[WARNING! If you're squeamish about medical details, this post might make you squeam.]
I woke up back on the ward, feeling incredibly thirsty. The nurse said she couldn't give me anything to drink, or I'd vomit for sure, but she moistened my mouth with a damp gauze. It helped.
Then I noticed that the other patient wasn't there, even though she'd gone down to theatre first, and I got a bit worried.
And then I was incredibly thirsty again - I think I must have slept quite a while - and the nurse came back back with her damp gauze. And the other lady was back, asleep.
And I slept, and woke up again, I think.
And then I managed to vomit anyway, or at least my empty stomach made frantic, painful attempts to empty itself further.
"Here it comes," I thought. All my previous experiences of general anaesthetic have involved hours and hours of dry heaves, and very unpleasant too, especially with abdominal stitches. In fact that was the part I'd been most worried about in advance. (These days, your chances of being killed by the anaesthetic are one in half a million. I could live with that.)
But that was it. Just the one two-minute bout of dry heaves. For which I an deeply, deeply grateful tot he anaesthetist.
After a while I was allowed cautious sips of camomile tea, which, amazingly, stayed down.
I managed to talk a little to the other woman. She'd had the keyhole op too, but it had taken much longer than usual. They'd told her (presumably while I was asleep) that her gallbladder had been so full of stones and sand that they'd had real trouble.
My husband visited, and I went back to sleep.
The surgeon popped in to ask about the vomiting, and didn't seem a bit surprised when he heard I was OK. He also said that I'd had lots and lots of gallstones, and that one of them had been stuck in the bile duct, and he'd had fun and games getting it out. I'd come quite close to needing the old-fashioned op with the seven-inch scar under the ribs.
Suddenly my four narrow-but-deep little holes from keyhole surgery seemed very small. And I had a few more sips of camomile tea and went back to sleep.
And then he dropped his bombshell. I'd have to stay on the strict diet for at least another two weeks, and then bring in the forbidden foods slowly, finding out what I could and couldn't eat. So no English breakfast yet!
My husband left, to look after our son.
The nurse helped me to the bathroom, and I noticed that I had a drainage tube in my side, attached to a little bag. I had to hold it to get to the loo, but I didn't examine the contents too closely. Instead, I referred to it as my Gucci bag, "latest fashion from Milan", and made the other woman laugh.
I felt well enough to read a bit.
My husband and some visited, and I got my English breakfast! My son had drawn one on the top of a pizza box. It was a really good one, too, with sausages, bacon, egg, beans, mushrooms, cheese on toast and toast and jam. And all calorie free. The other woman and her visitors and all the nurses admired it.
Visitors left, and I catnapped some more.
And then at 11 pm I used the last quarter of the cup of camomile tea to wash down a sleeping pill, and it came back up. Ow! I didn't know which incision to hold. But at least it didn't take long.
Oh well. I slept just fine without the pill anyway.