Fear :: Fourteen

I’m number four on the board. I managed that in hours sleep, which under the circumstances is a fucking miracle, considering the massive wibble I had last night. This morning I am determined to be positive because if I have to wait here for surgery that’s what has to happen. I’m now indebted to Mindfulness training and the fact that I can breathe my way out of panic. I’m also really, really focused on not allowing my own irrational fears to get the better of me. When I close my eyes I can visualize all the good wishes and positive vibes that have been handed to me by other people: whether they be via early morning DM’s or in mails or simply the card sitting in my bag from my PT, which she told me I’m not allowed to open until surgery is complete.

I’ve bought the Internet of Words inaugural Book of the Month to make notes from. It’s already proving incredibly useful as a means of grounding myself to the moment. I am going to make notes, play some phone games, and lose myself in minutiae until I am called.

Then I think I might have the basis for my opening short story for the Patreon sorted.

I wrote that yesterday morning. At about 11.30 a lovely Scotsman appeared and took my bed with help down to Theatre. On the way, we discussed ways of helping people alleviate stress before operations. There ought to be TV channels with pictures of cats and dogs, pages of motivational pictures and landscapes accompanied by Classical music. We decided to patent the idea and split the proceeds 60:40: I’m not interested in making the cash, I’d rather help people from feeling stressed.

The anaesthetist was a sci-fi fan, and I was in the middle of talking about John Wyndham when the oxygen mask appeared and there was coldness up my arm. Then, I’m awake in recovery, and trying to get up, which was really not how I’d expected the entire experience to pan out. No dreaming, no sense of unconsciousness at all, just there one moment and BANG back the next. I feel somewhat lied to by other people’s descriptions of this process.

I don’t recall going back to the room either, and the first real sense of time I have is when my daughter and husband arrived. Before then there was a fairly unnerving disconnect between brain and body which also manifested in a loss of balance. I’ve had issues with ear canal sensitivity in the past: rollercoasters are unpleasant experiences, and mostly avoided. When I got up to pee for the first time and nearly fell over, the decision was made to stay the night in Hospital.

The surgeon came to visit me once it became apparent I was staying. He explained that my gallbladder was in a bad way, inflamed and ‘full’ of stones, and that it would have only been a matter of time before I would have encountered another (potentially) life threatening issue. This made me feel considerably better about the entire experience, plus the level of pain. However, I’d left it too late for an evening meal but instead ended up with toast and Marmite which took me close to two hours to eat.

My throat was beyond dry, even saliva glands failing to help provide any moisture. I managed to work through two jugs of water before finally being too tired to think. When I woke after my first sleep post-procedure, I could not get to the bathroom fast enough. After that, it was probably the best night I’ve had for a while, even with pain. On that front, as this is being typed, the level of discomfort is considerably less than I’d been warned for. That might change going forward, but right now left wrist pain from where the cannula was set is causing more irritation than three wound sites combined.

This morning’s breakfast (simple porridge) tasted better than anything I’ve eaten for quite some time. Once I got the discharge papers it became apparent I’ll have at least two weeks before I can lift anything heavy, but the walking won’t suffer. In fact, the first ‘walk 250 steps in an hour’ plan has gone off without a hitch. That’s my basic rehabilitation goal: keep moving and up the exertion goal as time goes on. This way, it’s effectively like the upper half of my body went on holiday for two weeks, and when I return to my PT a week on Monday, we can start from there.

At home now, I’m still not right in the brain department. It is an effort to concentrate, and I know with rest and enough water flushed through my system, that will improve. I’m now wondering why I allowed myself to get worked up about all of this but am aware enough to grasp that this was a necessary part of the overall process. I’ve never had surgery like this before, and now that’s changed, the experiences and understanding make me a better person as a result.

Like everything else, it is simply a part of the journey.

One thought on “Fear :: Fourteen

  1. I’m glad that you are home again, and that everything went well :)
    I’ve had a fair few procedures, but I still get so terrified before each of them. Your experience of going in and out of the anaesthetic is the same as mine. I remember the mask going on and the counting down, then next thing I’m waking up and a nurse is telling me to swallow so she can take the tube out.
    For me personally, it takes quite awhile for me to get over an anaesthetic completely. Like, more than a week. My Mum and I also get quite depressed after it too, and it’s something we’ve just made sure we’re mindful of.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say I’m glad everything went well, and I hope your recovery is swift.


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