I thought I'd finally give a run down of the surgery day for anyone who's interested. I was notified the day or two before that I wouldn't need to arrive by 8.30 as I was being done in the afternoon and I could therefore have a small breakfast. I had to be there for 10.30 instead.
I caught the train to Manchester and then a taxi to the Spire hospital from there and arrived in good time. I was sitting in my room by 10.30 texting my husband. I'd gone in on my own as we hadn't told anyone about the surgery and therefore we had needed to make some complex arrangements for the children so that they wouldn't know I was away from the house overnight! 'Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!'
We'd told my in-laws that we were going into Manchester with some friends for a meal and asked if the boys could stay overnight with them rather than them having to come to our house and baby-sit...so far so good, until my eldest son was invited to a birthday party the next morning which meant him being dropped off by 9.30...that meant the dinner had to turn into an overnight affair so that we could ask the in-laws to drop him off for us otherwise my husband would have needed to bring our youngest son to the hospital with him to pick me up which would have somewhat spoilt the secrecy rating. Fortunately the in-laws were happy to do all this and asked very few questions about any of it. Phew!
The room wasn't too glamorous...you kind of expect glamour when you go private, but no. And I felt quite self conscious in there and couldn't really relax as i kept expecting someone to walk in and so couldn't be bothered switching on the tv as I wouldn't be able to concentrate on it anyway. I had my iPhone which I had an audio book on that I was listening to to take my mind off what was coming. I still felt nervous however as the audio book was a very suspenseful ghost story!! Not the wisest choice perhaps. I'm quite amazed at how well I can avoid thinking about things these days...I really didn't think forward to the operation much, certainly not in any detail as i think I would have got up and run out screaming if I had.
About half an hour or so after I'd been shown to my room a nurse came in and took my blood pressure and measured me up for my support hose. These are like long white socks with peep toes. Mmmm nice. They are designed to compress the blood flow in your lower legs to decrease the likelihood of having a blood clot (DVT).
By this time I was quite thirsty, but not allowed anything to drink till after it was all over.
11.30 am and the nurse returned with a long questionnaire and gave me a Heparin jab in the tummy to thin my blood and reduce clotting prior to the procedure. After the jab I had a real stinging sensation in my tummy where I'd had the jab...I took this as a bad omen as I felt like a bit of a wimp already and I'd only had a needle. The nurse estimated my op time would be about 5ish, so I decided to hold off on getting into my sexy surgical gown , charming paper pants and grannystockings!
I didn't really feel comfortable reclining on the bed as I felt self conscious...I would have felt really lazy if anyone had come in which they would be doing. Seems silly but I just couldn't so I had to sit in the chair for hours listening to my audio book and now and again getting up and pacing around and every half an hour going to the loo...nerves I guess.
Around lunch time a doctor (suspect he was a trainee) came round and took a blood sample for haemoglobin levels and liver function. He said he would put my line in my hand ready for the anaesthetist if he could find a good vein, now I'm a very veiny person, but for some reason today the usually proud veins on the back of my hands had all but disappeared from view and he just took one look and didn't even mention it again! (that's why I suspect he was a trainee).
About 4.00 I finally got changed into my surgical attire and was all set when Claire the Healthier Weight nurse came to get me. She redid the questionnaire...I can't even remember what the questions were, a lot of them were about making sure I was the right patient at every stage of the process. I had to quote my own birth date rather than just answering yes (I guess people will say 'yes' a lot of the time even if they haven't heard the question properly).
I had to put on my dressing gown and slippers on and walk down to surgery with Claire and an orderly. Once inside the side room to the surgery I was asked to lie on the surgical gurney and a line was put into the back of my hand which was fine, didn't hurt too much. Claire tried to keep me talking at this point distract me from becoming nervous I suspect. I was glad to be distracted to be honest.
