02/10/15: The end of one era- BC Before Cancer and the beginning of a new era- AD After Diagnosis is marked symbolically and very physically for me by an antimicrobial wash lotion called Octenisan.
I have been instructed to uses this daily for the five days leading up to my mastectomy. The instructions are as follows:
Day 1: wash hair and body
Day 2: wash body
Day 3: wash hair and body
Day 4: wash body
Day 5: (day of operation) wash body
Today is day 2.
Today I feel tired and emotional.
Today I want to disappear.
I want to dissolve along with the bubbles at my feet in the shower and follow them down the plughole draining away until there is nothing left of me but froth…
Froth and nonsense!
I cant allow a shower gel to tip me over the edge can I?
And this is what strikes me, it has been the silly painless things that have upset my equilibrium most. The CT and bone scans, the pre-assessment weights and measures, this body wash…and oh yes…slippers!
Yep! You read me correctly-slippers!
So here it is, this is what has been getting to me. This is what is mattering most to me three days before I arrive in theatre, receive a general anaesthetic and have my breast surgically removed- it is of course, the manner in which I arrive at theatre!
In my hospital it is standard practice for the day patient to don rear opening surgical gown complete with thrombosis stockings, modesty protecting dressing gown and slippers to walk the few minutes through the public corridors to the theatre preparation bays, escorted by a nurse.
There is no way on earth am I walking through public spaces which let me remind you are also my place of work-in my dressing gown and slippers! Not happening. No way, though don’t ask me why I have chosen this particular battle to fight.
So as such I am anticipating a bit off a stand off with the nursing staff on the ward on the morning of my surgery. I have, being an employee of the NHS and of this hospital in particular, visited the ward already and attempted to negotiate a way forward but let me tell you even with their sympathetic smiles and their ‘Proud To Care’ badges they ain’t budging. Not even when I raised the current political hot potato of patient dignity, did they blink first!
So important has this issue become that I’m all but ready to tell them to stuff their life saving offer of a mastectomy and die with my principles still intact!
What an idiot!
Still…at least the fire is back!!!