Saturday, 17 July 2010

Surgical skirmishes

Picture this.  No don't.  Just follow along; it will be graphic enough.

The evening I checked into the hospital, they gave me a third purge.  This is when you drink a perfectly abominable salt-tasting concoction -- 2 litres of it -- and then sit on the toilet until "everything runs clear."

So, there I am -- sitting -- when someone comes into the room, calls out and I call back.  And the bathroom door opens.  (Why do they have doors on hospital bathrooms?  Anyone?)

It's my surgeon and he'd like to know if I can take a 90-second break, so that he can mark me up for surgery.  Teeth clenched, I say, "No."  He thinks for a moment and then kneels in front of me, pauses to read my T-shirt -- "Behind every successful woman, there is usually a rather talented cat" -- nods, lifts the shirt and begins to draw with black marker.  "Will this stay on through my three showers?", I ask, cool-like.  "No problem," he says, rises and leaves.


When he came around on the day after surgery, I asked, "Did you say you got the tumour, the ovaries, and the uterus and I don't have a pouch"?  "Yes," he said.  "That's what I thought you said,", I said, but I didn't believe it."  "Neither did I, he said."

Better a great underconfident surgeon than a mediocre overconfident one, I say.

To my great disappointment, he didn't take out my appendix.  "It is normal procedure," he explained, "but only when things are optimal" -- which answered a dozen other questions.  Optimal is when they get it all and can clean up.  Sub-optimal" or Incomplete is when there remains 2 cm of tumour.  I got this out of the booklet from the hospital cancer library.

Not that I'm disappointed at being sub-optimal.  It beats dead and leaves a lot of room for improvement.  And no doubt 5 1/2 hours in the operating room was enough.  The booklet says 6 hours is the limit.  I'd have liked to have lost the appendix, though.


  1. I've heard of of up close and it a culture thing? they wouldn't even read your t shirt here let alone lift it :-) I wore huge hoops for a period drama once in my teens which proved totally incompatible with modern loos, I had to have door open, hoops over my head and full view to everyone, at least my eyes were covered to hide my blushes. Hope you are enjoying good food at home and energy coming back xxCelticseahorse

  2. Good to have you back writing again Margot, what a relief that is all behind you.

    Take Care and Stay Strong xx

  3. aw keep the appendix. good to have gotten rid of the rest. Hope you are eating again and all parts are functioning. It is so good to have you back writing.

    Joleen - and the peis