The Big Operation and Hospital Stay 
Tuesday 29th August.  I was admitted in to Ward 10 at Queen Margaret Hospital.  Had the usual type of standard obs taken.  Mum and Dad moved into my house to deal with the children while I was in hospital, which was likely to be about a week.  My oldest daughter was terribly upset when having to say goodbye to me, and that in turn upset me a great deal.

I was in a small ward with 5 other beds in it and we were all there predominantly with breast cancer.  It was during my stay there that I met Isobel.  She had a similar experience of it all to me and although she was quite a bit older than me, we totally hit it off.  We are still in touch now and great friends!  Everyone settled in for the duration and we all got on very well.  Particularly Isobel, myself and another lady called Margaret.  We were all in for the same length of time and we kept each other going.  The ward was really warm and they put the lights out quite early which was a total pain.  I was to be last on the theatre list, which was also a total bummer!

Wednesday 30th August.  Blimey!!!  So much for having a rest in hospital!  It's so noisy and way too warm.  This old lady along the corridor from us wailed for most of the night and although it was a shame for her, it wasn't exactly comforting for us to hear all night long!  Those of us who were getting our operations had been nil by mouth since midnight the night before and were all hungry.  Susan came round to check in on us all and asked if I had enjoyed my toast that morning.  Eh??  First I knew of any toast being allowed!!  Apparently because I was to be last on the theatre list and that was likely to be late afternoon, I should have been woken to have some toast at about 6am but no one had done it.  Well that only served to make me feel even hungrier!!  I was allowed to have a small cup of tea tho!  It may have been just as well though, because I was called for at 2.10pm.  I got my anaesthetic at 2.40pm and the anaesthetic asked if I had anything to say or ask.  I just looked at him with tears in my eyes and said "make sure I wake up again".  By 4.30pm it was all over and I was back on the ward and completely out of it!

Once back on the ward, we all went through different stages of waking, sleeping, being hungry and pain!  Every time a nurse came by to check on us I kept asking if I could have something to eat yet - my stomach thought my throat had been cut!!  I finally came to properly in the early evening when visiting time came and my sister and Mum came to see me for a wee while.

That first night was an absolute blast!  Weird thing to say I know, but it was just so funny.  By the time the effects of the anaesthesia had worn off we all awoke at around 3am.  All together - we just seemed to ping awake!  And we were still wanting to catch up on some food!  I had loads of sweeties and biscuits which had been brought in to me and Kathy bounced out of bed and started handing them out to everyone.  Isobel, Margaret and I all had to have a drain inserted at the wound site to drain away any excess fluids from the op, which kind of limited our moveability.  We had a mad half hour before one of the auxiliaries came and told us to be quiet and then we all dozed off to sleep again.

Thursday 31st August.  I had a bit of a funny turn, possibly after lack of food and just all the palaver in general.  It was a bit like a migraine so I just lay down on my bed and dozed.  At afternoon visiting some friends who I met through an online site came to visit me.  Anne, Lemon and Dan - Dan wore a kilt!!! I was feeling a little better so I got out of bed and we went for a wander outside for some fresh air.  Having the drain in and having to carry it around all the time was such an inconvenience.  I felt like I was taking a wee dog out for a walk every time I moved about so I called the drain Fido!!  My parents brought my kids in to see me at night which was just wonderful.  They wanted to have a look at everything!  Fido and the scar area (which was still covered with a dressing anyway) and they asked lots of questions about everything. 

Friday 1st September.  Debbie, Sue and George came to visit me and I got a wonderful surprise when my friend Lisa's mum Paula came to see me.  Lisa emigrated to Australia but had told her mum all about it and she came in loaded with magazines and goodies for me!  We had another silly night in the ward again and got another ticking off for it too!!   In the weirdest way it was like we were all kids on a school camp and wanting to get up to mischief!  Watching a new pilot comedy show on television we were all happily chuckling away until about 11.30pm when it finished.  After which we decided we quite fancied watching the late film.  Nancy, the horrible auxiliary, who quite obviously thought she ran the entire hospital, had closed the ward doors so we could carry on watching the tele.  Margaret had eyesight problems and couldn't actually see the tele, Isobel was in the nearest bed to the tele and was able to lie flat and watch it, and I was in the furthest away bed so had to sit up to watch it.  Just towards the end of the film, Nancy came in and obviously thought that Isobel and Margaret were asleep.  So she picked up the remote control, giving me a filthy look whilst placing the remote on the trolley thing that goes over the beds, turning the volume down and looking at the clock she states quite indignantly " Ah'll be back in a meenit to turn that aff!".  I was getting the blame for still having the tele on and she was not impressed!  When she left the ward, we all fell about in fits of laughter.  Margaret could no longer hear the film because Nancy had turned it down, Isobel just couldn't speak for laughing and I was left sitting with my mouth agape at having gotten the blame for it all! It was just one of those stupid things that we found completely hilarious!

