, with a ventilator down my throat, I was choking. For the past 10 weeks before my surgery I wasn’t scared, now I was scared. No nurse in my room and no bell to ring, all I could do was bang my hands off the side of the bed to get attention. Eventually a nurse came in and suctioned the vomit from my mouth (sorry for the details but honesty is my only way forward with this!). I must have gone back to la-la land but again I woke up in the same situation, choking. It happened one last time and they decided to take out the ventilator. This ordeal happened to me, it won’t happen to everyone. I had the sense and ability to try to get attention, if I was a child or an elderly person I dread to think what would have happened.
Later that day/night one of the surgeons came in with my consultant, from the conversation all I remember is that he told me he started my scar lower down than usual so I could still show off my cleavage!!!!! That was the least of my worries. One of the physios came in next and decided to get me out of bed, I remember looking at her like she had 10 heads, the nurse wasn’t impressed either because she told her I was being taken to the ward soon. Anyway, out of the bed I got, this was tough, I had chest drains and a catheter in, not to mention I was weak and sick. Either way I ended up sitting on a chair for what seemed like forever, all I wanted was my bed. Instead of putting me back to bed I was wheeled to the ward in a chair, how I stayed upright is beyond me, but I did. That’s all I remember from that night and day, but I suppose a 5-hour surgery will do that to you.
Please remember if you are facing into this operation that this is rare and doesn’t happen to everyone. I want this part to be as honest as I could, I want people to know what I went through so maybe they find some reassurance from it. Things will be ok. I’m going to go through the days after my surgery and remembering as much as I can. Details are important good and bad, everyone is different but similarities happen too. Keep on keeping on and we’ll get there.
#heartsurgery #blog #helpinghand