This is a follow on post from April / May 2018 – You Have Cancer, Coventry Warwick Coventry, Telling Your Family You Have Cancer, Having a Feeding Tube Fitted, Pre-Op Arrangements, My 1st Night in Hospital and The Day of My Operation go back and read those 1st.
My 1st night after my operation
If you have read my previous posts you will know I had just had an operation due to jaw cancer.
The 1st thing I remember when waking up after my operation (apart from the nurse fiddling around in my mouth with a torch) was the pain, or should I say, the lack of pain.
In the fortnight leading up to my operation the swelling in my cheek had been getting larger and the pain greater, the few days before my operation I was at the stage where I was taking paracetamol every 6 hours, ibuprofen every 6 hours and Codeine every 6 hours staggered in a way that I was taking something every couple of hours.
When I woke up from my operation there was nothing.
Despite the fact they had cut a bone out of my leg, sliced some skin from my belly, removed half my jaw performed a tracheostomy I felt no pain at all.
I was in a bit of a daze when I woke up and apart from the nurse and lack of pain what I really noticed was the various tubes going in to me and the horrible beeping machines.
The nurse told me everything had gone well but they would be checking me throughout the night, then I noticed I couldn’t talk due to the tracheostomy 🙁
The nurse left me alone and I lay there flat on my back (I hate being on my back) listening to those damned bleeping machines when all of a sudden the alarm went off on one.
I immediately panicked wondering what was happening and tried looking around for a nurse but there were none near by, I couldn’t move so had to just lie there wondering why this alarm was going off and getting in more of a state then after about 5 minutes a nurse just casually strolled over switched the alarm of did something on the machine and casually strolled off again.
This was the start and a taster of what my night in hospital after my operation would be like.
I don’t think I slept a wink that night what with the nurse checking my mouth every hour another checking my temperature, blood pressure and heart rate every couple of hours, the bleeping machines and alarms (either on my machine or other patients on the wards machines) going off throughout the night but worst of all the fear.
I lay there all night listening for him expecting him to come for me in the night.
As soon as I heard another strange noise I lay there as silent and as still as I could be, holding my breath for as long as possible in the hope he wouldn’t find me.
When I wasn’t holding my breath I was counting in my head 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. so as to keep myself alert so when he did find me I could get away.
It is a night I will never forget but he never did come for me – I had survived.
If there is one thing I could suggest to hospitals it is, tell patients about the machines before their 1st night, let them know that the machines beep and alarms ring regularly, let them know that an alarm going off is nothing to worry about and a nurse taking 5 minutes or more before responding to an alarm is nothing unusual.
After a few nights in hospital you get used to all these things, but the 1st night and the 1st time you here these beeps and alarms is really frightening, the fact no one really seems concerned about them is really frightening and the amount of time it takes for a nurse to respond is really frightening when you don’t know what to expect.
It looks a bit blue in there
My consultant/surgeon Mr. Walton had warned me prior to the operation that in at least 1:20 cases when removing the jaw and putting in a flap the procedure failed.
He came to see me the next morning with some members of his team with him and had a look in my mouth.
I could tell straight away he wasn’t happy, got a colleague to look inside too then started talking to each other, the nurse who had been checking me hourly throughout the night came over and had another look and I got the impression Mr Walton wasn’t happy with her.
He then came to talk to me said it look OK but wasn’t happy as it was looking a bit blue (I still don’t really know what that meant, but assumed it wasn’t good), he told me not to worry and he would be back soon and off they went, another never forget moment, the Nurse came over and said I’m sorry Terry.
Let’s get you back in
Within an hour Mr Walton was back to see me with a couple more colleagues, they all had a look and I heard them talking again, it looks OK I’m just concerned about the colour said one of them, Mr Walton had a final look said he didn’t like it looking blue and then said “Let’s get you back in”
It took a few seconds before I realised he meant get me back on the operating table and open me up again.
They went off to prepare and I lay there thinking I must be the 1 out of the 20 🙁
Story continues here – My 2nd operation in a week