I had a quick shower and removed all my makeup from my face. I had my last minute checks and made sure I remembered my phone and Bill, one of my little puffalump toys. I had, had Bill since I was 1 years old. Little did I know, mum had packed Jewy, my blue puffalump that looked so overused and broken. Jewy had been my favourite since I was 1 and anytime I was in pain, upset or ill I would cuddle it to feel better. At 23 you would think I had got over this stage. But I haven’t. haha. I still cuddle her every night when I am in pain or upset. I think it is nice to have something that brings you comfort in the bad times. There is not always someone around to give you a cuddle when you need it, so my Jewy makes a good substitute.
We arrived at the hospital and I remember wheeling my heavy bag along the car park and into the old spooky building where my brother had died. It was bright sunshine outside and it was set to be a beautiful day. We arrived at the ward to find a queue of around 10 people. The nurse was explaining that there were a shortage of beds and not everyone would be able to have their operations today. This ward was for limbs, elderly patients and orthognathic and jaw surgery cases. I remember saying to mum, I have not gone through all this stress for nothing and so they’d better have a bed for me…otherwise I would have gone private. This made me very stressed whilst we waited to be allocated a bed. We were called before the others and put into a small room on the ward. The nurse said this would not be my room after the operation and that I should not unpack my things, they could all be put into a locker. She then came in a handed me a lovely hospital gown, white stockings and paper knickers. All I can say here was OMG. My jaw dropped. Firstly, why do I have to wear paper knickers and what if I was on my period at the time? I was not… luckily but it still made me angry. Secondly, the hospital gown she gave me was falling to pieces and had dry blood stains all over it. I cried at this point. Is this the level of hygiene and care I should be expecting for the rest of my stay here? My mum was furious and asked the lady politely for a clean gown. The nurse replied that it was clean, just stained. Mum persisted and informed her that if the gown was in fact sanitised and clean there would be no stains remaining. The nurse eventually huffed and puffed and got me another semi clean gown. What has the NHS become? It is no longer a health service it is just a money making machine.
So after the drama of the dirty gown and paper knickers I was wired up to check my sats, pulse and temperature. The surgeon’s registrar came to visit me and wanted to take more blood before the operation. I have no idea why he wanted to do this and I was 100% certain with a combination of my low blood pressure, being cold and lack of liquid it would not be easy to get blood from me. Mum already knew how stressed I was and was getting rather angry and emotional.
The first two attempts of blood, I was very calm. By the third I was in a lot of pain and worrying the anaesthetist would not have any more veins to use. I only have a couple of good veins they can use and they are very small, so they have to use a butterfly needle. Mum stepped in a told them they did not need blood as they already had lots at the pre surgical appointments. Also they were wasting their time trying to get blood out of me when I have not drunk for 7 hours. The registrar was lovely and he decided he would not try again. I gave him my latex free bands and my ward consent form and he went to get prepared for surgery.
My boyfriend at this point, piped up and told my mum to calm down and the doctors knew what they were doing. But I think this was all for show as he felt my mum was making a scene. When you care about someone you do not just sit back and watch someone hurt them for no reason. The nurse came in and informed me I was to walk to theatre now. How hygienic? So I put my shoes on and my coat to cover myself up and walked through the hospital to theatre. If I did not have mum to come down with me I would have had to walk bare foot and not take any belongings. Terrible practice by the NHS.
We get down to the theatre and I am allocated a bed in the holding area. My boyfriend and my mum are not allowed in the waiting area so I decided to stand outside with them until the anaesthetist arrived. I am shaking and nervous. I am on the edge of tears. My stomach is turning and I need to go to wee. I do not know about others but when I am nervous I need to go to wee. I asked one of the nurses at the holding section and she out rightly refused. I told her I really needed the toilet and I would have to walk out and come back if that was the case. They all became very suspicious of me… no idea why. I was escorted with a nurse into the toilet where I was watched whilst I went to wee. Very degrading. I felt a little better afterwards though and managed to pull myself together. I was freezing and had this deep sense of dread of whatever laid ahead. What if this was the last time I was going to see my mum and boyfriend? How would they cope without me and would they be ok? I realised I had not told my brother I loved him and I might not ever see him again. I could see the panic in my mum’s eyes, but she had to keep reassuring herself and me that it would be ok. My boyfriend had a little lost boy look on his face. He was out of his comfort zone and helpless to change the situation. I could tell he was worried for me.
The anaesthetist arrived and I sat on the bed with her to discuss things I am allergic to and any problems I have had in the past with aesthetics. I could not remember, so mum came in to help and tell her the names of antibiotics I was allergic to and reminded her I am normally sick on anaesthetic. I was tearful and I remember the anaesthetist telling me to stop crying and I did not have to go through with this operation if I did not want to. If only that was true! My face and bite were so misaligned now and the facial pain was so intense there was no turning back. Eastman’s had told me that in my second opinion with them. The anaesthetist informed me that she had been in this job for nearly 20 years and she had not lost anyone on the operating table before. Her stern and (supposed to be) reassuring words did not make a difference.
Mum gave me a kiss on the head to say good bye and told me she loved me and not to worry she would be there when I wake up. My boyfriend I do not remember if he kissed me good bye or just stood back. He was not very affectionate or loving anyways. As I was wheeled away I remember looking at my mum and boyfriend standing in the corridor, all most in tears both of them. I knew this was when I needed to “man up” and reassure myself this was not the end and only the beginning of a new life and new face. I had to think positively
So, I was wheeled into the anaesthetist room and the surgery doors were wide open. I could see all the staff preparing and all the high tech equipment and lighting. I could see my registrar rushing around but could not see Mr Matthews (my surgeon). The anaesthetist instructed me to lie down and uncross my legs. Then she put the first line in. It hurt a little. She was not sure if she liked that line so she inserted another one whilst I was awake. She then told me she would be inserting 3 syringes and with each syringe I would become more and more sedated. She then told me not to worry she was going to take good care of me. My registrar popped his head around the door to say they were nearly ready and told me not to worry. Then with the first syringe in, I was out like a light.