Splenectomy day

posted in: Cancer, Cancer and faith 0

The day has finally come – up at stupid o’clock, trying to drink coffee where husband can’t see it as he suffers the pre-op fast. He drives to the hospital and we listen to the 60s music we usually listen to on holiday road trips in happier circumstances. I’m wondering if we’ll ever do that again. Perhaps he is too but he tends to be more matter-of-fact than I am and to sensibly avoid too many ‘what ifs’.

At least parking is easy in the hospital car park at stupid o’clock. We settle the dog, now used to his routine of walk, dog biscuits and snuggle down in his bed until I return to reboot. I leave a note explaining where I am, how to contact me and that I will be checking on the dog regularly but I hate leaving him, windows way down, water bowl wedged so that he can’t knock it over. We’re set…

We trudge into the hospital and can’t find the ward we’re supposed to go to. The orientation panel is disorienting… Finally husband sets off in the most likely direction and we pick up clues from there.

I’m able to stay during pre-op checks. Haemoglobin is 99, platelets 86 (surgeon wanted red blood cell count around 100 and platelets north of 70) and the nurse confirms a 9 am start for the op. No-one has arrived to collect husband by 8.50. ‘I’ll go and find out when they’re starting’, offers the nurse. Apparently surgical lists have been swapped and husband is now due to be operated on in the afternoon. He’s desperate for food but there’s nothing we can do. It seems very cruel.

Nurse arrives with good news. ‘Don’t quote me on this but rumour has it your op will be earlier’. Except that it wasn’t. And no one thought to tell us. No one really seemed to know. I spent the morning alternating between husband, desperately hungry and suffering from a horrible headache clearly not helped by being dehydrated and the dog in the car.

The car is the size of a medium van and Muttley has room for a bed on the floor, in the coolest spot – a den he’s very fond of. I get strange looks as I approach the car talking to it – ‘Hello, my boy, how are you doing sweetheart?’ I am rewarded by a sleepy smile and a gently wagging tail (which seems to speed up as he wakes up properly 🙂 ). Naturally we had already found suitable dog walking sites around the hospital on our first visit so Muttley has a fine time in between sleeps.

Back up the stairs to husband. No news about start time. Then Mr Surgeon popped in. ‘Any questions?’ in a tone that indicated that he wasn’t anticipating any 🙂 . We said no, he informed us that he was going to have a sandwich and that he was then good to go. Good stuff. I can’t imagine it’s good to have a hungry surgeon. He’d only just finished his clinic – busy day with little time – no long lunches here. He didn’t look like the type to rush either – again good – we don’t want a rushed surgeon 🙂 .

Eventually it’s time to wave goodbye to Husband as he’s wheeled away on the trolley.

Back to dog in car, trying not to cry as I walk through the hospital. Collapse gently onto dog’s shoulder in his den, breathe deeply as I snuggle in (only dog people will get this), then crack on with a walk – it’s the best thing I can do for him and something physical will help to eat up some of the stressy adrenalin running through my veins. It’s a beautiful sunny day and as I feel the sun on my face all I can really feel is how much God loves us. I can’t quite put words together to form a prayer so I speak fragments to God in my head (all my thoughts seem fragmented these days 🙂 ). Still that sense of peace. I’m rather surprised. I’m not a Super Christian – I’m one of the ones who pleads, ‘Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief’. I know he can help and that he wants what’s best for us but it’s not always easy to understand his timing and there are times when we mess things up and God has to untangle a whole pile of chaos 🙂 .

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