Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Intensive Care Unit

Ady and I had agreed, at diagnosis, that we would keep the girls informed every step of the way.
They are our children and Ady is their daddy. They have a right to know the ins and outs of each step. We will all fight this together,as a family unit...you can't do that if half of them don't know what is going on !!
Both girls knew that they could come to me with any questions or worries, and at times they did and I answered as truthfully as I could.
When they asked if daddy could die, I said yes, because the fact of the matter was that he could, so why lie? I also reassured them that it was unlikely as we had been told there was no spread to his liver and so we would have to be very very unlucky indeed if he croaked it, but we didn't know about lymph nodes and whether the tumor had gone through the bowel wall...we had to wait two weeks for that answer.
But, the upside is that the girls understand what a colon is and what lymph nodes are and how they work around the body....Oh, and I also left Macmillan books strategically lying around the house...

We also agreed that it would be unfair for me to be talking on the phone every evening updating everyone and ignoring the girls, so we decided that I would leave updates on the answerphone and if people wanted to know anything, they just needed to listen to the message. There were one or two people who were not happy with that arrangement, but frankly, too bloody bad...the welfare of our children come first and if they wanted to talk, they knew I would be in during the day when the girls were at school.
Most people didn't mind a jot and thought it a good idea. It saved me having to repeat myself every evening and it also saved them struggling for words of comfort..win win situation :) the message was updated on every visit I made to the hospital.
I also kept a note of who was visiting and when so there wasn't a queue down the hospital corridor...Ady has 5 brothers and a sister and I have 6 sisters and 2 brothers and what with friends too, it would be quite a queue !

Anyway, day 2 of the hospital and Ady was still in ITU. His lungs seemed to have gone on strike and were not working effectively so the physio was summoned for excersises  and an oxygen mask was administered, along with the rest of the gumph.
The medical team reassured us that everything was fine and this sometimes happened.
We also saw Mr B who told us that surgery went as he expected and the cancer was as he expected...he didn't give away much except that it was all as he expected.....what he was expecting, we really didn't know. We had to wait for two weeks for the histology report to come back on the offending piece of colon, which incidentally was the sigmoid colon, or the corner at the left hand bottom bit to you and me !

On day 3, the Friday, I rang the hospital in the morning to see how he was doing, as I usually did, and they told me that Ady had had a really bad night and was in a lot of pain.
They said that he wanted to see me if I could get there, so I sped off in my car to be at his bedside.

He told me that he had the night from hell and had never felt pain like it. The epidural had gone down the right hand side of his body, and the surgery was on the left and not touching it at all, so the nurses had spent the night trying to move him onto his left in the hope the epidural would move too, and they also tried to walk him with a zimmer frame, but no luck.
In the morning, just before I got there, the consultant came to see him and said to remove the epidural and give the man some morphine. So there was Ady, sitting in a chair, wires coming from his arms and neck, an oxygen mask on, in a hospital gown with fetching support stockings and slippers, legs apart, as high as a kite pumping on his morphine.
Ady will put up with a lot of stuff, but he said he never wants to go through that again.
I must say, I felt desperately sorry for him, he looked as rough as hell and there was nothing I could do.

I got home that morning to an answer phone message.
 At this point,I have to say, that there are a couple of people who used to be mothers at the school who I am not particularly keen on, in fact, we used to be friends, but we have fallen out.
One of them had asked me how it had gone on the day of surgery, which I said as far as I knew, very well and he was fine. I thought nothing more of it.
The answerphone message from her friend saying how pleased she was to hear that Ady had been given the 'all clear' and that she wished him a speedy recovery. All clear.....ALL FUCKING CLEAR ?????, I didn't realize that saying surgery had gone well was the same as saying he had the all clear.
When I heard the message, and after just coming back from seeing Ady in such a mess, the ice queen finally melted. I just sat and cried.
We had two weeks to wait for the all clear, so I deleted the message and didn't reply. What's the point.

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