Friday, May 25, 2007


May 11th, 2007  -- Day 3: Surgery (Good bye, Pinoko) --

Good thing was that it didn’t rain at all during my hospital stay. Rain always makes me depressed and I didn’t want to have a surgery on a rainy day. The bright sunshine that morning made me less worried about the tracheal intubation. Oh, it will be alright… I’m physically strong and my veins are easy to see. So my esophagus and windpipe must be pretty sturdy, too... I know. No logic at all. But I just got tired of worrying. It was such an eventful day, and soon I became busy feeling “OH! This is what I read on someone’s blog! Now I’m actually experiencing it! Wow!” with almost everything I went through.

After 7 am, a young nurse shaved me and cleaned my navel. Then she gave me an enema and told me to hold it for a while, but like I had read beforehand, it was terribly hard. I assume that my intestines were not completely “emptied” then. Sorry, staff, if this would be a real stinky operation. :P
After that, I took a quick shower and put on a gown and elastic stockings. Uh… in this photo my calf looks pretty big but it’s just the camera angle. Ahem! According to the nurse, the hole was for checking the color of the toenails (to check the blood circulation, I suppose?).

Then I packed up and moved to a private room. BTW, they had 2 types of private rooms: one with toilet and wash basin (over 8000 yen/day), and one with wash basin (4200 yen/day). I was happy that I got the 4200-yen room as I had requested, because my private insurance can cover that amount (if I understood the insurance policy correctly).

Mom came in around 11:00 am. The first thing she said was “I got lost and went to the annex.” Yeah, I knew that was gonna happen, mom. You told me that you walked all the way around to get to the nearest train station on the 9th. But I didn’t tease her because I needed to talk her into staying in my apartment room until the 14th and watering my plants on the balcony every morning. It worked out. ;) And a nurse came to give me a drip, but now I don’t remember if it was before or after mom came.

Maybe 10 or 15 minutes before 2 pm, a nurse came to take me to the operation room. While I was walking with the nurse and mom, my mind was more occupied with pushing my drip stand properly in the hallway and the elevator. Sorry, I’m not an experienced inpatient… While waiting right outside the operation room, I saw my doc going into the room. I felt so happy to see his familiar face! So… maybe I’m more nervous than I think, ha?

Finally, I entered the operation room. Two nurses waiting inside introduced themselves to me and told me to get on the stretcher. Boy, the stretcher looks so narrow!! Also, the anesthesiologist introduced the EMT trainee to me. OH, GOOD LUCK!! REALLY!! The stretcher started moving, and it was so nice that someone kept telling me how the stretcher was going to move and what was coming next all the time. And thank goodness, NO rock music. (Someone wrote on her blog that the staff had rock music on in the op-room and she felt more scared than relaxed because she doubted the staff’s seriousness.) The stretcher finally stopped. I don’t remember exactly but I guess the ECG patches were attached and a surgical cap covered my head. Then an oxygen mask covered my nose and mouth, and I heard someone (the anesthesiologist?) saying “You’ll fall asleep right away.” That was the last thing I remembered.

Then I heard someone calling my name. I felt my abdomen being quickly covered with a diaper and bandage.
So… it’s over…??

And the next time I opened my eyes, I was back in the private room in the inpatient ward. An elder nurse was standing next to the ECG machine (?) and mom was sitting next to my bed. The nurse told me to breathe deep, and she asked my mom to tell me to breathe deep, too. The funny thing was that it was as if I forgot how to breathe spontaneously -- I really needed to force myself (or make a conscious effort, if "force" is a little too strong word) to breathe. Wait a minute… isn’t breathing supposed to be more effortless??? I felt lazy about breathing after a few breaths and stopped it for several seconds, then took a deep breath to catch up, which probably scared my mom. She walked around my bed and peeked in the ECG monitor several times when the nurse was not around. Hey, don’t worry, mom. You know how long I can hold my breath when I dive to pick abalones in the ocean… But maybe that’s not the point now… I don’t know how long I continued such clumsy breathing, but gradually it became easier. I even lifted up the oxygen mask a couple of times to scratch my nose.

At around 7 pm, mom left. During that uncomfortable night, the elder nurse came in so many times to take care of me. In addition to checking vitals and emptying the urine, she wiped my face with a warm towel, wetted my lips several times with a big cotton swab, and brought me an ice pack because I had a slight fever.

Now my biggest surprise was: the incisions didn’t hurt almost at all. My elder relatives -- those "experts of hospital stay" -- had said that after their surgeries, the anesthesia wore off in several hours and the pain started, but the doctors and nurses were reluctant to use pain killer. So I expected to feel a throbbing pain in my abdomen. But it didn’t happen. Actually it was the back pain that bothered me more.

After the oxygen mask was taken off, I asked the nurse if I could lie on my side because my back hurt, and she said it was OK to do so for a short while. As soon as I lay on my side, a B-I-G burp came out! So this is what someone commented about on my blog? Must be the leftover gas (CO2)? The nurse quickly folded the cover and placed it against my back to support. Boy she was so good. During that night, she did this and that to reduce my back pain and make me feel comfortable, and she was so quick and efficient! I felt so attached to her, honestly.

It was another sleepless night, and I kept wondering why the incisions did not hurt while the back pain was that persistent...
(I think the anesthesiologist came to check on me that night, but I don't remember exactly when.)

To be cont'd...















posted by obachan, 5/25/2007 11:27:00 AM


Huh, sounds like you had a little trouble there. No, breathing should not have been difficult. A little too much sedation?

I was put under a couple years ago and waking up was more like sudden awareness and then the job of forcing myself awake and able to speak past a dry mouth. My husband and daughter both report the same sensations.

That's what I see with my patients as well although I've never asked any of them about their sensations upon waking. Interesting.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 5/27/2007 2:32 AM  
Last time I had an anesthesia, I had the same problem for breathing when I woke up.
A nurse kept telling me to breath.
commented by Blogger Plume, 5/31/2007 3:55 AM  
Maybe my brain didn’t wanna wake up easily after all those sleepless days.

Yeah, I a few Japanese bloggers wrote the same thing about their breathing after a surgery under general anesthesia, so I guess this can happen sometimes.
commented by Blogger obachan, 6/03/2007 9:58 PM  

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