The aneasthetist gave me what he called a pre-med, which was supposed to prepare me for the general anaesthetic...don't know how. He injected it into the line on the back of my hand...it felt horribly cold going in and I could feel it going all up my arm, then I could feel a really painful sensation run right down the centre of my body, which culminated in my ladies bits in a very painful fizzing, tingling, burning sensation. Not nice at all. Then I did feel very drunk...I told Claire about the sensations and she said knowingly..."Yes, it's a Dr ?? special" Can't remember the anaesthetists name I'm afraid.
All else I recall prior to the surgery was the anaesthetist saying he was going to administer the general now, and Claire stopping him and saying can we do the questionnaire first and I again had to answer all the questions from the same questionnaire. Very thorough I'm sure. I really can't remember anything else.
The next thing I remember is being very very drowsy and hearing voices very close around me talking, they were obviously observing me closely. I felt as though I couldn't move, I didn't have the strength. Ultimately I managed to open my eyes which was about all I could do. One of the nurses offered me a drink of water and I didn't even have the strength to respond in any way, I couldn't have put my head up to sip anything. One nurse was telling the other one about one of the other patients who she was calling a real 'Princess', she'd aparently been very imperious and demanding about the fact that she was thirsty and wasn't allowed a drink of water prior to surgery. Quite funny, but they seem to almost forget you're there some of the things they say to one another.
When the nurse came to collect me and take me back to the ward, the nurse who'd offered me a drink told her I'd had one drink already and I'd refused a second one...news to me unless I had the first drink whilst I was unconscious...I suppose I could have woken earlier and not remembered it but it seemed unlikely the way I felt then. There was also a conversation with the orderly about the number of patients back to back on Saturday's and Sunday's and how tired they were with the long days. If the orderlys felt that way I dread to think how the surgeons must have felt and I was second from last...they had another patient in surgery still to go. I think they were doing 8 each day. I think it was around 6pm when I woke up.
I was wheeled back to my room and was hooked up to an IV drip for fluids and had an automatic blood pressure machine on my right arm which took my blood pressure every 20 minutes. I had my lower legs wrapped up in these electronic airbags which inflated and deflated intermitently to squeeze the blood around my legs and prevent clots and I still could hardly keep my eyes open.
I'd been asked if I had any pain when I was in the recovery room and indicated that I had some in my incision, so something was given to me for pain, must have been intravenous. I still had some pain for a while (sort of burning sensation), but this eased off after a while as the painkiller took effect.
The bloodpressure machine really squeezed my arm so hard I ended up with purple bruise marks where the creases were caused by the inflating of the armband! Oww, hard to get quality sleep with that going on.
Dr Ashton and my surgeon Mr Favretti and another surgeon who assisted (need to check his name) came in to see me during the evening but I could hardly keep my eyes open to speak to them so they said they'd come back in the morning. Mr Favretti leaned over and said it had all gone very well and squeezed my leg which I thought was very sweet of him. I guess it's quite an intimate experience operating on someone.
The nurse phoned my husband and he came in around 7pm to see how I was. He looked quite anxious for me. I was trying really hard to tell him all about it and not let him feel he might as well have stopped at home for all the comunication going on, but the effort made me feel very nauseous and I ended up sending him for the nurse to get me some anti-sickness medication. Whilst he was gone I closed my eyes and rested, and by the time he'd returned I felt out of immediate danger of vomitting. I explained to the nurse I thougth I may have overdone it trying to chat and she said she could see a real spike in my blood pressure on the machine since my husband had been in, so we decided I'd better stop trying to be entertaining and just get some rest. Oh, and my husband had bought me a bunch of tulips in...only the second EVER bunch of flowers he's bought me! Did I say EVER?! Yes I did, EVER. He must have been worried about me.
After he went home I just dozed between painfully squeezy blood-pressure tests and was quite comfortable, apart from having a very dry throat which felt as though a tube had been shoved down it (think it might have been). So I kept sipping water through the night and I had a lovely nurse who had to unstrap me from all the equipment a couple of times for trips to the toilet.