Written day nine after the operation
One Sunday after a morning at the gym I noticed that I had a bulge to the right and slightly higher than my right testicle, though it didn’t hurt it wasn’t normal, two days later it was diagnosed by my doctor as a Hernia Inguinal and that he wanted me to see a specialist, which I did five days later.
He confirmed my doctors suspicion and booked me for an operation one week later at my local hospital.
I’m not going into what a hernia inguinal is, all that can be found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inguinal_hernia and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inguinal_hernia_surgery and explain far better than I could.
I thought that I would just explain the ten days after my operation as I wasn’t able to get any real data on what to expect during or after the operation, which was a “open repair Lichtenstein” the most common, think of a piece of fencing needed to block a hole in a hedge and you’ve got it and that the operation would be done under a spinal anaesthesia which suited me just fine as it less obtrusive than a full anaesthesia as I was hoping to be able to leave the hospital the same day.
As I live in France certain details might not be the same in other countries.
Sunday evening I ate my last meal around 20h and before going to bed I took a shower washing myself with a special antiseptic soap from head to toe.
06:00 again another shower with the same soap and of course nothing to eat or drink, not even a glass of water or a coffee.
07:00 RV at the hospital and placed in a room only to learn that I was programmed for 13h (basically the hospital brings in everybody early at the time, (I think its to make sure that they don’t eat or drink before)
Around 12pm they came and got me from my room and got me ready for the operating table, of course your mostly stark naked and of course the nurses are mostly women, luckily I’m not modest, too old for that ….
The spinal anaesthesia went well but I was expecting something like a Dr House episode lying on my site, but you actually sit on the table head in a nurses arms while leaning forward and with your back rounded as much as possible, I didn’t really feel much, its just a big injection which takes a couple of minutes.
Then you are lain down on the operating table waiting for all the lower half of my body to go sleep, this took about 15 / 20 minutes
13:00 Hi doctor, here I am, I’m ready …. I was able to talk to the doctor while being operated on and even managed to watch most of what was going on (the place a curtain in front of your chest so that you can’t see), but by looking at the spotlight above his head which acted like a mirror I could see most of what was going on, Ok I’m not worried about seeing what is going on. and the site of being cut open doesn’t worry me.
The operation lasted one hour exactly,what is strange is lying on a table and not been able to feel the lower half of your body, you know that your bottom and legs are there but nothing can be felt or moved.
14:00 I was then taken into a recovery ward and placed in my bed. I straight away asked for a coffee and a glass of water (Nothing to drink since the past evening and no coffee this morning ….) but was refused as in the recovery ward you are not allowed to eat or drink anything until you are allowed to leave the ward.
I stayed in the ward for about 90 mins, waiting to recuperate some feeling in my legs, having just dose of Paracetamol 1000gms for the pain, which to be honest is bearable and not excessive, but this also normal and the anaesthesia is still effective.
16:30 I was signed out of the recovery ward and taken to my room, where I was at last able to have a coffee and a bread roll with some jam, and as I knew that I would not get much to eat in the hospital (public) I had a packet of digestives stashed in my bag.
I was still unable to feel my legs correctly and so unable and not allowed to quit my bed and so continued to wait (again).
18:00 I could finally feel the bottom of the bed with my feet and was able to push against it and so asked the nurse who was in my room with the surgeon if I could try to stand up, no real problem I was able to stand and walk around my room, The doctor confirmed that if I was able to go the toilet I would be able to leave, as you need to be able to walk a little and pee before being discharged.
Going to the loo was harder than I thought, one because it was difficult to bend and therefore sit down (as the anaesthesia was wearing of, the pain was getting slightly worse, but again bearable) and because I still couldn’t feel my private parts and therefore had to wait for another 45 mins before I was able to PEE, even though it was very little.
19:00 I left the hospital with my wife, walking so so slowly and bent over like an old man, but managed to walk the 200 meters to the car.
