Archives For regional block

The 6th of July.

Ah, home again, where the water from the tap tastes good.

Up very early because we left before half past eight. First, we drove to Ipswich to drop off Christine at the station there, then we continued for three and a half hours to home. My back was horrific.

We got here just before one, so we had time to pee and have a drink before Mommy and I went to The Spire for my cross-match. The receptionist sent me to the wrong place, so we wasted twenty minutes waiting for someone who wasn’t coming. Thankfully, a member of staff was helpful, and suddenly everything happened very quickly. I went to the right place, and the woman in charge came to apologise profusely and make sure shit got done. A nurse came to get me, and she’d bleeped a doctor to bleed me. He had to have two goes, but he got what we needed. On the way out, we were stopped by the manager again, who qoffered us free coffee and cake! We said yes please, because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and it was delicious.

We stopped at M&S on the way home to buy some dinner, then this afternoon, I have had my first Hibiscrub shower (I have to have another one in the morning) and a hairwash. Having to blow dry one’s hair in this weather is awful.

I do hope I sleep tonight.

The 7th of July.

Liposuction day!

I am exhausted, swollen, oozy and sore.

I got up early to try and drink loads of water before I had to be nil by mouth at 11. We got to The Spire at about twenty past, and someone from the ward came to get me and take me to my room. It was a slightly nicer version of an NHS cubicle room – pretty much the same, but I could lock my cupboard and I had a wardrobe. Fancy.

A nurse came to admit me and do blood pressure, sats and get a urine sample. Then they sent the doctor I saw yesterday to try and get some more blood from me because they were unhappy with the group and save from then. Unfortunately, my veins did not want to cooperate, and after two tries he decided he would let the anaesthetist try in theatre when they put my cannula in.

The anaesthetist himself, Gerwyn, came to see me next and we talked about all the boxes I had ticked on the form (he thinks I probably did break the record). We discussed the regional block, the risks, what else we might need to do. It all sounded very promising so that was grand and off he went. Then we just had to wait for Anne!

She came just after two o’clock and drew all over my arm to show where she was going to go in (basically everywhere), took some pictures for comparison, then I signed the consent form and it was time to go!

In the anaesthetic room, Gerwyn had two attempts at the cannula, unfortunately settling on the vein in the underside of my wrist, although he did put some local anaesthetic in first so it wasn’t as uncomfortable. Couldn’t get any blood but it was unlikely that I’d need a transfusion so nevermind. Then he ultrasounded around my collarbone to find the nerves he wanted to use to make my arm numb. We had to wait for it to kick in, then he started spraying me with the cold spray and poking me with a blunt needle to see what I could feel. Turns out a brachial block can’t numb the inside of the upper arm or the back of it, so they would try and get some local infiltration in theatre.

When we went in, I asked if we were going to do a Who, which they all found very amusing because nobody had ever asked that before, then they asked if I would lead it, so I did! I was prepped, made all clean, some leg massagers were attached to my calves to prevent me from getting another DVT, and a screen was erected in front of my face to keep the sterile and non-sterile areas separate. That was annoying, because I had wanted to watch. However, they asked if I wanted any music to entertain me, so I requested Death Cab. They were unsure until they heard it, and then they realised they are lovely so we just listened to them for two hours while Anne hoovered all the extra fat out of my arm. The noise is like a combination of an electric toothbrush and a drill. And in the places where it wasn’t numb and the local anaesthetic wasn’t reaching, it felt like she was shoving a long drill bit in and out of my arm. It was painful enough to get past just clenching my jaw – I screwed up my face a bit and even emitted an “Ow.” That means it is bad. If you are planning on having liposuction ever, I would recommend making sure you can be entirely numb, and if you can’t, be asleep. It’s not pleasant. When she was finished, all the little holes got stitched up, then covered in Mepore dressings. My entire arm is Mepore. Then, they had to try to get a compression garment over the top without messing up all the dressings. I had a quick look, and she was not kidding about the bruising. It’s rather dramatic. That was tricky, but they did a reasonable job. Blood and fluid has oozed out through it constantly since then, and it’s supposed to carry on until tomorrow evening. I’m not supposed to change the dressings for ten days, but I can’t see how they’ll still be viable even after tomorrow. I’ll ask Anne when she comes round in the morning.

When it was all done, at about quarter to five, I was taken to recovery, where we saw the very end of the football (It’s coming home!) and everybody told me how well I’d done. Anne said it went really well, and she removed a whole litre of fat. A litre! Even she didn’t expect there to be that much. After about half an hour and a much needed glass of water, I was taken back to the ward.

Here, I have had to do everything one handed, because my right arm was useless until about 9. I can flop it about, like Harry Potter does when Gilderoy Lockhart magics away his bones. I managed to get my phone out of the cupboard and ring Mommy, so she could come and see me because she wanted to. Then I rang Christine to tell her how it had gone, because it was easier than texting. I was brought the sandwich I’d ordered before surgery and some coffee, which happily did not taste like garbage. I was so hungry but it’s hard to eat an egg mayo sandwich with only one hand. Mommy arrived, I told her all that had happened, and she helped me sort out the sheets and shuffle myself up the bed. She left at about twenty past seven, and I lay and waited for my arm to come back to me, sending her a video every time the mobility moved up the arm a bit. By 9, I had regained most of the movement and sensation. It’s got its cons though – now I can feel again, I’m aware that it is quite achy. Will ask the nurses for some codeine, see if that helps. Then I will try to go to sleep. Not feeling optimistic.

