A few people have asked me what a few of the hospital procedures are like, because they are curious or because some people are having to go in to hospital for treatment of their own, so I thought I’d write a short post of my own experiences in hospital. 🙂
taking blood – isn’t as sore as people may first think! (not for me anyways) they will strap a band around the top of your arm. They they tell you there will be a “sharp scratch” as they push the needle in. That’s the only sore bit. They then click little tubes into the line and the blood comes out. I get quite woozy when they take a few tubes because I’m usually anaemic (I have a low amount of red blood cells) but it’s normally pain free, if you’re very nervous about getting your blood taken, I try to think of a song that I like, but don’t quite know the words, and sing it in my head, trying to remember the right words 🙂 also, if you are nervous and someone comes to take your blood, ask them if they are trained or are in-training. Although nurses need to learn on someone, if you are very nervous and the person taking your blood isn’t 100% confident, then it can lead to a bad experience.
getting a cannula placed in a vein– an intravenous cannula is the device used for medical staff to have access to your veins at all times. It is a little more painful than having your blood taken, but again, it is nothing to worry about. They can put a cannula in many parts of your arm.I have found that the crease between your thumb and your wrist is the most comfortable place to have one, but if there is a good vein somewhere else, they may want to use that. They will tell you again that there will be a “sharp scratch” when the needle first penetrates your skin, they then push a tiny tube into your vein which feels funny, but doesn’t really hurt. They will then strap it to your skin with tape, and bobs your uncle! This can be used for any IV fluids or drugs they wish to give you.
Another thing with cannulas; if they have placed one and you are having something (drugs or fluids) put into your vein, don’t be alarmed if when the bag is completely empty, your blood starts to run back down the tube. This is simply because your vein is open when the cannula is in use, so the blood is only going where it thinks it should!
having a urinary catheter in – now I wasn’t awake when they put the tube in as I was in theatre, but I shall tell you my experience with having it taken out. I wasn’t too keep on having the catheter in, as I felt I constantly needed a wee. As I was continuously having fluids given to me to keep my blood pressure up, I was needing the loo a lot of the time! What a urinary catheter is, is simply a tube. It is used to have access to your bladder, and to drain the bladder content. it is placed up and into the urethra. Once they have put the tube up, they inflate a small balloon, this is to hold the tube inside.
I didn’t feel any pain having the catheter in, although it was slightly uncomfortable if someone accidentally tugged on the tube! I asked to have it out pretty much as soon as I woke up. I stood up and she deflated the balloon, then pulled! That’s about it. It didn’t hurt, but was a huge relief to have it removed.
having a ryles tube inserted and removed– I’m going to explain my experience on here, which wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences, but I have heard from many people that it doesn’t usually hurt, or cause too much distress.
I woke up in the high dependancy unit with a ryles tube down my throat. This is a tube that is inserted down your nose, down your throat and into your stomach. When I woke up in H.D.U I didn’t actually realise I had a tube down my nose! It wasn’t until I coughed and moved it that i became aware I had one in. Once I had moved it, it began to hurt a little every time I talked or swallowed. Having it removed wasn’t sore, but it was the oddest sensation ever! They take hold of it in your nose and tell you they’re about to pull. They then pull the tube all the way from your stomach and out your nose. Mine was about 3 foot long! I felt it coming from my stomach, and all the way up my throat, again, this wasn’t sore, but was slightly uncomfortable.
My experience with having a ryles tube inserted is a different story! It was after I had had a barium meal (I’ll explain later) my bowel was blocked and nothing was managing to get out of my body. After having the liquid for the barium meal, it didn’t move out of my stomach, so the doctors said they were going to have to insert a tube down my nose, to suck the content of my stomach out. I was in a lot if pain, so they had given me morphine, ciclozine (an anti-sickness drug) and a drug to calm me down. The nurse put some lubricant on the tube and told me to sit still, she then push it up my nostril, but as soon as it hit the back of my throat I instinctively drew myself backwards. I freaked out every time after that when she tried to place it, so I had a go myself. I found it much easy doing it myself because I was in control. I push it up my nostril and got it half way down the back of my throat, but then the nurse grabbed it from me, which gave me a fright. So I wouldn’t let her do it. I asked her why I couldn’t just be sick, if they wanted the content of my stomach to come out, and she said they didn’t want me to hurt my stomach…so I excused myself to go to the toilet. I made myself sick twice and told the nurse there was no need for the tube now! She told me off, but it was totally worth it!
having a morphine button– some may think it was great to have a pain button! But I really didn’t enjoy having it. It is a small hand held device that only the patient can press. When you are sore, you simply press it and it gives you a small, monitored dose of morphine. The man in the bed beside me was having a great time with it! The nurses can tell how many times you had pressed it, although it only delivers the morphine when it’s safe to do so. He had pressed it 212 times in the space of an hour! He must have been very sore! I didn’t like it, as whenever i pressed it, I had a panic attack. So they took it away after a couple of days because I wasn’t using it.
