The day for the surgery arrived. I was the last in the list for the surgical procedure that day because I had previously tested positive as a MRSA carrier. The nose ointment and washes had worked bringing a negative test , so I no longer had an excuse to proceed. It did mean that I had to wait all afternoon, unable to concentrate on anything other than what was about to happen, finally going down to surgery at 7pm in the evening.
The surgical team were absolutely wonderful. I told them I was scared. The operative nurse hugged me as I went down and the next thing I knew I awoke relaxed, calm, not care in the world, still on the operating table. I had read on forums recuperation on the days that follow, but not seen much about the actual immediate effects of coming out of surgery and this was the bit I had been worried about, with all sort of scanarios going round and round in my mind for days.
I was so well looked after and surprisingly alert (or rather I thought I was). No nausea or sickness, just numb. The team patched me up and then took me through to recovery. I was shaking a bit as the drugs were leaving me, wrapped up in a "hugger", yet I felt really relaxed, chatting away with the nurse responsible for me in recovery as he explained everything that was happening while monitoring my vitals. An hour, back in my room, having warmed up, still unable to feel my legs, but very calm knowing that everything had gone to plan, no complications. I had worried about waking up to find my lower limbs numbed, thinking that this would terrify me. I had worried about having to wait several hours for the numbness to wear off, wondering if I would just panic and be terrified. It was such a different experience to what I had dreamt up in my mind, relaxed, knowing what to expect with sensations and not in the slightest bit worried about it. I don't know, but tend to think some of this is due to the drugs.
Several hours later, the spinal block wore of and the pain post-op pain began.
I had read many articles in this forum and others sites, plus spoke to other people who had gone through the process, so well prepared, particularly in understanding that everyone's journey is unique to the individual. As much as we want to have a clear plan mapped out as to what we are going to experience, I had learnt that it's just not possible under these circumstances. We can have an outline of what is possible to expect, but it won't be precis.
Armed with this knowledge, really helped me through the first 24 hours. I was in alot of pain, even the morphine didn't seem to touch it, sleep just wasn't going to happen. In the morning, given that I had no idea how I was going to get to the toilet, being told that I would be going home that day and how that would be achieved was a complete mystery to me. Step by step through the day, I learnt to use the crutches, learnt to get to the bathroom, walk up and down stairs, yet I still was uncertain about pain management. The speed at which all of this happened was incredible. The surgeon I had chosen is one of the UK pioneers in developing techniques to speed up recoveries, so I was experiencing it first hand what this means. I was home, 24 hours after the I had gone to theatre. Totally exhorsted, in pain, but in a wonderful, happy mood.
I was still a little concerned about pain management, but to my astonishment, this all came under control and I could actually start cutting down my meds within the next 24 hours. I had read so many different experiences people have had with this and it must be really frustrating for those who have pain for a while. I really count myself very fortunate to say, yes, I have pain when doing certain movements, but otherwise it's fine with limited over the counter meds (unprescribed) on Day 3. Every move has to be done slowly, carefully planned and well controlled in every way, but knowing I can get about (even if it takes me a very long time) without pain I take as a HUGE bonus. I see it as a fabulous blessing and a brilliant start to the long road to recovery.
My biggest miss at the moment are my two beautiful Ridgeback dogs that I am keeping seperated from me until I am strong enough. My partner is keeping them entertained. They know I am in the house, but can't work out why I am not in the same room as them. Here's hoping to continue the journey in a such a positive way.