Friday, 3 February 2012

Operation Neck Dissection

New to this? Check out the First Post

Hello again! Sorry I have updated for a while. I had a great weekend in snowy Lancashire - the land of my birth -then in no time it was Operation Neck Dissection! I like that - it rhymes :-)

Yes on Tuesday 31st January 2012 I was dropped off outside UHNS at 7.30am with my little bag and a little trepidation. I knew my way to the Ward 105 as I've been there a couple of times already. Although I'd forgotten my admission letter they knew me and took me straight to my bed. They weren't sure of the order of play so I sat in my chair and watched a bit of breakfast news while others arrived for operations too.

Pretty soon Julian (he of the awesome hat, the time before last) came in and had a chat. They always ask if you know what you are in for. I'm not sure if that is to make sure they have the right patient or if they think you might have actually forgotten?? Maybe next time I should say "I'm here for a boob job" Might get away with it ;-)
Having established that we both knew why we were there he then got out his permanent marker and drew an arrow on my neck - to make sure they did the right side. My friend Tracy said later "Even Mr Magoo couldn't miss that!" Made me laugh. You can see the scar from the last biopsy in this photo.
A few minutes later the anaesthetist and her crew came by for a chat too. She was wonderful Explained what would happen, asked me if I'd had any adverse reactions to general anaesthetics previously (I hadn't ) and told me they'd give me a morphine drip afterwards so that I could control my own pain. Sounded like they'd thought of everything! I had every confidence in them. UHNS is a teaching hosptial now and there are students everywhere learning all the time. I like it.

The next entourage to visit was by far the biggest. It was Mr Hughes the consultant and his surgeons. He again asked if I knew  what was happening. He went into a bit more detail, saying that he would be severing a lot of nerves as he "filleted" my neck. This would affect my ear and maybe my tongue as well as parts of my skin. I wouldn't be able to feel anything in these areas - some would come back but others may be permanent. It would be at least a year before it got better and I would know how I was going to be.

The things I was most worried about were:

1) Not being able to move my right arm above my shoulder (I'm a librarian - how would I shelve books?) and
2) Losing salivary glands and having a dry mouth - I can't think of anything worse :-(

Still - this is a life-saving operation so there's not a lot I can do about it now.

They all wentt off to get ready for their first operation and the nurse came in to tell me that I was second on the list. The lady going in before me would be a long operation though, as she had cancer in her nose and was having it removed. I didn't feel so sorry for myself after seeing her.

I had promised Nathan that I would text him before I went off to theatre - as they give you a pre-med an hour before so I thought I'd get time. However this time a porter came in and said "I've come for you!" and I had to get changed into my gown and into my bed in about two minutes! There was no time for the pre-op painkillers. "They'll just put them in your line." the nurse said as she delivered me to Operating Theatre 1. I glanced at the clock and it was 11.30am. There was a bit of shuffling me up the bed and an injection and then next time I opened my eyes a clock said it 4pm.

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