Is it ever possible to be offended by the arrangement of your blueberries on Greek yoghurt? This is the breakfast that greeted me this morning. At some point I’m sure that the novelty of novelty food arrangements will wear off, but for now the humour aspect is what is keeping us upbeat.
So yesterday. Ah yesterday. Hmmm. That was an
interesting delicate uncomfortable day.
For some reason Steve felt that constructing a wooden rhino out of a kit with no instructions was an important thing to do at about 8.20am and so that focused his energies and concerns for 20 minutes or so whilst I faffed about waiting for the clock to tick round and it was time to leave.
We hit every red light on the journey to hospital and it was a bitter-sweet moment, as each time I wanted it to be red and then counterbalanced that wish with a sense of just wanting to get there and get on with it.
My 9.30am appointment started with an ultra-sound scan first of all, in order to identify the exact location of the tumour and then to place a wire hook in it to help the surgeon make sure that he was locating it accurately during the surgery. It’s rare that you see a bit of wire protruding from your body so this was a surreal experience to say the least. It wasn’t as unpleasant as it sounds as you’re pumped full of local anaesthetic prior to the procedure.
Then came the biggest shock of the day- another, yes a bloody nother, mammogram x-ray of all things. This time to check that the wire was in the right place. Thankfully the Doctor had scored a bulls eye and all was in place.
We were then escorted to the Nuclear Medicine Department for another scan to locate the lymph nodes under my arm and an injection into the (look away now most of you)…………… nipple. Absolutely enough said about that.
Hospital waiting rooms and areas, however nice they are, are dull. We spent an hour or so there watching the world go by and ear wigging on other patients procedures as many people feel the need to share their symptoms out loud. Good luck to them, but I’m not sure that everyone needs a blow by blow account of a bone scan for example, especially those who were clearly waiting to have one and nervous. ‘The look’ didn’t even stop them yarning on about it.
Back in my room my lovely surgeon Mr Coombs talked us through the procedure and checked that the morning’s preparations had gone smoothly. Then a visit from the funniest and most attuned Consultant Anaesthetist ever. His name was Ben (tick), he was warm and funny (tick), knew his stuff (tick) and put us both at ease (tick). He’s a reservist in the Army Medical Corp and has done three stints in Afghanistan working in retrieval helicopter so putting me to sleep should be a walk in the park. I am anxious about anaesthetics, really due to the fact that I had an emergency one many years ago as I had an ectopic pregnancy and it burst. To this day that traumatic event stays with me when I think about anaesthetics and so Ben’s reassurance here was welcome indeed.
After the regular obs (temp, blood pressure, pulse etc) were taken it was time for the compression stockings. Items of medical equipment so elegant one can only say that the fact that they are British racing green is their only redeeming factor. I’m sure Kylie looked gorgeous in hers.
The operation was done about 2pm. After a slightly shaky start in the anaesthesia room where the heart monitor decided to stop working and flat lined me, I drifted off. Oh my, that was such a lovely feeling, if only I could drop off to sleep like that every time (says a paid up member of the 2 hour club – the time I typically take to go off to sleep). I came round about 4.10pm, with the lovely Francine looking after me and telling me about her daughter and her involvement in the hospital choir, she was heading over to the Dementia ward to sing to the patients that evening. How wonderful is that. Mr Coombs lent over my bed (I think) and said everything went well.
Back to my room around 5.30pm to find Steve waiting for me with a big warm smile. Perfect. Then a great deal of medical faffing, oxygen masks, connecting tubes and equipment and so on. And the treat of the day- a glass of water, unlimited water. Ahhhhhhhhh.
Mr Coombs came back (for sure this time) and repeated that everything had gone well. He’d not been able to see my lymph nodes (you mean the nipple injection hadn’t worked?! #@&*~%$.) as when he used a Geiger counter around that area nothing registered and so he had to inject me with blue dye to give him a visual identification of my lymph nodes, so he could remove a couple. He told me to expect that the blue markings that I now have will take about a month to disappear and for that month I’ll be peeing in a lovely bright green hue. We’ll see him in a week’s time to review the histology reports of the tumour and the lymph nodes and then discuss what’s next.
A few bites of a sandwich and sip of tea were welcomed into my life and then a chance to get out of bed and move about. Sore and tender but fine. I managed to flash my British racing greens with each step.
Home about 8.30pm, somewhat sheepishly and feeling understandably battered and bruised but all in all, positive. The little sod had gone. We showed him who’s boss.
Not a bad night’s sleep, and blueberries and Greek yoghurt for breakfast! Life is good.
Now I just need to learn how to be a patient patient. Tips please………………..