Sunday 8th May – Thursday 12th May 2011. This was the last week before my operation and slowly, quickly, relentlessly the operation took over everything. I busied myself in work until Thursday my last work day not only with work but by running around collecting on the donations that had been pledged for Peanut’s simply epic Sky dive. I felt very proud of Peanut and my son-in-law Driverman for doing that jump for charity!
Friday 13th May – Sunday 15th May 2011. Work ended on Thursday night as on Friday I had to go to the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham for a pre op assessment. We reported for duty at 10.45 and escaped at just before 3. Lots of questions, an ECG, blood samples, a weigh in, a urine sample and plenty of waiting around in between. Then we had to escape Birmingham which was gridlocked. A fatal accident had occurred on the M5 between Junction 3 and 4 where a lorry had swerved across 6 lanes crossing the central reservation and killing two women in a car which it hit head on. At the time we did not know the cause but afterwards when I fiound out I couldn’t help but think about me driving into Birmingham with a heavy heart worried about my serious fight with the Big C, while these two women, who were fine one second were wiped out the next. They had no idea what the day was bringing them and I just felt so sad for the loss of their lives.
At the time though we were oblivious to the cause of the gridlock but we were not moving. We programmed Tom Tom to divert us away from a jam a mile ahead and it went to work diverting us left and soon we were on the move again. We joined the M5 at junction 4 but approached from the Lickey Hills and we just squeezed onto the motorway at that junction and entered an empty motorway as it was closed north bound from us.
We just got to Malvern in time to collect Peanut’s Mum Brenda from the train station as she arrived at 4. She had come to stay for a week or so to lend moral support to P while I was in hospital. Saturday daytime saw us have a big session of pruning and tidying in the garden so it would look nice for when I got back from hospital. Then on Saturday evening Brenda took us both to Ask, an Italian restaurant in Malvern and we all enjoyed a lovely meal out together. In my mind I kept thinking of it as The Last Supper but then your mind plays with you when you are a bit scared, so I shook the thought away. Noneheless it was lovely and just what I needed for the weekend before my op.
Monday 16th May 2011. The big day had come. We had to be up at 5 to report to the hospital at 7 am. Bam bam bam it was all go and suddenly it was really happening. Yes I was darned scared but I kept my composure and stayed calm as we drived into Birmingham. The roads were fairly quiet and that helped too.
As we checked in there was a chap in front of us who was later on my ward. For some reason they had no record of him being due so understandably he was quite distressed. I’m sorry I had troubles of my own, “Sod off, sod off, go away, let me check in!” I screamed at him in my head. Outwardly I smiled at him sympathetically. Inwardly, by now I had shot him twice at point blank range with a Glock.
Finally he moved away and I checked in and was quickly ushered into another room where I changed and we went through a routine of making jokes about the sexy paper knickers I was putting on. I kept my upper lip very stiff. Then a waiting room and a vacant flick through some girlie fashion magazines, a chat with the anaesthetist and about seventeen checks that I had signed the consent form. I was getting the idea that they were doing something serious to me! In truth though, this process was smooth and well handled and it kept you moving.
A little after 8 they called me through – it was time to go. In Worcester when I had my bowel op they had collected me from my ward and wheeled me to the theatre( at about 100 mph – another story but it’s in the blog) but this time two nurses collected me. I could walk and Peanut could walk with me. One of the nurses was dresed in blue and was a Muslim. She had a black cover over her head and she walked in front. I followed behind holding Peanut’s hand, feeling little and vulnerable in my paper knickers. I looked ahead and saw her covered head and I thought of an axeman leading his victims to the block!
I arrived in another reception area and was put on a bed and spoken too briefly by a couple of nice nurses and still P was with me. They left us alone to say goodbye and have a quick snog. Now I’d like to say that it was at this point that I pounced on Peanut and recreated a scene from Carry On Up The Liver Op but er… I didn’t. Peanut at this stage was a zillion times more scared than when she fell out of a plane just 10 days ago, so it wasn’t an option.
The Big Kiss and I was wheeled away. next stop the anaesthetists just before Theatre. The Anaethetist got me talking about car racing which we had recently seen at Donington and he too was a car enthusiast. He got carried away a bit talking about track day experiences, and I remember smiling to myself thinking I’m sure he’s not supposed to say “It was fucking ace” in a situation like this! Next second Pow I was under!
I must have come round at some point but the next thing I remember, is Peanut walking towards me with a big smile. “Hello Peanut” I said and everything was all right again.
This was about three o’clock and I remained in the High Dependency unit for the rest of Monday until lunch time on Tuesday. I looked like something out of Star Trek, with four tubes coming out of my left neck, an oxygen mask, a wire down my back for the epidural, a drip, a pulse thing on my finger and electrical connectors all over my chest. I did not look pretty and it is good that they warn you about all this prior to the operation so you know what to expect.
By Tuesday afternoon I left HDU and was feeling well. The operation had been a success we had been told and all the cancer was gone – the reality is now it is a waiting game to see if that remains the case. We had been advised that I might not recover this quickly so my Mum was not coming to see me until Wednesday.
However, Tuesday afternoon saw Peanut visiting me and my friend Dealmaker came too. He wanted to pop in because he was off holidaying in the South of France the next day and hoped to see me before he went. I was quite perky that day and wished Dealmaker a great holiday and said I would be thinking about him enjoying himself while I was sat here!
Wednseday and I was still very perky when my Mum and Auntie Enid and Uncle Jim came to see me and indeed we had quite a laugh. Epidurals are wonderful for blocking the pain. I even joked that it was typical that the first place for me to get any feeling back was in my willy!
However, perhaps that should have warned me that something was amiss. When Peanut came back at 6.30 I asked her to check my back which was uncomfortable and we found the epidural had come apart and all my pain killing fluid was a big pool on the floor! By this time I could feel more than just my willy and ouch it hurt! After an initial promise of a morphine pump I was kept on oral painkillers all night and had a very very tough night indeed. In the short term it was painful, but longterm I think it speeded up my recovery as I got mobile quicker so they discharged me on Saturday afternoon just 5 days after the operation!
The Friday before this passed with visits from my Mum, Auntie Enid and Uncle Jim and then in the evening RVW and Storm came over from Boston to say hello before they too went on holiday – cruise up the Nile for them! The same gritted teeth that I used when wishing Dealmaker a great holiday were used once more as I promised to think of them too while I got better! Seriously though it was great to see them both!
Saturday came and to check out Peanut collected me in the Opel GT, bringing with her my watch of choice and we headed off for our next adventure!