Recently I underwent surgery and since then have been surprised about how the anaesthetic has left me feeling. For a start I woke up with hiccups, which while they weren’t painful I was quite fearful that they were going to do some damage to my stitches if they didn’t stop. I was fortunate enough to have the anaesthetist swing by to check on me and reassure me that it wasn’t uncommon and I also have some super attentive nurses keeping an eye on me.
Whilst I was in hospital I expected that I would spend a lot of time sleeping and I did, but what has surprised me was that it has taken over a two weeks for me to start feeling more alert. I came home on Thursday and it has taken up to 10 days for me to feel like I can have a proper conversation and remember what was said later. So in light of my newly found awareness I have done a little research about the effects of anaesthesia and what we should expect pre and post operation.
When I donated back in 2013 I don't remember much as the operation had issues and the experience wasn't the norm. This recent surgery was to fix a incisional hernia - which is actually very common for living kidney donors to experience. In some way I'm more prepared for this operational and the questions to ask then I was back in 2013. It has helped me plan better and accept and listen to the advice post operation. Giving me a greater chance of a more positive recovery that is in my control this time!
My anaesthetist visited me before I went into theatre and explained the process and he also checked in with me about my medical history, previous operations and my overall history. I remember being wheeled into the operating theatre and having a mask over my face and the last thing I remember was wondering how long it would all take to kick in and then I woke up … with the hiccups in the recovery area.
After surgery hospital staff will be checking on you and recording your breathing, pulse and blood pressure. They will keep a track of your level of consciousness and your doctor will also check in with you before you go back to the ward.
Generally, it can take 24 hours for the anaesthetic to leave your system but it can sometimes take weeks before you cease to feel the effects. Everyone is different. This often goes to the feeling of fatigue that Living Donors experience and don't realise its could be more because of the anaesthetic rather then the adjustment of one kidney.
So if you feel like something isn’t right always check in with your primary care giver and listen to the people around you. When they say, you need to rest – then Rest.