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.