Friday, July 12, 2013

My First General Anaesthetic

Yeah yeah, 33 and I've never had a general anaesthetic. I told you, medically I'm very boring. No fillings, no broken bones, still have my tonsils & appendix. And quite happy that way, thanks :)

But if you've been reading a while, you'll know I have fibroadenoma in both breasts. I've known about them since I was about 17. I've had them biopsied twice (once when they were first discovered and once a couple of years ago). There is nothing to worry about, they won't turn cancerous or anything. The way I understand it is it's just breast tissue that clumps together ... like it forgets what it's job in the body is or something? Anyway, they change over time and I had two that got quite large. And when they get over 3cm, they like to remove them. I had one that was 3.5cm and another that was 4.5cm. That 4.5cm one was the first one we found all those years ago and these 2 are the ones that have been biopsied too, I supposed because they were so big.

So anyway, queue a Bilateral (both sides) Giant (>3cm) Fibroadenoma Excision (complete removal). I wasn't too nervous, I mean I spose I was a little, not knowing what to expect and all. But it was all pretty fine and smooth. I am super glad to have had Mom here for this week tho, and The Trucker has been fantastic. Surgery is a team sport, let me tell you!

We had an early night on Monday after a home cooked meal (you try finding a Joburg restaurant open on a Monday night, impossible!). Then it was nil-by-mouth after 10pm. The whole house was up at 4:45am on Tuesday morning. 3 showers done and we were out the door, headed all the way to Milpark to get there at 6am. We were a few minutes early and I think I was the 4th admission.

That was pretty easy since I'd filled in all those forms on Thursday already. And off to the ward we went. One of the ladies I'd seen there on Thursday was in the bed opposite me and we were 4 in the room (full) by the time I came back from my surgery.

I was very lucky. I was the 2nd surgery of the morning. My anaesthetist came past again. It's very weird when you know someone and you spoke to them one-on-one only a few days ago who clearly doesn't remember who one earth you are. Thank goodness for all those forms! The same happens with the nurses you spend all day with and then see again when you're back for a dressing change ... they have no idea who you are. I guess they are one person for you to remember and they are seeing tons of different faces every day. Still it's a weird experience.

Anyhoo, into the gaping gown with me and one of those odd shower cap type things. And revolting disposable underwear (in case for any reason you end up needing a catheter during surgery). I dunno who they make these things for but I was drowning in mine! And then you pop a pre-med and the porter arrives to wheel you off.

Again I was very lucky, Mom and The Trucker followed my bed all the way to the theatre waiting room (right outside the operating theatre) and they could stay with me till I went in. I did get a little teary (must've been the nerves) at first as they wheeled me out of the ward and off to the theatre when I was saying goodbye to them. This made it much easier!

I got my drip injected and they came and accidentally drew blood (this was the only surreal part of the experience, appears there were many versions of who was right vs wrong in this story), but since blood drawing doesn't bother me one bit, I wasn't phased.

And then I said goodbye for really-real and they wheeled me right into the theatre. Yes, I was awake. I somehow feel you should never really see the actual theatre ... all a little too close for comfort and that? But there I was, shifting myself off my bed onto the theatre table under three of those giant circle lights.

Here's what I remember: Staring up at those lights and appreciating they weren't as blindingly bright as I would've expected. The weird gel things your ankles lie on. My arm getting very cold. My aneasthetist talking about the pre-med being like the date-rape drug rohypnol (assume because I was surprised I was awake in the theatre and she said most people don't remember it). The pre-med is actually Dormicum. And I remember them putting the mask on my face and taking it off and putting it back on. And that's it. Assume the anaesthetic was in the mask. Very disappointed there was no counting back from 10 :/

I woke up in recovery. I felt like I was waking up from a normal night of sleep (perhaps a perk of such an early morning?). Apparently I was coming to as they wheeled me into recovery (which I gather is standard), rubbing my eyes and asking the time. 9:30am, if you're wondering. Mom & The Trucker had been told my surgery & recovery would be about an hour ... so I gather they were getting a little nervous, but not getting any info on their side. I had to stick around recovery, dozing for about 20 minutes (assume in case anything goes awry) before they wheeled me back to my ward. But while waiting in recovery, I did get to see the fibroadenoma they cut out of me as they came past me in their little specimen jars. Yeah, they looked pretty weird :P

I was a little worried, looking out for The Trucker or Mom, they weren't in my ward, and I had no way to reach them ... but they arrived shortly :)

It was a very long day. I had oxygen for quite a while (apparently this aids healing, everyone in my ward got it on return from surgery). I had a "surgical bra" (basically a very simple sports bra style thing to minimise jiggling) and a P-VAC with 2 drains. I dozed on and off till lunch. And I felt generally fine. Was a little nauseous prior to lunch, but they gave me ice cubes and that sorted it right out (assume cause I was hungry). I seem to have been very lucky and have had no pain worth mentioning.

I had some hospital lunch and then I was fully alert again, and the day really started to drag. Eventually if you're alert and what not, they get you mobile. You can go to the loo yourself (thank goodness, a bed pan is a dreadful device) and get into your pj's if you want (definitely!) and then they make you walk the length of the ward with your drip on a wheely pole.

They monitor your stats regularly (breathing rate, heart rate etc). Before you go walk-about they take the monitors off and then they come round to check manually, first every half hour then every hour.

Mom did a snack run, The Trucker did a juice run. They were very bored too, at least I had a bed :) You have to wait for the doctors to finish their surgeries for the day before they come and do rounds and check up on you.

Shame one poor lady who'd arrived in our ward while I'd been in surgery had also stopped eating at 10pm the night before and I reckon she ended up being the last surgery of the day, somewhere about 15h30 ! She was starving and grumpy.

A doctor I'd never met before came round. Apparently he was the plastic surgeon. He looked at our charts and checked up on us cause Dr Benn was busy. Although she came around shortly after.

I was going home! I could've stayed and had the drains taken out before I left the next morning. But I was itching to go home ... and I didn't want to be on my own there. 2 of the 4 of us in my ward left.

We drove home. Me in the back seat, in my pjs with my drain in The Trucker's hoody (that he let me borrow) pocket.. Not sure yet when I can wear a seatbelt.

We barely had dinner. I'd eaten at about 5pm at the hospital again. I didn't feel guilty, they'd had Salvation Cafe for breakfast while I was in surgery!! We were all in bed by 8pm.

1 comment:

Louisa said...

I'm glad it went well and that you didn't have to stay in hospital.

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