Archives For surgery

The 8th of July.

So, so tired.

I didn’t fall asleep until about 3 this morning because my arm hurt and I couldn’t get in a comfortable position and the sheets were a mess. Then I was woken up at 7 for my breakfast of toast, marmalade and coffee. I asked the nurses for my Tramadol, because the codeine did fuck all, and found that helped enough for me to be able to bend my arm, brush my teeth and sort out my bed a bit.

Anne had said I could go without seeing her, but I wanted to see what she thought of my arm today and find out what we were to do regarding dressings. She appeared at quarter to twelve, with Mommy and the nurse, which was excellent timing. She took off the bandages, peeled the sleeve down, then removed all the Mepores, trying not to tear my skin. It looks pretty amazing! It looks best immediately post-surgery, then the swelling will go up, but both arms looked nearly identical! And all the compression has alleviated some of the bruising. The nurse gave all the wounds that needed it a clean, then applied new dressings before putting a new sleeve on. So everything is good! I see Fiona the nurse next week, Julie in six weeks, and Anne in September. Then we just had to wait for pharmacy to send up my TTOs and it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s an NHS or a private hospital, they still move at a glacial pace.

I almost match. I’m so happy.

The 9th of July.

Sleep was good. I lay on top of the sheet with my arm on a pillow and managed to stay there until a reasonable time. The arm was less painful, so I think that helped.

I have done very little today. This morning, we watched Christine mace-bear at a graduation ceremony over live stream, then we caught up on the Taskmaster finale that we missed while we were away.

Sarah came back with Dolly, who despite having a lovely time at the cattery, scratched Sarah and wet herself when it came to having to get in the carrier. Poor thing. She has gone straight under the chair.

We had lunch, then I sat with Dolly all afternoon, crocheting and watching Zootropolis. She has not emerged, just like Boris. Suddenly my trip to the Houses of Parliament on the 18th has become even more interesting. 

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!

The 7th of January.

Today I have been a much more comfortable temperature. Put the cashmere socks and Uggs on to begin with, and a polo neck Superdry jumper that is warm but REALLY ITCHY.

This morning I watched Aisling on Sunday Brunch while I wrote about yesterday (didn’t have time before dinner last night) and put together the bear I made the parts of already.

I got kicked out of the living room at the end of the show because Grandma came for lunch and seemed to be brewing a cough of some description. Can’t have me catching that days before surgery.

I ate lunch with everyone, just sat at the opposite end of the table to Grandma. Then I was back in the kitten room for the rest of the afternoon. They slept on my lap, and occasionally they woke up to watch terrible films on the Sony Movie channel. Godzilla from 1998 which is just hilarious, especially considering how scared of it I used to be, and S.W.A.T. which is action movie nonsense. I left them when I ran out of water. Fluids are more important than relaxed kittens.

The 8th of January.

It has not been quite as chilly today, thankfully. I stayed in my pyjamas this morning, as after I wrote up my blog post, I took off all my nail varnish prior to surgery tomorrow, then I went to have a big exfoliate and moisturising session for the same reason.

I decided to do all the moisturising in my bedroom, after last time – I stayed sitting up for too long with no support and it was excruciating to the point where my only instinct was to get to my bedroom and lie down. I thought I’d skip the pain this time.

After lunch, I sat with the kittens for a bit and watched Big Little Lies until Now TV had some sort of small fit and stopped working. I saw the first two and a half episodes. I really like all the houses.

Tonight I’ve got to make a list of stuff to take to hospital tomorrow and make sure I get an early night. I’ve got to bed up in time to drink a litre of water before 6am or my veins’ll be shit and after that time, I’m nil by mouth, despite me not having any sedation, let alone a general anaesthetic.

The 21st of November.

Well I had a great start to my day, securing tickets for Sadie and I to go and see My Dad Wrote A Porno Live! Super excited for that, and we have great seats too.

