My operation was a bit like my first chemo - it was in and out, followed by "what was all the palaver about?" On Thursday morning I woke up at 7:00, showered and dressed, and by 7:45 we were in the car and on our way to Sunnybrook. I was admitted to hospital, peeled away from my family and prepped for surgery - clothes bagged, lovely gaping gown put on, laid out on a gurney in a little curtained area and covered with an inflatable heated blanket. A drip line was inserted into the back of my left hand, and blood was drawn to cross check for typing. Then JP and Miriam were allowed in and rode up to surgery with me. They kissed me goodbye and went off to the waiting room, and I was wheeled in the other direction. In the hall outside the OR, I met with 6-8 doctors who would be with me inside - My surgeon and his assistant, the anesthetist and his assistant, and others I can't remember now. I was told what they expected to do, and it was my chance to ask last minute questions. I have to admit that for once my mind was blank. When the room was ready, I was wheeled inside the OR. Things began to happen quickly - I was given an injection of antibiotics and was attached to a drip. I was given an oxygen mask to suck on for several breaths, then asked a series of very interested questions about where I had lived and worked recently. I remember getting to Italy - and then I woke up in Recovery about 2 hours later. I stayed there till about 4:00 pm, with people fussing about. I discovered a sausage shaped bandage running from above my navel to the top of my pubic bone, and I felt amazingly comfortable.
At 4:00, I was wheeled off by the same nice nurse. As we entered my floor, I could see Miriam, Eric and JP at the end of the hall, and we waved to each other in relief. My room was a double, even though I had signed on for a triple ward - the good luck of the draw! - and my roommate was another Anne who had had surgery just previous to me. She too had peritoneal cancer, and it turned out that we shared both oncologist and surgeon. This gave us an immediate sisterly bonding, and her good natured wise-cracking, easy to get along with nature, and wonderful family made it the best possible environment for healing.
Thursday evening (day 1) I was able to sit up on the side of the bed for 5 minutes, with the help of a morphine pump. A couple of hours later, I pumped again and sat up for 15 minutes, till once again I felt nausea. I slept deeply, in 2 hours chunks - interrupted for pills and taking of vital stats.
Friday morning, my surgeons visited on rounds, and told me that they had removed my appendix as well as the female stuff - there was a cancerous cluster there - they found studding on the pelvic floor, but it seemed to be inactive (don't remember if it was removed or not) - that everything that remained was microscopic, and that they were pleased with the operation and the results. I was still feeling no pain, sat up for half an hour without nausea, and took a walk down the hall before lunch. Calling it lunch is being generous - it was just like breakfast - juice, hot water, lemon jello. Miriam and Cathy brought me wonderful homemade broth that tasted soooo good. I took another walk around the halls in early afternoon, and another with 3 laps around the unit later that day. By evening they were letting me trot around without human support, dragging my drip station with me. By this point I was not using the morphine as the other drugs were fine alone, and I suspected that my little bouts of nausea might be traced back to the pump.
Time was measured by meals - supper was like lunch/breakfast - and I was told that I could not have real food until I had passed wind (farted, for the less cultured). The nurse told me that there was lots of noise in my bowels and that walking would eventually work the air out, and once there was proof that food would not just go to my bowels and stop, they would let me eat. I went to sleep that night to the sound of "The Shrieker" an elderly gent with dementia who lived two doors away because there was no bed for him on a more appropriate ward. I was filled with compassion for his roommate of one week...