Well, it’s done. The surgery is over and now I’m at home recuperating so I thought I should do a blog post to update.
Tuesday morning all went rather quickly to be honest. I drove to the hospital which, although I didn’t want to do, my mum insisted and I think it was good rather than me sitting in the passenger seat over-thinking. We arrived far too early so we sat in the car for a little while and then went into the hospital around about 6.45am. I had to be there by 7am.
We sat in the waiting area until the reception opened, there were a few other people there too, so once it opened I went up and showed them my letter and sat back down again. After about 10 minutes a porter came along and asked everyone to follow him. We ended up in a pre-surgery ward where there were 6 cubicles. We had the regular comedian there who was about 95 and delighted in telling the nurse every detail of his wife’s medical history so loud that everyone knew she’d had a stroke in January, then a hysterectomy in King’s College Hospital which was awful and the conditions were terrible, now she was having her gallbladder removed. Lovely.
First I had to take everything off and put a gown on with my dressing gown over the top and remove all my jewellery. Then I just sat there waiting. A few nurses, doctors, other medical personnel came in and asked me the same questions over and over – am I allergic to anything? When did I last eat? How old am I? etc. My consultant came in and was very warm and chatty as usual (i.e. not at all) and warned me of all the dangers again and I had to sign a consent form. The form said that there was a danger of slippage, infection, accidental limb amputation, decapitation and death. So I signed that bad boy. I was then given some very sexy compression socks which were incredibly tight and didn’t so much compress my legs as completely cut off the circulation from the knee down so there was no danger of a DVT whatsoever.
Then the nurse came in, gave me a pillow and asked me to follow her. I kissed my mum and now was the part I dreaded. I followed her through corridors and into a lift. She made me laugh in the lift because her belly rumbled really loudly and she was a little embarrassed. She also asked me why I wanted the operation and I told her because I wanted to lose weight amongst other things. I said I don’t have an ideal weight and I just want to be able to buy clothes from normal shops so I’d like to be a size 16. She asked what size I was now and I said a 24-26 and she was very shocked.
She led me into a corridor where lots of people in scrubs were standing. Then I went into a small room and some more scrubs gathered around me asking questions again – what are you allergic to? How old are you? When did you last eat? I had to put a hair net on and I sat on a little stool. The nurse put her hand on my shoulder and commented at how soft my dressing gown was. Then came the bit I dreaded most – I was walked into the theatre. The chair wasn’t like how I’d been shown back before I even met my consultant. In the class I had to attend which told us all about the different types of procedures they’d shown us the inside of the theatre and the chair looked like a dentist’s chair. This was just a normal bed. And this was when I got upset. I sat on the edge of the bed and then had to lay down and I was staring up at these big lights while 2 people pulled my left around around and put in some needles and a lady pulled my right arm around and did something on that side. I cried. Then they put an oxygen mask on me and I waited for them to tell me to count to 10 or whatever but it never came. I don’t even remember my eyes closing but that was it.
The next thing I remember is opening my eyes in the recovery room. They must have been moving me from one bed to the other and it really bloody hurt! I remember shouting that it hurt and so they gave me some morphine. And then I said it still hurt so they gave me some more. They didn’t tell me anything about the surgery so I didn’t even know if it had all gone as planned. The consultant had warned me beforehand that if he opened me up and found my liver hadn’t shrunk enough that he wouldn’t be able to do the surgery. I didn’t know if it had been successful or not. Then I was wheeled down some corridors to a ward and just went to sleep.
Every two hours I kept being woken up to have my blood pressure taken. Then at around 3pm I started to come around a bit. One of the members of my consultant’s team came around and looked at my chart. He asked if I’d be very disappointed if I had to stay in overnight because my blood pressure was low. I said this wasn’t a problem. I wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere! So I phoned my mum and told her they were keeping me in and she said she’d come and visit me later once I’d seen the dietitian and nutritionist.
They came along after a while and I was told what would happen during my recovery. The books I’ve been reading haven’t been very good to be honest. Most of what they told me wasn’t how my surgical team dealt with things including my post-op diet. I thought it was going to go through 6 stages – clear liquids, cloudy liquids, smooth, puree, mushy and solids. No, not so. I only have 2 stages in my post-op diet – 2 weeks of milk-based smooth foods (milkshakes, smoothies, yoghurt drinks, creamy smooth soups, etc.) then after 2 weeks it’s mushy things like Weetabix, mashed potato, small lumpy foods. Fabulous! I really wasn’t looking forward to all that liquid again. So I immediately had a lovely cup of milky tea.
My mum came to visit that evening but I was still really sleepy so she didn’t stay long. And I didn’t sleep very well that night either as they kept taking my blood pressure every 2 hours. I also still had the needles in my left hand which, by now, had welded to my hand and I couldn’t straighten it. It was very painful and I couldn’t grip anything. I kept asking if it could be removed as it wasn’t doing anything but they wouldn’t take it out which was annoying.
The following morning I managed to get up and have a bit of a wash. My blood pressure had stabilised and they thought I was well enough to go home so I even managed to dress myself. I did, however, manage to drop everything I could have on the floor when I was trying to wash and then struggled to pick it up. Thanks Mr Sod and your ever-faithful law. I still had to wait for the dispensing nurse to give me all my meds before going though and I called my mum to let her know to come and pick me up. I was given a big plastic bag full of meds – liquid ibuprofen, liquid paracetamol, tramadol and some tablets to keep stomach acid down. Luckily I’ve not been in that much pain so I’ve not resorted to the tramadol but I’ve been taking the ibuprofen and then paracetamol before going to bed. The only real pain I’ve had is from my left shoulder. Apparently it’s wind but I’m not entirely sure how wind affects your shoulder.
I’ve now been home for two and a half days. I’ve slept a lot and moaned a lot but my mum’s been looking after me. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t fall asleep but I did feel very worn out when it came to bed time. I’m not really in pain but if I sit in one position for too long then it’s as if I get used to it so when I do then move it feels tight and stiff. I have 5 incisions in my belly with the top one being the one that feels like it gets tighter than the rest.
Today has been my best day so far though, I think. My dad came to visit last night and so today my parents have gone to visit my nephews. So I got up and had a shower, washed my hair and dried it, dressed myself and have changed my dressings. Well, I’ve take the old dressings off but haven’t put the new ones on yet as I wanted to make sure everything was properly dry. I’ve noticed all my bruises coming out, the one on my hand where the needles were are going to be belters. They’re green at the moment but they’re going to go a lovely shade of purple so I’ll have to take photos when that happens.
I have weighed too although it’s not going to be accurate considering I’ve not been to the toilet since Monday (5 days) and if I am still full of wind then it’s not coming out. I’m having problems with farting (to put it politely!) so once all that kicks in then I should start seeing some results. I’m not hungry at the moment either but I am fancying food. I’ve had some small portions of soup but nothing major yet obviously. I weighed this morning and according to my scales I’ve lost 3lbs since Tuesday morning. So this is the first part of the journey. Feeling better after the surgery but the biggest hurdle is yet to come – training myself to eat in a whole new way.