Sponge change #9

The writing of this has been rather delayed; nothing serious behind that, just the normal things in life getting in the way. Which actually, is no bad thing!

I was due in surgery shortly after 8am on Saturday, so my wife dropped me at the hospital at 7am, which required a rather grimly early start to the day. However, once in the hospital, things moved along smoothly, and as far as I can tell, I was the only person in the theatre suite at that time. Which if nothing else, pretty much guaranteed me lots of attention.

As usual, there is a degree of paperwork, and checking of paperwork, and rechecking of paperwork. After all, its embarrassing if they do the wrong operation on you, so they go to some considerable lengths to ensure that that can’t happen.

But I eventually made it into the operating theatre, hopped up on the table, and passed an arm to the anesthetist. Who had a jolly good go at putting a cannula into the back of my hand. Before giving up, and swapping to the other hand. Which after another really good go, proved equally obstinate. It seems that the combination of all my chemotherapy, and my recent fairly intensive use of cannulas has resulted in my veins becoming basically all tapped out.

The anesthetist was very apologetic; clearly it’s no fun for either him or I to have to spend time digging around for a workable vein. Apparently the problem is not getting the needle into the vein. That’s fairly simple. The problem is that for some reason (that no-ones very clear on) the vein then goes into some sort of spasm around the cannula, preventing any blood flow, and completely preventing it from working. The effect is pronounced in very elderly patients, people with certain classes of arterial disease, intravenous drug users, and people like me, who have been heavily cannulated.

In the end we gave up, and popped one into a bigger vein further up the arm. You end up getting pretty blase about such things. And then it was off to sleep again.

I came around in recovery clear-headed, so I suspect no use of the muscle relaxants this time, and so was soon back on my way up to my room, getting there around 10:30am. A nice cup of tea later, a short snooze, and around midday my parents picked me up (since by then my wife was helping out at my daughters school Summer Fete) and dropped me back at home.

A follow-up call from my surgeon indicates that things are now going better again, but that he still plans to go ahead and remove all the sponges on Tuesday (ie, tomorrow!), with a view to running some radiology studies, to determine the extent of the healing. At that point it’s highly likely that I’ll then be switched back to healing without the vacuum assistance, which in many ways will be a huge relief, as it will give me an opportunity to get back to a much more normal life again, at least for a while.

Which will be great, as even though I’m back at home most of the time, this really is getting very wearing now.

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