Nov. 30th, 2015

askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 I had my shoulder operation on Thursday. It all went technically well.  Muscle and tissue were all in good shape so no additional repairs were needed and I have the small sling and quicker recovery time.  It was an arthroscopic subacromial decompression and ACJ resection, if you are interested in looking up the gory details.  

After the surgery and just after I regained coherent consciousness in recovery the surgeon came by to show me photographs from inside my shoulder which he took during the surgery.  I had been really enthusiastic to see these before going in for the surgery so I was really striving to get it together to understand and remember what he showed me.  It's a bit of a blur so being able to google the procedure and see photos of other people's shoulders has helped me make sense of what I can remember.  The white fluffy coral-looking stuff was the thing that stuck with me most, according to this page, it's called a bone spur.  It fascinates me how utterly alien the inside of our own bodies looks.

Overall, it wasn't a great experience.  The nurses barely spoke to me and left me sitting alone, with no info on how long I would be waiting, for 2 hours after admission. They also left me, alone and not checking back to see if I was ok, to put on compression socks.  These are challenging to get on at the best of times but try heaving them up your legs when you only have one good arm. I ended up crying discreetly and struggling with it for about 30 mins. No nurses ever came to check I'd managed it.  Similarly, when I woke up I was apparently quite fighty and the nurse with me in recovery said I had been "all over the place".  The first thing I remember in recovery is being told to lay back/turn off my side and onto my back and put the oxygen mask back on, all the while I was arguing/saying no/that I just wanted to sleep.  This is, I understand, not an unusual reaction to anaesthetic.  But the nurse made me feel really guilty and I spent the rest of the time with her apologising for having been difficult and she just kept saying "m-hm" and not the considerable more reassuring "don't worry" or "it's ok" or "it's not your fault".

I also heard the nurse help the man in the cubicle next to me get dressed (he had also had shoulder surgery and had a nerve block in his arm so no feeling in it like me) but when it came to me getting dressed the nurse made me feel really awkward about helping me put my bra on (like somehow it was inappropriate I needed her to help me with it?) and helped me put my t shirt on and then left.  Fortunately, my friend B had arrived by then and she was able to help me put my trousers, shoes and socks on but I literally would not have been able to do it without her help.  I don't understand why B had to do that, I was already calling in a huge favour of her in her collecting and looking after me for the 24 hours following the surgery.

Apparently I was my surgeon's last operation of the day (I came round at 2:10pm so a very short day for him!) and I felt like all the nurses wanted to go home/I was a massive inconvenience.  It was pretty anxiety provoking really.  The only person who was absolutely brilliant was the anaesthetist and his assistant who could not have put me more at ease or been more accommodating.  

The nerve block (which was a strange experience in itself, leaving my right arm totally without feeling, sensation of temperature, or any muscle control) wore off at about 3am on Friday morning, I awoke saying "OW!" and took the painkillers I'd been prescribed.  I had a totally restful Friday and Saturday and was pleasantly surprised at how manageable the pain was.  As of yesterday, however, I had a major pain spike and am now taking a double dose of dihydrocodeine which makes me stoned and nauseous but does make the pain seem distant and fuzzy.

I called my GP today to discuss if there was another pain killer option as I can't take anti-inflamatories or regular codeine and although they couldn't offer anything else (except Tramadol, but they sort of said if I could manage on dihydrocodeine it would be better as tramadol disagrees with many people) were so concerned for my overall well being, enquired how I was managing with washing, dressing, cooking and so on and offered immediate consultations if I need it in coming days.  After feeling like a number rather than a person throughout my time at the hospital, it was a welcome and slightly overwhelming change in tone.

Basically, I'm an emotional wreck, convinced the op hasn't worked (5% chance it won't/will make things worse, 15% chance it will improve things but not much and 80% chance it solves everything) and spending my days stoned on the sofa and alternating between happy/chilled and crying/despairing. 


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

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