I’m amazed we’ve got this far and I haven’t really talked about the Epidural. Such a large part of the pain management strategy and I’v yet to big it up. With the extensive manipulation in the entire abdominal area experienced in this surgery a fentanyl Epidural is used as a general nerve block for the initial stages of recovery. Inserted in theatre during the procedure the Epidural is yet another clever strand of the pain management strategy. Completely unobtrusive when in (connected via the central line) it successfully manages to block out pain in the critical abdominal areas affected by the surgery. Having not had one before I didn’t know what to expect, thinking that the whole area would be numb as well as removing the ability to move from waist down. Of course neither of these are the case.
Alas all good things must come to an end and after a few days the Epidural is eventually removed. I was glad to have mine removed, not because of its efficacy in pain relief but moreover as the protective dressing irritated my skin. Every night my hand would be doubled behind my back scratching the dressing like crazy. Sometimes though you get those scratches that you just can’t quench, this was one of them.
I was told that’s it removal was pain free and indeed it was. Learning point for today : know the difference between the ‘foetal position’ and ‘ bend over on all fours’. Oh dear dear dear
The curious incident of the cat in the nighttime
I bullishly said yesterday that I had not hallucinated. Technically that is still true but a couple of nights ago the culmination of sleep deprivation+fentanyl lead to some ‘really surreal experiences‘. I am still adjusting to both the concept and practicalities of having a stoma, I guess this is the same for everyone, very much at the novelty stage the periodic ‘parp parp parp’ noise it makes can be best described as a cross between a ‘wet fart’ and a deep pur 😆. Hold onto that thought…..
Similarly one is conscious when sleeping not to roll over and squash said melodious and malodorous stoma. To counter this I have developed a technique where my right hand sits lightly over the stoma during the night or it makes passing reassuring strokes.
A tube free throat led to a first night of deep deep but troubled sleep, that mixture of ‘out for the count’ verging on delirium.
At one point my glancing hand suddenly came across a lovely little black cat nestled into my side purring away, so content.
Surely I can’t move it , that would be so unfair, cruel even, after what seemed an inordanent amount of time (and without opening my eyes) I fumbled around for the nurse call button.
Within no time at all the lovely night staff nurse came in..
“You ok Simon?”< em>”Can you move this cat please” ( whilst pulling back the sheet and gesticulating towards the stoma)
“You ok my love?… you seeing things, let me know if you are seeing things”< em>”Uuugghhhh, no , what?.., just weird dreams”
I suppose I should count myself lucky as in the continuum of weird experiences this is about as tame as you could wish for.
Thou shalt have clean hair
Mrs C decided yesterday that ‘standards were dropping’ in the old personal appearances department, there were several clues in the form of various cutting remarks over the state of my hair. As if I hadn’t already been through enough she now wanted to put me through some brutalist hair washing process.
With my Epidural removed that morning bending my head in any form over the sink was not an option, general anaesthetics are not recommended for this particular procedure and therefore an alternative non invasive operation was sought.
After many minutes by the staff rummaging around in the ‘Christmas Decks and jumbo cheque cupboard’ an Acme head cleaning device was found. Although never being approved by NICE we were assured that the device was ‘safe’ and no-one had gone prematurely grey ‘yet’.
Said device was (as per the instructions) placed in the microwave for 3 minutes and then applied (dry) to my head with no initial or subsequent water application. After 3 minutes of vigorous massage.. Voila!
I now have a head that smells of baked beans. Not amused