Surgery Day finally arrived! My day started at 5am with pre-surgerical instructions to drink a cup of juice at this early (dreadful) hour. 😉 Then I went for a little walk, got ready, and headed to New Westminster with my mom. I got a phone call shortly afterward that they could take me in earlier than my 12pm appointment because the patient ahead of me was stuck in traffic, so I rushed over to the hospital and got myself registered. I still had to wait awhile, as the other patient actually did arrive in time, but it was no problem. I ended up finding the lovely sanctuary in the Cardiology Ward.
They took me in for my pre-op, started my IV, gave me blood thinners, and asked me a ton of medical history questions, that I would be asked over and over again. I was then put on stretcher and wheeled to the holding area, which made me smirk because it was totally Grey’s Anatomy style being wheeled off to surgery. I waited in the holding area for awhile, where many more nurses came to meet me and ask me questions. My cardiologist came and talked to me, as well as the anesthesiologist and her assistant. It wasn’t until about 10:45am that I started getting nervous. Everyone was waiting to enter the operating room and I started feeling really anxious. The anesthesiologist gave me a drug to take the edge off. I suppose it was normal to scared at that point. I did really well up until then, however. Meditating daily and practicing mindfulness definitely pays off!
I walked across the holding area into the operating room/catheterization lab and was overwhelmed with how many people were buzzing around me! There had to be 20 people! I lay on the table and was told to breathe in some oxygen. Shortly after, I was told I would be given a drug to make me sleep and I was hit with the oddest sensation- like my head was being squeezed and everything turned upside-down. It didn’t last long though because a moment later I was out.
I remember waking up in the recovery room and being confused. I thought it was morning and I had been dreaming, but then I quickly remembered where I was. I noticed that my lip was fat- it must have been the breathing tube and/or my TEE probe pushing on my lip. I stayed in recovery for… not sure how long, then went to the DICU on the Cardiology Ward, which I’m assuming stands for the Day Surgery Intensive Care Unit. It took me a long time to wake up. It was around 3pm when they removed the sheath that was put in my femoral vein (that fed the catheter and device to my heart), then they had this weird clamp, clamped to the bed and over-top the wound to stop it from bleeding. I stayed in that position for awhile, and my mom and sister were allowed to come in to visit at that time. Yay for visitors!
I had to lie flat for two hours once the clamp was removed, as to not disrupt the healing process. As I waited, my arterial line in my wrist was removed, and given pressure for 10 minutes afterward. My IV was the only line still remaining. That was really the only source of pain I had the entire time. I think it was the positioning of my arm for awhile that really made it painful, other than that, I really didn’t feel any pain, other than discomfort in my throat. (I declined any pain meds.) Also, I remember that I could not stop shivering for hours, despite warm blankets! My knees still hurt.
At 6:30pm it was finally time to get me on my feet and discharged! Unfortunately, as soon we got to the car, my sister noticed blood on my pants. My incision had started bleeding again, so we headed back up to 2North, where they injected the site with lidocaine and epi and I lied still for another half hour. Then I was officially discharged and home by 9pm!
All in all, a successful, long, and eventful day! All the nurses and doctors and support staff were wonderful and I’m grateful that I was able to have my surgery at RCH! Now it’s time to rest up and recover so I can get back to running!