I got to the Queen Mary in Sidcup at 6:40 for 7am (thanks to my neighbour Chris). I had stayed up late that night, (I had a session on me Play Station 3 as I knew it would be some time before I could play it again ) because logic said that as I would be asleep for a few hours during and after the operation, then all would be fine. It was indeed a good move.
The deal was that I was to get changed. I had brought me own cotton pants otherwise I would have had to have worn NHS paper ones!. I am not fashion conscious, but there are limits.
I was also not allowed to chew gum 6 hours before surgery, I had to wash my hair prior to admission and my belly button. I could not use aerosol deodorant or my beloved hair gel. Make up was a no-no, but as it was not New Years Eve or a gig, I was happy with that.
Chris had kindly offered to pick me up that night, as I was not allowed to go home by public transport or even a cab, as I suppose a cabbie cannot take responsibility if I flake out. (Flake out is not an expression you hear much now, so I welcome it to my Blog). If Chris had not been able to get me, I am not sure what would have happened. I guess SJ would have had to get a cab with a baby seat and collect me. This would be a round trip of about £60 for six miles. It got me thinking about people who are alone.
When I arrived at the ward I met the same people from the day before at the imaging dept who I had got on really well with. Strangely there was an almost party atmosphere, if you go to the sort of parties that are nil by mouth and no music. I have been to one party like that but I have tried to forget it.
As the only bloke with breast cancer there, I was to go to the theatre relatively quickly darlings. Yet another advantage (?) of being one of the 1%.
I had my BP (ark at me getting all the medical jargon) taken and it was an amazing 129/81 a personal best. A PB of my BP no less. It just goes to show how good all these tablets are.
Had me blood sugar taken and the nurse could not get any blood out of my left hand due to the fact that I play the bass and it had hardened my finger tips. I think they have put that on my notes. Not that it matters as I will not be allowed blood tests or anything like that after the operation, as it can cause Lymphedema.
I got into one of those backless gowns with my cotton pants underneath and chatted to the nurses and the two other blokes in the ward, one of whom chucked up into a sick bowl as I looked at him. It would have put me off my food if I was allowed to eat.
The time went quickly, thanks to various staff doing tests and telling me what was going to happen. I didn’t even have time to read the Pete Hook book I had been reading.For the record, it is an interesting insight into the Hacienda and further proof that Pete is a bit of a lovable old twaghead and he tells a great story.
The ward had a great reception on my phone so I was facebooking my head off. One of the consultants came in and drew a bloody big area pointing to the nipple that was being removed.
In true Mr Benn style, as if by magic, a nurse appeared around 10am and told me they were ready for me. Times have changed and now you have to walk to the operating theatre and it is a cliché, but you do feel like a condemned man (or from what I have seen in films).
It was a bit like an airport, in that I had to wait in a holding area behind a screen and one chair. This is where the anaesthetists hang out. I was sitting in the chair and somewhat bizarrely I thought, there was an old TV on for me to watch. I did say to the nurse that it seemed a bit strange, because you are only going to be able to watch a bit of it before you are knocked out, so you could not really get into the show. This was in fact the worse moment of the day. I look up to the TV and that Dominic Littlewood was rambling on. What made it worse was the show (Postcode Lottery) was having a go at the NHS. This is not what you want to see when you are about to go under the knife (or scalpel). It reminded me of Airplane when the in-flight film was of a plane crashing.
If it all went wrong, I would have hated for HIM to have been one of the last things I ever saw. Still, it did make me laugh and anyway, it was Solihull NHS and not SE London.
I think it says a lot about me that the most in-depth comment I have made on this Blog is about Dominic Littlewood!
I went into the anaesthetic room and I lay down on a trolley. I don’t know if the Littlewood experience had shaken me, but for the first time that day, I felt faint and uncomfortable. I think it was because of the drama of the situation. All of these things being put into me and stuck on me and hearing my heartbeat going faster and slower depending on what I was thinking about. When I last when under the knife years ago, you had to do that counting back from 100 thing, but when I asked the bloke, he said that did not happen anymore. I had about 3 needles put into me, with me thinking that each was the one to knock me out.
One of them was, because the next thing I know I am being wheeled back to the ward with the thirst of Paula Ratcliffe after running 25 miles in Mexico City, although thankfully I do not think I had wet myself (or worse).
After a while (not sure how long) I was told that I would be going home around 5pm (it was now about 1pm) I could have gone home earlier but I had this drain which is a tube going into my armpit that led to a bottle which took the blood and tissue. This was to be my constant companion for around two weeks.
A surgical drain is a tube used to remove Pus or Blood or other fluids from a wound Drains inserted after surgery do not result in faster wound healing or prevent infection but are sometimes necessary to drain body fluid which may accumulate and in itself become a focus of infection
It is a clever piece of kit, it works by suction.
I was also the proud owner of some surgical stockings which I was told I should keep, as they are the same stockings that airports sell for DVT. RESULT.
Chris came to pick me up around 6pm and off we went, but not before Chris only just stopped me from shutting the tubing in his door!! This would not be the only time I would forget that it was there. Oh such fun and games.
On the way home I went to a shop and got some strange looks as I kept forgetting it was there.
So that was that, I got home and got a hug and much love from SJ and Spencer. I sat down in the knowledge that I would not be doing the dishes for a couple of weeks.
Silver clouds and all that.