After the operation I had no idea about anything, someone had literally substituted my brain with a lump of cotton wool. I had a number of slightly strange things happening initially – I was adamant the nurses were naked, and very confused as to why they hadn’t put any clothes on. I was of course assured that they did have clothes on and this was just the anaesthetic talking! At this stage I had no pain whatsover – but it felt weird, reaalllyyy weird. The best way I can describe it is having my entire body attached to a giant sheet of metal and I just couldn’t get the metal off. I suppose in essence that’s true but it was just sooooo odd. I also remember having to move about a bit so they could do a mini x-ray of my back just to make sure everything was all in place. Another thing which was massively out of line was my sense of time, I was suurreeee it was about 3/4pm and the nurses were discussing how they wanted food – I think salt and vinegar crisps and I kept telling them that at this time yesterday there were lots of these places open – I’m pretty sure it may have been about 3/4 in the morning at this time!
I felt pretty good after the operation, I was fully aware that there were people a heck of a lot sicker in the intensive care unit than me – I didn’t really see why I was still on the unit but needs must! One thing that did scare me though, I became paranoid about the machines. Hospital machines are highly sensitive so an alarm will sound even with the slightest change in stats – but every time mine beeped scenes of ‘Holby City’ or ‘Casualty’ kept flashing through my head. That’s just my anxious mind – everything was perfectly normal. After a night of some sleep, but being as well as could be expected health wise, I’d made it onto the ward – I think D2.
A taste of freedom
Going onto the ward was essentially the first hint I’d had at suddenly being on the up. Strangely, I remember the ward quite well – there was a nurses station in the middle, with 3 or 4 huge rooms surrounding it. These were divided into bays, if I remember correctly I had bed B1. The ward was a general kids ward, which one boy next to me who was quite seriously ill – or at least such that he hadn’t left hospital for weeks. I had no idea about the condition of any one else on the ward, apart from a girl who arrived a few days after who had just had the same operation by the same specialist.
It was a simple set up, with my bed, a small bedside table and a wardrobe which had a magic pull-out bed from it so someone could stay over with me. As much as I love Dad, Mum was the person of choice considering the intimate nature of some things I’d had done!
Being in hospital was strangely the best and worst thing to simultaneously happen. I never felt ‘ill’ – apart from a couple of times where the morphine levels all got a bit much. Never really feeling ‘ill’ had it’s disadvantages though – I was perfectly aware of what was essentially the level of confinement. I wanted entertainment – I wasn’t okay with either sleeping or just doing nothing. To this day, I’m still like this, I never sleep at times other than the night, I HATE being bored and I HAVE to be doing stuff ALL the time – much to the disappointment of more or less everyone I know ;). At this stage I just wanted to be getting out there – moving, exploring and seeing what this new found world, at a height 2 inches more than what I had before had to offer. I’d been told to expect anywhere between 5 and 10 days in hospital – so the next 5 days after the operation were full of physio and more tests to see how I was doing. I also had a few blood tests as I had lost a fairly significant amount of blood during the operation so my blood count was really quite low. This didn’t really have any effects other than maybe feeling a bit tired – but was sorted with a blood transfusion pretty easily! I had plenty of visitors throughout the week, friends from school family and so on.
Food was a bit of a challenge. I’m a foodie anyway so hospital food didn’t fill me with heaps and heaps of excitement. I remember my breakfast food of choice was a bowl of dry frosties (cereal dry is my thing, not a weird operation based thing) and an orange – they’re the same wherever you are! I filled up on lots of other, wayyy more exciting food items from the wider hospital. I’m not surprised in the slightest that I’ve accidentally written an entire paragraph on my food choices!
Before you leave hospital there’s certain milestones you have to pass before you can escape hospital. These vary from eating an essentially normal amount, to normal bodily functions and having a pretty decent level of mobility and being able to do things like climbing stairs.
We had to fight a bit, but I’d done it – I got discharged 5 days after I had the operation. Finally the freedom of home! Part 3 is on the way to you soon with what happened after that!