...and I used to think five hours was pretty long!
I felt sick the night before. I felt sick in the morning. I had felt sick in the patient transport driving between the two hospitals which makes some sense being weak but travel sickness? For 12 hours? In reality, I was petrified.
Eight long hours of poison being pumped in to my system. I knew all about long ops, and anaesthetics made me puke, endlessly, for 24 hrs afterwards as a child. That alongside a feeling of ugly brain fug which would only lose its grip the next day. Awful. The truth of the matter is, my having had many anaesthetics has made me hate them ever more vehemently, not inured me against them.
Just before going down in the morning, the plastics team came up to say hello. I have to say they were a formidable bunch. Looking at these sharp faces around the bed, I was struck with the realisation that they were probably together, the best in the country. I felt happy about the op in terms of outcomes. Just the physical action of the anaesthetic made me feel a bit panicky. Somehow, the two debridement ops earlier in the week did not bother me at all. I knew they were short (comparitively), so could not have the heavy, appalling poisoning effects that four or five (or eight) hours would.
The anaesthetist had already introduced himself upstairs. Now we went through the usual rituals of drug taking: confirming name and date of birth. He listened attentively when I explained my reactions and told me that he was going to administer anti-emetics and was also going to make liberal use of a form of nerve numbing using ultrasound. Given that my last heavy ops had completed twenty years before, this was all new to me. From what I can gather, the effect is somewhat epidural-esque. All very interesting but then the anaesthetist told me he was administering a pre-med through one of my cannulas (that's intravenous needle palced in a semi-permanent position in a vein so that drugs and fluids can be administered quickly). I was horrified, "But pre-meds make me si..." before I'd even got to the end of the sentence I knew I had seconds. Luckily they got a bag, and those tiny sips of illicit water came right back up and 'pleasantly' out of the way before being knocked out. He looked slightly bemused but also a little more "Ok, I believe you". Then... knocked out.
...awake. I will never get used to that instantaneous zonked/wake thing. For those who don't know, you don't feel yourself falling to sleep when they drug you, and you wake up apparently super quick thinking "When's the op going to start?"
There I was AWAKE. Feeling like Me, not some half zombie drug addict. My God. Hello? Clear as a bell. Here came a lovely specialist recovery nurse, Louise. How was I feeling? Well... er... fine, to tell you the truth? Obviously on Morphine but... but head completely clear. Amazing. Eight hours... how the hell did they do it? The anaesthetist came to see how I was after a while. I shook his hand and thanked him. He did an *amazing* job.
I couldn't go up to the ward because they needed a specialist nurse who wasn't on until 7.30. So I talked to Louise about the subjects that fascinate me (ie: mostly asking her questions as to why she was a nurse, why she specialised in recovery nursing and then moved on to Life, the Universe and Everything). I knew that wonderful McK was waiting, exhausted and anxious upstairs but still we couldn't go up. Eventually at half past eight, we left. To a bed with all manner of specialist equipment keeping my newly operated on leg warm and my right leg moving, to prevent blood clots. 'Woken' every half an hour for the ward nurse to perform a doppler test to see if my newly reconstructed ankle with its brand new vein, pretending to be an artery from now on (cut out of my right thigh, where presumably I wasn't using it - er, heh) was still doing the blood pumping throb. And It did. All night. And the next day. And the day after.
And so it would seem appropriate to tell you what they actually *did*.