A week has passed and I have survived!
It has felt a long one.
After arriving home last week post-top surgery, slowly the pain started to build and build, paracetamol and ibroprofen seemed to not be making a dent. On Saturday my Mum called 111 (UK number that directs you to the “best” source of medical advice for your problem) with the idea of getting stronger painkillers and triggered all their buttons because I had chest pain – this automatically gets them to send out a bloody ambulance. So I had two paramedics look at me, then refused to go in ambulance to hospital so my parents took me up to the out-of-hours GP. That was funny cause he had to take off my bandage – then try to get it back on, which required the help of my Mum (it’s THAT tight). Got some codeine though! And a district nurse to come round and check everything out.
The post-op binder takes a knack to get on.
- I have to hold the cotton padding in place – making sure it is high enough, covers drains at the sides, and does not scrunch
- Someone places the bandage behind me (like a corset) wrapping it round partially.
- That person holds one end half way across my chest and grips TIGHT
- Another person holds the other end and pulls it hard towards them then slowly brings it across to meet the other end in the middle of chest. (whilst I arrange cotton wool and wince in pain)
- The velcro grips on and I feel like a boa constrictor is around my chest – complete!
At Least with the extra painkillers it has not been as painfull. I have had blisters though near where my drains are on either side. They grew bigger and bigger and very uncomfortable untill they both managed to burst. At which point the uncomfortable turned to burning/stinging. The nurse had to come and cover over those too.
What I wish I had known pre-top surgery?
- That you are going to need A LOT of help. From changing to washing, to getting comfortable in bed, to opening cupboards, reaching anything that is above chest height, reaching anything on the floor, taking on and off binder for the “ten minute heaven/bliss/release/breathing a day”, making a simple tea, lifting anything heavier than a mug of tea..
- That the post-op binder is tigher than a normal one
- To refuse to leave the hospital without strong painkillers – even if at the time you feel “ok” (mainly because you are still on strong painkillers at hospital)
- To refuse to leave the hospital without getting at least a brief talk about post-op care (I got none) – like I have a physio booklet – am I meant to be doing them now? lots of them are way too hard in that book atm! , do I have to note down my drain levels each day? Can I call a district nurse if I have conserns? Can I walk far or get my heart rate up?
- Drains are not too bad, more awkward than anything
- Dont bring lots of stuff to read/play with to hosptial – your not there for long and most of it is spent dozing on and off, and your concentration span is about 3o seconds. I semi-watched the TV and slept.
There is probably more I can’t think about right now.
A good thing that has happened is I called the hospital on Tuseday to ask about blisters after some promting from district nurse – they said they would ask the consultant. 10 minutes later….”Would you like to come in on Friday to get your drains and bandages removed?“……. :-0 !!! I almost passed out in happiness. This Friday, tomorrow, I am freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!. No drains over Christmas, it’s a present in itself. So think of me tomorrow breathing properly for the first time in 9 days and going home with my new chest open to the world :-D.
Revision wise i’ve been doing crap. Codeine and revision dont go down well. I am slowly getting back into it, just have to catch up on quite a lot now. My mood has been surprising good in this past week, I have been really worried about “post-op blues” I suppose it could still crop up in the coming weeks, but so far, so good. I think the pain and discomfort has focussed my mind on just getting better.
This is the last blog before Christmas, so I wish all my followers a Happy Christmas! And to all trans people having a hard time on the family front over the holidays, hope it goes better than expected for you.
Comparison Pic: Day 14 vs day 336 (Week 2 vs week 48)