I was at the chiro at 10:45, and that was surprisingly painful. The angry tendon that runs up the whole right side of my spine was very unhappy as soon as Trine touched it. Still, I am seeing Dr. Blaney tomorrow. Pray for steroid injections.

This afternoon, I planned to do a bit of looking at Christmas present ideas, but I got started on some crochet and just haven’t put it down. I’ve also been waiting for the pharmacist at Boots to ring, but they haven’t. They were supposed to be calling because my spare compression garments have arrived after waiting for two weeks, only to find the person on duty ordered the wrong thing. They have the code of the product but are apparently incompetent at using the information provided. Bad enough when the GP prescribes the wrong thing but when they have all the information and still fuck up…I don’t know. Gah.

The 22nd of November.

A slightly less productive day at hospital than I had hoped for, but that was more due to a misunderstanding on my part rather than anything that happened there. It emerged that the appointment with the anaesthetic team that had appeared on myhealth was not with the pain team, it was the one I had as part of the pre-assessment clinic. And having checked again, I don’t actually have another appointment booked in with Dr. Blaney, so we’ll be ringing his secretary tomorrow.

This did mean my visit was rather more straightforward. First I saw one nurse who did my height, weight and blood pressure. Then a sister called Kat, and we had to talk through my whole history, all my medications, what I’m allergic to, what I’m having done, and she gave me the pre-surgery checklist of things I have to do or not do in the hours preceding the procedure. I then went for bloods, but my veins didn’t want to cooperate, so I went to see the anaesthetist and drink a lot of water to pump up my veins. Had a very long conversation with him, mainly about my lung function, the pneumothorax and the pneumonia. He mentioned that my lung function is only 23% of what it ought to be, which was a surprise. I knew it was bad, but not that bad. Wow. Anyway, my lung function is not important because I’m having a regional block, which is like an epidural but it’s just one injection. I had to try to explain why I need to be examined in this situation but I’m not sure how much it made sense. That was all fine, so then I returned to the phlebotomist and she got some blood out of the side of my wrist. Then home!

 

The 7th of November. 

Feeling less shit today – no murdery dreams and my muscles are not so sore, so overall generally better. 

This morning, I wrote up a blog post while shouting at the Tory voices on Victoria Derbyshire. Eventually, I had to put on an episode of Bones because I was getting my blood pressure up. Then I put together the final gnome and took some photos of them all together. Now they’re sitting on the mantelpiece, having a lovely time. 

After lunch, I started work on the next Christmas project, but didn’t get much done before Ann and Tom, the couple interested in Callie and Carlton arrived. They pretty much immediately fell in love with them, as I expected. They are just too gorgeous to not adore. They’re going to change the kittens’ names to Molly and Bertie, so we’ll have to get used to calling them that. Plus they’ve given us blankets for them to get used to/put their smell on. 

After they left, I tried ringing the GP again to talk to this secretary who’s been trying to talk to me. I rang this morning, but she wasn’t available so I was told she’d ring back. When I tried again, she’d left. So then I talked to the team leader who did some investigating, but couldn’t get to the bottom of it. She’ll try again tomorrow, and maybe I’ll eventually find out what they want!

The 8th of November. 

Well, local anaesthetic in the eyelid is, much like most of the local injections I’ve had, not that bad. The only distressing local in the past was for the bronchoscopy, but that was for more psychological reasons than physical. 

Anyway. I was up just before six, because we had to be at the QE for eight. I was first on the list, which I was pleased about. I met Mr. Kolli before going into theatre, and we had a brief chat before he drew an arrow on my forehead so they didn’t do the wrong eye. Then I didn’t have to wait long for the theatre to be ready, so I put on my gown (over my clothes) and shower cap and went to lie down. 

