Friday, May 21, 2010

My operation went well...

... or, How I ended up with puffy clown hands!

WARNING: this is a long one. Also, it has some icky bits which I don't recommend if you are not a fan of blood, needles, surgery etc. It also may not be the most wonderful piece of prose you've ever read, due to my feeling absolutely whacked, and having sore hands. You've been warned.

Today is Friday, and I've been relaxing and making feijoa relish with my Mum after my hysteroscopy operation yesterday.

Here is the story from Thursday morning...

I had to wake up at the unholy hour of 6.30am to eat my (tiny) breakfast of 1 piece of toast and cup of tea. Because my surgery was scheduled for 12.00 I was on strict instructions to limit food intake. I ate my brekky, take my normal dose of Lantus, and a smaller dose of Humalog, just 3.5u, and crawled back into bed with hubby and kitty.

Cue a rude-awakening by the painters who are doing a marvelous job of making our house look all pretty. I'm hungry. I don't normally get hungry, cos I eat pretty consistently at the same times every day. I watch my hubby as he prepares delicious looking marmite on toast for his breakfast. Oh that smells gooooood! I mix up a drink bottle of sugar water, the only carb I will be allowed to take should I go low. This follows me everywhere I go.

We go to town and do some errands, with me checking my blood sugar roughly every hour. I've never had such a stable day in all my life! I'm flatlining at about 11 mmol/L.

We get back home just in time to pack a few bits and pieces and head up to the hospital for my check-in. We walk up, cos we live that close :)

I'm first on the list as we check into the day ward, and the receptionist is bright and cheery. She tells me I have a list of people who will come to see me (like my anaesthetic team, my ob/gyn), and we are directed to a waiting area. I just have time to sit down and start doing a quick blood test when my name is called.

The nurse takes us into a little room where she takes my pulse (99 bpm), blood pressure, and checks my chart. She figures out I'm diabetic because I'm still in the middle of my blood test! Luckily, she has a bit of experience with "brittle diabetics" before, and everything she says is just what I want to hear: "You know your body and your diabetes best, so we will just follow your lead", "Hubby knows about your diabetes? Yes? Good, we will get him to stay with you.", "Yes, you can use your own test kit" :D I like this nurse :D She offers to tell all the other nurses of my situation, and then says "No, I will organise it so that I'm your nurse all day!" Yay! Someone who understands! (unlike my anaesthetist! more on that later...)

Oh yeah, and because I'm having "gynie" surgery, she asks me to take a pregnancy test. I mean, that's kinda why we're here! Getting ready for visiting a fertility clinic! haha :P

I have a shared room, but at the start it's just me. I have a gorgeous mumu of a hospital gown to change into, and lovely nurse brings me warm blankets to snuggle into. Hubby stays with me and we read crappy womens mags and wait and wait and wait. I'm testing my blood sugar about every 30 mins now. Sitting at about 8 - 9 mmol/L. Couldn't be happier with that.

I'm a bit apprehensive, but it's more the boredom of waiting. We find a half-done crossword in the back of one of the mags and get stuck into that when my South-American anaesthetist arrives to check on me. Then my ob/gyn comes by and I sign the surgical consent form. Everything is going swell. Everyone is happy. Apart from my surgery getting delayed due to an emergency cesarean, everything is going according to plan. My blood sugar is about 6.8 mmol/L when I hear my name called.

Suddenly it's all go. I meet what feels like 17 new people all at once. Everyone introduces themselves with their first name, which I immediately forget. I put on a hair-net, and get wheeled into pre-op. Hubby comes too, on special orders of lovely nurse.

It feels odd being wheeled about. I can walk fine. We go out the doors of day ward, though the lobby area, and into pre-op. I get put into a new cubicle, which is much more high-tech than the last one. Many more buttons on the wall behind me! There are people in the other cubicles who are in various stages of readiness for surgery.

