My TAC Surgery Experience

David and I arrived at the eighth floor of Women’s College Hospital an hour earlier than they had requested. I had bought one of my school textbooks to read, but I had a hard time paying attention and was over-highlighting. I waited maybe half an hour before I was called in to change and meet with the nurse. The lady who led me in said I’d be back out, and I assumed that meant soon. She took me to a change room where I got into hospital garb. The regular drafty back night gown, and a housecoat over it done up in the front. As a nice surprise, they also gave me pants to wear made out of that same hospital fabric, with a tie up waste. I had to sit in a different waiting room to wait for the nurse, and as the time ticked away I got concerned that David might be worried about me since I had left under the impression that I’d be right back.

In the waiting room there was me and three other women. One of them was maybe a few years younger than me and she was obviously nervous for surgery. Pacing, playing with her hair, checking the clock, running her hands on her pants, sitting down standing back up. After a while the lady who had led me into this waiting room let that girl go back out to the other waiting room to sit with whomever had brought her there until her surgery time. I asked if I could go out there too, and she said that I had to wait until after I had seen the nurse.

After some more waiting, I asked the lady if I’d be able to go to the washroom before seeing the nurse. She said yes, so I went. When I returned from the washroom, the nurse was ready to see me and she needed a urine sample. Talk about perfect timing… Hah! She took my blood pressure, gave me a pain killer, and a bit of water and once I was able to produce a urine sample I was allowed to go back to the other waiting room, where David was, to wait to be called for surgery. When it was my turn, a different nurse called my name. I gave David a kiss and told him I’d see him soon.

The nurse led me into a very tiny room, and closed the door. It was chilly in there and it was so small it felt like I might run out of air if I breathed too deeply. Another nurse came by to check on me and gave me a warm blanket. Next the anaesthetists came in. Women’s college hospital is a teaching hospital, and there was a resident learning from the other anaesthetist. They ran through my history and then the resident gave me an IV and a medication through it. Doctor A came in, followed by another resident who would be doing the surgery with doctor A. The resident had me leave the warm blanket in the little room when I walked down to the operating room.

In the OR, I got up on the operating table and after a bit of conversation, I was given another warm blanket. The resident anaesthetist told me he was going to give me the first part of the aesthetic, he said he was “just mixing you up a Gin & Tonic” and I said I’d rather a Tequila Sunrise and he said he’d mix me up that instead. I dozed off thinking “who really likes Gin & Tonic, that’s gross.”

I dreamt of taking notes in a lecture at school and then I started hearing other voices and wondered if I should also be making notes about what they were saying, I heard one say “you’re probably the best anaesthetist she’s ever had.”

The nurse who helped me after the surgery was sarcastic but nice. He got me apple juice and went and got David after the third time I asked for my husband. He gave David instructions on how to take care of me, and gave David the prescriptions from Doctor A.

I was told that I might end up with intense shoulder pain from the gas they had pumped into my abdomen for the surgery. As I waited for David to get the car I did feel a bit of that pain. We took a quick pit stop and then started driving back to Mary and Bill’s. Unfortunately, it was rush hour.

I am so glad that we didn’t have to drive all the way back to Kingston that soon after surgery. I felt ROUGH.

I was so thirsty, and my belly was so tender. I felt every bump. When we got back to Mary and Bill’s, there was soup for me to eat and David went to get my prescriptions filled. I needed help to move around, and taking pain meds by the clock was necessary. Day 2 I was feeling a bit better but still needed a lot of help, and I was having more intestinal gas. I had a shower that night and took the gauze of my surgical sites. David checked them out and said they looked like they were going to heal well.

Friday I started being able to walk on my own, I was going to the washroom without help to get on and off the toilet, as the day went on, I felt worse and worse. By the time I was ready to sleep, I felt like I had regressed to the day of surgery.

Today is Saturday. I’m sitting up in an armchair. I’ve been able to walk on my own and I’m feeling better this morning. I still feel like I’ve been poked full of holes, but that might be because three days ago I was poked full of holes.

I’m hopeful that recovery will continue to go well. We go back to see doctor A in about six weeks

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