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The second operation

on June 20, 2014

I cannot even begin to thank the numerous staff of St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey.  From the second I was admitted for an elected procedure to when I was finally allowed home 7 days later, there isn’t a single member of staff there I could even begin to fault.

I was closely monitored following the first operation and it became apparent to them that something was quite amiss.  I’m actually used to this, as I get it all the time.  I have low blood pressure – generally around 60/90.  Even minor surgery causes me issues.  My Mother was the same.  This time was different though.  I was struggling so hard to stay awake and really trying to force myself to be polite to those that took the time to visit me.  So many times, this was just too difficult and I kept falling asleep.  At the same time I was burning up periodically.  I had assumed that this was the start of my “hot flushes”, although the days immediately following my operation were the hottest the UK has seen so far this year.  I was sat in basically a conservatory wing of the hospital, which didn’t help.  Then to top it all off, my heart rate started to rise and rise and rise.  To me, this was no surprise as I thought I was being cooked alive and it was stressing me out!

At this time a load of nurses spent an awful lot of time with me. Over the course of that night, things got progressively worse.  The Registrar, Victoria, who was in charge of my care, kept appearing along with other medical personnel.  I was given an Ultra Sound scan to detect internal bleeding on the Wednesday night, and nothing was seen.   It was decided that as my Hb levels were dropping too much, that a blood transfusion was in order.  I was given two units of blood.

The next day things still got worse. By now I felt horrible and was really getting angry with myself more than anything else. I had just had an operation – there were people out there with far worse conditions, and there was me feeling totally pathetic and sorry for myself!  I was sent down for a chest x-ray, as by now my heart rate was regularly over 100, this was following by a further ultrasound scan and an awful lot of sickness.  I had phoned up Pete that day to ask that no-one visit me, I just didn’t have it in me to even try and stay awake to talk to anyone.    The nurses tried to get me upright and I collapsed.  I was put back in bed and given a further blood transfusion.

Now the daft thing here is, that after that transfusion I honestly did feel so much better.  I was ready to sit up, talk, eat and I even felt hungry.  Some soup came around with the dinner menu and I managed to eat half a bowl of soup, which felt great.  Victoria, the Registrar arrived again at my bed side.  They were still not dropping this whole thing, even though I told her I honestly felt better.  This time, I was being sent down for a CT Scan.  The Doctor and a Nurse accompanied me the whole way there. It was nice as they distracted me really, the 3 of us just sat there chatting away, which made the whole thing a lot less stressful. I was no longer allowed upright, so was transferred on my bed.  The CT scan was really not easy.  Despite feeling better, breathing was still a massive problem for me for some reason and lying in a donut shaped device having to breath in and hold your breath until instructed to release, is not fun when you can’t even catch your breath after moving from one bed to another!  I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest if I had to try for much longer.

After that, I was taken back to the ward.  By the time I arrived there, Pete was there to visit me.  I was so happy to see him as I was still feeling so much better than I had that morning.  At that point, the Doctor and Nurse that has been with me down to the scan room came back.  I was suppose to have been sent straight from CT to Theatre.  What????  I was so confused (thankfully!).  It seems the CT Scan finally showed where the blood I was losing was being collected and they had to get it out and stop it.  The next phase just seems like a massive blur as all these porters, nurses, Doctors, Anesthetists all arrived and were talking to us.  All I could think was “I ate dinner, how can they operate?”  This was going to happen now though.  Pete stayed with me, he looked just as confused as I was by this.  The nurse that had accompanied me all day, stayed with me in the preparation room for the operation.  I was so glad.  She was a part-time nurse and it was the end of her day, she had two little children and yet she just stood there as we had normal conversations to pass the time.  I’m sure I went into that second operation so relaxed because of her.

The Anesthetists prepared me, the Surgeon explained what she was going to do.  They had found a collection in my abdomen and I had to be re-opened up so they could find the source of the bleeding, stop it and clean out what is in there.   Emergency Operations happen there and then, they can’t wait for you to be “Nil by Mouth from Midnight” the day before.  The way they get round this, is that your throat is cut off manually using the anesthetists fingers pushing your tube closed to prevent anything coming up.  That’s really not a pleasant way to be put to sleep for an operation.

Have you ever woken up from a nightmare in that complete, sweaty panic and then caught your breath, looked around and thought “Phew, it was only a dream!”.  I did that, only it wasn’t a dream, it was real.  I was in recovery, I had a horrible smelling oxygen mask over my face and a nurse monitoring me.  There was a clock in there, it had gone Midnight, it was now Friday.  I wasn’t quite sure how long I’d been in there, but I had been monitored for a while and had received a further 2 units of blood.  The operating theatre was quiet that night after my operation.  The chief Anesthetist sat next to me and we chatted away.  I will have a separate section on her, as she is relevant to my natural menopause story. There was a delay waiting for a porter, but I think it was around 1am by the time I left there.

I was awake, and I felt so much better despite having a second operation in 2 days.  This is how I should have felt first time round.



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