If you would like to start my amputee journey from the beginning click here
So, the decision was made. The amputation was scheduled for first thing in the morning, and I was nil by mouth. Sleeping that night was obviously tricky. Even though I had asked lots of people a lot of different questions, I still had no idea what to expect. I didn’t really know the process of an amputation and what comes directly after; the surgeons and the nursing staff were telling me, but it just wasn’t sinking in.
As morning came round, I was only able to suck water from a tiny sponge which is as crap as it sounds, especially as the morning tea trolley comes rolling around. I was visited first thing by my anaesthetist who let me know that I was the first on the surgery list for the day. She gave me two options to administer my anaesthetic, firstly, via the IV in my arm, or apparently the safer option, which was an injection into my spine. I’ll give you one guess which one I chose!
After a while I was visited by my consultant and the army of people that follow him around the hospital to check on how I was doing and to let me know that I would be going into surgery at about 10am. He checked over my notes and results of blood tests etc. and said that my blood count was ok, but it would be good if it was slightly higher so told me I would need a blood transfusion. He turned to leave and then stopped and said, “oh, just so I don’t forget”, then pulled out a sharpie and drew a big arrow on my left thigh pointing at my foot. The nerves had really started to kick in now!
I don’t know what I was expecting but a blood transfusion was not as interesting as it sounds. You literally just sit there with a bag of blood attached to your IV until it’s gone. Looking back at photos at the time it looked like I was lacking a lot more than just a litre of blood.
It was time to go. I was in my surgical gown, thirsty as anything, with a big arrow drawn on my leg. I was taken down to the operating theatre, greeted by my anaesthetist and attached to a load of machines. She told me she was giving me something which would relax me, which felt amazing by the way! She then said she was giving me something that was going to put me to sleep. I don’t know if you have ever been put under general anaesthetic but for some reason, I like to see how long I can fight it for before I pass out. She asked me to count down from ten and something inside me sees it as a challenge to see how far I can get. I got to about seven and I don’t think six come out my mouth before I was completely out.
I started to come around to a lot of noise; beeping, people talking etc, I was in the recovery area, very dazed, but all I could do was stare at my leg. It was under my sheet, but I could see the outline of where it stopped, and I definitely wasn’t prepared for how it would hit me. You have a nurse that sits with you to monitor your vitals and to give you pain relief if you need it. I remember her talking to me, but I have no idea what she was saying, I just couldn’t stop staring at it crying. The nursing staff were a little concerned about how I was taking it but after a couple of hours it was time to be taken to the high dependency unit.
The porters came down to take me up to the ward and were waiting for the nurse to get a few bits together to bring with us. As we were about to set off the porter was looking for somewhere to put my oxygen bottle and put it on to my bed right where my leg would have been. My brain obviously hadn’t realised yet that my leg was missing, and I panicked and instantly broke down. It clearly wasn’t intentional, but I don’t think he realised what he had done.
If you find you need some support, don’t be afraid to speak to friends and family. If this isn’t possible please consider giving the Amputation foundation a shout at amputationfoundation.org or even get in touch with me via my contact page
continue the adventure HERE