Tuesday, 23 February 2016

My Surgery - True Experience of an Epidural & Arthoscopy

I'm back, I've had my surgery, and I'm feeling fine...

I had an arthroscopic investigation, which is key-hole surgery, to go into my right ankle joint and remove a load of gunk and file the bone away.

It has left me, absolutely elated, I can walk again!

The above is an image of my bed in recovery, I was the only guy in there that day whom didn't have a general anesthetic, I had a spinal block, or epidural.  And I thought I'd come to these pages and let anyone out there having to have an epidural how I got along.

First of all, I was very squeamish of their working on my spine, I told them so, but really, I was panicking over nothing, if I had to have any work done on my legs or feet again, a spinal block would be my first choice, having a baby?... Get a spinal block!

The injections into the spine start with skin numbing, I had to have alcohol sterilization of the skin too, but you may get iodine (yellow) sterilization.  You then get a plastic cover taped into place and they work on the skin, numbing with a ice cold freeze spray... these are perhaps the most immediately shocking things, they're cold, they're on wide aware skin, and you're heightened by anxiety, but really they are the worst bits!  Which is fab, because the rest is so easy compared to being prepared.

Next you get the injection into the spine, you have to hold very still, let your shoulders be very slack, this is very important, you will be on a heart monitor, so listen to it beeping and try to breath slowly and deeply to slow that beep, you will feel strong pressure, just them pressing on you... It doesn't hurt, but they're pressing you... Get someone to press their finger as hard as they can into the palm of your hand, same thing, but in the bottom of your back... it's uncomfortable.  And this pressure will leave a nice bruise later.

The needle going in, you should not feel, if you do, just say and they freeze spray again, but generally you can't feel a thing, if you're lucky they go in once and you start to not feel anything.

The key feeling is your bum going warm, a hot flushing feeling going down your body, it's very peaceful, and they remove the sticky wrapper on your back and lay you down quickly, because your legs are about to be paralyzed... but it feels nothing but warm and fine.

You get to wait now a moment or two, and they will check you again by spraying more of that freeze spray; I had three stages with the spray, I felt it and it was cold, I could feel it but had no idea if it was cold, and I couldn't feel it at all... At this last stage you can not move your legs, which is a really strange feeling... 

You don't feel anything, you don't know you have legs, there's no feeling of phantom limbs, nothing no weight, nothing... You can reach down and touch your legs, they're warm soft yours, but immovable, but you cant' even feel your own touch.

I couldn't feel my privates, nothing... 

They did the surgery with my awake, I could watch, but felt nothing.

Recovery, well that took longer, nearly 2 hours... As you sit to recover, you start to feel the reverse, the warm feeling starts to wash down out of your bum into your legs, you can feel your buttocks again, make sure you clench them a bit to make sure you can feel them...

About an hour later you can pull your knees up and down, but not lift your foot up at all.

Next you can flex your knee and lift your foot of the mattress.... and finally you can wiggle your toes.

Plenty of fluids is key, hence in the image above, unlike the other patients, I got a saline drip.

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