Today I had a very long overdue appointment with the surgeon. After the hardest week
at work to date, exasperated by gaining a horrid flu-like bug – thank’s to my none existent immune system someone only has to sneeze on Mars and I get a cold – I dragged myself out of bed and traipsed to the hospital to see the man who formed Winnie and finally got me under the knife.
Ok, before anyone yells at me, I know that you’re not meant to attend the hospital if you have a bug, because you could cause an epidemic, but I was not going to let a stupid cold stop me going to this appointment because, to be quite frank, who knows when he will sodding well have time to see me again. These appointments are as rare as gold dust. Trying to get an appointment scheduled for anything at the hospital is an absolute nightmare, but trying to get an appointment with a surgeon, well that’s taking your negotiating skills to a whole different league. For all the effort and constant calls it takes to get yourself slotted into a surgical outpatients clinic you would think they were trying to build a mechanical army – but in reality when you get there the waiting room is always empty and your surgeon is simply not as ‘oversubscribed’ as his secretary would like you to believe.
Oh and did I mention that these ‘rare’ meetings with my magic-hands man are scheduled months in advance – three/six months – and that forgetting them is a sin punishable by being struck-off. Scary stuff…they are highlighted around eight times in three separate diaries, two email accounts and even pencilled into my work diary for court cases – that’s how scared I am of being erased from that not so full book.
Anyway I dragged myself to the hospital while suffering from red-eyes and hair that looked like I’d stuck my finger in a plug socket. And found myself in the main outpatients waiting room full of people (who had also been too scared to miss their vital appointments) spreading their germs around to other people with little immunity to shield themselves. I sat there for around an hour before deciding I had been forgotten and taking myself through to the surgeon…to find that I was the only person waiting to see him.
Anyway, enough rambling, I walked into the room, sat down and waited for Mr Johnson my very lovely surgeon, who always seems to feel it necessary to hold my hand while telling me anything – nice, but sometimes a little too much if I’m feeling emotional. Today he told me how well I looked – a lie as I looked like death – and asked me how things were going, seeming unimpressed when I told him I had apparently been abandoned by the gastro team and was still on zero significant medication to help the flare-up of Crohn’s/Colitis I had been dealing with for the past three months.
He was also startled at the state of my skin, which is red and oozing around my fistula bag from all the leaks in Rome, which feels like a lifetime ago. The decided that in order to live a relatively trouble-free life I would need to have the remaining part of my redundant bowel removed so that I could be free of the pesky fistula…but that he was concerned about me having further surgery at such a young age.
I was like DO IT!!!! During the appointment I stressed that I wasn’t sure about reversal..what if the disease came back worse than ever when they reconnected me, what if I had to have more operations…I mean would it not be better to save myself all that pain and just have the whole thing removed once and for all? Me and Winnie (my stoma) are getting on just fine, maybe I will regret it in time (maybe I won’t) but for now I could see myself living just perfectly well with an ostomy bag for the rest of my life. I told him this and I seemed to make his day.
Before he got rid of me with a ‘you’re one of our favourite patients’ and a bit of intense handholding and eye contact as he explained I would need to have a serious think about the next step, which would be another significant operation, I braved the question I have asked on so many occasions and been met with a heart-breaking no!
“Can I swim?”, I said battering my eyelids and trying to look like the cute cat with big eyes in Shrek.
“Last time I asked I had the open wound, I love swimming, I think it would really help my stress levels”
And would you believe it he said: “There’s no reason why not!”
I felt like soccer punching the air and jumping for joy, and he looked genuinely delighted to be giving someone positive news after what had obviously been a trying morning.
Oh and he said I can have a bath….the luxuries!
So I’d like to say I left the hospital with all these incredibly serious thoughts in my head, permanent or not permanent, risk the J Pouch or have it all whipped away? But in reality all I could think of was dipping my head into water and swimming like a little frog up and down a clear blue swimming pool dodging other swimmers in a race to get to the poolside, with nothing on my mind but the soothing repetitiveness of counting the lengths against the water splashing in my ears.
That’s heaven, and once I’ve had my piece I will get on with the serious stuff.