Seven Days Post Op: A progress update & wise words from my Anaesthetist

This post is dedicated to Jane Quinlan, my wonderful Consultant Anaesthetist. She’s not dead by the way, I just wanted to dedicate it to her even though she’s alive and unlikely to read it. 

Jane, apart from being bloody brilliant at what she does, is proper funny.  In meetings with her, there were times I was mentally panning back with a camera and thinking. “You could script this. She’s good!”. On the day of surgery, I told her how much I appreciated her humour during what was essentially a pretty dark time. She admitted, shortly before I went under, that it really depended on the patient and sometimes she had to tread very carefully. This in itself, to me, was hilarious. So much potential! Imagine the scenes of the anaesthetist taking dark humour a bit too far?  It’s just so British comedy TV! 

As with my surgeons, I  took a photo of Jane “the funny one” to show the girls. “And this is Jaaaane, Mama’s anaesthetist” (maybe one day they’d like to be an anaesthetist?)
Daisy: What’th an anaeththetitht (tough, if you have a lithp)
Me: Hmm. Anaesthetists put people to sleep. Jane will give me an injection to put me to sleep before the operation.
Daisy: Silent, but with a face that said. “That’s a fucking stupid job”.

Sorry Jane, it’s a tough one to explain to a 6 year old. I should have said more about the pain management side of things.

Anyway, back to you people, this next bit wasn’t funny but it was really really helpful and came in handy yesterday. 

Yesterday, Monday, I was DOG TIRED. Weak. Just felt “not well”. Couldn’t do. I occasionally made it downstairs, but then crawled back upstairs just to collapse and disappear into my bed. Bed was the only place I wanted to be.

It was in stark contrast to Sunday. Sunday was home-day. I got up early. I showered. I dressed. I EVEN PUT PANTS ON (first time since Tuesday. As I write, it’s just occurred to me that I went IN to pre-op with them on, and came out with them off. I won’t think about that now). Tom and the girls helped me pack up my room and we all trundled home. It was a seriously happy day. As soon as we got back, we all made a bee-line for the garden and I sat in the sunshine and had a cup of tea and a cup cake. 

Jane had previously warned me, that when I wake up from the op, I might feel like “I’d been hit by a truck” (BRILLIANT bedside manner). I didn’t really feel like that when I woke from the op, but I REALLY felt it yesterday. The truck had hit me six days later. I woke with it. I wasn’t in pain, but I ached. I couldn’t stand for long and could only walk small distances. Everything was effortful and less than I could do the day before.

But I didn’t feel pathetic or down on myself because wonderful Jane (#anaesthetistcrush, now there’s a new hashtag) had drawn this for me.

Yes, well, you know what they say about the hand writing of medical people

“People Don’t Get Better in Straight Lines. It’s a wavy line with some good days, and the next day may be not so good, but ALL progress”

Jane had told me this verbally, but I had asked her to scribble it in my book (to be fair, I didn’t think she’d ACTUALLY scribble). Yesterday, I clung to it. I really didn’t anticipate feeling this awful. Instead of thinking, “fuuuuuuuck, this is shiiiiiiiit” all day, it allowed me to just move through it knowing tomorrow might be a better day.

Today so far is a really good day and I’m listening in. I woke up FULL of beans and am now back in bed for my afternoon nap. It’s a good thing because today is hubby Tom’s birthday. We’re going to make cake together (me reading the recipe and directing from the sidelines, probably).

So thank you Jane, your little scrawl in my book got me through a tough day and will get me through every subsequent post-surgery dip. This morning I remembered your parting words to me last week. “And remember. Strictly no washing dishes or vacuuming for two years”*. If you get sick of putting people to sleep, you could always try your hand in comedy.

*I hope I haven’t ruined that line for you by publishing it. You might need to work on a few more. Always good to have fresh material to pull out the of the bag.