Sitting up came sooner than expected.
The surgeons were concerned that the halo wasn’t stretching the break in my neck out fully. So, time to operate. Nil by mouth from the early hours meant that the nurses filled me up with Fortisips and porridge before I couldn’t eat for the day, they were so patient and attentive.
I was prepped for theatre, being an in-patient means that your ready to be wheeled off at any time but I had a nice wash and brushed my teeth. I’m not sure if I’ve said yet but I brushed my teeth like I was at a dentist, I could use my tooth brush while a nurse swilled my mouth with water from a syringe and then suction! It was quite fun actually and really nice to feel clean. It was hard to feel completely clean as I still had blood in my hair. My sister had cut my hair through the halo, to get chunks of blood and matted hair out but it was patchy and shaved in parts (where glass had been taken out).
The anaesthetist walked over to my bed-side and shook my hand. While I had him there I said “You’re the man, aren’t you?”, he replied “Pardon?” I responded, “You’re the man that shaves patients before operations, aren’t you?” He said that he was and we agreed that he would shave my whole head if possible. At least this way I could brush the dry blood from my scalp and wash it when all the cuts had healed. I thought it was all dry blood, but later on I was proved wrong.
This was the first operation under general anaesthetic. I was taken down several corridors and into a room filled with white light. I was still in my halo, with weights attached, but not for much longer. I was put to sleep.
When I came round from the operation, my halo had been removed. It was explained to me more thoroughly but a summary of the operation; the halo was removed, I was turned from my back to my front and put on to a table with blocks that support your feet, hips and shoulders, my head was secured to the operating table. I had two pins and two rods inserted into the back of my neck, the pins are like screws, helping the bones bond back together correctly and the rods are vertical. A neck-brace was put on me from the moment that operation was completed, for added support while my neck heals.
I was taken back to critical care, once I was able to move I was allowed to start to sit up and instead on lying on my back I could lie on my side. This felt amazing. I was stable, there were no further concerns so discussions about me moving back to the Trauma Unit began.
(That’s Mousey….I’ve been his proud owner since I was really little.)