I woke up.
It felt like I hadn’t even slept. It’s 5am and the sun lit up the room in the bay, of room 4, Cairns Ward , The Walton Neurological Centre.
I peeled opened my eyes, it was game day ,but It felt a lot different this time.
I was a lot calmer , much more relaxed. which I found strange.
I was about to go under the knife, face life saving & lets face it ……potentially life altering, fatal operation. But I sat here feeling ok, nice and chilled.
Right time for a Pre war/battle cry/Facebook update was my next thought (AS YOU DO).
Once again, the hospital ritual had burst into life. Buzzers went off. Nurses rushed up and down the ward, tending to patients requiring painkillers, medication or trying to get the theatre list ready for surgery.
From the amazing ward manager, to the diligent domestics, on this ward the whole team work constantly, tirelessly, professionally. With a smile and always 5minutes for a chat.
I was nil by mouth and last on the list. I had voiced my concerns to the anaesthetist the previous day, from my last brain surgery (Yes I’m well networked) and the chaos of the operating theatre . I asked if I could just be put straight to sleep . He explained they had to do various checks before that can take place, but don’t worry, he would sort something.
Jenny one of the Ward sisters, told me I had been prescribed a pre med tablet, for my nerves and concerns for the operation I’d raised. It was still very early and I was fine, but thought ‘LETS HAVE A GO”.
30minutes after i’d taken it , I began to feel a sense of calm, wash over me . My eyes became heavy and I drifted in and out of sleep for the majority of the morning, which helped take my mind off my impending second date with the Prof. Twice in 14 months.. people will talk.
Mid Morning and my cheer squad arrived. As always it was lead by my wife Sam , sister Viv and mum Marie.
I felt so sorry for them and the day they were about to endure . Once again I had the easy stage of the day . My surgeon had Several hours of concentration and literally had my life in his, steady hands.
My wife , family and friends had the anxious wait of updates from the profs team. All I had to do was get put to sleep, then wake up, That’s when I needed to do my part. Recovery and quick.
It was now 1400hrs. The day had drifted by fairly quickly. I got the nod to start getting ready for surgery.
I had a quick shower, shave and got into my gown, white stockings and fetching white, paper knickers…..easy girls.
I rang Sam to tell her I was going down soon, as she had gone with Team Bolton for a coffee . But true to form there was no answer. In fact, there was no answer on all 3 of their phones. Typical!!!!! I thought, not as though anything major is happening today!!!!
Sam soon returned my call and I asked her to come see me before I went down. Obviously I needed my pre fight hug and pep talk from coach Sam.
Sister Jen asked if I wanted a pre med tablet again. Errrrrr free drugs “I ACCEPT”. But it never had time to arrive.
My taxi arrived in the form of George the porter.
After a laugh and standard picture with George for this blog, I sat on the trolley.
Now my thoughts turned to the last time I was going down to surgery, and funnily enough ,It was George who took me down last time I fancied a nip and tuck.
Now The difference this time, was how much more calmer I felt , more relaxed.
If you have followed or read my blog, from the beginning you will know, how I explained, the nerves and utter fear I felt as I was pushed down to the theatre, trying to hold back the tears.
All this time I thought it was more of a cross to bare, to know what have to face, fight and recover from.
In fact, as my wise friend Colin said “IT’S BETTER TO KNOW THE UGLY TRUTH, THAN TO FOLLOW THE BEAUTIFUL LIE”
We began the decent down to theatres, passing through the corridors as the hospital daily grind, raged on.
If I’m honest, the nerves had started to re-appear, as my body and mind started to switch on to the task that lay ahead. But I understand nerves are the body way of preparing itself for the fight ahead. I think id be more worried without them.
I was being escorted by my support squad, who kept me smiling.
I said my goodbyes at the door and was wheeled through into the theatre waiting room.
I was the only one in there. I lay on the trolley physically shivering, due to the Temperature in the room.
The neon lights strained my eyes, as I could hear George booking me in. I could feel the pulse in my head pounding away. I closed my eyes breathed in and out deeply, concentrating on my breathing, slowing my heart rate down and focusing on the task at hand.
