This was a scary time. There’s the worry I might die or suffer complications from the operation, and I don’t want this at all and I don’t want to die and I have a young family. What’s more, it’s only once the surgeons get really stuck in that they’ll know the true extent of the cancer. So, January 8th 2014, the big day has arrived…
Arrived in the dark to the QE in-patients waiting room at 6.30am with the motley bunch of worried patients before the doors open. Gen is with me and we have someone to look after Ted, and I have someone to look after me. We present the appointment letter and are told to wait. We are there for literally hours, the wait punctuated by toilet breaks, sips of water (I’m nil by mouth) and occasional gasps of disappointment as some patients are told their op is delayed and to come back another day. I don’t think we could take another wait. Measurements are taken every so often and blood tests, blood pressure, height, weight, blood oxygen and any number of metrics about my health are carefully noted.
At around 11am, long after my phone battery has flatlined, I’m instructed to go into a room to chat with the surgeon. It turns out to be the surgeon’s mate or accomplice or some such deputy role. In any case I offload my continuing worries about whether they have the latest MRI scans (they don’t) and whether they will look for further lesions when they’re inside (they will) and whether they have resolved the conflicting advice from Southampton to remove the right side of my liver or from the QE to remove the left (they’ll have a look but probably go with the Southampton advice). As you might imagine I’m keen to know these concerns are in hand.
Finally, about 12.30pm — the same day unbelievably — I’m actually called in for the operation. No ante-room waiting, no messing about, just get yer kit off and put the gown on (the gown with no back). Within minutes I’m on a trolley and saying goodbye to Gen…hopefully not for the last time. Gen takes my small rucksack and we kiss each other and with an oddly growing sense of sadness I’m led away chatting to a disarmingly pleasant bunch of anaesthetists.
This goes on for some while, we chat a fair bit in fact, whilst the team are assembled. Needles are put in my arm and I’m warned that when I wake up I’ll have tubes in my neck, stomach, arms, something in my leg, a ‘stab’ drain from my liver and a urine catheter. Lordy!!
I’m almost in double figures for operations since this all started, so I’m not surprised at the usual routine as they test the anaesthetic at low dose. “This’ll feel like you’ve had a couple of pints of Tetleys” jokes the confident and competent anaesthetist. I try to mutter some unfunny remark about going for a kebab and get real sleepy…
To be continued…