And so we wait…
As of today it’s been 10 days since I had top surgery.
Back in November I met with the plastic surgeon. We discussed options with the general plan that surgery would be in January somewhere. It ended up taking a bit longer than that, but in early April I got a letter to come in for pre-op consults with the anesthesiologist and the ward staff to make sure they had all their info, and I had all of mine. At that point, they didn’t know a surgery date yet, but I would get a letter.
About a week or so later, the letter dropped. I was to report in at the hospital on Friday, April 24 at 8:30. No more food after 04:00 in the morning, no more liquids after 8:00. So following from that, surgery should be around 10:00 or later. That morning, Mom and Nienke drove me to the hospital and I checked in. I first had to give some blood, and then report to the ward where I was to stay. I got signed in and met with one of the nurses briefly, and then we had to wait a little bit more as my room wasn’t ready yet.
Off I go!
A short while later, I got shown to my room to settle in and wait. I read my book, Mom her news paper, and Nienke worked. We had to wait for quite a while but eventually, around 10:30, the nurse came in with the gown and told me it was time.
I changed into the gown and got back in bed. The nurse then came back and I got those plastic bracelets with my name and date of birth on each wrist, after confirming the info was correct 😀 A few minutes later, they came to wheel me away.
I was brought to the Holding area, where I got to confirm my identity again, and I got an IV fitted into my hand. The OR wasn’t quite ready for me yet, so there was more waiting. I also hadn’t been drawn on yet, so the nurse there expected them to come and do that, too. However, around 11:30, they were ready for me. So I got wheeled away to the OR undrawn.
Once there, I got to confirm my identity, again, and was asked to move over to the operating bed. After I had done so, the surgeon came in and had me come back off, because he had to draw on me… A few pretty blue stripes later, I got back on the, very narrow, operating bed and got wheeled from the little prep area into the OR itself. There was a final identity check, and a brief conversation to indicate what kind of surgery they were going to do (so I could protest if it was wrong), and then the oxygen mask descended and shortly after, I was out.
And back I am 🙂 Wearing the compression vest I have to keep on for 6 weeks.
I awoke in Recovery feeling fairly groggy, and thirsty. Of course it took me a while before I could keep awake enough to get a decent situational awareness but once I did, I was given some water and an explanation of the morphine pump attached to me. I could press it every ten minutes if I felt any pain. I pressed it, mainly to try it out, when I started to feel some pain and it did indeed work nice and fast. I was still out of it, though, as I couldn’t read the clock and had no idea of time so I only occasionally pressed. I was also given an ice lollipop for extra fluids, it was the most delicious thing ever at that moment.
Around 4:45ish, I think, they deemed me well enough awake to return to the ward and I got wheeled away again. In my room, Mom and Nienke were waiting 🙂 They stayed for a little while longer and then left about an hour later.
Later that evening, after I’d had some tea and biscuits, finally had had enough fluids inside to warrant a visit to the bathroom. With some supervision from the nurse, I sat up on the bed and tried standing. That worked okay, so I shuffled to the bathroom. When I was done, though, I got the cold sweats, starry vision and dizziness that indicates a fainting is on the horizon 😀
I alerted the nurse and she wheeled the bed to the bathroom door so I could get back in it. Once I’d done that, my blood re-arranged itself as it should and my streak of never actually having fainted continued!
They then gave me some more food (tea, breakfast cake, cheese), as I hadn’t actually properly eaten anything since dinner time on Thursday….
I made it through the night okay. I woke up a few times since sleeping on my back isn’t something I’m used to, and I had some occasional pain. My stomach also protested a few times.
I figured the stomach issues were due to not having eaten enough yet, so I had tea and beschuit and yoghurt with muesli and orange juice for breakfast. However, when I went to the bathroom again a little later, my body decided that a rerun of last night’s episode would be good. This time the nurse had a wheeled chair nearby so she got me back to bed quick enough as well. Perfect streak!
After rounds by the doctor, they decided to remove the pain pump since it was probably a reaction to the drugs as well, and I had barely used the pump anyway. To compensate, they gave me a pill 😀
They left the IV needle in, so they had an easy access port if I did pass out or something happened. I’d gotten it bandaged up the night before, as the cold sweats had loosened the sticker, which made it easier for them to hide the loose end.
I spent the morning reading and sleeping, until my stomach decided it hated me and I mass vomited my entire breakfast on my bed o.0
After calling the nurse in, I moved over to sit in the chair for a while, while they changed the bed. We decided that I should eat lightly today, and try sitting in the chair a couple more times. So I lunched at the the table with some clear soup and beschuit.
In the afternoon, Mom and Dad came to see me. Mom had brought orange juice and cake, which I declined seeing as what had happened that morning 😀 They stayed for about an hour, and Nienke came by afterwards. In the evening, I tried another bathroom visit, and this one went without a hitch 😀 It went so well, I even felt comfortable enough to brush my teeth in the bathroom, too.
Sunday morning during rounds the doctor decided the drains could come out and that the wounds were looking good, so I could go home. The removal of the drains felt funny, but didn’t hurt. I got some extra plasters on it, and then they went to get my paperwork in order.
I alerted my parents and around midday they arrived to take me home. I spent the next few days moving between my bed and the sofa and shuffling around the house. I did a lot of reading, sleeping, and TV watching.
Wednesday I went for my first post-op check-up. They peeled the plasters off and checked the incisions. Then they removed the thingy covering the nipple transplant, which was loosely stitched on, to check that. Everything looked good, so they covered the transplant area again and gave me a bag full of gauze and plasters and such so I could change the dressings myself, daily.
Home sweet home
The next few days were mostly a repeat of the first few days, except with every day more moving about and slightly less sleeping 😀
The daily changing of the dressing was a bit funny to do the first time. The whole chest area is covered in bruises, but the area around the nipple transplant is still numb so I don’t feel it. I’m keeping up the paracetamol regimen of two in the morning and two in the evening, and am having fairly little pain.
Sleeping is still a bitch as I hate, hate, hate sleeping on my back, but, as they say, this, too, shall pass.
This is how it looked after I got home from the hospital. These bandages were removed during the first check-up
Today, my additional compression garment arrived. This one is a stretch band with velcro closure instead of the zippered vest. I noticed the arm holes of the vest are fairly tight so it scrapes. I;m hoping the band will be more comfortable. I also started working again. This week I’m working half days from home, and then next Monday, I’ll be going by the office after my second post-op check-up.