I had been feeling pretty nervous on the run up to the day of my surgery. This was mostly about having the general anaesthetic. Or more to the point, I was worried that they wouldn’t give me enough of it and that somehow I’d wake up half way through the operation or that I’d be able to feel what they were doing but my body wouldn’t be able to respond or show in any way that I was awake and feeling it. I was also concerned that they may find something other than what the scans had showed as I’d heard that could sometimes be the case.
Pats had taken a day off work to take me to hospital and we needed to be at theatre admissions for 7am. We waited for a good hour before a nurse called my name and took me through to a room to take my blood pressure and complete all the patient check-in paperwork. Looking at the thickness of the papers this was going to take a while! She asked every imaginable question about my health and medical history, and it felt somewhat ironic that besides having the big ‘c’, I was actually fit and well. I’d never had any serious illnesses before and she marvelled at the fact that I don’t take any regular medication.
I told her I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be given enough anaesthetic and she said she’d had 14 operations throughout her life, I didn’t like to ask why, but she joked that she actually quite liked having the anaesthetic and the feeling of going off to sleep! She then measured my legs and went off to get me a pair of anti-embolism stockings.
I went on to meet the anaesthetist who went through further medical checks and questions. He asked me if I had any concerns at all and I told him about my fear of waking up in the middle surgery. He said I was young and otherwise in good health and he had no concerns about me at all and that I shouldn’t worry – everything would be absolutely fine. Feeling reassured by him I then went back to sit outside again with Pats.
After another wait, my name was called out and Pats gave me a hug and kissed me goodbye. A nurse showed me into a changing area where I got dressed into the hospital gown and put on the oh-so attractive stockings! I had my own dressing gown and slippers so didn’t look quite as hideous as I felt. I sat in a different waiting area reading my David Hamilton book, trying to keep myself calm and continually chanting positive sayings in my head. At around 10:15 a nurse called my name and we walked down to the theatre together. She joked about my surname, asking if I was related to Alfie Moon!
She left me in another waiting area with a nurse and an older lady then joined us to wait too. The nurse’s job seemed to be to keep the patients that were waiting calm and she began chatting to us about holidays and telling us jokes which was very welcome. A short while afterwards the previous nurse came back and collected me and walked me through to the operating theatre.
The room was larger than I imagined and as I stood in front of the bed on which I would be operated upon, I marvelled at all the equipment and monitors surrounding it. Here goes then. In a few minutes they would be cutting these deadly poisonous cells from my breast, rescuing the remaining healthy cells and the rest of my body that was in danger from their existence. I’d made it this far, I hadn’t bottled it at any of the waiting stages, now I just had to put my faith and trust in the doctors and nurses.
The anaesthetist chap greeted me and as I lay on the bed he and the nurses were chatting away asking me what I would have normally been doing that day. We were supposed to be going away camping with a group of friends that weekend and we discussed the pros of going to a campsite that lets you have a campfire! After fitting the cannula in my arm the anaesthetist put a mask over my face to breath into and I then felt him put an injection into my hand. A strange taste entered my mouth and I slowly drifted off to sleep.