I was back at the hospital within 18 hours. I was willingly offering myself up to be sliced open, my organs removed through my vagina and sent to different parts of the county, my insides scraped clean. An unusual blend of Egyptian mummification, childbirth, and being hung drawn and quartered.
My heart started off in my fucking throat, but slowly, a quiet calm washed over me and I accepted my fate. Now due to the rarity of my diagnosis, a genetic research organisation requested to take samples of my removed organs. This was grand by me, it’s not like I had another use for them and if they had the potential of helping someone else, that’s even better. I had a meeting with the fella who would watch my surgery and would then skip off into the sunset with my innards in a suitcase. Unsurprisingly, he was an odd man. I had to fill out a lot of paperwork and he was uneasy for the majority of it. He asked me if I would like to receive communications if discoveries were made that could help my future children. I explained that wouldn’t be necessary due to the nature of the operation and the fact I don’t have children. He stumbled without apology and explained it may benefit my siblings and their future children, so I said that would be lovely. So that was us done, he shuffled off into the endless corridors and I was shortly called through to my meeting with the anaesthetist.
He asked all of the standard questions. Aside from my diseased reproductive organs and excess weight, I’m in really good health so this part is always nice and easy. He put me at ease immediately. Then came my meeting with Gorgeous George. He explained the first woman on the surgery list had not arrived so I would be first in. As terrifying as this prospect is, the less time I have to worry about something I’m prepared for the better. Within a few minutes I was convincing my mother to go home and saying my goodbyes. I didn’t have a bed yet so my belongings were locked in an office. I walked down in my sexy gown and surgical stockings and went and sat on a bed in what I can only describe in a loading bay. Each bed had a patient awaiting surgery. There was a huge range of ages and emotions. Not thirty seconds after I had sat down, I was called in.
I arrived at the prep room and was asked to get on the bed. The anaesthetist asked me what music I would like to listen to and I chose The Cranberries. I still had my underwear on as I was bleeding so heavily and needed a pad. The nurse asked me if I would mind removing them. I explained I kept them on to prevent bleeding down their hallways like a grotesque snail – it wasn’t because of modesty. I mean it’s difficult to be modest when someone is literally going to be pulling your womb out of your vagina in a few minutes. So I whipped off my pants just in time for the anaesthetist to let me know he had seen me drinking in a local town and found it highly unlikely I drank “within the recommended guidelines” as I had lied earlier. But he said not to worry and I’d be back on the Guinness in no time. He found my vein in record time, I tried to fight the anaesthetic because I’m fucking mental and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room.
My time in the recovery room was longer than my previous visit. But I was lucid and able to chat in no time at all. I was a little confused at how late it was. They advised by surgery would be a couple of hours, but here I was five hours later. So naturally I presumed it was worst case scenario and it had definitely spread resulting in them taking out most of my organs. They took me back up to the ward. I was given my own private room. I think part of this was due to me being fifty years younger than some of the women on the main ward. Yeah, fifty, not fifteen. It was so bright, clean, secluded, with windows and my own private bathroom. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to recover. My belongings were brought into me and I called my mother straight away.
The fucking oxygen tube shoved up my nose drove me demented, and I was incredibly tired, but I wasn’t in pain. Well no more than I normally was. I had a little morphine after surgery, but was just on paracetamol after that. The catheter was a weird feeling. I couldn’t help feeling that a catheter would be really helpful following a night on the lash, for those mornings you wake up still ridiculously intoxicated and desperate for a wee, but don’t really have the stability to make it to the bathroom. I had to wear the most stylish of supports on my legs over my surgical support stocking. I’m not going to lie, I have definitely looked better. My mother left after a couple of hours as I needed to sleep. I arranged all my trinkets on the table beside my bed – rosaries, holy water, crystals, books, sweets, and drifted off to sleep.
I was woken regularly. The nurses did checks hourly and every two hours during the night. I could hear the abuse they received from other patients from my bed. The older women were so vile to them. It was important for me to not be a burden to them. I rolled up my sleeves before they came in so they could take my blood pressure, I pulled back my hair so they could take my temperature. I was happy to do anything at all to speed up their rounds and make their shifts a little easier. I was asked about my pain every time and declined more medication. I was tender, but I was not in a lot of pain. When my 3.30am check came, my temperature was very high, my skin was clammy, my heart was racing, there was sweat pouring down my face. The nurse opened all the windows for me and then came and sat next to me on the bed. She held my hand and wiped the sweat from my brow. I told her I was fine and that there were so many other patients, she shushed me and sat with me until it passed. My first hot flush. Fan-fucking-tastic.
The next thing I knew it was 6am. The nurse came in to check on me and told me it was time to take out my catheter. Talk about a strange sensation! She told me she would go and get a walking frame incase I needed it and then I would be able to use the bathroom. I felt like I would be able to make it without, so a good thirty seconds after she left I shuffled out of bed and went to the bathroom. It was glorious! By the time she came back I had got dressed, made my bed, put on my eyelashes and a little foundation to get rid of that “I’ve just had surgery” skin tone. I looked fucking gorgeous. Obviously – she was horrified. But I felt fine. She told me I needed to urinate at least 200ml before I could leave. I assured her that would be no problem as the length of the surgery left my throat very sore so I had done nothing but drink water since.
The rest of the morning was filled with MacMillan nurses coming in to tel me how wonderful I looked, nurses in training coming in to remove the cannulas for my arm (My surgery was so long I needed multiple) I just felt so overwhelmed by how well I felt. I was given a nice big bag off drugs, Mother Dearest arrived to collect me and then I was on my way back to hers.
I went to take the stairs to leave the hospital, much to the disgust of mother dearest, this was a pretty clear indicator of the next few days. Despite the seat belt pressing onto my stitches, I made it back with very little discomfort. I had tea and a biscuit then went for a nap. Mother dearest was just so happy to have me at her home. All I needed to worry about now was recovery. She takes the very best care of me. The whole experience was nowhere near as traumatic as I anticipated.