Anaesthetic. noun.  A substance that induces sensitivity to pain.

Today marks 6 weeks since my last bowel surgery.  Six weeks.  I can’t believe I have made it this far.  It has been a long six weeks.  Normally, I’d be ok, but this time I also had the added worry and stress of my husband needing surgery to fix his collar bone.  (That has finally been done and he is now 1 week post-surgery).

So, today, I thought I would let you all know about the anaesthetics I encountered during this surgery, how they affected me, and what happened after surgery.

Preparation for Surgery.

My first surgery, back in 2016, was pretty straight forward.  The surgeon was taking a huge hunk of bowel out and sewing it back up and that was it.  I encountered a couple of post-surgical complications, but it was all done and dusted pretty quick.  This surgery, however, was going to be a bit more complex.  My surgeon had prepared me for the worst case….he would have to take a kidney out and do some major re-plumbing of some arteries and another resection of my bowel.  It was going to be huge.  The planning was major, so was the anaesthetic.  Surgery was planned for anywhere between 4 – 8 hours.

Before Surgery – Anaesthetic administration

This is where things got interesting…working with the Anaesthetist before surgery.  I was prepped, given some “calm me down” drugs (which didn’t work) and wheeled off to the operating theatre.  Here, I was moved onto the new bed, and told to just relax and they would get started.

Well, it all started with some local anaesthetic in the hand, so they could insert an arterial line which would monitor my blood pressure throughout the whole operation (apparently this is easier and more effective than a cuff on the arm).  They started on the left hand, and after two attempts and untold amount of anaesthetic, moved over to the right side.  By the time they worked on the right side (this had taken an hour or so by now), the local on my left side was wearing off and it was hurting like hell!  Literally!

So, after a while they got the arterial line in my right arm….somewhere in the middle between my elbow and my wrist!!! Then it was onto the epidural.

Now, I’ve never experienced an epidural before.  I never had one for childbirth, and for my first surgery I had one injection of spinal block for the surgery and that was it!  So, this epidural was a whole new world to me, and one that there were no guarantees of success.  I can recall the Dr’s and nurses in the room assisting me to sit on the side of the bed so the epidural could be inserted and administered.  I don’t remember much after this!

After Surgery.

After surgery I entered a whole new world around pain and pain relief.  It was the worst place ever!  So, we shall begin where we left off.  The epidural.  This was supposed to give me a full pain block for my whole abdomen, from the ribs right down to the pelvis.  It didn’t work.  It was patchy, mainly on the upper abdomen, and nothing on the bottom half, where most of the surgical work was done.  Hello pain!

What I did wake up with was a central line in my neck.  Never seen or experienced this before. Amazing.  Although uncomfortable, and probably about 10 tubes feeding into one……it was pain relief heaven.  Straight into the major vein. OMG.

I also discovered that me and anaesthetic, combined with epidural, and the amounts of pain relief such as Fentanyl, Morphine and others don’t mix to well.  I couldn’t tolerate people.  I couldn’t move.  I was spaced out most of the time and don’t really remember too much.  I felt incredibly sorry for my husband during this time as he would come and visit me every day, and most of the time I would tell him to go away.  I know it was the drugs talking, but it was horrible.

So, there are a few things I learnt about myself and anaesthetic following this surgery…….

  1.  Relax.  Go with the flow.  Think happy thoughts.  Cos if you don’t things are going to hurt 10 x more.
  2. Tell my husband I will call him when I’m ready for visitors….joke!  He can come anytime, I love that he came every day, even if he only stayed 5 minutes.  I love that he thought of me.
  3. Be hesitant if I need another surgery and they suggest an epidural.  I would rather put up with the pain and control the whole body pain rather than patchy pain.
  4. Never, every accept Tramadol as a form of pain relief…..we certainly are not friends.

Tell me more.

I would love to hear from you!  Do you have a harrowing anaesthetic story? Did your anaesthetic wear off too quick, too slow…..anything funny happen.  Drop me a comment below.

Until next time