these things are probably not that exciting.
WARNING: discussion of surgery, and surgical wounds, and hospitals, and hospital food. if these are gross out/triggers for you, don’t read on.
i have a strange love of surgical stuff when i’m sedated. when i’m not aware of what’s going on, i don’t really care. i’m not there. i mean, physically i am obviously there, but i am oblivious to what is happening around me. there’s nothing scary – i let go, and i trust these people. perhaps that’s weird, but i feel power in trusting those i’ve researched and who are trusted by other people to do these things. i surrender. there’s no point resisting now, and there’s nothing to fear.
i was admitted, the surgeon chatted to me briefly about what the process entailed – he shook my hand and apologised that he didn’t have a chance to meet me before today (my oncologist pulled strings to get him to do it ASAP. young-person-stage-4-special). he drew a cross on my breast which is where the portacath would be inserted, explained how the tube directed the chemotherapy into my heart and then around my body. i waited -the woman in the other bed in my room went into surgery first (to have her portacath removed!) and 15 minutes later, i was wheeled off. the anaesthetist was a lovely older woman with flamboyant beads on her glasses string – green and crystal white. she anaesthetised my hand first (weird, they normally just stab it in hard) and then inserted the cannula, and put in what i am assuming was some sort of mild sedative/twilight. then that hazy feeling. then, i woke up, in two robes, in an unfamiliar room.
they said i could have morphine for the pain, but it would go in my butt or thigh. i HATE inter muscular injections so much. and honestly, it hurt, but not that much. at the time, it’s probably because they were running morphine through the IV drip i had in. the memories of the next few hours (and to be honest, today as well) are really hazy. i read for most of the evening – my book as far from my face as i could read, as something weird had happened to my short vision, and my glasses weren’t working for either close or distant vision. i read a comforting pulp fantasy book because i am without culture when my chest has a huge gash in it. i had a few panadol tablets, and like a hero (or more likely, an idiot) didn’t take another lot until the pain was unbearable. then woke up in the middle of the night in pain again, covered in sweat (this happens a lot to me. and to a lot of people. i assumed it was LIVER FAILURE until at least two other people admitted it happens to them as well). temperature was slightly low. this morning, i swallowed my pride and some endone. yeah, no way. i could barely walk, or write my name, was white as a sheet, and completely disoriented. i don’t even know what i did most of today. if anything? hallucinated a few times… saw a cartoon behind my computer screen… pretty dull ones.
the scar itself is not long, 5-6 cms – it just looks big on me because i’m tiny. there’s another small nick above it, with one stitch. the lower incision has 6 or so (i haven’t counted) stitches, under a clear bandage. it is red and raised, and more of the pain is referred to my upper right arm. when i move it there is a dull pain. the skin is a weird shade of white where it meets. dull pain is fine, and not that hard to manage. it’s sharp, sudden pain that i can’t wrap my head around properly. it’s hard to relax into when it comes so fast. you can ‘observe the pain’ all you want but it’s not fun. i understand in theory how it works. but i think i’ll only get it once i see them insert that chemo needle in there.
honestly? i feel bad for even whinging about the portacath pain. seriously. i’m looking at having most of my liver resected, my bowel resected (albeit about 5 cms), and lung ‘spots’ either radiation therapied away, or cut out. seriously? my widdle arm hurts a bit? i’m also terrified about the lung thing to the point now, whenever i cough (which has been often in the last few days) i become convinced it is THE LUNG CANCERS. i think it’s just a cold. or the breathing tube they put down your throat under a general. dunno. probs not ‘lung spots’. my oxygen levels were completely fine. so, yeah. we’re all good. even if my pulse is a bit high. i’m hoping regular exercise will help that at least a bit.
the main difference, as far as i can tell, between public and private hospitals is carpet and wall paint choices. private hospitals have carpet. public hospitals have linoleum. private hospitals have slightly stronger pale colours, while in public hospitals they tend to be a bit more anaemic. there were also only two people to a room – and my room mate left before bedtime, so i essentially had my own room in the hospital. it was pretty great. the breakfast was better than some crappy hotel breakfasts i’ve had. which doesn’t mean much, of course – and because i didn’t get a chance to order, it came with stuff i wouldn’t eat. mystery hospital sausages. what the hell even are they? the dinner had chops, and i like chops, and mashed potatoes. both were tolerable. the chicken and corn soupy thing was also pretty ok. came with apple juice, which i only had a bit of, and an edible, if not very exciting, crumble. i’ve never stayed overnight in a hospital that is not a psychiatric facility, and the freedom! they bring you your pills! you can just wear the hospital robe all day and no one cares! you can eat in bed! there’s something soothing about it. and i know that’s the point right? i will make hospital food reviews a part of my blog as a regular thing. though, the public hospital doesn’t let you use the internet, OR your phone at all. why is this when the private hospital gives you free wifi??
i got my diet instructions today from a dietician to help with my 10kg in 2 month weight loss. it is a Protein and Energy Enriched Diet. this includes making every mouthful i eat or drink have energy of some sort. no water, no coffee, no tea. JUICE! CORDIAL! SOFT DRINK! protein 3 times a day. eat whenever i want, whatever i want. find ways to add ‘energy’ to your foods. i love that they call it that. cheese everywhere. butter. milk. eggs. ice cream. full fat. glucose!!!! and jam. just chuck that shit in everything. i take this as permission to eat jam however i want to, and to eat custard at 3am.
And here’s tonight’s Mountain Goats song about life, and death and mortality. and jam. i really like eating jam out of the jar. with no spoon.