In late August, I received a letter from the Royal Victorian Eye & Ear Hospital. The letter contained my surgery date of 10th November 2016. Whilst I was happy I had gotten a date, it wasn’t the right timing. I was due to fly to London a couple of weeks after and it would have clashed with the switch-on date. I didn’t want to adjust to new sounds whilst gallivanting around the streets of Paris, and my mental health wasn’t at its best either. I also had my thesis to finish. I didn’t want more stress on my plate. So, after talking to close friends, I decided to call the CIC to ask for the surgery to be postponed. Luckily, the CIC didn’t have any issues with postponing my surgery — they also agreed that it was the wrong timing.
I really needed this trip to reset myself after a hectic year. Whilst finding my hygge somewhere in Scotland, my housemate messaged me with a photo of a letter from the Eye & Ear. It was right before Christmas, and they had given me a new surgery date.
Thursday 2nd February 2017.
I had approximately 6 weeks to mentally prepare myself. This was a lot sooner than I thought!
Holy shit, this is getting real.
The visit to Surgeon’s Hall Museum in Edinburgh mentally prepared me for the surgery — it made me realise that I would be okay and I would be in great hands. I had nothing to worry about.
A couple of weeks after getting home, I had a pre-admission appointment at the Eye & Ear on the Park. They had to make sure I was healthy enough for the general anaesthesia. I was a bit nervous about going under general anaesthesia, as it would be my first time. The nurse explained the process, which seemed simple enough and I was relieved to learn that the risks were very low.
The day of the surgery approached quickly — it was here before I knew it. As I wasn’t due at the hospital until 11am, I had to start fasting at 6:30am. Now, as you know how much I love my food…that was the most difficult part!! I could only have a small breakfast before 6:30am, which meant no English style breakfast 😭
I also had to stop drinking fluids at 10:30am. I stopped at 10:29am — in nick of time!
I was admitted at around 11:15am. Nurse took my height, weight and all that jazz to determine how much general I could have. Told me to change into a white hospital gown. I WAS ALLOWED TO KEEP MY UNDIES ON. I had to put those white long ass socks on to assist with my blood circulation during the surgery. They’re great for travelling, so I was allowed to take them home afterwards.
I waited. Messaged a few people. More waiting.
The interpreter arrived at 12pm, and we had a bit of a chat. I asked her how long she was booked for, and she said she was booked until my surgery started. That was concerning, as I realised I wouldn’t have an interpreter on standby for post surgery. I knew I would be too groggy to communicate via pen and paper. The interpreter called Oncall to advise them of the situation, and they then called the hospital. My nurse got the call, and came into my room to ask why I requested for an interpreter for post surgery. I explained that I would be too groggy to communicate by any other means other than Auslan, hence my preference to communicate directly in Auslan. It was quickly sorted out, thankfully.
At around 1pm, another nurse came to collect me. It was time. 31 years young and this was going to be my first surgery. I was fucking nervous. We all went down to the basement where all operating suites were located. I was greeted by another nurse who would be scrubbing in my surgery. The interpreter had to be gowned up, and I put a cap on. We were taken into the prep room, where I had to get on a bed. I met the anaesthesiologist, who said he would be giving me whiskey. I asked him if it was from Scotland. To my dismay, it wasn’t. Just good ole Australian made whiskey 😉
After some more prepping, I was whisked into the operating room then I moved onto a really NARROW bed. My first thought was “How the fuck am I gonna fit on that bed?!”. The nurse then took my blood pressure, and she said “Wow, you’re super nervous” and then I was given an oxygen mask to help calm my nerves. That helped heaps. The anaesthesiologist announced that it was whiskey time, so he injected general anaesthetic…and then the room started to spin. I looked at the interpreter, and the last thing I remember was saying “Wow, this shit is good” before blacking out.
Upon waking up in the recovery room, I was astounded and super groggy. I was also surprised to find another interpreter sitting by my bed. The first thing I said was “I’m here? It’s done?”, and the interpreter told me that I had already said that when I woke up for the first time after having the breathing tube taken out and before passing out again.
I also had a massive ass bandage on my head. Apparently it wasn’t wrapped around properly to catch the blood from the drainage hole below my earlobe, and the nurses were forever cleaning it up. Later through the night, a nurse was fed up and decided to fix my bandage — that was very much appreciated because we didn’t have to clean up the blood and it had eased up later on. Although, the knot from the bandage was really annoying because it put on a bit of pressure on my head, thus causing a mild headache.
After an uneventful night at the hospital, I was discharged the next morning. I didn’t have any issues, especially with my taste buds and other side effects I was told I may experience after the surgery. My recovery was better than I thought. My amazing friends visited, made sure I was comfortable and that I had everything I needed, and most importantly, they made sure I didn’t over do myself. Although, a lesson was learnt: the following Sunday after surgery, I over did it by going to a meeting all day and going for a walk around the city for half hour. Whoops!
I’m now 5 days away from the big Switch-On! Next update will be a couple of days after.
Until next time!