Monthly Archives: July 2016

Surgery….maybe

The night before my surgery  I wasn’t allowed any food from midnight.  When I woke in the morning I was already starving.  It was probably the fact I knew I wasn’t getting any food that made it worse.  At 8am when everyone else was eating their breakfasts I was jealous.  Then when the medication came round I was even more jealous.  I wasn’t allowed any pain meds for some reason.  This hadn’t been explained to me and now I was in pain and needed them. 

I thought it would only be a couple of hours until my operation so I tried to relax and watch some TV but I was so hungry, panicked and in pain that I just sat there sweating.  I kept asking for just a little pain medication and they gave me paracetamol if I remember correctly.  It didn’t help. 

Everyone had their lunch in front of me and I had to sit there watching and smelling.  Hospital food never looked or smelled so good.  I was already annoyed that today for supper the menu had lasagne, my favourite and I would be missing out. 

Around 1 or 2ish I started asking the nurses what was happening and could sense something was up because no one could answer any of my questions.  I was freaking out with the pain by this point.   The pain was like someone reaching in and pulling on a muscle like it was an elastic band.  I can’t think of any other ways to describe it.  Well, maybe like being stabbed from the inside.  The nurse said it could be that the tube from my chest drain might be pressing against a muscle.  It was horrible.

It was about 4 o’clock when I’d made enough noise and had been curled over in weird positions for long enough that they finally sent along one of the pain nurses to ask me how I was doing.  She couldn’t believe I hadn’t been given any pain meds.   She said there was no reason not to give me it as long as the surgery team were made aware.  So I sat there for hours racked in pain when I didn’t need to.  It went from trying to give me a heroin overdose a week before to denying me necessary medication. 

At nearly 5 o’clock I was so anxious and freaking out that I asked a nurse to check what was going on. It was then that she found out for me that the surgery had been cancelled.  They must have had no infrastructure in place to make a patient aware of this which is pretty shocking considering they could be without pain meds and food for a lot of hours, about 17 in my case.   

Getting Ready For Surgery

After a few days of my lung not inflating, the surgeon decided he would need to operate.  He said he would perform keyhole surgery, involving putting a camera inside my chest cavity to find where my lung was leaking air, stapling the hole or holes caused by possible blebs (blisters) and then burning the chest cavity or “scraping it” to make it bleed then using talc to stick my lung to the chest cavity. I’m sure they used nicer, longer more professional sounding words but that was the jist of it.  

While I was waiting for a date, a guy was admitted to the bed beside me who had been in and out of hospital with pneumothorax at least 5 times.  His body looked like someone had been playing x’s and o’s on him with a knife and that the x’s had won, a lot.  He told me not to get my hopes up that it would work because his kept collapsing.  He told me he had continued to smoke and said it wasn’t a big deal to keep doing it.  I thought to myself “if this pain has happened to you 5 times and you’ve kept smoking then I’m definitely never smoking again”.  He was a character though, as soon as he got into his bed and the nurse disappeared out of the room he would crack open one of the beers he’d smuggled in.  

They told me surgery would be on a Tuesday about a week and a couple days after I had been admitted to hospital.   The night before, the anaesthetist came and sized me up for how much I would need to keep me under.  That night I wasn’t so worried, I just wanted to get it over and done with.  I was happy to have the possibility of getting out.