So last week I had surgery to sort out my jaw and remove my impacted wisdom tooth. I struggled with the idea of having general anaesthetic more than the surgery itself and bad duck had a field day! I spoke to various people about anaesthetic including my best friend who’s a nurse and everyone reassured me that it is perfectly safe and that there’s nothing to worry about. I understood the logic yet still found myself doing the worst thing possible, googling. It mostly reassured me but as with anything on the internet you can always find something negative!
In the end I decided to post on a social media group dedicated to mental health as I thought that they may be able to ease my mind a little without judging my illogical thoughts. Everyone that replied, posted words of encouragement as well as tips to help with the anxiety and I was very touched by everyone’s messages.
In the days leading up to the surgery I tried to keep myself distracted and made sure I had everything I needed for when I got back home. However, the day before my operation I started getting my knickers in a twist and the anxiety took over with my mind catastrophising that I wouldn’t wake up from the anaesthetic.
Its safe to say that I didn’t get much sleep the night before and come the morning I was rather emotional. It certainly helped having my mum’s friend drive me to the hospital rather than my mum as I managed to hold it together with her and even went into the hospital quite happily.
As much as I didn’t want the surgery, I also wanted it over and done with so that I could be free from the pain caused by the tooth and my jaw and so that I could focus on Christmas!!
As I went to check in, I could already feel my eyes watering, but the tears quickly turned into laughter when I recognised the nurse who I saw for my pre-op who had been amazing. She had a fantastic sense of humour as well as being very reassuring and in her sarcastic way informed me, I was stuck with her for the day! She had remembered me and how anxious I was and so didn’t bat an eyelid when she took my obs yet again my heart rate was through the roof!!
On a positive note, there were only 3 of us waiting for surgery but unfortunately the other two patients were only 16 and so of course they were both going to have surgery before me. When I went to speak to the anaesthetist, she was so calm, informative, and reassuring and definitely had a human touch to her which not all healthcare professionals have. The surgeon had less of the human touch and decided to inform me that they might not even be able to take my tooth out and that I may need to have another operation to put a plate in my mouth…. not really what I needed to hear with my anxiety already through the roof!
As I sat waiting to go in, I tried to distract myself by messaging friends and watching comedies whilst doing the finger breathing exercise that had been recommended to me.
2 ½ hours later the lovely nurse came to get me and took me through to get ready for surgery. I’d already prepared myself for the sexy outfit they make you wear – a gown with an open back and stockings!
As I sat waiting on the trolley I started to get worked up and sent soppy messages to my Mum who made me laugh through the tears as she told me to focus on her ‘nursing’ once I was home. My Mum is a big softy and very loving but when it comes to dishing out sympathy or cooking well let’s just say it’s much to be desired!! But I wouldn’t change her for the world!
I have often struggled with asking for things or saying how I feel and although I have got a lot better at this it’s still something I find hard at times, but I worked up the courage to ask the nurse if she would stay with my until I was asleep, and she did. To be fair, the anaesthetist was very reassuring when I went into theatre and so was her assistant although they both seemed a little startled when I got hooked up to the monitors but once again the nurse informed them that my heart rate is going to be that high due to my anxiety and thankfully, they listened to her.
So, as I lay there holding the nurses hand we talked about New Zealand and her time living in the Caribbean and all I remember was feeling lightheaded once I’d been given some strong pain relief and being told they were giving me the anaesthetic and that’s it.
Next thing I knew I heard someone say my name and there I was in the recovery room! At that moment I didn’t care if the surgery had been successful but more that I had woken up, so it was the icing on the cake when I was told that the surgery went better than expected and I was shown the epic tooth they’d taken out with roots bigger than the tooth!
I am incredibly grateful to the staff, they were so caring, reassuring, calm, human…faultless really. I know that it’s their job, but I truly felt that they were all amazing and that they went above and beyond, particularly when it came to my anxiety.
After hearing about all the selfish and ignorant people in the news recently, it was a breath of fresh air to be reminded that there are still some genuine and good-hearted people in this world!