“The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.” – Genesis 2:22
The Bible story goes that God took one of Adam’s ribs and from it, he made Eve. As it turns out, that rib hasn’t really worked out for me so I’ve become the ultimate feminist and chucked it right back at God. Take that Man!
[Of course I jest. I’ve tried this joke on a few people before but I’ve always ended up having to explain it. However, the Sunday before the op I went to church for the christening of a friend’s daughter. Of course this meant that the whole Catholic gang gathered, plus parents. I told them this joke and they CRACKED up. Like genuinely laughed first time. I can always rely on a Catholic crowd to get a good old religious joke. Amen.]
So, I underwent operation-top-right-rib-removal (I’m sure that’s the medical name for it) a week ago today (Tuesday March 15th) and it all went well and dandy. At least I think it did. I’m not overly sure because I was off my face on morphine when the registrar came round to talk to me post op… In fact, I can’t wait for my follow up appointment so I can actually find out exactly what went on. I was in no fit state to care when I was in hospital!
I have a scar about three inches long right in my armpit. Lush. It’s really bruised at the moment but healing well. There is absolutely no way under the sun that I can put a razor to my right armpit so I’ve embraced the traditional feminist under arm hair-do. Oh what freedom!
I also think I suffered from a collapsed lung during the operation so it really hurt to breath at first. Coughing, burping, laughing and yawning still hurts quite a bit but when you’ve got Mum, Dad and Oli round, none of the above are avoidable!
Oli’s been great throughout the whole sordid business. He took me into hospital for the 7am admission and kept me laughing whilst I went through the pre-op process. Particularly when I had to put the disposable knickers on. They were tragic…
Being a grown-up going for a planned op is weird. Firstly, I signed the consent form that said that some of the risks of having the operation is that it might cause me DVT and PEs and I was like, er, excuse me but I’m having this operation so that I don’t get any more DVTs and PEs… Secondly, I had to walk myself to the anaesthetic table! The nurses who came around to get me were around the same age as me and said: “I thought they had your age wrong when I saw what op you were having. But the paperwork is right – you are 23!” What can I say? I’m a rare case, you’re luck to have me 😉
After coming round from the anaesthetic, I had to stay on the resuscitation ward for six and half hours! This isn’t the best situation to be in but St Thomas’ was in a desperate bed situation and there was no room for me on any wards. In the end I managed to use the phone to call Mum and Oli to let them know I was okay and then I just lay back and enjoyed being attached to a morphine pump. I honestly can’t remember a lot about the next 48 hours…
Oh, don’t worry about Mum and Oli by the way. They weren’t too worried as they’d spent the day in cafes, pubs and going for lunch!
Big shout out to second mama Clare by the way, who came to get me dressed and ready for Dad to take me home. She changed my knickers when I was three-years-old and she’s still doing it when I’m 23. Cheers Clare! xxx
So, what happens next? Well, I’m gonna be honest, I’m still experiencing blueness. The same as it was before I had the operation – no way as bad as when I had a big old clot though which is good. The blueness is probably still happening because there is still a bit of residual clot in my arm, which they couldn’t get rid of before. The blueness might be something that just happens and I’ll have to learn to live with it, adapting my lifestyle to make sure it never gets too bad, or it might mean that I need to have a stent (a tube of metal) put into the vein to make sure it’s as open as possible for the blood to flow through.
None of this is a surprise to me so please don’t worry about it – I’m not! I needed the rib out because that was the original clot causer and that’s gone but the residual clot could still be a problem. Either way, it’s going to take a few more months of monitoring by the bloods team and the vascular team at St Thomas’ before they can be sure of what needs to happen next. I’ll probably be on the blood-thinners for at least another 3-6 months.
The reason I’m needing so much attention is because by the time I arrived in A&E nearly two months ago, the situation was pretty bad. Had I not gone in on that day, the next tell-tale sign that I had anything wrong with me would have been when I had a stroke or heart attack. I was that close. But we can’t dwell on what might have happened because it didn’t. I’m okay. As ever though, I’ll keep you updated.
For now, I’m just concentrating on getting better – and I’m having a right proper laugh whilst doing it! I can’t raise my arm above my head, or get the wound wet yet so I’m having to be bathed. And getting dressed is proving to be a bit of a pain and generally doing stuff takes me ages. But when you have a family like mine, it’s something to laugh at, not something to be pitied for. Even Oli has bathed me, dressed me and washed, blowdried and attempted to tie up my hair. I feel this goes above and beyond the duties of a 22-year-old boyfriend. Although he did moan a bit: “Why do girls have their hair so long? Washing it takes forever! And then there’s brushing it and blowdrying it…” So very funny.
I’m also not wearing a bra again and enjoying it. Again, on the feminist theme, I might just burn them all…
I’m just looking forward to getting my life back to normal asap! In the words of Peter Pan: “I can fly!” (on a plane) and I can drink (in moderation) and once the bruising has gone down, I should be able to do all of the normal things a normal person can do.
Like shave my right armpit for one…