HAT & GOWN – dressed and ready for surgery!
Following a morning of my poor purple left breast being, AGAIN; pushed, pumped, scrutinized and injected with radioactive blue dyes I return to the Private Hospital to prepare for surgery.
Exhausted and mouth dry I sit in the day surgery waiting room with my daughter Megan. The clock is ticking over. Only an hour to go.
We laugh at the Ellen Degenres Show playing on the TV in the corner. I am feeling anxious and a bit teary. A lovely Greek Lady comes over and asks in her Effie accent – ‘Are you alright love?’ We chatter about Public Health versus Private Health Cover and how long we had been waiting.
Finally the sweet chubby little nurse calls me – “Come on Toni, I will show you into the change room. Please remove all your jewellery and clothes and change into this gown.(Gown! – a ‘one size fits all above size 26’ night dress with long string ties hanging off every corner. – A slit for the head and a slit for the arms and then a big gaping flap at the back) Make sure you put your hat on – (HAT – light blue disposable shower cap) and white paper disposable slippers.
She leads me into a long wide hallway full of blue divider curtains and rows of high stainless steel beds. She introduces me to Katie, the nurse who will take care of me for surgery. Katie asks my ‘name, age, and the type of surgery you will be having today/’
‘I am having a Lumpectomy and Sentinel Node Biopsy of my left breast.’ She helps me put on a pair of white elastic stockings. The fluro white lights pierce through my closed eyelids.
I listen to the other faceless patients in the cubicles around me.
The lady on the left is asked what surgery she is having today, ‘Removing all my fat bits’ she laughs almost hysetrically. ‘I have lost 40 kgs and am having all this removed!’ Good on you I think to myself – you deserve it – also wishing I could have a sedative and float off in to LA LA LAND.
The anaesthetist arrives and introduces himself as the person who will be taking care of me in surgery today and what veins will be used and what drips he will be inserting into my arms. Finally the Orderly arrives and I am wheeled down the hallway to theatre.
I feel totally out of body – as if it is not really me.
‘What time is it?’ I ask the anaethatist? ‘2.10 pm’ he replies as they wheel me into the theatre.’ Katie again asks my name, date of birth and what type of surgery I will be having today
Surgeon David Read is cheery and asks how I am? ‘Good Thanks’ I say
Ha ha ha – I think to myself I am freaking out – just get those drugs in to me as quickly as possible and get it over and done with!
By the time the Oxygen mask was secured onto my face I was blissfully OUT!