Tag Archives: anaesthetist

Post-op ~ Day two

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Thursday 14th November

A much, much better night’s sleep! I think I’m now used to my calf wraps noisily contracting and releasing, plus I got the hang of the morphine pump button, and was better able to control the pain throughout the night.

First thing in the morning I am so happy to clean my teeth and have a wash ~ almost back to feeling normal ~ well, slightly refreshed then!

Doctor’s rounds this morning, and I see the registrar whom I had met on the morning of my surgery. He wants to take away the morphine pump at lunchtime, and have the pain controlled with less strong drugs ~ better for the body really. He also mentioned that my consultant plastic surgeon had suggested I could go home as early as Friday, but that would be dependent on the wound, swelling and drain. With an analogy to wine, he said the fluid collecting in my bottle started off as red wine, then rose and finally white wine. At the moment I’m producing a nice colour of claret! Ha ha.

The blood nurse was my next visitor for another sample ~ however, as I had just pressed the morphine button, she would have to wait five minutes!

Just prior to lunch, a melanoma specialist doctor came for a chat. We spoke about the trial, and ended up by telling me I had a really difficult decision to make. But, I had to be selfish, and make the decision for me, and me alone; not for the purposes of the trial, nor other patients. Just me, and the implications to my life and my family. She also told me not to let the hospital staff push me out early ~ tomorrow is probably too soon to go home!

At visiting time this afternoon, I meet with two lovely people that I ‘know’ from Facebook. A closed group, but within it, so much support, advice and friendliness. We chatted as if we’ve known each other for ages! A superb surprise, and as an added bonus, a box of Maltesers!

Next stop is a terrific Skype session with my husband, son, girlfriend and young puppy. This phone is an absolute godsend, keeping me in touch with so many people around the world.

As I’m finishing up my evening meal, my wonderful plastic surgeon pops in to see how I’m doing. His plan for tomorrow is to make the drain shorter, remove the bottle, and attach a smaller, more manageable plastic bag, that I can monitor myself ~ oh yippee!!

Post-op ~ 24 hours later

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Wednesday 13th November

Well, I didn’t really sleep much last night; what with the calf wraps contracting and buzzing almost every thirty seconds, observations and medication checks hourly, the gentle noise of five other patients on the ward, and the dull throb of pain down my left leg.
Having not been to the loo since 8am on Tuesday morning, I decided, before all the lights were dimmed, to give it a go at 11pm. So many tubes to undo, the drip following along on wheels with the morphine and the oxygen nasal spectacles, plus the drain bottle, filling up with blood. I slowly managed to manoeuvre myself from the bed to the chair. I was wheeled along to the bathroom and lifted onto the toilet by two nurses ~ one male, one female ~ one’s dignity is in very short supply!!
I wake from a doze feeling much better than yesterday, but still very, very sore and swollen ~ making good use of that morphine pump!!! I had two bits of cold, brown toast this morning ~ my first food since Monday afternoon!!! And it tasted surprisingly good!
The ward is lovely and sunny, nice and quiet, and all the staff are fabulous. I’m still wearing the very fetching hospital gown that I put on yesterday morning at 7am ~ all sorts of tubes and drains sticking out of me, means I cannot put on my own (brand, new/bought for the occasion) nightwear!!!! Ho hum.
Throughout the morning various medical teams visit my bedside. Firstly ‘Doctor’s Rounds’ at about nine, where a registrar wants me to give up the morphine pump and make do with paracetamol and ibruprofen ~ hmmmm, I don’t think so!!! Not yet a while anyway.
The next visit was from the blood nurse, who needed a sample to check my red and white cell count, renal function, and whether I have a tendency towards anaemia.
Following that, the Pain Management Nurse visits my bedside. I need to be weaned off the morphine eventually, taking a combination of paracetamol, ibuprofen and tramadol, but there is another syringe of the morphine waiting for me tomorrow!!
The lovely anaesthetist also pops his head around the curtain to see how I’m doing, wanting to know how I have recovered from the general anaesthetic, and how much pain I’m in right now. He is genuinely concerned and interested in my well-being.
Later in the afternoon the Macmillan nurse, whom I met after my SLNB procedure popped round to say hello. She also gave me some information on a drugs trial for Stage 3 melanoma patients. It would be a double blind trial ~ neither you, nor the doctor would know whether you were getting the drugs or the placebo. The drugs involved are Dabrafenib (a BRAF inhibitor) and Trametinib (a MEK inhibitor). Only 55 suitable people from the UK will be chosen to take part in the trial.
I have a couple of weeks to think about putting myself forward, for one year’s worth of COMBi-AD. Yes, no? Do something, do nothing? I need to talk to people, read a lot more about it, weigh up the options. And then there are the side effects ~ pretty serious side effects. I will need to think very carefully about this one.