20:00 at last at home and time to eat, as I was hungry (it was now 24 hours since I had a eaten a real meal) after a meal, and some Paracetamol I went to bed for a good nights sleep. Pain killers had been prescribed Paracetamol four times a day 1000mgs and another one far stronger (containing opium) if needed, I took one when going to bed that night just in case. The end of a long day.
07:00 woke up stiff and sore and needed my wife to help me get out of my bed and go downstairs as I preferred to stay lying on the sofa rather than in bed , The pain is fairly acute (I give it a 5/10) and so took the Paracetamols all day while watching TV, to be honest you can walk a little, bathroom, kitchen etc but you really do walk like an old stooped man, unable to sit you have to spend the day lying down, and just lying down, getting up is difficult, rating on the sofa (propped up with pillows) I took another opium based pain-killer before going to bed, but I didn’t really need it.
07:00 again up early and same as Tuesday a day doing nothing, walking a little, I had still not been able to go to the loo for a ‘number two’, this is for me the main problem with the a spinal anaesthesia it really does send everything to sleep and certain parts take a real long time to wake up and become active, also you will find that you are totally unable to ‘push’ even if you feel that you might be able to do something, one because it hurts and two you get the impression that you going to rip open the stitches its then that you realise how fragile / difficult this area is, you cannot push, cough, laugh and cross your fingers that you don’t sneeze, I had stopped taking the pain killers this morning not really needing them.
In the evening I had a problem, I had the impression that I had a red-hot poker be placed on my thigh, this was excruciating, a real 10/10 of pain, checking the forums this can be normal or not…, it could be due to something touching a nerve, or just due to the swelling near my thigh, but also could be a nerve that has been touched during the operation, I went to bed worried and hurting.
I had taken one pain-killer with breakfast as a little sore but last nights poker pain seemed to have gone away, during the day I started to feel the need to go to the loo, but impossible to do anything, as the day went on it got worse and worse, I was trying to go to the loo every 30 minutes and spending up to 15 minutes on it, but you just can’t ‘push’, I was having the shakes, cramps in the stomach as if I was having a baby, it was worse and worse, speaking to my wife, she picked up some suppositories on the way home and in less than one hour the problem was solved, the end of a very bad day.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
I’m starting to feel better, able to get out of bed and walk downstairs by myself, needing again only about one paracetamol per day but the days as the previous ones are spent lying down, sitting at the computer trying to answer some e-mails is hard work, and can only be done for a couple of minutes at the very most.
Tuesday 8 days later
I was able to drive to work, which is only a twenty-minute drive away, stayed an hour and then back home to relax, the evening for the first time ate with my wife at table.
The operation isn’t anything major but it’s in an area that is used for everything, sitting is impossible coughing or trying push while going to the loo, is more than difficult, walking is a pain, getting out of bed or of the canopy is complicated.
What I learnt is that the pain is OK, not much worse (ok a white lie here) that some of my bad mountain bike accidents that I have had (now you know what outdoor sport I do when not in the gym).
Eat foods that will help you go to the loo, I had taken a laxative and eaten some prunes after the operation, but you need more than just that and I think you should start two or three days before the operation.
If you need to work like me, a tablet or a portable computer is more than just a luxury, you will not be able to sit and work at your computer.
For the first week, it’s impossible to sleep on your side (as I normally do) it’s on your back, back and only your back, the first two or three days it’s not to bad as you will be tired, and if like me sleep straight way, but the last three or four days it’s a pain, and as I snore slightly which of course is worse when you sleep on your back, so a second room for yourself or your wife is useful. I was able to sleep more or less on my left side after seven days and a couple more days later on my right side.
The swelling / bruising was fairly limited, which is unusal for me as I bruise easily, and by day 10 is nearly back to normal.
The doctor gave me three weeks off work (which to be honest I can see why and is standard procédure here in France), but I will go back after two weeks, you cannot do it in less, and no sport for four weeks as the patch inside need’s to healed completely before you can start ‘working’ this area, which for me is the most difficult , I’m normally at the gym four times a week and on my bike once or twice a week.