… continued from Part One (previous blog post)
It was the next day, Tuesday, the day after my explant operation in London at a private clinic. I’d had the three hour procedure late in the afternoon and come round from the anaesthetic at 6:40pm. By 10:00pm the remaining clinic staff (one surgeon, one nurse, one healthcare assistant) were putting severe pressure on me to leave even though I didn’t want to and even though I was too ill to go home. An hour later I felt I had no choice but to go (what they said to make me feel guilty about staying did the trick) although I didn’t make it home, I was too ill, so spent the entire night in NHS A&E.
Apparently this is not uncommon – that the NHS has to mop up private patients after they’ve been discharged, although this is obviously wrong.
During the following day I took paracetamol and naproxen as often as I was allowed and yet it wasn’t enough for me to bear the pain. I dozed on and off and tried to cope as best I could, but by the afternoon I knew I wasn’t going to be able to last the night without something else. I needed stronger pain killers. They’d given me co-codamol but I’d vomited so violently the night before that I was frightened to try it again. Nausea and vomiting is my worse feeling. I’d rather be in pain than nauseous. But if there was a pain killer I could take that was stronger than paracetamol and that wouldn’t make me nauseous, I wanted and needed that, and the only place that would help me was A&E. So we packed a bag and my daughter drove me back to the NHS hospital that had treated me the night before. I hurriedly had to arrange for childcare for my two young children, my frail mother stepping in at the last moment. This time it was only a four hour wait because the doctor decided to accelerate me to the front of the queue because they thought I would be quick (which I was). I jumped the queue. I was given a box of codeine that I could take alongside my current paracetamol and ibuprofen which reassured me enough that if things became unbearable that night I had something to help me through. I’d rather wait four hours in A&E late afternoon early evening than many more hours during the night losing yet more crucial sleep.
During this time I had drains inserted into each side of my chest attached to bottles that I had to carry around with me wherever I went. These bottles collected blood (and other fluid) that was leaking out of me, which is good because otherwise it would have leaked into the space where my implants used to be, or into my abdominal cavity or who knows where? Leaking into the body instead of the bottles carries an infection risk, in addition you don’t know how much blood you’re losing without seeing it in the bottles. In total I lost 600ml (combined) by the time the drains were removed on Day 4. By then they were really heavy and so awkward to carry around and sleep with.
My recovery went well from then on. After the drains were removed I felt an immediate lessening of discomfort and a huge improvement in freedom of movement.
The first 48 hours post op were awful, in my opinion due to far too much pain relief at the beginning (because they wanted me out of the clinic) and not enough pain killers the next day (due to my reluctance to take anything other than paracetamol and ibuprofen because of the awful experience the night before). But after that I could cope with the underlaying aching pain and the sudden spasms of severe pain (which went away after a few seconds). They got fewer and fewer as the days passed, and by Day 5 post op I was no longer needing any pain killers at all.
I went back to see my surgeon two weeks after my explant to have the wounds inspected and dressings changed. The scars looked good, but drastic, rather shocking. My boobs did look sorry for themselves! But I knew this would change in time as they healed and settled down. As I write this now I am 3 weeks post op and doing well. No infections, no DVT, no unbearable pain (just spasms from time to time, especially if I do too much using my pectoral muscles).
I have now seen my boobs without any dressings, and even had a shower and changed the dressings myself. The shape is neat and perky but there is still a long way to go. They have taken a severe battering and will need a good few months before they assume their final form. Scar management is going to be my ongoing task now, just as soon as the wounds are securely closed.
Here is a link to a video showing my actual implants:
So that’s it. My implants have been removed for good and there will be no need for me to have another operation ever again… (until my hips, back and knees finally give out)!