Saturday, November 27, 2010
Well, the big day had finally arrived. Unfortunately, as is my usual habit, I was up with the birds. Fortunately, Italian surgeons appear to also keep these hours, as Professor Campisi and the team made a brief visit to my room before 7.30am. I can’t remember what we talked about; I guess there isn’t much to say. ‘Good weather for surgery’ hardly seems appropriate. Anyway, it was a brief visit and then I was left with my thoughts. Then, it sunk in that being the second surgery of the day is not a good thing. I was ready to go now! I’m not very good with waiting. Patience is not on my list of virtues.
Thankfully Shannon, Shawn’s sister, came to keep me company. I’m not sure she realises exactly how grateful I was to her for keeping me amused with funny stories and book discussions. I’d like to think that I helped to keep her mind off Shawn’s surgery but I think I’d be stretching the truth a little there. Eleven am slid by. Eleven thirty. Uh-oh. What happened to the schedule? Just as I was about to panic; some for myself and some for Shawn, the smiling nurses came in with the pre-meds. Now, you all know that I’ve seen ER, so, of course, I was waiting for the meds to kick in and for me to suddenly become drunkenly funny. There’d be some witty one-liners exchanged and I’d leave the impression that New Zealanders were masters of comedy. This did not happen. Maybe there wasn’t enough time for the comedy side-effects to kick in? I entered the operating theatre about 25 minutes later. That was it, right? I’m actually really funny, there just wasn’t enough time.
I thought the operating theatre would be bigger. There would be lights everywhere and a viewing platform for spectators. But, like many things in Italy, it was compact and efficient. One of the scrub nurses was an hilariously funny man. He appeared to be in his sixties and spoke remarkably good English but in a thick accent. He was fascinated with my eyes; I guess blue/green eyes with gold flecks are unusual in Italy. Good thing he couldn’t see my hair. He spent about two minutes just staring intently into my eyes. We could have been half an hour with the hair. He asked what I did for a job. I told him Psychologist. Ah! He said “perhaps I could therapise him?” I said I didn’t have enough time. We laughed. See? I am funny. The lovely anaesthetist turned up at this stage and administered the anaesthetic. No mask, no demonstrating my prowess at counting backwards, just my eyes closing.
I wake up in my bed. A little shaking, a little nausea, a little pain. All managed wonderfully well by the nurses. Professor Campisi and the other surgeons are there at some point; the surgery went well but took longer than expected due to the large amount of inflammatory tissue in the thigh that the body had produced as a reaction to the sea urchin toxin. He removed all this before joining the lymph system to the veins. Not that I took all this information in after the surgery…I have a good memory but not that good! I remember the visit, I remember Dad being there and some beautiful roses, and then I slept and remember little apart from nurses changing the IV in the night. A lazy Saturday really, with all the sleeping I did!