I rarely eat bread these days – I think it’s yeast, rather than wheat, that disagrees with me – so getting up for ‘a light breakfast of tea and toast before 7.30′, as instructed by the hospital, felt like a bit of a treat, and the start of an adventure.
Fast forward to 1pm and Alan and I were doing the crossword in the bright, friendly day surgery unit of Hexham hospital. I was all dressed up in my surgical stockings.
(Sadly, these rather improve the look of my legs at the moment: Flora the kitten is very affectionate and likes to sit on my lap, but isn’t quite big enough to jump up yet. But that doesn’t stop her trying. She launches herself and gets to just-below-knee level, clings on and scrambles the last bit. Bearable in jeans, squeak-and-scratch-making in tights.)
I was all gowned up in what I think was a rather lovely shade of blue.
Then the registrar popped round for a chat and a bit of drawing on me
He was followed by the anaesthetist who was lovely, and used the expression ’slide you off to sleep’ which is, I think, a perfect description of how it feels when the general anaesthetic goes in.
I was in the operating theatre by 3, lying on a heated bed under a lot of big lights, while the anaesthetist worked on the back of my hand (the lovely bouncy veins haven’t worked their way down from crook of elbow yet, apparently), and told me that, when the nurses on the chemotherapy unit are struggling to find a vein, they often turn to the anaesthetists for help. This strikes me as an exceedingly intelligent approach, and is the kind of thing that can make us all take heart, I think.
So, I slid off to sleep, and when I came round I was numb but really a lot more OK than I feared I might be. I was back with Alan by 4, and dressed and discharged by 5. By 6 we were back at my Mum’s and i was drinking lukewarm tea through a straw (Best. Tea. Ever.) and eating buttered fruit malt loaf. By 7 we were home again and Alan was making bacon and fried egg sandwiches, which he did very well. By 10 I was in bed and asleep. By 3 I as wide awake, by 4 I gave up and got up, at 5 I’m writing this. I predict that in an hour I’ll be back in bed and asleep again.
So all is not completely normal, most of all this:
I am in NO PAIN. There is no pain in my mouth, not only no toothache but also no after-effects from the extractions. Which seems extraordinary to me. I did have paracetamol in hospital and more painkillers at 9pm last might, but nothing since.
The consultant had put a lot of local anaesthetic in during the operation to ‘help with immediate pain control’, which I suspected of being code for ‘we’ll make sure you’re numb until you get home and then we won’t have to listen to your desolate subbing when you realise how much it hurts’, but it seems I was wrong. I’m happy to be wrong on such a matter.
So, my friends, I have a day of taking it easy today, and a week of rinsing with hot water and salt. On Thursday I look forward to the slightly freakish moment when the stitches dissolve and I am spitting out what look like small black spiders. I need to look after myself and be gentle with my mouth. I’m not out of the woods yet. But, right now, it’s hard to see how things could have gone better.