A nurse put some music on (classical, disco, La La Land, Sinead O’Connor) and poured what felt like a gallon of two different strengths of anaesthetic drops in, with a tissue at the side to stop them escaping. Another nurse took her place, and I was given his hand to hold while Mr. Kolli injected the local into my lower eyelid. They both warned me about how awful it would be, so I was surprised to find it really wasn’t so terrible. Not that it was pleasurable, but I didn’t scream or even flinch, which he can’t remember witnessing with any previous patients. Brave Kathryn strikes again. 

Finally got round to zapping the rogue five lashes, and I didn’t feel a thing. So now they’re gone. I have antibiotic ointment to do four times a day (along with all my other drops) and I sported a very fetching eye patch until half past one. We’ll see if it has held off the bruising tomorrow. 

The 9th of November. 

This morning was arduous and long and frustrating. First was lung function. For the first time since I was at the children’s hospital, I had to get in the box (see photo below). Same tests, just different room/equipment. They took forever, it seemed, partly because I had to do one of them four times, plus she had to get some blood from me and it all just added up. Knackering. Then I saw Dr. Thompson, and he was not full of joy. The numbers are the worst he’s ever seen (for me), which is what I was expecting. We compared some x-rays from now and last year, and it is quite clear that the right lung has shrunk and the chest wall has sunk in, so I have less volume and the way I feel now is the new baseline. Great. 

Got out of there about half eleven, so just had time to get some coffee before going to see Andrew. That was a very confusing chat. It seems the lymphoscintigram actually showed that the right side works better than the left, because the lymphatic system is compensating for the rubbish venous flow. So now he wants an MRI with gadolinium so we can get a definitive picture of my anatomy. Which will require careful booking because he or a colleague will need to be there. JOY. And even when we know what is going on where, what we do is still up in the air because so many things could go wrong. Numbness, he cannot fix, but can sort out another MRI for that and refer me for nerve conduction studies. 

I don’t make any sense. 

The 22nd of October. 

Inside my elbow hurts so much. I didn’t have the compression garment on yesterday because Mommy wasn’t in and I wasn’t going to teach Daddy how to put it on. So today it’s been back on again and oh god it is so tight. I just need to keep it on; I’ll get used to it again.

Similar day to yesterday. Good night. Mostly crochet, in my chair. Watched Sunday Brunch, did a blog post. Won’t be watching next week, not unless I’m desperately bored. Just nobody of interest on at all. 

Crocheting something for a different project – can’t carry on with Heidi’s until the extra wool arrives. What I’ve worked on today might have to be done again, depending on the size of the next part I make. It’s a complicated equation involving different wools and hook sizes. 

Last night we ate the ciabatta and focaccia. The brioche got baked today but sort of got accidentally cremated so they haven’t been so good. Have to try that again and watch the oven a bit more closely. 

The 23rd of October. 

Well, tomorrow is off. It’s so frustrating. 

I spent my morning waiting for Michelle, Mr. Titley’s secretary, to phone me to tell me what exactly need to do tomorrow. I was going to give her until eleven, then ring her, but at 10.55 my phone rang. It was Stella, Dr. Richter, the immunologist’s, secretary. She was calling to offer me a cancellation appointment tomorrow afternoon, which I had to pass on because I didn’t expect to feel up to it. I then rang Michelle, and she told me that actually, they weren’t sure if tomorrow could go ahead, because I haven’t seen Dr. Richter yet. How fucking ironic. She said she needed to talk to Mr. Titley to know for sure, and she’d ring me back.

When she did, it was with bad news. No surgery. They booked me in with the hope that they’d know what was happening with my white cells by now. But we don’t. So she’s going to book me in for his next pre-screening clinic on the 22nd of November, when he comes back from holiday. 

I rang Stella back in the vain hope she hadn’t found someone else for the appointment. Of course, she had, and then I got a bit upset and explained how nothing I need doing can move forward until I see Dr. Richter. She agreed to try and squeeze me in it she could, and I left it with her, not feeling hopeful. But sometimes I can be surprised. I think a slot has been made for me at the start of the clinic, because I’m booked in for 2pm. Small victories.