(Day 0) Surgery day // 12th November 2020

The surgery day has come…. and although I’ve been in denial this entire time (see previous post), it actually did happen.

I was not mentally (or otherwise) prepared to go through this surgery but I did manage to organise a few things before going to the hospital. It’s hard to predict what it will be like when you can’t use both feet but I did the best I could (massive thank you to http://bunionsbegone.blogspot.com/ for sharing her journey back in 2012) .

I live alone and usually try to be all independent so I reorganised my flat and moved a lot of my clothes to the bottom drawers, bathroom stuff to lower levels and cooked a bunch of stuff to ensure I’ve got food for the week ahead at least. I removed tripping hazards and bought knee pads just in case I couldn’t balance myself on crutches and heels for the next week.

Now…. tips aside…. surgery day!

Woke up at 6am, had my last standing shower for a while (such an old lady thing to say), had my black tea (no milk) before surgery and left the house at 7am. Got to the hospital by 7.20am, and was waiting outside for 25minutes (the Covid19 improvised waiting area is an outdoor waiting area with not enough space for everyone and in the cold).

Got called inside at 07:45am, and was up in the ward and getting ready a few minutes later. As I’m getting ready I meet Mr. Walker…. the cutest, ginger, Irish Doctor. I asked a few questions about when to change into the medical gown and if I had to completely undress, the urine sample etc. Mr. Walker was kind enough to point out that the thing on top of the medical gown was not actually a hat (see picture below). I was decided to ask the nurse if I could keep my granny panties on….

I was able to convince the nurse to allow me to keep my granny panties on instead of wearing these. =D
I also managed to put on the medical gown the wrong way around and read the following label on the nurse mobile computer station as “party animal” instead of “Parity Medical”. Bear in mind I was very much NOT high at this point

Both the nurse and the anaesthetist came to see me to do all the check-ups before the surgery, asked about my allergies and checked my heart rate and blood pressure. The nurse also had to do an inventory of all my values. I didn’t realise how quick everything was going to be and I honestly though I’d be waiting for hours so I took a lot of stuff with me (kindle, phone, magazine, wallet etc.) which meant that inventory took a while.

I briefly saw the the doctor before surgery for a very quick chat and she seemed calm and in good spirits. I know this is an easy peasy surgery for her, but I was really scared, so it was good to see her so calm. However, the rock stars of the day were definitely the nurses and medical assistants. They were there every single step of the way, reassuring me, calming me down and making me laugh. Thank you so much!

Just before going in to get those toes realigned and some bone chopped off.

As I was waiting and texting people, a lovely gentleman came over and started to “unplug me” from all the machines, measuring my heart rate etc. He covered my legs and I suddenly realised I was about to go into surgery. PANIC! It all came around so quickly I didn’t even had time to think. Sent one last text saying “going in”, and in I went.

Got into the room and I started chatting away and making jokes (I use humour and talking as a coping mechanism). They put the ECG stickers on me, connected me to the machines, put the oxygen mask on and explained that the anaesthetic was going to go through via the cannula in the back of my hand. I remember starting to feel dizzy from the oxygen and was expecting them to ask me to start counting down from 10 but they didn’t. All I know is I felt dizzy and I passed out.

Woke up in a different room after what felt like 5 seconds. Looked to the side and this lovely nurse was there. The first 3 things I said were:

  1. “Helloooooooo”
  2. “Oh…. I was dreaming” (a good dream about some community project I was doing as a freelancer)
  3. “I need to go for a wee.”

I really wanted to make sure I remembered the surgery day and what I said to people when high. I’m usually a “fun drunk’, so being high on drugs after surgery should be pretty entertaining as well.

I got moved to another room for a couple of hours until I became a bit more alert, went for 2 wee-wees, and apparently was quite quick at “becoming alert enough” to be discharged. I did drink the entire jug of water they gave me, so it might be related with that heheh.

Both my feet were numb for the majority of the day, so I was able to move (with crutches) from the car to the front door of my building and then made it up the stairs on my bum.

Since then I’ve not really been in pain. I started taking co-codamol at 2pm and my feet were numb until 8pm. However…. as soon as the anaesthetic started to wear off the pain has been pretty bad. After the surgery you don’t really feel your feet for hours so you end up moving a lot more than you might realise just by going to the loo, getting into bed etc). So honestly…. go down on your bum and avoid the crutches. I was loving the feeling of independence but it was a mistake.

I got home at around 12.45pm and didn’t manage to sleep during the day, so was just enjoying being high and not on any real pain.

*Randomly found 2 ECG stickers still on me at 8pm lol (they forgot to remove them lol)

When it got to 11pm the pain hit hard. I did not sleep well at all, probably a maximum of 2 hours and spent the night in a lot of pain, even with painkillers. Woke up a bit of a mess and the thought of having an horrific day ahead of me was a bit disheartening.

Last minute tips:

  • Wear flip flops on the day so they can easily fit in your bag on your way out.
  • If in the summer, take loose fitting shorts since it’s a faf to dress afterwards. If in the winter, baggy joggers.
  • DO NOT take your wallet and a bunch of stuff…. they will have to make an inventory of all your valuables… all credit cards, all IDs, bracelets etc.
  • The medical gown closes at the back…. (you’re welcome).
  • You do not have to wear the “fancy panties” if you’re only getting feet surgery done (again, you’re welcome).
  • Do chat with the staff, ask for their names and overall just be honest about how scared you are. They’ll be super nice and will reassure you the entire time.
  • Do try to remember the first 3 things you say when you wake up from the anaesthetic. It’s usually funny and memorable (debatable on the memorable bit).
  • Water, drink it all.
  • Learn how to proper use your crutches when still in the hospital (specially when both of your feet are down). The nurses will show you how to do it. Trust me on this one.
  • Buy yourself a V shaped pillow for your bed/sofa. Kid you not, bloody life saviour.
  • Even if you are able to use crutches because you can’t feel your feet that much, just don’t. Go down on your bum and go to the loo. Get some knee pads and use them instead. I’ve just done this mistake and I’m writing this as I go through Day 2 and I’m in a lot of pain.

Published by Mariana Vieira da Rocha

"I think it's perfectly acceptable and rather admirable to be moderately delusional"

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