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what to expect before, during, and after surgery

well, my original post was deleted because I was silly and accidentally deleted my account. anyway, I had a right-frontal crainotomy on January 25th... so I thought Id answer the age old question. Most likely, once you get admitted, they will give you an MRI, but this one will be short. Mine was 10 minutes long. Theyre going to need this for the before/after pics after the operation. Then they mark dots on your head with a marker and stick round stickers on them. This is needed for the navigation guide for the operation. (So they know where theyre making the inscision!) They then need a urine sample from you and quite possibly a blood test (or they might do it post-op). And after that, they will stick the lovely IV in your arm. After that, they inject a liquid into your IV that sedates you. I mean, let me tell you. It really, really sedates you. Youre not gonna know what the hells going on around you much. Its a blur basically. During this they wheel you into the operation room, they place you on the operating table but youll be too out of it to really notice. Youll be seeing assistant nurses scrambling around you...I honestly dont know what each of them were doing, but whatever, you wont feel what theyre doing. Youll probably notice your legs going numb. They then place the anaesthesia mask on you....it might not work right away, but it takes a couple of minutes and then you will be KNOCKED the hell out. I did not feel anything or see anything during surgery. Its basically just sleeping... really! You will not remember anything I guarantee you, and I have panic/anxiety disorder... and I went through it :) Around this time theyre gonna put a tube down your throat and it goes down to your stomach, it prevents nausea. (I didnt feel it, just been told). And they will put a catheter in you. But youll be asleep. Youll notice everything about an hour after you wake up. Youll wake up in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). Its a bright room....well...it was for me. I woke up about a half hour after the completion of surgery. Youll be out of it when you wake up....everything still seems like a blur. My surgeon was there and asked me how I was and I kept saying "out of it". I didnt feel pain at this point. About an hour later I noticed all the tubes they stuck in my arms, and I had some mystery needle-prick marks on the palms of my hands. Its probably something they stuck in there during operation. There will probably be more tubes on your right arm than left, thats how it was for me. Well, dont worry.... all the tubes have to be on you for awhile. Its annoying. But youll get used to it. Youll wake up feeling really dehydrated, and you will also notice a very heavy bandage turban on your head. Your neck will be stiff too, probably because of it. They will not give you water right away, but they will give you ice cubes to suck on....which is strangely calming. You will also notice that you have a sore throat, which is from the anaesthesia and the anti-nausea tube that was there. It might also be hard to swallow at first, and during the first day or two youll be falling asleep alot...I kept falling asleep every 5 minutes. You will also have a low-grade fever. Mine was about 99.8, the highest it got to was 100... but they said it was normal after brain surgery. Your temperature returns to normal in a day or two. Theyll also inject morphine into you if youre in a lot of pain. Since youll be in the ICU, the nurses will monitor you by the hour to make sure youre ok. They will also try to get you to eat (which is the hard part...but if it helps....eat fruit!) Youll finally be able to drink water after 3 hours or so, and itll feel good. You will also notice the catheter. Its a weird feeling...especially since I didnt know it was there until I moved. Its hard to tell whether youre peeing or not, but chances are that you most likely are. If not, the nurse will let you know. Another thing, when youre in the ICU, they place a lot of nutrients in your IV. When they start the potassium, beware....that stuff makes your arm feel like it has a charlie horse. Its a bad cramping pain. But just let your nurse know and theyll lower the speed of the potassium going into your body, so the pain stops. Youll be taken to a normal recovery room eventually. And from there they remove the catheter and some IV's from your arms, which takes a load off. Theyre going to want you to go to the bathroom on your own. This is the hard part, because youll be feeling dizzy and you have to carry the IV pole with you. But be careful. And if youre unable to stand on your own, for the love of god get someone to help you...the last thing you need is a head injury!! Youll get a follow up CAT scan or MRI to check the results of the operation a day or two after operation. And then youll get a chest x-ray... and if all seems well youll get one of those nifty air bubbles to breathe into (to make your lungs strong). And then youre going to have to start to walk but if you really feel too weak then try again later. If anyone else has anything else to add to help out people who are wondering what this experience is like, do so. I understand how scary this all is, because I kept wondering too. But the point is... dont be nervous! This is for your own good!

Comments

Re: what to expect before, during, and after surgery

Thanks for all of the info. I am going in for my LTL on 2-21 and am wanting as much info as possible. They are doing my MRI and taking the tests the day before but are actually letting me go home for the night and come back at 6am the next morning. You sound like you are doing well. Best of luck and keep us posted.
Dawn ;-)

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