The 24 Hours After Brain Surgery

a few hours after brain surgery intensive care

I was going to write one whole post about my recovery after brain surgery, but as it turns out, I had a lot to say about the first 24 hours. I shall write about the time in the hospital and at home afterwards soon.

If this is the first post you read about my brain surgery, then it might be worth heading over here to catch up.

Coming Out of Brain Surgery

It goes without saying that I don’t remember much. Maybe my mum and husband can weigh in here what it was really like when I got out of surgery.
I remember waking up in the intensive care unit and then I slept a lot. I believe I fell asleep mid-sentence, probably also talking a bit of nonsense none of which I remember.

24 hours after brain surgery
A few hours after brain surgery

Drinking and Eating

I was thirsty and a bit hungry, though fully aware that having too much too soon could result in vomiting, which wasn’t allowed because of the pressure on the brain (and you can fill in the rest yourself…). I managed to eat a banana in what felt like an hour. Maybe there was some yoghurt, too? I may have also fallen asleep somewhere along the way of filling myself up with energy. I don’t know, but it all went smoothly, considering. After all, I couldn’t open my mouth properly nor chew, so I had to take advantage of anything remotely mushy.

The Sound Effects

There were a lot of cables and machines. It was constantly beeping around me, people were talking far away, nurses running around. I didn’t care much for any of it until later in the evening/night until I discovered something about myself. I am a light breather when I fall asleep. The machines monitoring your heart rate and such start beeping, just like in movies, when I was about to doze off. At first, I didn’t realise it was me doing this and the nurses kept telling me to breathe. Which I was, I mean, I certainly was. After a while I only heard shouts of “breathe” from the other side of the room directed at me.

The Catheter

Call me silly, but I did not realise I was attached to a catheter for an indecent amount of hours. It did not even occur to me that I should have gone to the toilet eventually and the fact that I didn’t have to go was a thing unnoticed, until someone changed my blanket or moved something and, oh boy, is that an uncomfortable feeling. It didn’t hurt or anything, it is just plain awkward having a tube down there. Once I got over that image (I did not look once!), I tested whether I could feel anything when doing the deed. Kept me quite entertained for a couple of days, cause I would try to drink a lot to see how quickly the bag would fill up.

The Drainage

Again, I had no idea! Of course you need a tube to drain excess liquid after a brain surgery. Not something anyone would ever question. But what a surprise I had, ha! I did not realise I had a drain coming out of my head until the nurse checked on the contents coming out of my brain and had to move the bag, which in turn moved the tube and it is just…ugh…That feeling of something being stuck in your head. Not pleasant.
Oh and also, it made gurgling sounds. I panicked and immediately called the nurse and my mum was freaked (sorry!) because I had no idea that the sound I was hearing wasn’t technically in my head, but liquid coming out of my head. I wished someone would have warned me though.
A nurse took out the drainage after a mere 24 hours.

Perfect Skin

I believe my mum and husband said I had the skin of an angel or baby or something absurd. They took a photo to prove it to me afterwards. My skin was indeed the smoothest and glossiest it has ever been, for exactly as long as I had been fed painkillers and steroids via tubes. Also, my face had never been as swollen before. So that might have helped.

My Face Muscles

It simply hurts. I couldn’t talk all that much, smile, laugh or lay on my sides.

My Hair

My hair didn’t get shaved off, only an area like an Alice band at the front. Not that you could tell anything so early on because of the dressing on my head. In short, hair in the back was entangled and bloody.

Moving to a Private Room

The morning after surgery, almost 24 hours after I got out, the nurse told me that I need to get out of the intensive care area by 10am. There is something about deadlines and the tone nurses use that had me a bit panicked. Move? So soon? I was just grateful for every minute I could just lay there, because, the nurse, which moved me, explained to me that I need to switch beds.Β  But it was all good. I didn’t have to do much, someone heaved my head, the other my feet, I just had to take care of the middle part without pulling out the catheter. This exercise exhausted me and I had a little nap right after.

I could imagine anyone reading this having questions. Don’t be shy, leave a comment, ask me about the surgery and I’ll try my best to answer.






  1. Anders Olsson
    10 May 2017

    It is hard for me to find words and expression to rightfully express my feelings about all of this, other than that I am hugely thankful for the fact that you are the way you are. Amazingly strong, determinated and full of that special figthing spirit that so few people have. You are a true inspiration and worth everything good in life! Stay strong, keep safe and a big, big hug from me and Wan <3

    1. Isabell Schulz
      10 May 2017

      That is so incredibly touching to read! Thank you Anders and Wan.

  2. Derrick
    11 May 2017

    Glad you came out of that safe and sound. Didn’t follow the instructions, going back to read part 1 for context πŸ™‚ By the way, I do have a question. What is an Alice band?

    1. Isabell Schulz
      11 May 2017

      Let me know what you think πŸ™‚
      An Alice band is like a thin hair band. Sort of 90s style I suppose πŸ™‚ That’s how the surgeon explained it to me. Basically, a small strip at the front of the hair had been shaved off

  3. […] The 24 Hours After Brain Surgery […]

  4. […] covered my initial 24 hours after brain surgery in a previous post plunging into some detail about various things from eating and drinking to […]


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