The Operation

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Tuesday 12th November

I arrived at the hospital at 7am (a little early), but straightaway looked after by a nurse who took my blood pressure (whoa ~ far too high, but understandable!!!!), tested blood sugar, and an ECG.
I then met with the anaesthetist, my two surgeons, three nurses and two medical students ~ blimey what a team!!!! And the students only looked about fourteen.
The anaesthesia went in at 8:48am, and the next thing I knew I was waking in recovery at midday. No shakes or crying this time.
I am now in a ward, hooked up to a morphine pump, have been through three bags of intravenous saline, wearing nasal spectacles delivering oxygen, my legs constantly being moved and vibrated on an electrical pad (guarding against DVT), and have had various pain relief and anti-coagulants delivered. Oh, and the little drain bottle is tucked under the bed.
Haven’t really had a look at my leg closely; all I have is a white dressing over the scar, which can’t be more than 15cm or so, and then the drain poking out, a bit lower down.
Oh, and I’ve also been very sick!! Most unusual for me. But I’m now feeling so much better!! Haven’t eaten anything yet, nor been to the loo. Hmmmm. But my blood pressure has returned to normal. All of the doctors and nurses here are amazing ~ kind, caring and so attentive. The ward is such a calming and friendly environment. If you have to have 110% trust in the people who look after you, then this place ticks all the boxes. If all goes to plan, I should be out Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

Operation two

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It’s Friday 17th May, and the alarm goes off at 4:10am. We are out of the house and on the way to Plymouth a little after five. The sunrise is beautiful; colouring the sky in pink, yellow and orange.

Due to the lack of traffic on the roads, we arrive at the hospital car park at 6:35am, far too early! The appointment was set at seven thirty. Twiddles thumbs.

Upon arrival  I didn’t know what to expect. I half imagined we’d be back on the road soon, after a quick chat. But it became clear that surgery was going ahead, and I was first in the queue. I spoke with nurses, the skin graft registrar, a fabulously jolly anaesthetist, and of course the wonderful plastic surgeon.

He really wasn’t happy that the Macmillan nurse had told me my results over the phone, and had also confused me with the order of events. My surgeon had wanted to speak to me himself about the melanoma. He asked how I felt, and there was genuine care and concern in his eyes.

He explained that the plan was to cut away a lot more tissue around the original wound site, slice a sliver of skin from my thigh, and magically affix it into place. I would then have a plaster cast set around my leg.

I went down to theatre soon after, monitors were placed here and there, bleeping that all was normal, an oxygen mask went over my face, and a thin needle introduced the anaesthesia into my system. I remember the eight, bright lights above me. zzzzzzzzz

Coming round, I couldn’t feel a thing, but I could see a fat, bandaged leg poking out from the covers. The nurses and doctors in recovery were amazing, so attentive, cheerful and professional. I was treated like a star!

About an hour and a half after coming round, I was discharged, and we began the drive home. Just before we left though, the anaesthetist popped her head around the curtain to see how I was doing, and to make sure everything was OK. She made a shape with her thumb and forefinger, to show the size of the new wound ~ it appears to be mahoosive!!

I spend a dopey afternoon in bed, taking the super strong painkillers at regular intervals. I now know I have to time it right to make a trip to the loo, ha ha.