This morning was crazy - the phone didn't stop ringing, people popping in, last minute emails, a skype video with Australia, the bank, dentist, shopping for last minute birthday cards - all good "mind-taking-off" stuff but the stress levels were definitely at a peak. Tube delays meant we were late arriving at the Wellington but the atmosphere of calm in this place is amazing.
Having blubbed my way through the questions, bloods, ECGs and various other admission essentials I began to think about exactly why I am so stressed out. Chatting to my lovely nurse about hospital experiences when I was a teenager, and then again about 8 years ago, I could see how those bad memories have really scarred my mind and emotions so that just entering a hospital environment freaks me out. Mainly because I don't think I will be able to cope with the pain, and because of previous experiences I expect the response to that to be irritation from the staff and a feeling that I am a nuisance.
I can see immediately that this will not be the case here. The clinical nurse specialist is amazing - she works with the spinal consultants and understands exactly what is involved here. The nursing staff on the ward are devoted to the care and comfort of patients and keeping the inevitable pain under control.
No one pretends it is going to be easy but the picture is looking a little brighter - apparently I will definitely feel like watching one of the dozens of movies on demand, I will feel like eating and who knows I may be able to have visitors.
All that is in the future however - a week or so away. We have to get through the surgery tomorrow - which they have made clear is massive. Two ops for the price of one - almost. Then three nights in the HDU - the thought of which scares me silly.
I think once I get back to the room things will feel better. I've already made it quite homely and look forward to settling in with the remote and Daniel Craig
The anaesthetist just popped in to say hello and talk me through what's going to happen. Obviously it won't be a walk in the park but I have to say he did inspire confidence, after all he does this all the time! The stay in HDU is still the bit that's freaking me out more than anything - visions of some twilight world flat on my back staring at the ceiling in massive pain - let's hope I am pleasantly surprised!
Well logging off for now as the general consensus amongst the nursing staff is that we should go out for dinner. Dave and Sarah have arrived so we're going to find a nice Italian in St John's Wood High Street and the anaesthetist prescribes a large glass of something red - that's my kind of anaesthetist!
I'm second on the list tomorrow which means a bit of a wait in the morning - who knows I may even get on here. Ian's staying tonight - nice sofa bed in the room - and coming to theatre with me so everything is being done to make things as bearable as possible. But, for now, Bon Appetit xx