The morning of my surgery I reported to the Ambulatory Care at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga. I confirmed my identity in triplicate with every person that I came into contact with who was employed by the hospital. Well okay… Not everybody who was employed, I mean I didn’t tell the janitor any information but you get what I’m saying. After registering at the Ambulatory Care I was sent upstairs to the pre-surgery area where I again registered and confirmed my identity. I was brought to a little change room where I was handed a big plastic bag and told to remove everything except my underwear and my socks. I was given a gown and a robe to wear over the gown and little booties. My mother was with me. Staff gave my mother a card that had a number i.d. which would allow her to keep track of my process during surgery. There was a TV in the waiting area which resembled flight information screens at an airport.
After a short period a nurse came with a wheelchair to bring me to nuclear medicine. I was to have two injections around my nipple to help dr. Niaz determine which lymph nodes he was going to remove for the biopsy. The blue dye injected would show the path from my tumor to the nodes most likely, if at all were spreading the cancer. The injection feels like an electric current. I won’t lie, it hurts. The second injection hurt more and lasted more than a few seconds. Then I lay down on the table where a machine similar to an MRI machine took scans. I’m not claustrophobia but I had to stay still for a while so I closed my eyes and imagined I was on a warm beach.
After the scans were done I was again escorted via wheelchair to the biopsy area, this time to have a wire inserted through my breast into my tumor. This was done using ultrasound to guide the path of the wire. The needle to freeze me didn’t hurt at all. The insertion of the wire was completely pain-free. I felt very bionic having this wire sticking out of my breast for the rest of the day. After the wire was inserted in my breast I was wheeled to the Diagnostics Clinic again to have another mammogram done. It was interesting having a mammogram done with wire sticking out of my chest but we managed.
I was then was brought back to the pre-surgery waiting area to wait for my turn to have surgery. We waited for a few hours. I was so hungry. Once it was my turn to go in for surgery I was brought to yet another waiting room only this time my mother wasn’t allowed to come with me. Typically I wear contact lenses but I had to remove them for the surgery so I was pretty blind. The nurses gave me a heated blanket which was very nice because it was freezing in there! It didn’t help that there was construction going on all over the hospital.
Dr. Niaz came to discuss the surgery and see how I was doing. Then I was greeted by the anethetist. I advised him that I get sick every time I have surgery so he told me he would switch things up a bit. I’m not sure what he did, but whatever it was made it way worse than typical! I was feeling pretty calm and just concentrated on being relaxed, breathing and meditating as much as I could.
I could hear another patient somewhere who was afraid of needles and screaming bloody murder! My goodness those surgeons had their work cut out for them on that one.
When it was finally my turn to have surgery I was brought into a large and very cold room where Dr. Niaz and his team guided me too the table. One of the nurses brought me some more heated blankets. Everyone took turns introducing themselves but of course I don’t remember any of them because I was about to have surgery and not taking notes of names. Dr. Niaz was talking into a tape recorder. A nurse was helping me get out of my robe. The Anethetist inserted and i.v. into my hand. Everybody was busying themselves with getting me ready for surgery and the last thing I remember was the anethetist saying you’re going to start to feel woozy. The nurse asked me a question and as I started to answer it I was out.
When I woke up I was extremely nauseous and couldn’t stop throwing up. I was told that the surgery was a success. But I was so sick that the nurse went to get dr. Niaz to tell him that there was no way I was going to be able to go home if it continued. It was supposed to be a day surgery however Dr. Niaz said if I continue to be that sick they would have to admit me. This was around 2 p.m.
By 6 p.m. I was still getting sick. I hadn’t been given any water, or food. The nurses and Dr. Niaz agreed that if the 8 o’clock staff should have me admitted. 8 p.m. was the shift change for nurses. When the new shift arrived they were nowhere near as friendly. In fact my experience was so horrible I filed a complaint!
They refused to give me anything to drink no matter how thirsty I was. They said that if I put anything in my stomach I would just throw it up. I had to stop so that they could send me home. They went to get my mother but lied to her saying that I hadn’t been sick in a of couple hours but I had just been sick 15 minutes prior. I finally convinced them to give me ice chips. Because there was nothing in my stomach to vomit I was throwing up bile. My stomach was contracting with such force that it made me urinate the bed. I told the nurses several times that I had peed and they left me sitting in it for over an hour!
I convinced a nurse to let me use the washroom at which point they wheeled my bed over to another area to do so. This made me more ill. The one nurse actually said to me, and I quote “I know that you don’t feel well but you can still use your legs so come on, get up.” And she proceeded to forcibly lift me out of the bed and make me walk to the toilet.
I asked about a change of clothes but they just ignored me. My mother returned and was livid at the condition she found me in. Other nurses came by and we kept asking for Gravol or something to help with my nausea. My mother reminded them that Dr. Niaz had said if I was still sick I had to be admitted but they said that since it was not written on my chart it wasn’t going to happen. They said there were no rooms available even if they could get me one.
My mother got me a change of clothes since the nurses still had me sitting in my urine soaked underwear, and insisted they give me some crackers. The nurse said the level of anti-nausea medication that I was on was near overdose and didn’t understand why I was still sick.
At 11 p.m. they actually kicked me out. A nurse passing by saw me getting into the wheelchair and stopped to say “This patient does not look well. She looks like she’s about to be sick. Why are we making her leave?” If you ask me these other nurses just wanted to go home. I understand, it’s the end of their shift. However I’m vomiting so maybe a little consideration would be nice.
The nurse who had asked why they were kicking me out decided to take over an escort me to the cab herself because clearly she didn’t feel these other nurses gave a shit about me. She made sure I had a box of tissue and a plastic bag and got me a damp towel for my forehead. We got into a taxi and off we went home. Luckily I only live a 10-minute ride from the hospital, and luckily I only vomited once during that ride. Once I was home my mother gave me Gravol and some toast and water, and I slept in my own bed.
I was sick for 2 weeks after surgery! I had a very bad reaction to the anesthetic. For the most part the staff at Credit Valley Hospital is great. That last batch of nurses gives everyone a bad name.