My Thyroid Operation
As mentioned in an earlier post I have just had a 5 cm nodule removed from my right thyroid gland in an operation known as a Hemithyroidectomy. I was really scared beforehand but it all seems to have gone as expected and so here is short personal report of the procedure (just in case you are facing the same thing and need a little bit of reassurance!)
My operation was scheduled for Monday afternoon so in the early hours of the morning I got out of bed and made myself some toast and honey to see me through until I was allowed food again. Note - you need to double check what time you are expected to be operated on as if it is in the morning you may not be allowed anything at all to eat or drink. Mid-morning my mum & I headed over to Breamar Hospital which is a private hospital in Hamilton and exactly 12 pm on the dot I walked up to the reception counter there and was admitted to hospital for the first time since I was born! I felt rather like I was entering the Lion's Den, but the lady there was really lovely and the surroundings so nice it nearly felt like I was checking into a hotel, which in one way I guess I was! After a short wait, another lovely lady came downstairs and showed us the way to the room that was allocated me - Kowhai Wing, room 6 - A lovely sunny room overlooking the car park and a playing field, all very private and nice with tea and coffee service that I couldn't drink by that time anyhow. A nurse came and completed the rest of the admitting procedure and left me a gown and some compression socks to put on and then we waited until just before 4 pm when the Surgeon and Anesthetist paid a visit to me and asked me all the same questions that everyone else had asked me all over again! Immediately after the doctors left a nurse came to take to theater and the process had began.
When you enter the theater room it feels so cold. I'm not sure why but they sure have the air temperature very cold in there. A young nurse rechecked all my details while a shunt was put into my hand and sticky dots place on various places around my body to record, presumably, my heart rate while I was out to it. The anesthetist found my vein for the shunt the first try (something that doesn't very often happen with me, so that was a nice change!) and put something in through it which immediately relaxed me and I remember him saying that "it makes you think what I say is very, very funny". After the medical team sang me "Happy Birthday" (as yes, I had drawn the short straw and the operation had landed fair & square on my birthday!) a mask was placed over my face and after what felt like 30 seconds I was waking up in recovery all finished. In reality, it was an hour & a half later!
Around 6 pm I was really starting to wake up and my throat was tickling me really bad as along with the general anesthetic, they also do a type of neck block which numbs the entire area as well. I think my tonsils must have been only half numb as the back of my throat pretty much felt like a strange version of pins & needles! I can honestly say this was the worst part of the discomfort that I felt through the entire process. It was a constant tickling and obviously the medical nurses in the recovery room realized it would be like that because as soon as I could intelligently talk to them I was offered a lemonade ice block which was gladly accepted and proceeded to sooth the back of my throat no end!
At about 6.15 pm feeling sleepy and swallowing cold ice block as often as possible to stop the tickles I was then transfer back to my room and re-hooked back up to the intravenous drip and blood pressure monitor again. From there I jut wanted to sleep but every 30 minutes the BP monitor whirred away and a very kind nurse came and took down my stats and made sure I was comfortable. A short while later my Anesthetist, Dr Kevin Arthur, checked in on me and as I wasn't feeling the least bit sick, decided I could have my drip removed. Around 9:30 pm the night nurse came and released me from the BP monitor and sorted me out for the night. She was greatly concerned that I hadn't eaten the Jelly I had been given, but I just couldn't be bothered with it and even though I hadn't eaten since early that morning I wasn't feeling hungry and the cold glasses of apple juice they had been bringing me since coming out of the operation were the only thing I felt like sipping on. The apple juice seem to appear like magic throughout the night as every time I woke I had another sip and the glass never seemed to run out! Thanks Nurse!
I really did sleep well that night - I never woke when the nurses came to check me, but in the morning the Nurse on duty said I had been checked on 4 or 5 times throughout the night and every time I was sound asleep, so I must have timed my waking for whenever they weren't around! The next morning I woke early and checked out the window. There were only around 5 or 6 cars in the parking lot and I made myself a lovely cup of coffee (finally I could use the tea service in the room!) and sat watching the hospital slowly come to life!
At 7:30 am, a very friendly young women came and brought me my breakfast, which was about 3 times as big as one I would normally have at home. It was the first solid food that I had eaten for around 25 hours and it was the nicest scrambled eggs that I had ever eaten! I could swallow without difficulty as with a Thyroid operation your throat actually isn't sore aside from maybe a slight tenderness were they have placed breathing tubes during the operation and the actual operation site was still numb for the next couple of days.
After eating breakfast I had a shower and got dressed. Then mum came and picked me up and I continued my recovery at home...........
So, please remember if you are facing this operation and feeling as nervous as I was - an operation is not without risks, but the medical staff are very professional and make it as easy as they can for you. Yes - some things are uncomfortable and you will feel certain things afterward that are not pleasant for the human body, but you will survive! Hopefully you will find that you have no averse reactions to the anesthetic, but this can not be guaranteed - My dad reacts badly afterwards and feels terribly ill, my mum doesn't and thankfully I appear to take after her! Fingers crossed, you will get a good nights sleep - it really does make a difference! And if you really do not feel like jelly, just sip on apple juice for a while. I have always had at the back of my mind to complete a 24-hour fast and that day I succeeded!
Good luck with your procedure!