It’s an early start. We have our “consultation” with the Prof at 7am in his surgery. To be honest, I always approach him with both awe and trepidation, awe, because he’s so well respected in his field (President of the International Association of Endocrinologists, didn’t you know?!) and trepidation, because I never know what he’s going to surprise me with next! And one more fascinating fact, he’s got a thing about rhinos. Yes, strange but true, his office is full of them! Plastic ones, cloth ones, big ones, small ones – if it’s rhino like, he’s got it! Don’t know why he didn’t specialise in rhinoplasty! Ha ha!
Anyway for a surgeon, I have to hand it to him, he has a way with explaining technical stuff so that even a blonde person like me can understand. He also draws a lot of pictures which makes things a whole lot easier. I ask him, is he going to clear my neck out like the endo said, and he “pffs” at me, so I take that as meaning, apparently not. He then goes on to draw a pretty cool diagram and shows me how he’s going to take out the thyroid and a ring of lymph nodes around it. The lymph nodes, he explains , are there to try and catch the infection before it spreads to other parts of the body. Makes sense, I guess. Then he’ll send the whole caboodle off for biopsy to try and shed some light on my mystery illness. He still can’t understand how the ultrasounds in March and now can be so radically different.
He then asks me if he can film the surgery. I’m secretly thrilled about this – I (or at least my neck,) is going to be famous! I told him “Great! I did my hair specially this morning!” And he deadpans back, “but Sam, they won’t see your face and your hair will be in a net!” I think he might have missed the joke there!
We “check in” at the hospital and don’t have to wait long before I get to robe up and go to the pre surgery beds. I have to say the gowns at the Royal North Shore are cornflower blue and really set off the colour of my eyes, even without make up! Anyway, I digress! We meet the nurse and the big , burly and very expensive anaesthetist! Before we know it, I’m saying my farewells to beloved and being whisked off to surgery.
I don’t want to be blasé about the surgery but second time around, I am totally fearless. Cool, calm and collected. I know that this operation is bigger, more invasive and just generally more hardcore but I really amcompletely relaxed. I knew what is coming and I am ready for it!
Recovery is slow – those drugs are good, soooo good! Still nothing can bring me between me and my Minnie Mouse pyjamas. That’s the first thing I ask for when I am compus mentis back in my room, which I have to say is as luxurious as any room in a 5 star hotel! I don’t remember much about the afternoon. I know my brother comes to see me and brings some stunning flowers. But I sleep through almost all of his visit. I expect he and David have big sports chat while I snooze away with the fairies. Even after surgery I still find the time and have the energy to eat, about a kilo of grapes if I remember rightly! And I get a beautiful flower arrangement from my mom, so even though she isn’t with me in person, I knew she is right here with me in spirit.
The food in the hospital is like restaurant quality. I vaguely remember ordering something in the afternoon but certainly aren’t up for eating any of it in the evening. I think it is a combination of too many grapes and too many drugs. But I do, at least manage to stay awake long enough to hang out with my evening visitors, Pippa and Eve.