Monday, 18.02.2019 – A day before my Septoplasty
3:20pm – Dr. Zastrow had asked me to get a CT scan, along with blood test. I had done both, and went to see him with my reports. He showed me the scans (which did not make much sense), pointing to the valve that he was going to operate on. He also told me that the procedure would take place at St. Marien-Hospital, and that I need to be there at 9:45am. I should have someone along to take me home after.
11:45pm – N was getting ready for bed, and I was idly Googling Septoplasty. I ended up at a Reddit thread, where people has shared their experiences – primarily the pain. By fourth account, I was borderline hysterical. I asked N to sit next to me, and with a straight face, asked him to cancel my surgery. I told him that I am not going ahead with it. He enquired about what was going on, and I burst into tears. I told him that I won’t be able to take the pain. I cried for straight 25 minutes, rocking with fear and anxiety. I was petrified. He tried to calm me down, pointed that the thread was from 2006 and 2012, and technology has made great advancements since. It won’t be as bad as the accounts I have just read. Tears drowned all my arguments, and I continued crying for another 10 minutes before calming down. I haven’t cried like that in a long time.
Tuesday, 19.02.2019 – THE Day
9:45am – It took us a while to find the designated room for surgery. We were running five minutes late. Once we checked-in, we were asked to wait in the lounge. Five minutes later, I saw Dr. Zastrow wheeling out an unconscious patient. This was when it all started becoming too real. ‘Soon, it would be me on that stretcher, passed out…‘ I murmured to myself. Not a pleasant thought.
10:00am – Dr. Zastrow came over to us, and told me that the anaesthetist would like to have a word with me. An elderly man came, borderline arrogant, and introduced himself as the one who would administer anaesthesia. He had the form that I had filled out yesterday at the clinic, mentioning allergies, diseases, and other details – like my weight. He launched into a lecture about how overweight I am for my age, and all I wanted was to die. N was next to me, and that is one of three things that we never discuss. After announcing my weight for all to hear, he went on and on about how dangerous it is, how it is a guarantee of ailments to come – and all in very condescending tone. He informed me that there can be complications today because he would have to inject me with more anaesthesia than usual because of my weight. Objectively speaking, I know that he was only doing his job, and did not intend any malice. What he did not know was that I did not want my weight spelled out aloud in front of my husband.
10:20am – Once that ordeal of a lecture was over, he took me to the operation theatre. I changed my shirt, and hopped on to the operating table. There were two nurses, along with Dr. Zastrow and anesthetist, in the room. Two things that you need to know about me at this point – I freak out at the sight of needles and blood, and my pain threshold is embarrassingly low. I panic at the thought of pain.
Mr. Anaesthetist came in to my line of vision again, and started tapping the back of my hand. Hard. I tried to tell him that I had a blood test couple of days ago, and it was still sore, but he wouldn’t listen. He dismissed my angst as a nuisance. One of the nurses offered me her hand to hold on to. By then, I was tearing up. When he inserted the needle, I cried out aloud. It hurt way too much. To make matters worse, he waved the syringe in front of my face, and said that this is used for children between the age of two and four. I was sobbing. He then injected anaesthesia, which felt like a cold liquid coursing through my veins. It travelled from my hand to my face in two seconds, and I don’t remember what happened after. The last thing that I remember is that sweet nurse saying good night.
12:30pm – I opened my eyes. Everything was woozy, and I couldn’t hold on to a thought. I saw N, which was reassuring. People were talking.
12:40pm – I felt awake, and an elderly nurse was asking me if I were okay. I mumbled yes. She said that I could leave whenever I was ready. I closed my eyes again. I heard her talking to N, explaining when and how to take pain killers, preferred diet, gauze changes, emergency warnings and some other things that I could not register. I sat up, and suddenly felt light-headed. She asked me to take it slow. My steps were not coordinated, so she walked me out of the hospital, with N on the other side.
1:15pm – we reached home, and I went to bed. For the remaining of the day, I stayed in, with lights out. I was very sensitive to light and sound. I slept throughout the day. N fed me chocolate pudding with mashed banana in it. I did not want to eat but I had to, in order to take meds. Doctor gave me a tablet that was broken into four pieces – 1/4 was meant to be had a few hours after the surgery, 1/2 before going to bed, and 1/4 the morning after. I could have up to three iBrufen tablets in a day.
I had a tampon in a gauze band under my nose to catch blood and other discharge. I knew that I had blood here and there, so did not look in the mirror all day. N changed my gauze every three hours.
The surgery was over, and I was on my way to the recovery.
Final thoughts about the surgery: you are conked out during the surgery, which can last anywhere between 4o to 90 minutes. 24 hours after the surgery are crucial, where I was too woozy (with leftover anaesthesia and meds) to do much. I slept the entire time. I was so grateful that N had taken off from work, and took care of everything – food, meds, helping me walk around, change gauze and just be there for everything. It made all the difference.
Now, on to the recovery phase details, in the next episode.