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lwiz

3 Days Post-Op - My Experience So Far

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So I just wanted to post to let everyone know what my experience has been like so far as I had a BA with Dr. Mark Lee in Perth on Friday 3rd July. I had so many preconceived ideas going in to surgery about what recovery would be like and half of them turned out to be untrue! Sorry if this is a bit of a novel...

On Friday I admitted myself to St John of God hospital in Subiaco at around 10.15am and by 11am I was taken in to my room, given my surgery clothes, and the nurse began explaining the plan for the day. I got dressed and was told I was on the list to go in at 12.30pm right after the surgeon and anaesthetist had their lunch, so I turned on the TV and waited. Around 12pm a nurse came in and let me know she was going to be taking me in to the pre-op room which is the last waiting place before going in for surgery. Once I got there Mark came and saw me, drew on my chest and finalised the implants I was getting as well as the bone and cartilage removal in my chest I was having done, then the Anaesthetist saw me too to run over what he would be doing and to make sure I was comfortable. 

By 12.30pm I was in the operating theatre shifted myself from the waiting bed to the surgeons table and next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery. The nurse said I was pretty anxious going under so I must have had a mild spaz that I don't remember, and that ended up affecting me when I woke up as well as I was really anxious and started crying and trying to take the oxygen mask off. They calmed me down in a few minutes and asked me how I was feeling.. holy cow my chest hurt. I remember feeling so angry and frustrated that all the nurses kept asking me if I was in pain or if my chest was just tight and I really didn't know what to tell them because it was both. It was a strange feeling, painful and tight but certainly not 'elephant sitting on your chest' or worse than pain I've had in the past with other injuries (broke my collar bone when i was a kid). I told the nurses I didn't know what level of pain I was expected to tolerate as just tightness and eventually they gave me some pain relief then a needle in the thigh for nausea as I was pretty sure I was going to spew.

Got back to my room around 20 minutes later and the nurse called for my partner from the waiting room straight away, I was really glad to see him. I then asked what pain relief I had been given so far as my chest was starting to hurt more, like a deep sharp pain, and when they told me I hadn't had morphine or oxycodone yet I asked if I could have oxycodone. They seemed really reluctant to give me strong painkillers and kept offering me panadol which was frustrating for me as I take panadeine forte and oxycodone at home for infrequent migranes. Eventually an RN came over and told the ENs to get me oxycodone straight away and asked them to start organising my meds for discharge.

I got out of the hospital around 6pm and had a horrible car ride home as there were lots of bumps along the way. I took a bucket incase I needed to spew and a pillow to cover the seatbelt but didn't end up using either, I just put the front strap of the seatbelt behind my back. The first night's sleep was the worst for sure, I was on panadol osteo, an anti-inflammatory and 5mg oxycodone at this stage and woke up every 2 hours in pain. By 2am my partner and I figured out I must have a tolerance to oxycodone which is why the 5mg wasn't doing much for the pain, so I doubled it and I slept through to 6am. I have continued to double the amount of oxycodone to 10mg every 5 hours to manage the pain and went to the doctor's yesterday to get another script as I was running out.

Yesterday afternoon/last night I had pretty bad nausea despite trying everything possible to get rid of it, ended up going to bed and it finally went away. I think it's just from the number of meds I'm on now, there's 7 different boxes of meds on the counter which i'm taking throughout the day so I can understand why my stomach is a bit upset.

Overall the pain has not been anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be, the worst pain i've had was the first night home from the hospital when I didn't have enough pain relief at the time, but that was an easy fix. I have almost full mobility of my arms and have had no problems dressing/undressing myself and doing basic things like picking up my laptop off the ground, making myself toast etc. If anything I've had to be careful of not overdoing it as pain isn't restricting me from doing much at all. I am now going to bed about 9.30pm, waking up around 2am to take pain meds, then waking up around 6.30am to take more pain meds (without an alarm, just waking up to my body) and it's going fine. 

I prepared my family and my partner for the worst, they thought I would be unable to really move out of bed for the first few days and wouldn't be able to do anything with my arms so it's been a big relief for everyone that recovery hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. My only real advice would be to listen to your body when it comes to pain relief as the hospital had it all wrong for me. 

I have bandages on at the moment which I'm hoping to get off on Wednesday or Thursday so I'll post more photos of my girls then. If you would like to view my photos comment on this post or send me a message and I'll be happy to add you to the list :).

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Thanks for the update! I too have been thinking the worst with regards to recovery and wondering what to do as far as help for myself and then the kids. I was thinking my husband would need to be solely caring for me, but if I end up following like your experience, he should be able to manage both :p 

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It's so hard because everyone is different with their recovery, and people write things on forums like this when they're in particular moods so it can be really hard to get an accurate indication of what recovery is going to be like. I know the night i got home from surgery and was in heaps of pain I posted on here and the way I described I was feeling probably was enough to scare someone who is preparing to go in for surgery! 

When's your surgery booked for 3timesamum?

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Hey iwiz that was a very good and honest account of your experience. Everyone is different of course but I would have loved to have read that before mine. It is really nice to know the process you go through. I think we read things about how people cruise through the recovery and seem to bounce back to normal. I have had a pretty good recovery but I describe like having a good newborn. You are still sleep deprived, exhausted, and shattered. Definitely no walk in the park x

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Thanks so much for the update Iwiz.  Great to read a detailed account of the process from the morning of op right thru to the early recovery days.   I've got one week to go (aaarggghhh nervous!!)  til surgery with Mark.  Nervous about going under and then the recovery.  But your update really helps to prepare for what to expect. Hope next few days get even better for you. Good luck to all the ladies with surgery this week !

 

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I can't believe they were trying to just give you panadol straight after the surgery, may as well have given you tic tacs, poor thing! I loved on Percocet/OxyContin for nearly two weeks, panadol wouldn't have touched the sides of the pain!

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