The 9th of January.

Well it’s been a curious day. I had to get up at quarter past five to ensure I had time to drink a litre of water before 6am, from which I had to be nil by mouth.

We arrived at about quarter to seven, and had to wait outside the Short Stay Wellcome Unit until someone let us and the two nurses without working passes in. Then we sat in the waiting room and watched Good Morning Britain until someone came to take me to my bedspace.

I was in the corner of the room – it used to be the ICU when it was the main hospital, so the bedspaces are massive and it means I am not crammed next to loads of people. I have been here before but we can’t remember what on earth for.

Mr. Titley came to see me, and he ran through once again what was going to happen. Examination under anaesthetic, possibly biopsy, possibly smear, possibly photographs. In the end, none of those things happened, just the exam. I signed the consent form, and off he went. Then I met with the anaesthetist, Dr. Allan, who was very nice, as all anaesthetists are. We talked about why he didn’t want to knock me out – same as Dr. Thompson, in that I’d end up stuck in ICU and if they ever did wake me up, my lungs would be in worse shape than they were going in which we can’t have. He had to talk me through all the risks of epidurals and regional blocks etc, which I was happy to take, then he went away and I finished being admitted by the nurse.

Miss Byrom wasn’t expected to arrive until about ten, so I didn’t get changed until twenty to, and I’d not been ready long when a porter came to get me so my timing was impeccable. I started off in the little anaesthetic room, where the trainee anaesthetist got stuck up against a valve in my wrist, so Dr. Allan had to stick the cannula in halfway up my forearm. I needed it so they could give me a bit of antibiotics and fluid so there was a balance against the spinal injection when he did it. When it came to that time, I had to sit with my legs over the edge of the bed, and hunch over my pillow on my lap. I got sprayed with super cold cleaning spray all over my back, then there was a small amount of local which felt the same as always, and then he did the regional block injection which I didn’t feel at all. All I noticed was a spreading feeling of warmth from my bum downwards, which was sort of nice but also disarming. I could move my legs to get them back on the bed, then I had to wait for them to get heavy before we could do anything more. I didn’t expect the sensation to be so acute – despite my brain knowing that I have the muscle strength to move my legs, I physically could not lift them, not even using my arms. It is absolutely bizarre.

At that point, we could move through to theatre, where my legs were put in the stirrups, and nine strangers got to see my vagina. That was interesting, because I could see them being flopped about into different positions, but I had no feeling at all; it was like they were broken, like they belonged to someone else. Then my vagina got sprayed with the cold spray to test if I could feel anything, which I could not, so they were able to begin. As far as I could tell, Miss Byrom tore through the adhesions again, then there was just a lot of shoving – I was aware of pressure, but no pain. It is entirely scarred, so no biopsy would tell us anything, and Mr. Titley cannot do any surgery to help. It took them about 20 minutes of shoving and looking to decide this, then some packing and a catheter were put in, and they started discussing what might be done next. It sounds like I’m going to end up with some kind of custom made silicone dilator but we will have to see. Emails must be sent.

Once covered up, I was taken to recovery, where I got a hot blanket which was so beautifully toasty, and we waited for my theatre notes so I could come back to the ward. And here I have sat since twelve, waiting for the anaesthetic to wear off and the catheter to come out. I have had coffee and a panini, and can move my legs independently again, which is nice. It still feels like I am sitting on a cushion of jelly, five hours later, but the catheter is out and I’m hoping to be able to pee in the next half an hour so I can then go home.

For all the NHS crisis talk, you wouldn’t know it here. I have been taken care of wonderfully, they are showing no signs of stress and I haven’t got angry at anyone.

The 10th of January.

I was woken up by Mommy telling me she had to go to Grandma’s because she was being taken into hospital. The cough she seemed to be incubating has definitely matured into a nasty chest infection and as the day has gone on, she has had tests and been admitted to have IV steroids and antibiotics while being on 5 litres of oxygen. That’s more than I was using even when my lung collapsed so she is really quite unwell. Apparently the doctor was not exactly optimistic.

My day has been a pretty quiet one, as one would expect the day after surgery. I was supposed to be going to a clinic at St. Giles but I cancelled that – I’m not sure how productive it would have been, and we’ve agreed I’ll reschedule once I’ve had my fancy MRI.

I had a couple of other phone calls; one with Adam from Black Sheep about my hair colour, one with the eye department at the QE to sort out an appointment, one with Lucy from Anthony Nolan to discuss press for Still Standing, and one with a lady who is going to come and view the kittens on Friday.

Speaking of them, I watched some more of Big Little Lies with them asleep in my arms. I’m almost reluctant to allow their adoption!