“”Naked beneath the ball gown”
Matriachy by Alekesei Bourdusov in Cologne Ehrenfeld – photo by (c) howlzap Cologne

There’s a lot of waiting involved in operations. At the pre-op there’s waiting for blood tests, urine tests, talks with doctors and ward staff and finally the anaesthetist – always the longest. The operation itself is waiting another 3-6 hours for everything to come together and me to be ready with “ball gown” on and thrombosis stockings hitched. I’ve been lucky in that my other half retired early and can wait with me and for me – that makes such a difference. We wait together checking our phones periodically to pass the time. He comments that he doesn’t understand how I can be so calm waiting for an operation, but it’s easy, I want rid of the tumour so I need the operation.

When it’s “showtime” I’m always so reassured by all the check lists that staff run through; who am I, what’s being done etc. It feels like everything is fitting like clockwork into place around me and for me. I feel very close to me, to my essence; no jewellery, no creams or make up, no belongings, no underwear, naked beneath the ball gown and in the expert hands of the professionals. I slow my breath and feel my heartbeat and chat to the anaesthetists. By the sixth operation and after two perforations I started mentioning this risk before the upcoming one. “Ah,..” they say “..that hardly ever happens that a hole is made” “Well, I’ve had two” I say whereupon the mood becomes more serious and they promise to mention it to the surgeon. So far so good no holes in the last three operations.

As the general anaesthetic starts to work everything gets fuzzy and thankfully, I don’t feel the scopes, the electrified loop removing the tumour or the catheter being inserted. I awake disoriented and happy it’s over, impatient to get back to my room and smiles, hugs and recovery. Hopefully January 2019 was the last one!