ablation arm

Ablation – one month on.

I can’t believe that’s it’s been a month since I had my ‘ablation’. I put ablation like that because the surgery wasn’t fully completed, more on that later.

It’s strange to think that this time last month I was losing my shit, I was scared and going out of my nut with worry. Looking back on it, I don’t know why I was so frightened, petrified even.

The build-up.

The week before my scheduled appointment, I had to attend a pre-operative assessment. This is where a nurse did some observations like an ECG, blood test and so on. They also asked a few questions, some rather invasive ones like how often do you do a number two, and when you do, what form is it in. Like I look? *eye roll*.

I then had to go and talk to another nurse about the operation and what it involves. We laughed and took the Mickey out of Ryan. The nurse then passed me some special shower gel to use the night before and the morning of the operation to eliminate any nasty bacteria that may be on my body. The cleansing stuff smelt pleasant, although the bright pink colour unnerved me slightly.

D-day A-day.

As you can probably imagine, I was one hell of a nervous wreck on the day. The night before I hardly slept a wink. I spent the night tossing and turning, praying that it would run smoothly but also praying that they had to cancel for one reason or another. I was up and showering at 4.30am, not my best moment. I’m ever so cantankerous when I have to get up early but 4.30 took it to a whole new dimension.

We arrived with time to spare, by this time I was hangry and with it being one of the hottest days of the year so far, a glass of water was something I could have killed for. Thankfully, arriving early meant that I was seen earlier. Although, when my name was called I could have quite happily run in the opposite direction. I didn’t and reluctantly I made my way to my cubicle. I got changed into my ever so flattering disposable pants, slipper socks and gown.

Ryan was able to come and sit by me at this stage, and that was when he told me I had to remove EVERY piece of clothing, including my bra. I left my bra on because, well, I breastfed and those people who tell you it keeps them perky? Well, they lie. Anyway, I shut the curtain to remove my bra from under my gown and then awaited my turn.

No sooner than I had got comfortable, it was my turn. I kissed Ryan goodbye and walked on down to the operating theatre. I was greeted by some of the friendliest people you could ever meet. They attached a cold mat to my back, I led down whilst the nurse attached the ECG to me and talked to the surgeons about tennis. Who says operating theatres are scary and serious?

The procedure.

I was given something to numb my leg and something else to soothe my nerves, not whisky, but it had the same result. I was that chilled I was starting to doze off! I recollect sensing what can only be explained as a bee sting as the rod went into my hip, it hurt a little though not as much as I had envisioned.

I assume that I must have fallen asleep as the next thing that I remember is waking up to my heart racing through my chest, it didn’t hurt, and I wouldn’t say it was uncomfortable it was just a rather weird feeling. They persisted with this for some time, trying to get the defective wiring of my heart to rear its ugly head.

Unfortunately, it didn’t, and with my heart racing to a rather high beat, they decided to call it an unsuccessful day. They did say that there was a chance that by playing my heart at its own game it may well have done some good, but not to the level of a successful ablation and that in three months I am welcome to try again.

ablation arm

The surgeon then proceeded to remove the wire while the nurse removed the adhesive ECG pads from my body. I can’t remember feeling the rod being removed, but then everyone knows just how painful those adhesive ECG pads are, they probably took over on the pain! The whole procedure took just under an hour, but I am sure that it would be a little longer had they ablated the bad part.

I had to slide over on to the hospital bed, making sure that I didn’t sit up. I was then wheeled back to my cubicle, and that was where I had to lay flat for about an hour. I’m not sure why, and I was utterly bored at this point. I recommend bringing your phone and headphones to listen to an audiobook if you have that option because time goes slow when you’re on your back.

During the hour I had nurses popping in to do my vitals, such as blood pressure, pulse and temperature, they also checked my bandage to make sure I wasn’t bleeding too much.

Ablation leg

After an hour, I was free to sit up, although I wasn’t allowed to walk to the bathroom for about two more hours. I was then asked to drink a glass of water and try and eat some biscuits. After not eating for well over 14 hours, I devoured the chocolate biscuits and water had never tasted so good. At this point I asked for some pain relief as my leg had started to hurt, I guess the numbing stuff had worn off.

Going home.

In order to leave, I had to eat my lunch. It was a freshly made sandwich and fresh juice, something that I wished for and made light work of.

Ryan came back to pick me up and help me get dressed. I then took the opportunity to go to the bathroom. I think I may have overdone it or done too much too soon, as my leg started to bleed at this point. They weren’t overly alarmed they just told me to apply pressure to it.

The recovery process.

Although I had nothing ablated, I still had to follow a recovery path. For the first few days I struggled, I won’t lie, it was painful, I was taking paracetamol regularly, I was hot, I wanted to move, and I was just a total grump. by the Wednesday I was moving around the house and overdoing it again, my leg was bleeding. I borrowed a wheelchair from Ryan’s parents and that is how I was able to still do the school run.

Two weeks later and I was back to myself. I say I was back to myself, I was feeling like a completely different person. In such a good way. When you are in SVT you feel rubbish, but what I didn’t realise was just how rubbish I must have felt ALL the time.

I went for my first bath, two weeks after the operation and after not having one for so long, it felt unimaginable. I got out of the bath and towelled myself and my hair, then burst into tears. I burst into tears because for the first time in what felt like forever, I dried myself without my heart pacing. I finally felt normal.

The sun beamed down for about a week, hurray for British summertime! And for the first time, I was able to see it through without being in my bed with SVT episode after episode. I was able to watch my daughter splash about and love life in her pool. Ryan has said that I seem like a brand new person, and I agree with that entirely.

Life after Ablation.

Like I said earlier, it has now been a month since I had my ablation. I still feel excellent for the larger part of the time, but I do have my moments. Now I know what I feel like when I am good, I am starting to pinpoint what I have done or eaten before an episode and linking the two together. So far I have noticed both caffeine and large amounts of sugar, are the two ingredients to avoid, just as overexerting myself is another thing I need to stop.

Ablation helps, but knowing what you’re putting into your body and knowing which things set your heart off helps a great deal too. Am I happy I went through with my ablation? Absolutely, there’s no word to describe how happy I am that I did it. Would I do it again? There’s no doubt in my mind that I would if I have to.

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