Saturday 2nd September. Amanda was in today to see me and Sue came in at night again.  We watched some of the X Factor on the tele in the visitor's room.  Nancy was at her best again and I had another bit of a run in with her.  God that woman was so annoying!  She had came round to collect all the water jugs and we all thought she was going to be bringing us new ones with fresh water in them.  Oh No!  She was taking them away for the night but when we asked her if we could have fresh water she told us no because there weren't enough jugs.  Erm...if we were all having one each taken away then surely there were enough to replace! On passing the wee room where they washed out the jugs and such like, there on the shelf were dozens of the damn things and that was enough of a red rag to a bull for me!  I got the right hump about it and went into sheer bloody mindedness mode!  When being given our medication for the night we were given a wee cup of water to take pills with, so I kept downing the water and asking for a top up.  And I kept doing it just to annoy her.  The others thought it was hysterical and kept laughing which only egged me on all the more but I was livid!!  We never did get our jugs replaced that night!

Sunday 3rd September.  Alayne and Lesley visited.  Les brought half a flower shop with her I think!  We were able to see some of the fireworks which mark the end of Edinburgh Festival from the visitor's room window.  Fido was extracted from being attached to me!  I thought it was going to be really sore coming out but the nurse who took it out for me was really gentle and told me how to breath whilst having it removed. I had to breathe in and hold my breath, then at her say so I had to pant like a dog!!  Must have sounded very odd to the others!!  Then I asked to see how much tubing had been inside me, expecting it to be this little piece.  Blimey it was really long!!!  Anyway, without Fido being attached to me I was able to dance around the ward quite freely. So we settled in at night all ready to enjoy another film on the tele - we didn't really have much else to do!!  During the adverts a comment was made about it not getting ice cream in the interval.  Then I realised just how much sweeties, crisps, biscuits etc that I had been brought in.  So I formulated my plan and during the next set of adverts I had everything set out on my trolley and started dancing up and down the ward with all this stuff on it offering everyone something.  Inevitably it all ended with us being in hysterics yet again and when the lights were turned down we all started our usual mad half hour blether, giggling away like wee kiddies!!  Lo and behold, like a bad penny, in comes Nancy to tick us off yet again!!  She pulled shut the door to the ward saying "SShhhhh!!!!  There are sick people in here ya know!".  Like we weren't!!  We weren't even making a noise at that point but by the time she stormed off we were almost doubled over with laughter!  I really thought Isobel was going to burst trying to keep it all in.  Margaret, with her poorly eyesight, sat on the hand held light switch by her bed and couldn't for the life her figure out why the night light above her kept flashing on and off - her own personal disco space!! I think the staff on Ward 10 were mighty glad to see the back of us!

Monday 4th September.  Day of discharge from hospital.  Our consultants came round to sign off on us all and make sure we were all okay from the operations.  It was weird going home.  Although we were all delighted to be going home again it was quite daunting too.  We had been wrapped up in this bubble for almost a whole week, meals brought to us, no household worries, no responsibilities and here they were throwing us back out into the real world to face up to everything once more.

Considering what should have been a fairly bleak time, I couldn't have asked for a better stay in hospital.  We had such a giggle and the majority of the staff were lovely, wonderful people who truly cared.  Fido the drain was a real discomfort to have attached to us and for the first couple of days we had to wear white DVT pressure stockings, which were sore and extremely unattractive!  Between having bloods taken, blood pressures and fragmen injections, which were essential procedures, we managed to laugh and joke our way through even the darker moments of the week.

Next stop is the results of the lymph gland clearance and chemotherapy starting.

 Oh Joy!!