I barely slept due to a combination of nerves and my roommate repeatedly switching his light on and off (he’s elderly and apparently very senile). I was first on the surgery list, so the nurses popped up around 05:30 to remind me to shower and change into the fetching totally-open-up-the-back surgery gown.
Right on time, at 08:30, I was wheeled down but there was a queue in the pre-op area and it was 08:45 before someone came to fetch me and after 9 before I was taken into the operating theatre. I’m pretty familiar with the whole procedure, the staff were very pleasant and chatty, and before long I was out.
As usual my memories from recovery are a bit confused. I’d asked them to call my husband when I got out of surgery and I remember reminding them while I was still pretty out of it, but they never called him. Fortunately he’d guessed about the right time anyway, so he was waiting for me at the ward when I was wheeled up there a couple of hours later.
Compared to my previous urethroplasty I’d say I had a lot more pain on waking up this time. In recovery I needed some extra paracetamol for the aching in my groin and then as the local anaesthetic in my cheek wore off I needed a couple of doses of morphine.
Up at the ward the groin pain was OK, a constant dull ache, but I needed some local anaesthetic gel for my cheek to be able to eat the horrendously dry fish we got for dinner. As always I was hungry rather than nauseous after the general anaesthetic.
The surgeon came to see me in the afternoon and she seemed very happy with how things had gone. She said there were 5 cm of urethra that was completely scarred and unsalvageable but the rest looked healthy. That was a relief, I was worried they’d discover more scarring. The pain in my cheek was explained by them having to take a roughly 5 by 3 cm chunk of tissue to make the graft, much more than last time.
I’m not allowed to sit up fully today and I’m to stay in bed for five days altogether. I was glad to hear that I am allowed to get up to use the toilet, so I won’t have to poop in a bedpan. Small mercies! They left in my suprapubic catheter and I’ve (apparently) got a urethral catheter through the healthy urethra near the tip of my penis, looping out over the dressing covering the graft and then back in at the base of my penis and into the bladder.
So now I’m just relaxing in bed and trying to find ways to keep myself amused. It’s just as well I planned ahead and brought my laptop. I took a photo of the dressing, but it’s not especially interesting.
In my online medical records I can see the surgeon’s full narrative of the surgery, so here it is (translated from Swedish):
Patient in flat position, surgery area washed and dried sterile. Begin to apply gel in the meatus, insert a 14 Ch catheter circa 5 cm then dead stop. Incision in the skin over the urethra. Subsequently with scissors through the subcutaneous tissue. Place urethroplasty hooks. Open the urethra along the midline, where it is significantly fibrotic from the incision and circa 5 cm proximally, then opens up nicely. Decide that I must excise the whole fibrotic area. Measure a strip 5 cm long and barely 3 cm wide. Subsequently the graft is taken from the right hand side of the cheek, draw ut 5 x 3 cm after I marked out the opening for Stensen’s duct. Inject local anaesthetic under the tissue. I separate the graft when I reach 5 cm length. Control of haemostasis with diathermy. Place a compress with xylocaine-adrenaline in the cheek. Trim the transplant. Mesh [the graft]. Place the graft in position and fasten with a few stitches to the edges and also 3 rows of sutures to hold the graft down onto the corpora. Then stitch the skin edges to the graft and urethra, which I spatulated circa 6 mm at both proximal and distal ends. Lubricate the urethra. Lay a mepitel compress over the graft and a 14 Ch catheter in place. The penis is laid up towards the belly and pressure bandaged. Finally checking the wound in the cheek, finish with two single stitches since I don’t want to burn right by the opening of Stensen’s duct.