The last time I wrote about myself, I said I had to have a blood exchange and this in readiness for avascular necrosis operation in my shoulder.
The non-stop constant pain started in August 2017. I initially took the pain in my stride and kept on living. But by the beginning of 2018, the pain was relentless and affecting my day-to-day living in many ways.
By the time I had surgery, my life was not the same because gradually I could not carry anything heavy. Food shopping became a difficult thing for me. Writing also became an ordeal and sleeping at night became a no-go area because once I lay down, the pain became intense. Lifting a kettle filled with water was becoming a nightmare.
My handwriting was becoming ineligible. I also started having difficulties with opening can or twisting a bottle. Trying to reach out or lift something was also difficult because I could not stretch my hands far out. If I drove long distance, I would suffer the consequences at night. Basically, I would feel the consequence of overdoing anything at night. Like I said, this situation was affecting my day-to-day living but I kept it moving.
The type of surgery I was going to have is not a big deal but due to sickle cell, it became one. A healthy person without sickle cell would go in on the day early to have the operation and come out later that day. But due to sickle cell, I was told to arrive the day before to be monitored and put on a drip before surgery. On the day, I had two lovely people who came with me to hospital and stayed chatting with me for a while. That took my mind off things, thanks guys.
When we got to the hospital and ward, I was taken into an en-suite room where the surgery would be done. I was glad! The junior doctor tried as much as he could after pricking and looking for a vein several times before he found a vein and put the cannula in. I was skeptical about what he had done but because I had people with me, I wanted him to hurry up and go, so I could keep talking and laughing with my people. I was comfortable. I had both a personal nurse and health care assistant looking after me, and this meant whenever I needed something, someone would be there. A doctor from the orthopedic team came to see me and explain the procedure I would be having to me. He also talked about what could go wrong. In my mind, I was rejecting all the negative things he was saying.
When the night workers started their shift, it was time for the drip to be put in and of course no water flowed into my veins. I knew the cannula that the junior doctor had put in would not work. Anyway, that night, the hunt for veins took another turn until a specialist nurse was called. She started by ‘playing the piano’ on my arm. I thought to myself, this is interesting and so I asked her what she was doing. She replied that she was looking for a vein and that a lot of medical people did not know about the art of looking for a vein. I kept thinking okay let’s see what happens next and truly, after playing with my hand for a couple of minutes, she found a vein and the rest was history.
I was told to drink as much as I could from when I was admitted till 2am and after I needed to be nil mouth. I did as I was told because the surgery had to be successful. Due to the injection and drip drama, I hardly slept that night and slowly dawn broke and I was still awake. The same doctor from the orthopedic team came to see me again and he explained the procedure to me one more time. After he left, the anesthetist also came to explain what they would be doing too. I appreciated being carried along in terms of being told what was going to happen.
When the orthopedic doctor arrived, one of my people also arrived and heard all what he had to say. Around 9.35 am, I was wheeled away for surgery. I was taken to a room with two anesthetics doctors attending to me and explaining what they would be doing. I was told that they would put an injection in my neck, as they needed to numb the whole shoulder area and the other would be somewhere else (sorry can’t remember). I was busy watching them and the next thing I knew was that I asked a nurse when I would be having surgery. She replied that it was already done and I was in the recovery room.
I was like what, that was fast! I looked at a clock against the wall and it was about 11.30am. I was back in my room in time for lunch.
Post-surgery, I noticed I could not lift that hand, no sensation at all. It was numb, my goodness. It was heavy and my hand was in a sling and the shoulder was heavily bandaged up. I was numb from my neck and the anesthetics doctors had told me it would take about 18 hours for the effects to wear off and that was what happened. It only started wearing off after 18 hours but took longer to feel completely with it.
After surgery and I was back in my room, sometimes in the afternoon, the same orthopedic doctor came round and told me the operation was successful. Amen somebody! Glory to God. My people were with me that evening once again. I was given a lot of morphine to numb the pain since it was a bone surgery. I was encouraged to drink plenty of water, which I did.
I thought I could write it all in one column but it seems it would be better to make this story a two-part. The concluding part will be next week.
If you would like to know more about sickle cell, do visit my blog: www.howtolivewithsicklecell.co.uk.or you can send me an email on: firstname.lastname@example.org