True fact: I suck at getting ready for surgery. Evidence, I’m sitting here writing this for starters. But there’s other evidence, too. I had no drinks ready for my liquid diet, hence the tonic water from the last century. I also completely forgot to take the antibiotics at the correct time. Like I just forgot entirely. I was so busy laying on the floor for 9 hours yesterday doing back bends that things like antibiotics weren’t important. But I did remember. Just three hours late. So I started at 4 pm instead of 1 pm. And they were supposed to spaced out. Of course I wanted to just down them but my smarter self prevailed (as happens on occasion as I get older) and I called my friend the toxicologist (her literal job is creating drugs to beat cancer!). She said, “yeah, those will kill your liver so you need to space them etc.” So, at midnight, when I was getting ready to take the last dose, I opened one of the bottles and saw I hadn’t taken ANY of them. How does one do that?
Also, bowel prep really didn’t go well. We’ll see if they even do the damn surgery today (they will figure out a way).
I took my late night anti-septic shower and then Franklin slept on me. Dog hair is sterile, right?
So, yeah, I’m knocking it out of the park.
This morning, I’m feeling strong and ready. I cleaned out a couple drains (don’t know why that task felt important, did a couple backbends and a handstand for fun (and fear I won’t be able to anymore). No tears which I’m grateful for, although if I think of never do a back bend again, I could start. I keep running my hand over my stomach to feel it for the last time but what the hell. Just get over it.
I’ m good. I really am. And I’m ready for this. Thanks for all of your support. It would be SO VERY VERY DIFFERENT if I were alone. Thank you for being with me.
I’ve spent a lot of time remembering the details of March 29th, 2004, the day Ted had surgery. I know our memories can’t be trusted so realize it’s just my version of events, but I remember getting up at whatever dumb hour it was. I remember the drive we didn’t want to make. I remember the quiet. The dread. It was so much worse than today.
I remember the pre-op procedures and being there with Ted. I remember a young woman, maybe 19, who was having a brain tumor removed. She was so, so scared and her mom was there and was being so brave. I remember thinking how hard it must have been for her mom and how she couldn’t break down. She couldn’t be scared. She had to be the strength and pillar for her daughter. And she was. Just like I was for Ted, in my version of events.
They let me walk with Ted, who was on a rollie bed being wheeled to surgery. I remember they stopped at what felt like an ambiguous spot in the hallway to say “good-bye”. Damn. That was a moment. Ted was so brave. And then the many hours I sat in the waiting room; my sister joined me at some point. I remember that brave mother getting the call that her daughter was done with surgery. You could see the relief on her face, and you could almost feel her body’s sigh of relief. And I remember hours later she walked by the waiting room and looked at me from the hallway. She mouthed, “Oh my gosh, you are still here?” That was probably the 8 hour mark. I remember when they removed us from that waiting room because they were closing that part of the hospital for the night. We got sent to a different “back room” waiting room. It must have been about 17 hrs. at that point.
And then the surgery was finished. Dr. Mann came out and told me they couldn’t get all the cancer but opted to do the treatment anyway. He had told me before surgery that they wouldn’t do the chemo if they couldn’t get it all. So that was confusing. He told me they were leaving the 16-inch wound open. That they would keep him sedated for three days and then do another surgery to create a stoma. I remember being so, so tired and relieved right then. And when they finally got Ted into the ICU, I really wanted to see him, but they wouldn’t let me for a reason I don’t remember. I think it had to do with the fact that he had 20 liters of fluid pumped in him and was so very, very swollen. I had been up about 23 hrs. on what hadn’t been a good night’s sleep for two months (or three years if you consider my insomniac children.) I was so dead tired. My sister and I tried to find a couch to rest/sleep on but had no luck, so we drove home.
I slept some and woke up to go to the hospital, but the kids were clinging to me and George kept throwing up on me (he had a reflux thing that didn’t seem to end) as if demanding me to stay home. When I finally made it to the hospital, I did not ask to see him. I just walked through the ‘do not enter’ doors and found his bed. Whew. Walking in that room. That was something else.
Ted was in an ICU room with three other people because he needed constant monitoring. He couldn’t be unattended to because he was so, so critical. I stood by his bed for three days while he was sedated. I wanted a chair but that wasn’t an option. So, I stood there. And it was painful to stand there. My feet and back hurt. Thankfully Ted’s family was there, too. And they were so, so helpful. I didn’t create a lot of time for Ted’s mom at that time and regret that. I’m sure the fear and pain for her were just excruciating.
I know surgery this time will be different for us. George and Ted will drop me at the front door of the hospital. We will hug and say good-bye outside the hospital. And I will cry. I’d really like to not cry when they wheel me in for surgery. Maybe they will drug me rather than deal with an emotionally me. That’s fine. I think I’d prefer that. I spent many years drugging myself, so I didn’t have to deal with an emotional me. I get that. Emotional me is pretty intense.
I’m good. I got this. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Anne, Annie, Anna