“MR BOLTON” I jolted as a health care assistant startled me. She made her introductions , explained procedure and began her pre surgical check list from an I-pad.
Soon we were joined with 5 of the professors team, where I was wheeled into the prep room. I saw the anaesthetist from the day before. But there was only 5-6 people in the prep room , last time there was utter chaos. He quickly said “RIGHT TEAM LETS DO THIS QUICK GET DAVE ASLEEP” I told him I was ok and to take their time. “PRE MED WORKED THEN” he asked . “IT DID 6 HOURS AGO, THINK I TOOK IT TO EARLY, CHEERS THOUGH.”
“OK DAVE YOU SHOULD START FEELING A LITTLE DIZZY, IN ABOUT A MINUTE YOU SHOULD BE UNDER”
We talked England rugby and soon my had started to spin , my eyes became heavy. “YOU SHOULD BE GOING TO SLEEP ANY SECOND” I slowly muttered “I’M GONE” with that I closed my eyes and succumb to the darkness.
Round 36, seconds out ding, ding. #WEGOAGAIN
I began to feel sick in the pit of my stomach as my eyes slowly opened. It was dark and I wasn’t on Cairns Ward.
One of the nurses Suzanne, asked if I was feeling any better and apologised for the noise on the ward . I was confused , I looked at the clock on the far side of the wall 0500hrs ???????
I asked where my family was. They had gone home, the nurse told me looking perplexed for several seconds. I asked what was up, as she was starting to worry me. She sat down and told that there had been concerns raised from the professor during the operation. Once I was in position in theatre & my sunroof fully removed, he had discovered more of Terry (tumour) than was expected from the MRI scan. My cancer had spread/grown over onto the other hemisphere.
This I couldn’t get my head round. Why hadn’t it shown up on the MRI??
But I was told the professor was very happy with the operation and that he had removed most of the new ,bigger, roided up Terry.
I took in my surroundings, tried to piece together what the hell was going on.
The decision had been made to send me to Intensive care unit. This was due to the location in the brain from where the Prof had de-bulked Terry from. This was in the frontal lobe and was not only the major control centre for the body, but was also where what makes us , the personality. The Tumour had also grown over a major blood vessel.
There had been complications in surgery, which had caused the operation to go on longer than expected . Again it was explained to me that, when I was brought round in recovery, I wasn’t making much sense, waffling rubbish ( nothing new there then hey ) and when asked if I new here I was apparently I replied “YEAH, GOTHAM CITY”. I was convinced I was in Gotham city. Now I am going to put this down to the majority of my friends changing there profile pictures on Facebook, as I explained before to ” I STILL BELIEVE IN SUPER HEROS” I Didn’t actually think, I am the Dark Knight ……… OR DID I.
I remember none of this. I’d been back in the land of the living since 2300hrs, talking to Team Bolton.
But 5am was the first thing I recall and now I was alone. With only the buzzing of heart rate monitors and the life support machines, keeping life preserved for company.
I don’t really recall being in any pain, but this Is probably due to the fact I was higher and more drugged up than Benz from the happy Mondays.
Suzanne my nurse, apologised for the noise again . I told her not to apologise for noises being made by machines, keeping people alive. I then said “I SHOULDN’T EVEN BE HERE, SO IM SORRY” Suzanne just looked at me . The look that said “YOU HAVE CANCER. YOUV’E JUST HAD BRAIN SURGERY, WHICH HAS HAD COMPLICATIONS, OF COURSE YOU SHOULD BE HERE”
All I can clearly remember, was wanting a drink and something to eat. My throat was sore from the intubation tubes during surgery.
Soon I was having the nicest meal in the world. It consisted of not just any toast, but this was The Walton Centre ICU’s, warm, brown, soggy, toast ,with marmalade, and cup of tea.
I sat there struggling to swallow my breakfast due to the pain, watching as the night & day shift started to changed over.
I was handed over to my new guardian, nurse Oonagh.