I am finally on the other side of my surgery and all went according to plan. I was due to be admitted at 12pm and ended being late due to the city centre being closed because of a car accident. It’s typical me to not be anxious about an impending major surgery but to have a near panic attack about being ten minutes late.
Once in my room I was told to immediately change into a gown as I was the only person on the list for the afternoon. I barely had time to change before my surgeon came in and marked me up with a sharpie! Literally thirty seconds later the anaesthetist came in and introduced herself. A mere twenty five minutes after admission I was being led down to theatre.
There was no anaesthetic room so I went straight into the theatre and led down on the operating table. Due to my scientific background in biology I was really interested in the different drugs being used for the anaesthetic and had this surreal experience of discussing all of this with the anaesthetist while being prepared for surgery. She gave me a shot of midazolam into the cannula which was rather pleasant. I don’t remember anything after that until I came round in recovery.
My first thought was annoyance that I couldn’t remember being given the actual anaesthetic. I then noticed that I couldn’t stop shivering. Due to most of my body being exposed for over 4 hours my core body temperature had dropped. I was under a heated blanket so I was soon back to normal. The pain from the surgery was there and could be felt as a burning, stinging sensation which got worse when I moved; it wasn’t unmanageable though. I went under at about 1pm and was back in my room by 7pm.
I spent the first night having to get up to use the bathroom every two hours as they’d pumped me full of fluids during the surgery. I hated having to alert the nurse every time I wanted to get up but I had to be disconnected from these mechanised pressure socks to help mitigate the risk of DVT. Moving around wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be pain-wise but negotiating going to the bathroom with four surgical drains and a compression garment wasn’t fun.
My surgeon came to check on me the next morning and instructed me to get up and walk as much as possible. I was able to have the drains removed from my arms that morning which just left the two in the abdomen. I did as I was told and got up every hour and walked up and down the corridor twice. To be honest I had quite a nice day, the nurses were lovely and the food was good. I’d been saving the production of the musical ‘Hamilton’ to watch until after my surgery and I’m so glad I did as it was wonderful.
The following morning I had my remaining two drains removed (a rather painful experience) and the nurse was amazed I didn’t make a fuss, all I was concerned about was getting them out! I was then discharged at 11am and home by lunchtime.
I have spent the last week taking it easy. The best think I ever did was buy the wedge cushion to raise my legs up; it has made getting comfortable so easy. I have been struggling with the compression garments. I really hate wearing anything tight and obviously by design these garments are extremely tight. They are also not designed for tall people and I’ve had to make a few adjustments to make them bearable.
So was it worth it? Undoubtedly yes!! I am amazed about how I look already despite the swelling. I still have the dressings on my abdomen but the change is stark. The dressings on my arms fell off this morning so the incision line can be seen; it looks a lot worse than it is. A lot of excess skin has been removed but it only weighed 4lbs.
Due to the swelling I won’t show a true weight on the scales for a couple of months and I’m trying not to get too obsessed. I’m sticking to my healthy eating so I know I’m not in any danger of gaining weight. I’m looking forward to getting back to normal and going on a shopping spree for some new clothes asap!