being put to sleep– Being put to sleep before an operation is actually quite nice! The people who will be administering the anaesthetic come to introduce themselves before you are wheeled into the anaesthetic room. They tell you what is going to happen, and are happy to answer any questions you have. When you are in the anaesthetic room, they will put an oxygen mask over your face, the masks smell like vanilla! They will then ask you to take deep slow breathes. They will also hook you up to a monitor to read your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. As well as this, they will put three little circular pads on your skin to monitor your blood pressure and other stats. After you have been breathing the oxygen for a little while, they tell you they are about to give you the drug that will put you to sleep, which they administer through your cannula. They may also ask you to keep your eyes wide open so they can tell when you have fallen asleep, or they may ask you to count back from ten. That is all I remember, but it isn’t scary at all, and is actually quite pleasant!
waking up from theatreI’ve had three operations in three months, and each time I have woken up, I have had a different experience. All depending on the amount of anaesthetic they give you. You will wake up in a room called the “recovery room” there will be a nurse beside you, and she’ll ask you how you feel, and whether you are sore or not. The first time was from a major operation that lasted several hours. When i woke up I was hooked up to many different machine and I had 19 staples down my stomach, so I couldn’t really move much. I don’t really remember much from this time other than I had a really lovely nurse looking after me, who put me in the most comfortable position I’ve ever been in! Although that may have been the morphine talking! The second time was from a small procedure called a dilatation, I only had a small amount of anaesthetic, so I woke up very chatty, and very hungry! The third op was a little bigger, and I had more anaesthetic for that. I woke up feeling quite sore and I couldn’t really talk much. There was a nurse beside me, she asked how I felt and gave me little sips of water. I was in and out of sleep, but very comfortable.
After you wake up in recovery and they make sure you are alright, they will wheel you back to your ward and let you sleep.
having a main line removed– when I woke up in H.D.U I had a main line in my neck. This is like a cannula, but much longer. It is inserted in the side of your neck, and the line is fed down your vein, behind your ribcage and finishes close to your heart. This is so the drug they give you can be administered quite quickly and they can also have many lines coming from one single insertion. I had 5 lines coming from my neck. So I could have 5 different drugs given to me at any one time. I was asleep when this was inserted, but I was awake when it was removed. All they do is lie you very flat and take the stitches out that are holding the line in place. Then they pull! It’s a really weird sensation, it almost feels like someone is ticking your chest! The line is about 2 and a half foot long, so they have to pull that all the way out of your veins. It’s the oddest sensation, but not sore in the slightest! You then have to stay lying flat for 15 minutes incase the blood hasn’t clotted at the incision mark.
having staples removed– I had my staples in for much longer than I needed to because my wound became infected. It isn’t sore having staples in, it just makes things twice as difficult to do! Getting out of bed is like climbing mount Everest, you’re more tired after you’ve gotten out of bed because it’s such a struggle! They removed them with this odd looking pair of scissors. They clamp the staple and close the scissors, this bends the staple in the middle, and pops the edges out at the sides. It’s quite stingy, but not too sore. It makes you want to itch like crazy!
having an xray– having an xray isn’t sore at all, unless you have a broken limb! They’ll ask you to remove any clothing that has metal on it, like your jeans or an underwire bra. They’ll then put you in position, leave the room and take your picture! Easy peasy 🙂
having a ct scan– having a ct scan isn’t too sore either, if they use a small vein for the cannula then it can become quite painful but other than that it is okay. They will ask you to lie down, and put your arms above your head. They will attach a curly tube to your arm, this is what will administer the radiation. The machine will start whiring around you and they will tell you when the liquid will be given. When it does go into your arm, it’s very, very hot! You feel like your sweating all over and you feel like you’ve wet yourself! It only takes a few minutes and you don’t need to be put to sleep. 🙂 the machine will whirl around you, and it takes hundreds of pictures of your insides! They may also ask you to drink a dye beforehand, it kind of tastes like mouldy water…if there is such a thing! But it isn’t too bad 🙂
having a sigmoidoscopy– a sigmoidoscopy is a small procedure done to view your large intestine, a colonoscopy can also be used which looks at your small intestine. I wasn’t given any anaesthetic for this procedure, and it wasn’t sore. It was very uncomfortable and not pleasant at all, but I had to have it done! It involves pushing a small scope up your bum and turning it to view your colon, you watch the whole thing on a screen and it doesn’t last long at all. You can feel the scope moving around the corners and bends, which is the sorest part, but apart from that it is okay! They pump lots of air into your colon in order to inflate it to get a better look, so afterwards you fart like a trooper! Which is oddly hilarious 🙂 they will also give you a special drink beforehand to help clean out your bowel, this is horrible. I’m not going to lie! It tastes disgusting and leaves you on the toilet for hours. It also made me throw up multiple times which was horrible. But for other people it may not be too bad.
having a barium meal– Again, this procedure is usually painless, it simply involves drinking a dye that they then take pictures of as it goes down your digestive system, but my bowel wasn’t working properly, so for me it was very painful! I went down for the meal at around 11am, where I had to drink this dye, it tasted like liquorice which I hateso I was boking, but luckily it stayed down! Then I had to stand up on a machine and they took pictures of my intestines as the dye moved through my digestive tract. I then had to go away, wait and come back in half an hour for more picture, after almost three hours, the dye hadn’t moved at all. Which started to worry the doctor. He said it was probably because I had a blockage in my bowel. My bowel began to cramp extremely hard which was so painful, it was just doing it’s job; trying to get everything out! This is when I had to get the tube down my nose and you know the rest!
I have had a few other procedures and little things, so don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to answer any question at all, be it big or small! 🙂