As soon as I knew it was there, it was out again, the day of the operation had come around quickly but I was ready for it, I was looking forward to it… I was fed up having a squatter inside my head and felt like it was time for it to be evicted. I was told that my Op would be one of the first in the morning, I liked this, I’d rather get on with it then spend a load of time worrying about it, the decision’s been made so let’s crack on!! The plan was going well, I was collected early and wheeled down for my pre op where I met the anaesthetist. We discussed the anaesthetics and briefly around the surgery, I have got to be honest… by this point I was in the zone, totally focused on someone cutting my head open and ripping Albie out, I didn’t really have much to say other than I’m ready…. Let’s crack on. And with that, I was turned around and wheeled back to the ward as the operating table wasn’t ready, just what I needed a false start!!
Luckily there wasn’t much of a delay and about an hour or two later we were off again……. this time I knew what to expect, wheeled down to the operating tables, quick chat with the anaesthetist but the BIG difference this time is we were ready!!!
I had made it……. I was lying on an operating table in a large room, there were lots of nurses there, who all introduced themselves and tried to reassure me about the surgery. Then there was a problem… there was a power cut which was affecting some of the machinery which I was told was the laser. I didn’t know what this meant but I assumed that the fancy computer laser guiding cutter was down, do they even have these??, so I said, “oh, so does that mean you’ll have to do it the old fashioned way with a hammer and chisel?” the reply was simply “how did you think it was going to happen?” which was accompanied with a look that said “you’re an idiot!”. I assumed that in this day and age I would be strapped to a bed and a computer using my MRI scans would guide lasers to cut open my head and then cut Albie away from the good part of my brain!! After this reaction I was slightly nervous and was now hoping that the surgeon hadn’t had a big night out and was feeling fighting fit this morning with a steady hand! I have since read a really good book about someone with a brain tumour, Pear Shaped by Adam Blain, one of the takeaways I took from it was that Adam found a video on YouTube of someone having their brain tumour removed with all the gory details…. So if I really wanted to see how it was done the information is out there, I’m just not brave enough to watch it and Adam didn’t recommend it either…. I however, do recommend his book.
Back to my surgery, after the nurses stopped laughing about my stupid comments we had a quick chat about tattoos and then I was out cold, this was roughly 11 o clock.
The next thing I know is I’m suddenly awake and talking rubbish about going away on holiday with Gemma in our camper van…. She hates camping but after making me endure all this shopping she owes me!! Once I realised I was awake, I started apologising….. It felt like I had only been asleep for 5 minutes, so I thought I had woken up early and forced the surgery to be stopped, the nurse said everything’s fine, so I then assumed the surgeon wanted to take a break.
The nurse said that it’s all done and finished and that I had been in there for about 3 hours. Then in a stupid attempt to redeem myself, I tried to make out I was fine and could even remember all of the nurses names… I think I got it right but they weren’t impressed.
I took a breath and after about 5 minutes felt completely normal, I couldn’t believe it, it was incredible! A few more minutes after that reality set in and it felt like someone had continuously hit me over the head with a breeze block!!
I was taken into a small room and given a couple of injections of morphine which did the job and stopped the pain. The nurse then took me back to the monitoring ward ready to relax. When we got there I was moving around and trying to reach into my bag, she said “stop messing around… what do you want?” Feeling like a told off naughty schoolboy I said “my phone” which she then very kindly got out of my bag for me. I quickly text Gemma to let her know I’d survived.
The nurse arranged for a self-administering morphine drip which meant every time I felt pain if I pressed the button I’d have a morphine hit to relieve the pain. The problem I had with this is that I was worried about using it all and running out, so I didn’t use it at all!
I know this sounds ridiculous but it seems to be some strange logic that is built in to me, I like to save things. It drives Gemma crazy, other examples are that I will buy some fancy food or drink but will want to save it as it’s my favourite and then before I know it, it’s gone out of date….. It’s the same with clothes, I’ll buy a nice new T-shirt and then leave it in the cupboard, saving it for best, only to find out months later that it still has the label on but no longer fits!!
Going back to the morphine, I was over the moon to have the option but really needed to make the most of it. I thought I was being clever by preserving it but then was absolutely gutted when the Dr came around on their rounds and said “well you obviously don’t need this” and took it away. At the time I wasn’t sure how I would make it through without it but in reality the pain never really came back to a level that couldn’t be managed by the standard paracetamol.
I suppose this is a good lesson in life… THINGS ARE FOR USING AND ENJOYING, DON’T LEAVE THINGS ON THE SHELF.
Part of being in the monitoring ward meant that the nurses would regularly come round to check on everyone. This consisted of blood pressure where I was continually told I had low blood pressure, not of a concern that I was sick but that I must be incredibly fit! I was convinced either the machine was broken or they were operating it wrong, I would NOT describe myself as fit! There were a few other tests like temperature and they would ask some basic questions, what amused me was not only was it the same questions every time, it was the same questions for everyone.
SO, not only could I remember the answers I could always cheat by listening to what the others had said before me. Let me be clear here I don’t support cheating in tests and being able to remember things had been hard for me recently with Albie making me forgetful… Now I could remember the questions, did this mean the operation was a success and I was already starting to see the results of Albie being out?
The incredibly hard questions were:
• Who is the prime minister?
• What year is it?
• Where are you?
Now I was comfy in bed and feeling good that the operation seemed to go so well I started to think, what am I going to do when I need to go to the toilet? Am I allowed to stand up? YES, we’ve already established I am an idiot and didn’t fully understand the situation…….
As part of the operation I had a catheter fitted so I need not worry. This was the first time I had ever had one of these and take it from me, someone that needs to wee a lot, it was the best thing ever!!! Not once did I feel like I needed to go, a bag attached to the end of the tube just filled up and that was it. This was brilliant, I thought I need one of these in my life permanently!! …….No more rushing to find a toilet, it was all very relaxing.
That was until…….. During my first night on the ward, I woke up and felt wet. I was paranoid that I had ripped the catheter out, luckily I hadn’t as I could feel it was still attached, however, the tube it was attached to was no longer connected to the bag it should fill up and instead was just emptying itself all over the bed.
Very embarrassingly I had to request a nurse and explain the situation, when he turned up I was amazed that he managed to change the sheets with me still lying in them. He just asked me to move from one side to the other and then a bit of wriggling and it was done…. I was impressed! He reconnected the tube and I was good to go again.
I spent that whole night sleeping frozen with fear, desperately trying to stay in the same position so I wouldn’t be in that situation again. Suddenly I had forgotten all about my head.