The day of my operation (7th of March) started very early, at 5am, as I wanted to get one last run in before the anticipated 6 weeks off recovering from the operation. It was still dark when I left my cozy bed for the wet (but remarkably warm) London streets. I ran in a t-shirt for the first time since last autumn when it was last possible.
The run itself was quite tough; I felt tired, my legs were heavy and my head wasn’t in the game. There was a moment at around 6 o’clock when I realised that the horizon was starting to get lighter (I won’t wax lyrical how this was a good omen). This was the first early morning run that I haven’t ended in pitch dark – the spring must be coming! This observation was enough to carry me the last of the 12km home.
I wanted to make the day as normal as possible so sent my husband off to work and took my son to nursery. I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink after 11am so I did my best to get some chia seeds in before then. I love mashing a banana or two and mixing this with 3 large tablespoons of chia gel, natural set yoghurt and honey. Really delicious.
I have been debating whether to reveal the name of the hospital where the procedure took place as I feel it takes away some of the anonymity but my experience was so positive that I think they should get the credit where this is due. So, I checked into (drum roll..) The London Clinic at 1.30pm. I was due to check in at 2pm but I am always (always!) early and the journey there took less time than I had anticipated (we live about 4 tube stops away – I have run past the clinic on a few occasions). I was given a form which already had my details filled in – the hospital had even checked all authorisation codes with my insurer. I confirmed the details and was then taken to my room. Benefit of going private, the room was private and I had my own en-suite.
I had my laparoscopy at the same hospital last year and remembered from then that the food is actually amazing here. And you won’t have to just eat whatever slop they give you, there is a menu you can order from!
“Darling, how about a lovely Chianti to go with the morphine drip?”
The operation would not take place until sometime after 5pm when the surgeon started working the list. I was the second on the schedule with the first operation being a “minor” one.
A short while after being shown into my room a lovely Irish nurse came in to do my pre-op check; blood pressure, weight,pulse, MRSA swab. She also taped over my ring, I suppose to protect it, and gave me my gown, bathrobe, slippers and lovely surgical knickers. I also had someone come in to take some blood samples.
Around 4pm the anaesthetist came in to discuss the drugs he should use to put, and keep, me under and to control the pain. I am a bit of a freak and allergic to paracetamol and also get a bad reaction from morphine (makes me throw up worse than mixing jaegermeister with wine and beer). We had a long chat during which he explained the different options we had and together we decided to go for a spinal block before the operation. I would also be kept under by administering the drugs during the operation via IV rather than gas. Apparently normally you would be put under with the IV drugs and then put onto gas but he suspected the gas might make my nausea worse. He also explained bit about how the procedure would work and about the fact that the table would be at a 14 degree angle (head down). Overall I had a lovely chat with him and felt instantly reassured that I was in the best possible hands.
I was also visited by my husband and son who came to wish me luck before the operation. I was feeling a little nervous at this point but also weirdly excited. What was probably worrying me the most was knowing that I was going to have the spinal block and that this would not be too comfortable. I had an epidural when in labour with my son and had hoped that would be the last time I ever had a needle in my back. I settled on the bed to watch some mindless tv and waiting for the knock on the door…
Part 2 will follow later..