As you can see from the title, just two weeks after the dress rehearsal my surgery went ahead and I am now home, convalescing with daytime TV and chocolate biscuits!
On the appointed day I went through the same procedure as before, and when I saw my surgeon he apologised that my hospital gown was not black ( you know the type, one tie at the back that leaves everything exposed to the world!). But I did manage to get a pair of support stockings in a very dark green that could look black in the right light!
I was then wheeled on a trolley to meet the anaesthetic team. Here I am afraid my very shy veins let me down again, and sadly my “good” vein was on the side that my lymph nodes were going to be removed from. After a few attempts to raise a vein I mentioned that when having chemotherapy they had put my hands in warm water for 5 minutes which had worked. My anaesthetist disappeared for a while, and then came back with a couple of surgical gloves filled with warm water and tied up to make little hot water bottles! I did have to laugh, but it worked a treat! Once the cannula was in the operation could begin.
I thought I would be “knocked out” in a side room and then wheeled into theatre, but no, I walked into the room myself and was greeted by the whole operating team, the table and a lovely set of shiny steps, like those used to mount a horse, for me to get onto to the table with!
Once I was up and settled down a few monitoring pads were put on my body, an oxygen mask applied and anaesthetic injected into my cannula. My last words were, “ I can feel it taking effect now”…
When I woke ( it seemed like only minutes later) a lovely nurse was offering me a drink of very welcome water and thanks to my surgeon’s magic spray I discovered that I had no drains in my wounds. This meant that I would be able to go home the following morning if all went well overnight…great news! I was then wheeled back to the recovery ward. It felt slightly surreal that it was all done after such a long build up to this day and when the nurse on the ward asked how I was feeling…I said I felt a little tired…she found this very amusing as patients usually mention pain, soreness, discomfort etc; and told me I was entitled to feel a bit tired as I had had a busy afternoon!
After an even more welcome cup of tea and biscuits I was given another heart pillow so that I now had one for each side and made my way to the main ward. This journey was also on a trolley and I did my best royal wave as I was trundled through the corridors, my trusty porter telling me if I had missed anyone on the way!
By the time I was settled in the ward and had chosen what I wanted for breakfast I was really looking forward to a good night’s sleep…
This was not to be!
The frailest member of the ward showed that she had the strongest lungs, and kept me awake with sounds ranging from loud sighs, through dirty chuckles to full blown orgasmic sounds!. The nurses took pity on me, and as they could not find any ear plugs moved me into a side ward. Even though I could still hear her through the closed door it was muted enough for me to sleep until I was awoken by my Rice Krispies and a blood pressure check!
I travelled home later that morning with my heart cushions held to my chest to protect it from the seat belt, still not quite believing that my surgery was finally done.
A couple of days later I went to my doctor’s surgery to have the dressings changed and am pleased to report that all looked well.
Walking out of the surgery a wonderful thing happened…a total stranger walked past me, turned around and said “I love your style, you look amazing”, and then walked on. This was directed to me, in a military style hat covering my bald head and my first outing with my newly breastless chest.
That man had no idea how much his comment meant to me, or how important it was. It just proves that if you feel like saying something nice to someone…do it!! It may make their day like it did mine!