I lay here in bed watching the early, morning light filter through the blinds, marking day two since surgery. Through the night I managed two lots of three hour naps, an improvement on the previous night. It’s not because I’m in pain, I’m just not used to sleeping continuously on my back – I’d do anything to roll onto my side and curl up with a pillow. In exactly seven minutes room service opens; it reminds me of being jet lagged on a work trip, waiting for the breakfast buffet to open. Now it’s only six minutes…
I’ll rewind a little and give you an overview of how the day of surgery played out. And before I do that I’m going to tell you a (very brief) story about another surgery I had four years ago. I was living in London and having surgery on my veins. The olds and I had planned a trip around the UK and I used those holidays to recover from surgery. I was in hospital waking up from the anaesthetic and the olds were being annoying – they were taking silly photos of me and laughing. I told the doctors to send them away… I wasn’t joking. The point of this story is to highlight their behaviours when it comes to these situations. I’ve worked out they get a bit delirious when hospitals are involved. Thursday was no different. They were signing a random theme song in the car (I can’t remember what it was).
We arrived at the Mater and the foyer is just like any hotel lobby, suitcases, luggage trolleys, a long reception desk. Once my registration was complete, a volunteer came to take us to the Welcome Lounge. I thought only one person could join me, so I had told the olds I would go alone. The volunteer, a sweet, little old lady said they could both come up. Ok.
The lounge is like a Business Class or First Class lounge – minus the free flow champagne and canapés. It was a small room with soft, leather couches, a section to watch TV, iPads and newspapers. We chose three rocking chairs in the centre of the room and sat down, each with a newspaper. I was starting to wish I had a boarding pass in hand, instead i was waiting for a name badge to be strapped around a limb.
My name was called to see a pre-admission nurse. I went in solo as there was only room for one parent – it’s only your basic questions, weight etc… I’ve done it a few times now through this journey, I got this. After all questions where answered the nurse said someone could stay with me a bit longer. I told the nurse that we could send the parents away now. She looked a little confused but accepted my wishes.
So we walked out and told the olds it was time for me to change and time for them to go for lunch. Mother tried to pretend she wasn’t crying, but she cries watching anything (last night she cried when an imaginary kangaroo was killed in a comedy movie) so I hurried the goodbyes and sent them on their way.
As I walked through my anaesthesiologist (is that what they are called?) arrived, so I was taken in to have a chat to him. He talked about his plan for me – I didn’t know giving anaesthetic was so involved. He asked me if I wanted something to calm my nerves. No thanks, I’m good.From there is was the usual shuffle from getting de-robed, onto a chair, then onto a wheelchair, then into a bed… I was now in the holding bay. My anesthesestic returned to prep me by inserting my cannula, and somehow, through random conversation, we discovered that we used to live a street away from each other in London (but over 20 years apart.) I was his new star patient. Dr O, my plastic surgeon, arrived and out came the marker pen. You could think by now I would be staring to freak out, but I wasn’t.
I was then wheeled into the theatre. My surgeon was standing by, I jokes about him being famous now as he was interviewed on TV, then they pressed GO. The drugs infused and I was out.
Surgury only took about three hours, but I took me another five hours to wake up. The poor olds had a long day of waiting around and called it quits when I was still not responding. At 9:30 I was finally able to keep my eyes open.
Now that I was alert and awake, I decided to have a look at my chest. When I looked down and saw my stitched up chest I felt nothing but relief. I am not mourning the loss of my breasts. (Although my surgeon and breast care nurse have both assured me it’s ok if I do. Is it not normal to be ok about it?)
Without turning this post into a novel, I will end by saying I am not in pain. I am up walking around the ward – doctors orders, I am showering – with the help of a nurse (still waiting for the hot male nurse, oh well….) and I am enjoying the food on offer. I have received some beautiful flowers and am in my own private room. I also had a visit from a breast care nurse who gave me a few supplies and gifts from Mater Chicks in Pink. Anyone who has been involved with a charity run or walk for this organisation, thank you! They really do make a difference.
I am working my way through the movie selection. The computer has yet to be turned on, mainly because it’s too heavy for me to pick up. I’ve managed to type this whole blog on the touch screen of my iPads! I think that deserves an award.
That’s all for now. Today I am expecting a few visitors, I better go do my hair…