I want to do another blood test, but a nurse grabs my left hand and begins to search for a vein to put an IV line in. Hubby is on my right, and I ask him to do my test for me. We had a little practice in the day ward. Nurse inserts the cannula. Wiggles it around a bit. "That's starting to hurt a bit" I say. Hubby can't get any blood out of my finger. I feel a bit sick. The nurse is still wiggling the cannula. The back of my hand swells with blu-ish coloured blood. "I feel sick" Hubby tries another finger. The cannula has failed. They can't get the line in. Another nurse, and my anaesthetist appear. Everyone is swarming around me. A test of 4.8 mmol/L. I'm dropping like a stone. They try my right hand. I am getting giddy and the room is starting to swim. They try vein after vein. I am going low. "Sugar!!!!" I call. And "Ow ow ow it hurts" as they put countless cannulas into the backs of my hands and wrists, trying desperately to get a line in so they can give me dextrose.

The room spins, I feel VERY sick. My head falls back. Black. The most comfortable, familiar dream. Then I fall out, fall back onto the bed. "Is it over?" No. I had blacked out, and woken with a start, I hear hubby say "I think she's having a siezure", the anaesthetist says "she can't be, she's only 4.8, that's not low enough to be seizing". I'm lower than that. At this stage I have about 5 punctures in my hands. I can't hold a finger-pricker, I can't bend my fingers, there is massive swelling and bruising.

Because I went hypo, and I was stressed, and cold, my veins just basically closed up. Each time they would get the cannula into the vein, there was no pressure to push blood into it, the vein collapsed, so the line would fail. When the cannula was pulled out, blood would suddenly gush under the skin, and puff my hand out all blue. When I awoke from my black out, hubby said I kicked out, and ripped cannula number 5 out of my right hand somehow. So at this stage, I'm still very low, just come back conscious, and still have no line in. Two more tries. One on my left hand, another on my right. There is intense pain in both hands. I think I throw up about here sometime. They don't get me a dish in time and I wear it. "Sorry, sorry" I say. I feel terrible. Absolutely awful. Like there is a buffalo sitting on my chest, and a magnetic storm in my brain, and custard and vinegar in my stomach. Hubby holds my head, he's all I see.

The anaesthetist takes a breath. Asks for a larger grade pink cannula. Puts in in my left arm, further up this time. "Protect this, wrap it up good. We can't lose this line" she orders. I am pumped full of the strongest dextrose they have. And a electrolyte/dextrose drip is installed. Cue spew. Well, I just had a hypo! Everyone breathes a sigh of relief. Hubby tests me again, I'm up to 8 mmol/L in less than a minute. Amazing stuff.

And then it's time for hubby and I say our "I love yous" and I get wheeled into the operating room. I still feel quite out of it. The OR is not far away, just across the corridor from the pre-op room. I remember the ceiling was grey, the room was cool and airy, there were blue flat panel displays on the right wall, and enormous gleaming white contraptions coming from the roof. Huge lights. I wasn't scared. These people were all friendly and professional. I say "I feel sick" (yes, I know I should be saying "I'm gonna be sick", but give me a break!), and again, I wear it. They get me a bowl, I apologise for making their lovely room smell so bad.

The anaesthetist explains that she is going to give me something to calm me down. She tells the others in the room that I am diabetic "and she's very emotional" I want to rip her head off. No, I'm not emotional. I've just had a f*cken hypo you b1tch! But I am all calm on the outside, and the sedative is so good. The nausea goes away, I regain full cognisance, it seems. I half sit up and see my ob/gyn at the end of the bed. He will be my surgeon today.

A nurse asks if I feel able to scoot across to my right, to the operating table. I get halfway, and the sheet covering me gets stuck. :P Cue various nurses feeling under me to get the caught bit free!

A pillow under my shoulders, lie down. A soft oxygen mask over my nose, but too low so the soft bit squashes my nostrils. I ask for it to go "up, up" and they move it off my face a bit. Soft eyes of the nurse to my right. A black padded extension on my left for my arm to be strapped to, with the IV line in it. It reminds me of the tables you see in movies with the lethal injection. But I'm not scared. Just calm.

