The “Day Surgery” that Wasn’t

Just to complicate matters, in the middle of everything I was due to undergo a hernia reconstruction. My surgery was supposed to be conducted in The Dungeon but after several last minute cancellations I was referred to a private surgeon. When I met with him he told me my hernia looked fairly small, and like an easy job. It would be a day surgery and I “may not even need mesh”.

Famous last words.

I woke up from the general anaesthetic thrashing and screaming, like I always do. I was surrounded by staff in scrubs (including my nurse escort) trying to calm me down. My doctor appeared.

“Rachael,” he said, placing a hand on my shoulder, “we are taking you to the ward. We need to keep you in overnight. The surgery was more complicated than expected.”

I nodded then, perhaps it was the pain or perhaps it was the needle in my thigh, but I began to lose consciousness.

I woke up a few hours later on the ward. I tried to take my oxygen mask off, but my nurse escort firmly held it on. “Your stats are low.” she told me. I began to lose consciousness again.

Later on my doctor arrived. “The surgery was more complicated than expected. Your hernia was large and very deep. We had to cut through a lot of muscle and use a lot of mesh. It was good that you had it repaired.” I started to black out once more.

I woke up the next morning, feeling a little more lifelike. I took off my oxygen mask and this time no one stopped me. I turned my head and saw I had a new nurse escort.

“Good morning!” she said cheerfully. I smiled and tried to get out of bed, but was hit with strong pain. With the nurse I was helped to the toilet, and everything seemed to be going ok until I saw my gown was soaked in blood, and the blood was pooling on the bathroom tiles.

“Erm…Problem!” I alerted my nurse. She helped me back to my bed and pressed the call button. Cue a good half hour of wound dressing repair and being given strict instructions to remain in bed.

Which I did. For the next three days. The pain was intense, requiring high Schedule painkillers hourly (which ultimately resulted in unintentional opioid addiction…a topic I will cover some other time). Finally I was released…back to the state psychiatric facility anyway. My pain was improving, and I could move around. I had a few more days until my intended transfer to my last stop in the game of Hospital Hopping.

Indeed, on the Monday I was gleefully discharged from the State psychiatric facility, and checked in to a private psychiatric hospital; The Palace. I noticed that my stomach was ridiculously huge and casually asked my admitting nurse what I should do, given my recent surgery.

“Oh, I will see if we have a midwife on staff.”

My husband and I, both horrified, corrected her, telling her I was definetely not pregnant. But i couldnt even be insulted, given my size. The nurse was even more horrified, both at her faux pas and at my stomach.

“You need to go to the Emergency Department! She told us. “That”, she pointed accusingly at my stomach, “needs to be seen to.”

So what ensued was another hospital run. I brought nothing bar the clothes on my back, sure I had some sort of infection and I would be sent “home” with antibiotics.

But by the time we arrived I was having difficulties breathing I had gotten so large, and I was seen to suscpiciously quickly. I was told I most likely had a Saroma, or fluid collection over the mesh repair, and that it might need surgical drainage. I was taken to the surgical ward where I spent another three days.

On the last day my original surgeon came to see me to tell me that the Saroma didn’t need surgical drainage, and I could be discharged. “But there is something else…” he added.

Oh for the love of God, what now?! For a moment I wondered if they had seen a foetus on the scan. An immaculate conception of course.

But instead the CT scan indicated that my hernia had returned. I nearly hit the roof.

“That is possibly the most ridiculous thing I have heard!” I told him, all politeness going out the window.

“I know!” he agreed crossly. “I refuse to believe it is possible. The amount of mesh we used….don’t listen to what the surgical team tell you. It must be an imaging error….or something.”

His “or something” didn’t leave me with the greatest confidence, but quite frankly the whole situation is in the “too hard” basket right now, as my husband would say.

So basically my day surgery ended up as eight day surgery, and at the end of it all I may still possess a hernia.

Can I please catch a break? Please?

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