*Fair warning. This is a detailed post about my op. If you don’t like it don’t read, but it’s my way of getting rid of the anger I have over certain things*
Well as I type this, I’m lying in bed in Edinburgh with a new right hip. To say it’s been a mad month would be an understatement. From being told I had the date, to going in, then coming out again, has been completely nuts. I knew I was going to be going in for IV’s a few days early, so that wasn’t too bad. I was on my resp ward for that and had my normal staff about who knew me. It was good that they knew what was going on because they could see me having a mini meltdown over the course of the week. But being the fantastic team that they are, they all knew exactly what to say. And then the night before my op dad came up so he was staying with me during the first few days after my op, and was going to be there in the morning to go with me. 21 year old grown up adult and all that? Piss offfffff! I love my dad and I’m not afraid to say it.
Day of Op – I was nil by mouth completely from 2am. I was allowed a sip of water with my meds, but I got pissed off with my mouth being dry and had more than one sip. Dad was on the ward at about 7.15am and was sat with me while I was having my last IV Hydro before my op and when they were going through the pre-op checklisst. He had to answer most of the questions for me cause by this stage I was a shaking, terrified wreck. One of the nurses on the ward came to theatres with me. I think it was obvious by this stage I was past nervous and was just a quivvering wreck. Jayne (nurse from ward) gave me a hug and wished me good luck. Unfortunately there was no space in the area they put you in before your op so I went into recovery to have the pre oppy stuff done. (Oppy is a word, honest). Then they wheeled me to the anesthetic room which was where they had to boot dad. I was sat on the edge of the trolley while one of the anesthetists (Yes, only I could manage 2 anesthetists, my chest cons, chest SHO and surgeon for an op) tried to get a grey cannula in me. Errrrr… No. She managed to get a green one in after about 4 gos. I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t understand why they couldn’t just use the pink one and then attack me when I was in lala land. But anesthetist no2 started putting the epidural in about now. I remember coming out with “THAT FUCKING HURTTTTS!” and then telling him he was a sadist. But after that all I knew was my left leg was going numb and there seemed to be a strange urgency to get me onto the trolley. It was very weird then because all of a sudden there was about 10 people in the room and someone was putting an oxygen mask on me and trying to get a neb going. But I’d put my iPod in and closed my eyes so I didn’t care. I can remember them rolling me about and getting my leg onto a strange contraption and me telling them I was going to sleep and to leave me alone, and then them saying they were taking me into theatre, but that was about it. I woke up just coming out of surgery and I think the first thing I said was “Is it over? Where’s dad?” and pretty much demanding they got dad for about 15mins straight until he came. Then I decided I was freezing and ended up with a bairhugger blanket. Google it. They’re amazing. Then I was taken to ICU and dad and Irene came to see me. The next 24 hours are a bit of a blur. I can remember being in some shit ass pain that I can’t even begin to describe and telling them if they didn’t sort it out I was going to scream. Then being told I had to use a bedpan. Now that was just the straw that broke the camels back. I threw a complete tantrum and told them that under no circumstances was I using a bedpan. To which I was told that it was either that or I just went in the bed. Anyone who knows me will know that things like that just piss me off. I had to use the bedpan. And it was one of the most horrible experiences ever. I was in so much pain that trying to get on it was agony, then I was so upset at using it that I couldn’t go. Then when I did manage to go, I’d been waiting so long I was so full that it overflowed and I had to have everything changed. I’m 21. I shouldn’t be having a hip replacement, never mind having to use a bedpan, and then miss. I felt completely empty. I know it wasn’t the nurses faults, because I wasn’t in any fit state to use a commode, but from what I’ve heard now, I should’ve been catherterised in theatre to avoid anything like that happening. But after all that was over, and I’d cried myself into a mini splatt because nobody thought to sort my painkillers out and I was in agony, I finally managed to get some IV morphine and then a morphine PCA. Once we’d managed to get my pain reasonably controlled I was finally able to get some sleep.
Day 2 – They always say the first 24-48hrs after any operation is the worst, and I’ll stand testiment to that. With my chest the way it was, we couldn’t stop the infusion I was on to keep my chest well. But the ward I was meant to be going to wouldn’t have me on it because they “weren’t equipped to handle it” which was met with expletives from me, dad, my ICU nurse, Irene and my chest cons. So we changed some IV’s around and I was given a different medication and told that ICU outreach would take care of it. Luckily they did and I was able to get to the ward about 7ish. When I got there, I was finally able to stand up to get to a commode. When I was told they had to log roll me to check for bed sores, I was so tired I agreed. Dad went to sit in the hall while they did all that, but when they rolled me, they grabbed my hip. I honestly thought at that point I’d pass out. I screamed in pain. Dad said he never wants to hear a sound like it. But I promptly told them to get out and let me sleep at that point. I was beyond pissed off. They knew where the incision on my leg was and they just pulled it as if it wasn’t there. Unfortunately because I’d come from ICU, and I was scoring on the MEWS (Don’t start me, it’s evil.) I ended up on hourly observations. And then in true Vicky style decided to spike a temp of about 39degrees. Cue panic of bleep every SHO they could bloody think of. I had the anesthetic SHO, Chest SHO, Ortho SHO and Medical SHO poking me all in the space of an hour trying to figure out why I was spiking a temp. I was just in a really bad mood and wanted everyone to leave me alone. It was the first time I’d managed to get any sleep and they were fecking with me. I ended up having bloods done (which when done by dr’s take more than one go. Useless bunch of twats. I did tell them to bleep the Night pracs!), a chest x-ray, bloody hrly neuro obs, my dressing changed at 3am to check for signs of infection and I was threatened with a lumbar puncture. Thank God it didn’t come to that. The quacks came to the conclusion that it was my bodies way of getting over the operation, but that I was to remain on hrly neuro and normal obs for 24hrs and that they wanted bloods done again in the morning. All I wanted was sleeeeeeep!
Day 3 – They say a picture tells a thousand words, so I’ll show you the picture dad got of me taking my first steps after my op.
Sheer grit and determination. I will get there.
The next two days were filled with trying to get up and about as much as I could. I’d set myself goals each day, and each day I’d hit them and astound the physios. Technically speaking I was still meant to be in ICU. And today should still be in hospital. Don’t get me wrong, It’s sore. It’s hard work and when I was in ICU I was seriously wondering why I was putting myself through it, but every day I’m managing to do even more. Tonight I managed to lift my bad leg up off the bed 5x and did it twice. I couldn’t do that before my op.
I wouldn’t have been able to do it though if it hadn’t have been for some very special people. I’m not going to list them, but they know who they are. I couldn’t have done it without you all. You gave me a reason to smile, came to visit me, brought me drinks when I was dehydrated and kept me company in ICU when I was scared. These are the people who I know will always be there for me, and they didn’t leave me at the hardest points.
You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’