The nurses want to know about one of their colleagues, who I know and said hello to in the pre-op room, before all the brouhaha. We went to kung-fu classes together I tell them. Didn't you know? Oops, looks like I've spilled the beans! "Was he good at kung-fu?" they ask. Yep. "Just think of something nice, like kung-fu maybe? Oh, no! Not fighting! Just think of something nice..." I think of my hubby and my kitty. Gentle soft thoughts.

That was at about 2.00pm. I awake in the recovery room, which happens to be the same cubicle as the pre-op. Hubby isn't there. He's supposed to be there. I can't get the energy to ask for him though. A male nurse asks if I have any pain? A little cramping. He gets me a warm blanket all folded up, and places it on my tummy. I've very impressed, since he's a guy and all. But I don't open my eyes. Another nurse asks me if I would like to do a blood test. Yes. It's 11.9 she says. Is that ok for you? Yes. The blood pressure cuff keeps automatically inflating, and stirring me out of sleep.

I don't remember the ride back across to the day ward, but I remember waking up and getting a kiss from hubby. He looks shattered. I'm sick some more. They say something about my pulse, it's down at about 65 bpm. Tests are hovering around 12 mmol/L. Feel yucky, drowsy, dozy. It's about 4.30pm.

All afternoon is spent sleeping and waking to do tests. The lovely nurse asks if I want to eat something, and suddenly I do. She brings two sandwiches, and gives me the wrong one, plus a cup of tea, one sugar. Don't feel like eating. If I move my head, bad things happen. If I don't eat, they won't let me go home. If I am sick again, they will keep me overnight. I nibble on the luncheon, relish and cheese sandwich. It is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted.

I ask Hubby if he's had anything to eat? Here, have my sandwich, you have to eat something! Lovely nurse comes back and thinks I'm making remarkable progress hehe :P

The afternoon is boring. Poor hubby stays by my side. I suddenly seem to get all better, and start talking sense. Lovely nurse agrees, and says that she will bring me some wash cloths. Hubby will walk home to get the car, and a coat for me, since it has started snowing on the mountain.

I am left alone to figure out how to get dressed with an IV still attached. I can't figure out how on earth I'm supposed to put my bra on with one hand. I am very pleased to be standing up and not too woozy. Just do everything slowly. Socks first. Pink t-shirt tangled in IV line. Jeans on. Sneakers. Hmm, can't do the laces with these sore hands. Tie some knots. Busting for a pee. Still attached to the bed!

Hubby returns, his footsteps are the best sound. He asks if I will be ok to go get some dinner. Burger King? Yep! Just what I feel like! He chases down the lovely nurse, and she comes back and untangles and unhooks me. IV out! Yahoo! I get bandages and cream for the bruising, and ice-packs. Coat on. Pit-stop, and then out we go to the car.

And that is my day in the hospital. We escaped around 6.30-ish.

Now I am sitting here typing this v-e-r-y slowly, watching American Idol, seeing Crystal singing I'm Alright by CaddyShack. (Did you know she's a T1?) And I feel fine. No cramps, no pain except for my hands. A bit tired. A weekend ahead of me :D

Morale of the story is this: If you ever EVER have to go in for surgery, and they ask you to stop eating before hand, ask for the IV to be installed as soon as you check in. That way, if you go low, or hypo, you can immediately get some dextrose pumped into you. In my case, something to calm me down wouldn't have gone astray either!

Thanks for reading, hope I haven't put you off your oats! Have a great weekend :D


  1. Oh honey, what a day!! I felt sick as I read about you being sick - just empathy, not your writing! I remember from my c-section the black arm extension thing. I felt like I was on the cross :p Seriously - you're totally strapped down huh? I'm so pleased it went well. You'll be up the duff in no time!!! :)

  2. Thanks Saffy :) It's just good to know I can share this stuff... probably a bit much sharing I know! Hope you're feeling better too! :D

  3. Wow!! I'm so glad you have a positive attitude! Your Hubby sounds absolutely wonderful....I love that Burger King was thrown into the mix!