It’s finally time.
Since Tracey arrived home in December last year having somehow survived ten operations with ever decreasing survival rates which started at just ten percent that first horrible night, the topic of when her bags would be removed has been constantly brandied about.
A month ago she was finally, surprisingly, able to cut down to one bag – the fistula had closed up all on it’s sweet little lonesome. This made the whole daily routine much less work because, on top of one less bag to put on, no overlapping sticky edges means much less mess.
It was just the most exciting thing we could possibly imagine.
Until last week.
“Bruce!” Tracey exclaimed. “The anaesthetist’s receptionist rang. He wants an appointment on the 11th to discuss the operation.”
This was news. Big news. Until now, ‘the operation’ was Jupiter-like: this frighteningly huge, unimaginably distant thing.
Recent discussions about the pending operations, of which there’ll be three (one for removing the drain, two for fixing the humongous hernias), have been about whether or not they’ll all be necessary.
“Do you have to get the hernias fixed?” I put to Tracey after her last check up. “I mean, are they dangerous? Hernias? I don’t want you to go in to have them fixed if it’s purely cosmetic. There are risks with operations and you’ve been very lucky. Is it worth the risk so that you can wear a crop top or boob tube?”
Firstly, to my knowledge Tracey has never worn a boob tube. Secondly, as it’s not the eighties I’m not sure they’re even in fashion anymore. Thirdly, I like the word boob.
“Have you met Dr Brown?” Tracey asked me by way of an answer. “I can’t imagine him being worried about how it looks, just if it still works.” He has his priorities sorted. “If he says it needs doing then it does.”
And when she wasn’t looking I asked The Google and he’s right. The risks are greater in leaving them and hoping nothing happens. Plus I keep forgetting, the reason the hernias have happened is you can fit an open hand between her stomach muscles at the moment and they’re growing apart faster than Britney Spears and Jason Alexander, and that can’t be a good thing.
Besides, as Tracey says, “It’ll be nice to go into the operating theatre with better than ten percent odds.”
The kids, of course, have been apprehensive about hospitals since they very nearly lost their Mum, but they’re getting better. Every time Tracey’s been back to RBWH for a checkup has been another mental rod reenforcing our mantra that hospitals are good and they help people: that the hospital didn’t nearly take their Mum away, it worked hard until it managed to give her back.
This will be the big test on how well we’ve managed to lay those foundations.
“When’s the operation?” I asked Tracey. “Do you know? Did the receptionist give a date for that too?”
“Well, usually,” said Trace, excited, “the anaesthetist wants to see you about a week before, don’t they?”
I agreed, because that’s what mine did when I had my gallbladder out recently.
But as a phone call the next day revealed, this isn’t always the case.
“Bruce!” Tracey exclaimed yet again the next day. She was beaming, so I knew it was good news. “The surgeon’s receptionist rang. I’m booked in for my operation!’
“On the 9th!”
“But isn’t that…?”
Two days before the anaesthetist’s pre-op chat. Yep.
Tracey thought this was hilarious.
“I asked if someone could please let the anaesthetist know,” she grinned, “because I’d prefer to be asleep while they’re working in my tummy.”
So that’s the latest. Tracey goes into the RBWH on Monday the 8th and the op is first thing Tuesday. Once again I’ll be sitting in the waiting area, holding strong to my faith in these doctors and nurses and all they can do, which even the men and women who taught them could not.
With the cutting edge stuff they pulled last year at the last minute with Tracey, my family is testament to how far and how fast modern medicine is moving in its endeavours to keep people with their loved ones.
Finally, it’s time for them to safely lead the love of my life just a little bit further down the exciting, but also a touch scary, path to recovery.
“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
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