Well, the liver RFA procedure (I'm not sure why it isn't called an operation since you have to undergo a general anaesthetic, but anyway...) has been done. I'm now back at home after a brief spell in hospital which involved not having to cook for myself, my partner or baby A, two sky movies that I'd always wanted to see, my own bathroom and a very interesting looking kimono-style hospital gown (more about this later). If I just ignored the nurses who kept wanting to take my blood pressure, I could easily pretend to myself that I'd just snuck away for a few nights to some spa hotel in town. It was only the absence of alcohol and the complete woozy, stoned, been-knocked-down-by-a-lorry feeling that I had after coming around from the anaesthetic that firmly reminded me exactly where I was.
I'll admit that I felt quite nervous at the prospect of being knocked out for more than an hour while some complete strangers fiddled around with my internal squidgy bits, but everyone was super nice - even when one of the medical secretaries came running in in a panic in the morning to tell me that my insurance company hadn't agreed to pay the anaesthetist. She asked me to sign a sheet of paper which stated that if they didn't pay, I would.
I asked how much.
£600 was the reply.
By now, nothing that my insurance company does or doesn't do no longer surprises me. I half expect one day to turn up to the chemo lounge to receive my regular herceptin dose only to be told that my insurance company have found some loophole which means that they no longer have to fund it. Or maybe I'll order a tea the next time I'm there and be informed that 'refreshments' are no longer included in my policy. Given the potentially stressful nature of any operation or 'procedure', you'd think you'd be able to rest assured that the man who will be responsible for keeping you alive throughout the whole ordeal, would at least be on someone's payroll ? Thankfully a quick phone-call sorted it all out and I was free to concentrate on more pressing matters, like whether they would they be able to find a decent vein in my post-chemo arm.
To cut a long story short, the procedure went well. The needle went in fine, the anaesthetic stung like hell (as the anaesthetist predicted) but after they asked me what I'd dream about, to which I replied, 'food' (nil by mouth since the early hours was taking its toll), I floated off in an instant. In what felt like minutes later, I was awake feeling extremely hungover and dehydrated. I felt wooziness like I'd never felt before. But apart from the plasters on my stomach, you'd never have thought that I'd just had a couple of tumours cooked from the inside. While I''m here I have to 'give props' (as the kids would say) to the magnificent style gowns that you get given to wear in the operating theatre. Influenced partly by Yohji Yamamoto (very famous Japanese fashion designer for all the non-fashionistas out there), partly by Blake Carrington in Dynasty, it had a nifty cross-over neckline, low slung half-wraparound tie at the waist and lots of open pockets and slits where surgeons could get stuck in without you having to be in a state of undress. To top it all, it is made from a gorgeous cornflower blue felt fabric and when the nurses attached a piece of hosing to it, it cosily warmed you up from the inside. It felt fab and I'm sure Blake would have been envious. So fab, that I was quite reluctant to part company with it. But fortunately for me, I have another op looming on the horizon. And I'll remember to take a photograph of it next time, especially for you.