This afternoon I got a phone call from a woman named Edith in the surgery booking department at the hospital. She had received my pre-surgical questionnaire that I filled out at my last appointment with Dr Baliski and needed to go over it with me. We were on the phone for 25 minutes and besides answering a ton of questions, I also got some more insight to what will happen around surgery day.
Some of the preparation for surgery day surprised me. Edith asked me about any medications I'm taking including vitamins and supplements. I take a multi-vitamin and a calcium supplement every day. I have to stop taking them 5 days prior to the surgery. I also take a digestive enzyme with every meal, but those are okay to continue taking. Thank goodness because I feel terrible when I haven't had them! She also went over the usuals with me; no jewelry, no perfumes, no body lotions, no makeup and no nail polishes. The nail polish surprised me. I always wear nail polish on my toenails. I feel naked without it! It never would have occurred to me to remove it. I need to be freshly showered when I arrive at the hospital as well. I think I'll wash my hair and put it into braids to try and keep it as manageable as possible for after the surgery. I'm sure washing my hair will be next to impossible for the first few days. We also went over diet restrictions. No food or water after midnight the night before the surgery. Surgery day is going to be a loooooong day. I do believe an 11 pm snack will be in order!
Edith was also able to give me some insight as to how the surgery day would go. She could see on my file that I'm already booked in for a radioactive dye injection at 10 am, so I assume that I will need to be at the hospital by 9-9:30 am. After the dye injection, I'm booked for another scan. She didn't specify what kind of scan, so I don't know if it'll be a CT scan again or something else. The scan will be at noon and she said it would last 1 hour. I hope that hour includes checking in and prep. I can't imagine the scan itself would take an hour. I still don't know my surgery time, but I do know that there's a note on my file that surgery cannot be before 1:30 pm. The surgery itself will last 1 hour and I'll be in recovery for another 4 hours. I asked Edith if the surgery was in the late afternoon if I would have to be admitted for the night. She was certain that, baring any complications, I would be discharged that evening.
The one bit of a stumbling point I am facing now is after surgery care. Edith told me that I must have an adult with me for the first 24 hours after I'm discharged. Since I live alone, this is a bit of a challenge. Kerrie has his kids, but thankfully his sister and his mom have offered to help. His sister will watch the kids during the day while we're at the hospital. After Kerrie's mom gets off work, she will watch the kids and put them to bed. This will allow Kerrie to stay with me at my house that night. Now I'm just trying to secure a babysitter for myself for the next day. Kerrie will have to be back at his place by 8 am to watch his kids so his mom can go to work. I've called my Dad and Karen and both of them are going to talk to their bosses tomorrow about getting the day off. Fingers crossed one of them can do it because I really don't know what plan B would be. Edith warned me that the bandages would be quite large and cumbersome and that I won't be able to use my left arm for awhile. So my goal over the next 2 weeks is find clothes that will accommodate my limited range of movement in my arm and will fit over the bandages. Time to go shopping in my closet!
We covered a lot of ground in our conversation this afternoon and although it's nice to know a bit more about what's going to happen (and with a bit of advance notice!), it's also overwhelming and scary. When words like radioactive dye are thrown around it certainly makes things more real. It makes it hit home a little harder that I'm not just having surgery; I'm having surgery to remove my cancer. And that's scary! I guess this still all seems a little surreal. Even though I'm living this journey, it still doesn't always feel real. As odd as it sounds, it sometimes feels like this is happening to someone else. I wonder if it ever will completely sink in what has happened. If it'll ever feel like it is happening to me.