I’m back in the real world again after a few days and now the hard work begins.
My operation was a complete success, thanks to the amazing skills of Mr Ainslie and his team. I went down to theatre at 10:30 am and spent half an hour being prepped and put under anaesthesia. I came to about 8:30 after a seven hour operation! Fortunately Mr Ainslie was able to use keyhole surgery and although I am told by The Great Man that it was a bit tougher than normal, everything seems to be fine.
When I woke up I was in the Intensive Care Unit under the nursing care of Marana who again was outstanding and so thoughful and kind. It was a long night and I was only allowed to have tiny amounts of water using little sponges attached to cocktail sticks. The next morning I came under Claire’s care and again she was terrific, ensuring I was as pain-free as possible.
At about 10:30 I was taken down to X Ray for a gastrograph which was designed to check how things were going. I felt utterly dreadful but managed to stand and drink some aniseed flavoured syrup which seemed to cause pinging on the X Ray machine as it went further and further down. After four lots of syrup, I was told everything was fine and taken back to ICU, where I rested, but as the test had gone well, I was allowed to have sips of weak orange or lemon squash.
Eventually in the evening I was brought back onto Ward 10 and, hooked up to a variety of lines was allowed to rest, although in truth I didn’t sleep much. I felt a bit like I’d been hit by a train and between my neck and waist, everything felt like it had been rearranged several times (which I suppose it had!). It was so painful to breathe.
On Friday morning I was encouraged to increase the fluid uptake and Vanessa my dietitian came to see me. We discussed what I can and can’t have in the immediate future. As the gastrograph had gone so well, I could start having puréed meals, although only 2-3 tablespoons at first, I was given some leaflets to read, again about what I can and can’t eat, and more importantly, how to eat. For example in the early days, don’t mix your textures. If you have some puréed food wait 25-30 minutes until that has digested before having a drink. Eat the meat portion of your puréed food first to give you the high proteins you need.
I’ll publish the guidelines in due course to help you understand more about the new regime.
The rest of Friday was largely rest and recuperation. My legs felt really tired and didn’t want to do very much. Again the nursing teams on Ward 10 are brilliant and so kind to me.
Saturday brought a step-up in things. I needed to increase fluid intake and for the first time, I was confronted with taking the dreaded Forceval. This is one of the supplements I will have to take each day for the rest of my life. It is supposed to be one of the nastiest tasting things around and as you can’t cope with tablets at this stage, you need to open the rather large capsule and mix it in with something smooth like yoghurt or mousse. Indeed at the Calderdale Bariatric Group I am part of, the standing joke is that only Munch Bunch Strawberry Mousse works at masking the taste.
There was a minor problem at breakfast. I asked for a low-fat smooth yoghurt and was presented with a fairly bog standard one which was raspberry and full of pips and lumps of fruit. I pointed out this wasn’t much use and was advised that was it (or a couple of flavours with similar pieces, etc.). I spent a while filtering out some yoghurt from the pot without any extras and mixed it with the Forceval capsule contents. It tasted surprisingly OK and because Big Sister had brought me some Muller fat free smooth ones in later on, the problem didn’t arise this morning.
I was bathed and made to look presentable by the terrific nurses, Denice and Pat, and spent the morning pottering round, catching up on email, etc. However lunchtime brought my first real problem. I was given bean casserole as the puréed meal. Twas a really vile combination and I took a small sip of milk and everything started to hurt and the whole lot came back, not a pleasant experience. I’d forgotten the advice about 25-30 minutes between different textures, i.e. food and drink. I felt dreadful for the next hour or so.
The rest of the day passed fairly uneventfully and I slept almost a full night for the first time in a long while.
Today has been another day of challenges and after my breakfast concoction of yogurt and Forceval, I was sat in my chair and again started to write this and read the Sunday papers.
Lunch was puréed chicken was was better than the previous offerings in that it tasted like someone had had a broiler hen somewhere near the food. These are microwaved bought in meals and I hope the ones I get when I am home taste better.
I then did my first walk and managed about 30 yards up and down the ward, which left me really shattered but pleased.
More chicken mush for tea and a nice fruit smoothie after a suitable gap, and now I’m tucked up in bed, feeling a bit tender. All hail the power of Oromorph.
Although I had my fears before it, I am so glad it has happened and I know it is going to change my life. I can’t thank everyone who is caring for me enough, from Mr Ainslie through all the nursing teams to the catering and cleaning staff. I know that some of them are going through tough times with NHS Cuts and I hope they can stay within the system. I shall return to that topic once I am well.
I’ll be back in a day or so.