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A Positive Pleurectomy Experience

After 3 SPs I was referred to the consultant thoracic surgeon at Southampton General Hospital and given an appointment to come in for a VAT pleurectomy. After reading the experiences on this website I postponed the operation twice because I was so worried. On the third appointment I decided that enough was enough and I went in.

On the day of admission I went in at 09:30 and after the various weight checks and I got a bed I was wheeled down to the operating theatre at around 14:30. There was a little wait whilst the previous op was finished but eventually I found myself in the anesthetic room where I was given the general.

At around 18:45 I woke up in the High Care ward with a drip and a Patient Controlled Anesthesia Device filled with morphine. The first night was spent pretty much asleep, and thus in pratically no discomfort. I did get told off for using too little morphine though!

The next day I was sitting up in my chair and by the afternoon was allowed to walk around (great, no more peeing into bottles!). Pain was minimal - and I woke up about twice at night. Changing position was enough to deal with that.

On the next day out came the chest drain. I was expecting excruciating pain. I felt nothing - I held my breath and they pulled in out. All over in about 2 seconds. By the evening I was feeling well enough to be discharged.

On to the next day at home and I won't lie - I got so little sleep that I cried the next next day because of the pain. And the co-dydramol that they gave me made me as sick as a dog! However, after a couple of days I stopped taking the pain killers and learned that by sleeping on my side I could get a whole night's uninterrupted sleep. Bliss!

It's now a week since my op and I am feeling pretty well. I walk a couple of miles a day and can breath deeply with no pain. Coughing and sneezing still hurt but it gets better every day. I still can't drive for two weeks but it's a small price to pay.

In closing I would say to anyone considering the op that it is not all doom and gloom. I had the op just one week ago and already I am maybe 80% back to my previous level of health. There was very, very little pain and I was only in hospital for 2 nights! I am proof that it can all work out fine.