I did keep telling everyone it was bad, but I think it was only after I'd been assessed on the day for surgery on my 2nd appointment that everyone began to realise just how poorly I was. I was sent home that day with a corset and strong painkillers and a genuine apology that there hadn't been enough time to do my surgery.
|Medical corset - forget frills and lace, think velcro and tubigrip!|
2 days later I was at A&E as I'd been unable to rehydrate myself after being 'nil by mouth', and we came home with different painkillers that didn't make me sick, and anti-emetics. After losing 18lbs over the previous 14 days, I put back on 5lbs over the next 2 days and felt like a new woman.
It was another 15 days before my operation date came around again - annoyingly being on the urgent list means they try to operate within 2 weeks, but if your operation doesn't happen you just go back on the urgent list and....they try to operate within 2 weeks...twice...
On the day I was 1st on the list for surgery. I went down to theatre by 8.10am without having even dehydrated, and I was awake in recovery by noon. Relieved and wrapped in cotton wool, very sore and absolutely shattered.
Because I'd spent months being told I wasn't so bad, I assumed I just had to get on with it, so by 3pm I walked to the toilet with a Nurse holding my arm to steady me. I moved about to try and get the blood flowing, and I slept to help my body recover. I'd been told beforehand I might be in overnight, and it became clear very quickly I wouldn't be going home that day.
|A beautiful card hand-drawn for me by one of our 15 year olds.|
In fact, when I was assessed by a doctor the next morning at 11am, I was told I'd be staying two more days, and had 'massive hernia surgery'. The Doctor was really impressed I was already sitting up - and completely stunned when he realised I was taking myself to the loo. The first time anyone had actually acknowledged just how bad my hernia had been.
My family were suffering with me in hospital, my youngest child especially wasn't happy, and my partner was struggling with the limited visiting hours. I asked my doctor for an appeal, and he listened carefully.
My family has been through a lot. My children very well remember their Dad in hospital with Meningitis 2 years ago. They couldn't go and see him, but they knew he was seriously ill. Then they lost their sister, and they're all as terrified as I am that something will happen to someone else.
I agreed to give up Morphine as pain-relief and do absolutely nothing but sleep and gently walk around regularly for a few days, and in return I was allowed home. It was the right choice and I haven't suffered for it. I have constant visitors peeping in to see if I am okay while I sleep, so I demanded no-one was allowed to peep and disturb me unless they also give me a hug!
|So many beautiful flowers keeping me company!|
It's now a full week since my operation and I'm still a bit sleepy. The operation was a lot harder on me than anticipated and my body knows what it wants, and I'm listening. I'm taking the painkillers and ignoring the mess and I'm still in my pyjamas, because that way I will just go to bed when I need to, and my kids get a constant reminder that although I'm here, I'm not 'working'.
The biggest lesson I've learnt from this is that I have a bigger tolerance for pain and discomfort than anyone suspected, I should have shouted and wailed more and had my operation months ago before it ever reached this stage. The upside to my resilience is that I was allowed home early, where my children and partner can speak to me and see me and know I'm going to be okay. They feel safe, and that's really important to them right now.
Just the small matter of 22 staples to be removed..... *gulp*