Scoliosis – Entry 5

Fast forwarding to the week before my operation and I and my mum are in Dubai trying to relax.  I had a massive gap between my physics exam to my maths exam, so don’t worry I didn’t miss anything! We spent this week relaxing to the fullest; I don’t think I’ve ever been so relaxed. On one of our last days, I got my mum to take a mandatory picture by the picture. I wanted to check the photo to see if I got my angles correct.  When I looked at this picture I don’t think I have felt so ugly in my life, my hips looked like someone had chopped them off and put them back on at an angle, I deleted the picture instantly out of pure embarrassment.  Looking back at it now, I do wish I still had that photo as It would be kind of interesting to see how truly bad it was.

Now, we are back to reality and me, and mum are sitting in Oxford in the surgeon’s office. We had to sign papers for the operation, check my height and weight.  The first paper we signed was saying that if during the duration of the operation if they thought I might have to get ribs taken out they had permission to do so.  Up to this time they were only doing the bottom of my spine as the top wasn’t that bad when they last saw it.  He then gave me this pink anti-bacterial wash and nose cream.  This wash was to reduce the infection part of the operation.  The night before and the morning of I had to clean in this hospital smelling bubbles, including putting this nose cream in my nose the night before and the morning of the operation. My mum had given me fresh sheets and banned the dogs from my room. I remember it taking me ages to fall asleep that night. I just felt odd and not myself.

We are now on the morning of the operation.  I have packed my bag with my essentials and dressed in tracksuit bottoms looking like I have been dragged out of a hedge backwards.  My mum, dad and I then made the journey to the John Radcliffe, Oxford.  The rain was so bad that the bad, slightly ironic as it portrayed my emotions for the whole thing.  Can I say one thing?  This hospital is HUGE! We parked in the wrong place and then managed to find our way to the right block, so if you are going to this hospital for anything leave some time actually to get lost.  Both my dad and I are extremely calm people, so we were just relaxed, my mum, however, let’s just say not as peaceful as the rest of us.  Dr Macdonald walked in and asked if I was ok and that I need to change into the ever so flattering hospital gown.  He then preceded to draw on my back for the operation and then told my mum how surprised he was my back moved since the last time he saw me.  He then decided he was going to do the whole spine as the top curve was as almost as bad as the bottom.  If I had even waited another day, I probably would have had to have ribs taken out… Scary stuff.  I sat in the hospital bed, and they told I was one of the only people that didn’t have to have any medicine before the operation to calm them down…Go me!

I am now saying goodbye to my parents, my dad and I just have a casual goodbye. Meanwhile, my mum is crying, and I think I just laughed at the time. They rolled me away from my parents and took me into a lift.  I remember chatting to the anaesthetist because he had a Chelsea symbol on his badge, and we were talking about how we are both fans of Chelsea.  We are now in the second lift, and it opens on a wrong floor, and the person waiting to get in let out some air, as no one can get in, I and my bed are taking up the room.  It was my parents, and I just see my mum blubbering her eyes out once again. We are now in the anaesthetist’s room, and it tells me to count back to 10, which they inject the general anaesthetic into me.  I don’t remember it hurting like I’ve heard others say, it just felt normal like most needles.  I think I got to 8 and then I was blacked out.  I didn’t see anything fade out, just one second I was counting, and the next second I knew I was asleep.

I woke up, and my parents were sitting next to me in ICU.  The majority of my stay in ICU was quite a blur, as I found out I was allergic to a lot of medicine.  I don’t remember saying much to my parents just them trying to talk to me and me just be like a zombie.  The one thing I remember the first day of ICU was throwing up a lot. Throwing up, non-stop.  This illness was because at this point we found out I was allergic to the general anaesthetic.  One thing I remember before my operation was watching these videos of people coming off anaesthetic and saying weird stuff to their parents I was feared I was going to tell all my secrets and anyone else’s to my parents…I didn’t so that’s okay!

That evening I remember having the most vivid conversation with my parents.  I was soon interrupted by my nurse who questioned me who I was having a conversation with.  I was super confused and naturally went my parents ( like who else!?) she told me that they had left a few hours ago and I was apparently hallucinating.  Little did we know this was a side effect from me being allergic to morphine. The next day I have the distinct memory of my arm and the vein with a needle in it was hurting.  I complained to my nurse about it, and she just told me to push the button to release more morphine if I was in pain.  I followed her instructions and an intense pain followed.  She asked me a few questions and then took the morphine out of my arm; she told me I was severely allergic to it as she has the same reaction and I was not allowed to take anymore…Well hey, at least I know I can bever take heroin because that’s basically what morphine is.

We need to keep in mind here that I’m in an out of consciousness majority of the two days is in ICU, so I’m just telling you brief encounters I remember.  Later on in the day, I felt like my blood sugar was low, I informed my nurse, and she did some tests and said they were fine.  I said I need an orange juice or something because I felt so weak.  Another nurse kept proclaiming that I was okay and there was nothing to worry about.  However, my nurse said “at the end of the day she knows her body better than any test does…Giving her an orange juice isn’t the end of the world”  She then handed me an orange juice and I felt a lot better.  What I think was the late afternoon they were moving me to the regular ward.  My parents were standing by me, while they told them they would have to change me into a different bed.  This was the weirdest thing ever in my head; it didn’t make sense.  My parents asked, can’t you just keep her in this bed? And they said no we have to move her to this one.. it was identical..but okay! They managed to get a heavy duty plastic cloth underneath me.  Shortly followed by 6-8 female nurses lifting me up and placing me on a different bed, I let out a big cry.  The one constant noise I missed from ICU was from Mandy who was in the bed opposite me. They were always interference coming from that end, even though it confused and annoyed me at the day it was nice having to hear that noise, rather than the beeping of machines.  That being said, my nurse I had in ICU was lovely, couldn’t fault her in any way.

– Charlotte x

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