Slept better than I thought on Sunday night, but it still a bit broken. Decided to get up early, walk the dog and clear my head for the big day. I was determined not to get into the state I did for the pre op tests, so left in plenty of time. Sal(my long suffering wife) came with me and was a great support.
Everything went like clockwork at Bristol Southmead hospital admission even though we were early. I was first on the list. Ed Rowe (the consultant surgeon) and the anesthetist came to see me on the ward and explained everything again, but I was fairly well versed now in what was going to happen. Even so, signing the consent forms knowing all the risks still took some doing. I have no symptoms- I am really fit and healthy- why am I consenting to a major operation with all these possible after affects……. You rationalise through one more time- you know you have a cancer that will kill you if it is not treated in time- bloody well get on with it!
The early organisation and preparation proved invaluable- my blood pressure although slightly elevated was fine compare to the previous Thursday.
There was then a half hour wait on the ward while Leonardo and operatives were prepared, and then I was wheeled on the bed down to the theatre. Sal broke down as I was wheeled away, and I had to dig deep to keep a grip. The passages to the theatre passed like a surreal dream, but everyone around me were consummate professionals. Then in the prep room I was positioned carefully on the operating table- you have to be awake for this as your position on the table is critical for Leonardo. Then there was a prick in the back of my hand and I joined the arms of Morpheus for three and a half hours.
Came round in the recovery room and was attended by a very professional male nurse who happened to be a Gloucester rugby fan. He must of thought
I was a right clown, trying to extol the virtues of the Blues, and how the shed was a real challenge for any visiting side, still half cut from the anaesthetic! However pain was nil. Forty five minutes later back up to the ward, and carried on reading a real intellectual challenge- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows! Still kept my mind off things, and the nurses were great. When you come round you are connected to 4 lots of tubing- you feel a bit like the spaghetti spoon in action. Oxygen to the nose, drip to a cannula in the wrist, drain from the wound and catheter from your willy! None of it hurts, but forewarned is forearmed. I only had to put up with this lot for the afternoon and one night. All but the catheter were removed next morning and at lunchtime I was duly dispatched home from whence I am currently blogging. The recovery rate from such a major operation is positively staggering. I will formally log my thanks to Ed Rowe and team here, because with the help of Leonardo a potentially harrowing experience was minimised to a slightly uncomfortable day and night (mainly from my own anxieties rather than physical discomfort) mostly immersed in Potter-mania and the World Service!
The catheter is attached to my leg, so with loose jogging bottoms nobody knows you’ve got one. Emptying it is easier than peeing- just open the tap! I have 5 small wounds that are very small, clips come out in 9 days time!
So an event I have been dreading for months (possibly years from my initial biopsy) turned out to be nothing like the trauma I had imagined. Convalescence now, so I’ll keep you updated!