anasthesia, Breast, cancer, cocktail, day of, lumpectomy, mastectomy, skin-sparing, surgery
“The weather isn’t nice, so I wouldn’t play golf anyway”
The alarm went off at 4:30 and I jumped out of bed to take a shower quietly while she slept another 20 minutes. Other than the early morning wakeup call and the lack of food (no eating before the surgery) this was our normal routine. I checked a few emails, put the bags in the car and read the paper while I waited for her to come down. I smiled at all her last minute things she wanted to get done – mail bills, throw her iPod in the overnight bag, make sure the kids had all their stuff ready for school. She grabbed her pillow and took one look around the house. I caught her crying and didn’t want to look or I’d start crying too, I looked out the window and said the only words I could think of to make her smile, “The weather looks gloomy, I wouldn’t be playing golf anyway”. I got a kidding hit to the abdomen and turned to see her smiling. We were ready to go. Check in time…6am.
While I went to the mailbox she waited for a second in the lobby holding her pillow. She ran into her surgeon who gave her a hug. She didn’t recognize her at first holding a flowery pillow and told her, “you looked like a little 15 year old girl”. Our surgeon is well respected (10 years of practice and a professor at one of the best teaching hospitals in the country) and like most, she has her idiosyncrasies when it comes to bedside manner, but that I can live with.
Upstairs we got checked in and my wife undressed and we put her clothes in the bag they provided. Reminder to some, leave your jewelry at home (I pocketed her wedding rings). If I didn’t know my wife’s exact weight by now, I got it told one more time as she got on the scale and we signed more consent forms. The administrative nurses walked off with her clothes and pillow (I kept her toiletry kit, cell phone and other valuables). The first doctor to some in was the plastic surgeon. He marked her body up like a smiley face and was really pragmatic. You definitely have to have vision. You could see his mind working like an artist as he marked up her body. Next was the anaesthesiology team. They once again confirmed my wife’s allergy to Codine. Last was the main surgeon. Always nice when they come in fresh faced and ready to go even at 7am! She said all was on schedule and spoke with me about when she’d come out to tell me how it went.
They then gave her the cocktail and within five seconds my wife was loopy. The cocktail has an effect of amnesia which will relieve any trauma in the mind. She was already laughing within 30 seconds and kissed me one last time before they wheeled her off into surgery.
I can’t believe that was two and a half hours ago. Surgery is half over already, I am assuming, and they are on to the second breast. I did go to move the car and drove a few blocks home to make sure my mom was okay and that the kids got off to school without any hassle. She said they didn’t have a clue as to the fact that their mother was off to surgery this morning. At least they didn’t say anything, but we think our son might know.
As they wheeled her off, I called her parents to let them know that she is off to surgery. Her father says he’s proud of her strength, but I’m sure her mother is worried being far away. She got a chance to speak to them yesterday, but waiting doors away is probably no easier than waiting 3000 miles away.
I will let them know this afternoon when I pick them up from school that mom is okay and will be gone just one more night. Whew..now the wait continues. Thank heaven for internet access and Starbucks coffee.
PS, I do think it ironic that as we spoke to the surgeons this morning and they asked if my wife had any reservations, the TV overhead playing in the room announced that Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor was announcing that he was un-retiring.
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