Thursday 6 September. Surgery day has arrived and I don't mind admitting I feel wretched. Sheer terror of the surgery is compounded by a) not having eaten anything since Monday night, b) not having drunk anything since midnight last night, c) having to take the laxative again yesterday so I'm leaking brown water again, and d) not having slept. I'm curled in on myself, physically and mentally, because I am desperate not to cry.
TN is in early so DH and I can leave on time at 6.30 am. Just before we go we wake the children so I can say goodbye. We did think about not waking them (at the moment, mostly, they sleep until about 7) but I can't bear not to.
The hospital is quiet, the car park empty, and we are led up to the ward almost instantly. My room is right outside the nurses' station as it is a high dependency bed, but is otherwise unexceptional. The nurse admits me and remembers me from the colonoscopy. The anaesthetist appears, looking remarkably like he has only just got out of bed, with his jacket collar up - I'm aching to turn it down for him but remind myself that he is about to be in charge not only of my consciousness but also of my pain relief, so I behave. His bedside manner needs work though as he rattles off what will be done at top speed, as if he's learnt it for a poetry test at school. There's nothing poetic about what he's going to do: spinal block plus GA. I pushed out two babies without an epidural and NOW they want me to have one? The consultant is next, and it's not until he asks me how I'm feeling that I admit how scared I am. But his visit is a brief courtesy one and I shan't see him again until it's over.
8 am and DH walks down the corridor to theatre with me. This time (unlike the colonoscopy) I have brought a dressing gown so my backside isn't showing to the world and I'm not scampering to theatre, crablike, trying to hold the back of my gown closed. The theatre team are lovely - an Eastern European nurse who gives me her tips on childrearing, though she has no children herself, and an agency nurse who clearly has the most amazing set of dreadlocks underneath his cap. The anaesthetist is much better here in his own domain, sympathetic to my fears about getting the cannula in after Wednesday's experience. He does it easily and painlessly and I want to hug him. Anti-biotics go in, then I'm sat upright and curled up over a pillow for the spinal block. First a local, to stop me jumping away when the main event occurs, then the block itself, and within minutes I can't lift my legs. The worst bit actually is the cold spray used to clean the site, which really does make me jump and he uses it again to prove that all feeling is gone below the block site.
All the while we're chatting, the four of us, and the inevitable question comes up, "What do you do?". Now I try not to admit this at the moment, as I work for a bank and they're not exactly top of the popularity stakes just now. But I cough up the information anyway, to groans from the theatre team. So when they ask who I work for I refuse to say - I want to wake up from this operation!
Then I know nothing more.