I got up at 05:30 for the 300 ml of pineapple juice that was all I was allowed to drink before the operation.
On arrival at the urology ward there was a bit of a wait because “my” bed was still occupied. The hospital is suffering from terrible bed shortages, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. I ended up in a room that had been “closed” and was partly used as an office for the final checks and to change into the stylish surgery clothes.
A very friendly nurse and two student nurses wheeled me down to the surgery department, where there was more waiting in the pre-operative room. I had my last pee for a few weeks and then one of the students nervously put a cannula in (and did a good job). Lying there in the almost empty room I felt surprisingly relaxed, although a bit shaky, which could have been due to the lack of food.
The anaesthetist was being held up by another patient, so the anaesthetist nurse wheeled me through to theatre and they got to work preparing me while they found another anaesthetist. The pre-med made me pleasantly woozy and I vaguely remember chatting with the staff then I was out like a light as soon as the anaesthetic went it.
Waking up was much less peaceful. I don’t remember much, apart from being convinced that my husband was there (which he wasn’t). The nurse told me I had been quite confused and difficult.
I stayed in post-op for quite a long time, at first quite disorientated but then just bored. I got to talk to my husband on the phone. They had me lying on my right side (they’d taken the graft from my left cheek) but the bed was too short so my legs got really stiff and painful and nobody seemed to pay attention when I complained about it. I wasn’t feeling any other pain though, they’d given me fentanyl.
A surgeon passed by and told me that the surgery had gone well but that the anaesthetists had had some trouble. They couldn’t get the breathing tube in through my nose, after attempting with both nostrils until they were bloody, so they gave up and put one in my mouth instead. A nurse appeared with hot towels and helped me get rid of some of the dried blood on my face.
A bit later my husband sneaked in, still in his scrubs from work. That seemed to remind them to get rid of me. They’d thought I was still tired from the anaesthetic but I think it was mostly just that I was napping because there was nothing else to do.
I had a quick look under the covers and things didn’t look too horrific. There was blood soaking through the dressing on my penis, which was taped pointing up towards my belly button, and a bit around the site of the suprapubic catheter. As expected there was also a catheter coming out of my penis. I was starting to get a bit of pain from the suprapubic catheter wound now, it felt a bit like muscle soreness from too much exercise. Click here for photos.
Once I’d been wheeled up to the urology ward I got a bed beside the window in a four-bed room. My clothes and valuables appeared along with some water and my husband came back just as dinner was being served.
Dinner was pancakes and pea soup. I let the soup go lukewarm and managed it OK but left the giant lump of cauliflower sitting in the bottom of the bowl. My cheek was a bit tender where they’d taken the graft but much less painful than I expected after reading other people’s experiences. Some aching in my groin too, my scrotum was looking pretty bruised and swollen.
I got some antibiotics, the nurse stabbed me in the leg with some blood-thinning drugs and I got a horrible nightgown to change into. I was even brought a little dish so that I could clean (half of) my teeth. At this point I realised that maybe bringing the toothbrush with the tongue scraper on the back hadn’t been such a good idea.
It was obviously time for bed so I settled down and tried to get some sleep, without much success. A little old lady arrived quite late in the night and was very noisy. Eventually she started continuously wailing and crying for help, as well as talking to someone who wasn’t there. When I called the nurse for her she said she was fine. After a couple of repetitions of this I called the nurse again and told her that I couldn’t sleep with all the noise, even with earplugs, and the little old lady was moved to another room.
I had trouble sleeping for more than short bursts because I could only lie on my back. My left side was out because of my cheek and if I lay on my right side my swollen scrotum was painful.