Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The waiting game

Written on 16/10/2012- but unable to publish because of O2's crappy 3G coverage!

OD had surgery today. It was planned for the afternoon- so I thought " Great, a lie-in!". But who was I kidding, no one's going to get a good night's sleep before a cancer operation. He was on the production line thirty minutes before schedule- ID bracelet and bar code, then seen by ward sister, research nurse, staff nurse, student nurse, stoma nurse, anaesthetist, surgeon and finally the theatre porters. Probably the only patient bossy enough to tell the theatre porters that he'd rather walk up the stairs then wait for the lift to theatre. The tubby one did not look happy! Impressively, he managed to look boss- like, despite the stripey dressing gown, TED stockings and ridiculous bum flashing hospital gown.

We started our journey this morning with a lesson in Latin -Morituri te salutant...we who are about to die, salute you. The traditional tribute of the Roman Gladiators to Caesar. Yes- a little morbid! He's been subdued today- and finally voiced some of his fears. When we saw Mr C, we were told the risks, which included a 1-2 percent risk of death, pelvic nerve damage, incontinence and need for a colostomy bag. Pretty big things for a guy in the prime of his life to take in.

Last Sunday dinner with the kids, OD told them that there was a 1 in 100 chance that he might not survive the surgery. Sure, he'd been positive about outcomes, and blase- and the justification was " I didn't want them to say that nobody warned them". Which I think is a good thing. He has a "no secrets" policy. It did mean that he had tearful phone calls from daughter 1 and daughter 3 just before surgery- which made him a little teary. There was also an outpouring of affection and good wishes from all his friends, colleagues and family.

Anyway- off he went. And I had to occupy myself. Waiting is my LEAST favourite thing. One of the reasons I find a labour ward shift stressful. I find it difficult not to obsess about the worse case scenario. Bit hard not too, after having the risks explained again. I'd brought some work with me- but it was a really long 3 hours. I did have a pleasant, distracting 40 minutes catching up with an old friend discussing our garden plans, and the best vegetable crops for the wet weather of the UK!

OD was back by 1650, a little zonked on the morphine PCA but in reasonable spirits, apart from announcing to everyone who would listen, that he needed a REALLY big fart, but it wouldn't come out. Disinhibition by morphine! The initial outcome has been has good as can be expected. Surgery was quick, apparently, only about three red cells were spilled! All done key -hole, and Mr C seemed happy that the disease was confined to the bowel. 

The surgery waiting game is over. Now there's just the wait for the pathology and the recovery. Fingers, toes and everything else crossed. 

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