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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Post Surgery

"The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings." ~Dave Weinbaum 

   We spent the day before surgery at the Travel Lodge near the hospital so Les could go through the complete evacuation of his bowels in as much comfort as one can have when enduring the nasty tasting bowel prep. If you live on a boat and face this procedure we highly recommend you do this--you won't regret having access to a flush toilet that you do not have to empty and an endless supply of hot showers and baths.
   We were told he should not eat anything on Tuesday so he didn't. We were up all night anyway with the evacuation process, then Kevin took us to hospital at 6:55 am for check-in. There were six others awaiting check in as well and they ran out of beds when they got to Les. So we had to go sit up in the check out lounge on the 5th floor while the matron scurried around looking for a bed for him. Honestly!!
  Bed found, we met with the surgeon whom we did not recognize without his red, enraged face and spittle flying from his mouth. We also met with the anesthetist, and filled out tons of paper work. Les was scheduled to be the first in for surgery by Mr. H. but--oops! someone came into hospital the night before and he took precedence. Les' surgery was bumped up to 11 am. which came and went while we sat in the lounge. Finally at 11:30 he was given a gown and some Ted hose (support against deep vein thrombosis) and at noon they came for him. Les hugged us both and told Kevin, "Take good care of my baby."
   In the states, you are admitted to hospital, a band is put on your wrist, you are escorted ASAP to a private pre-op cubicle where you change into a gown, get on a bed, and your family can stay in with you while they insert a Hep-lock in a vein in the top of your hand and begin to administer IV fluids to ensure the patient is fully hydrated and electrolyte balanced. When it is time they wheel you off to the pre-op theatre to begin anesthetic administration, etc.
  It was so weird because over here they walk the patient to the pre-op area. It was like that crazy advert on British Telly "You're so money supermarket" where the astronauts are walking to the space shuttle and the average bloke joins them wearing a construction hard hat. Les and the surgery technician walked away from us up the hallway to the operating theatres, the surgery tech in his burgundy scrubs and little white hat, stethoscope around his neck and Les in his red, white and blue striped terry cloth dressing gown (bathrobe), navy Ted hose and matching slippers. The theme song from the movie 2001 Space Odyssey played in my head...
   Kev and I went for a bit of breakfast and returned to settle in for the wait. We knew the surgery would be long--the surgeon said about four and a half hours. By 6 pm we still had heard nothing and both of us were worried sick and feeling forgotten. I called the ward sister's number (ward nurse) and listened while she put the phone down and commenced calling other hospital areas searching for Les. It was not very reassuring. Finally she came back to me and said he was still in surgery--she thought perhaps an emergency had come in as they were  prepping him for the operating theatre and his surgery may have been moved back a bit. 
   I was shocked and angry that Les might have been kept waiting yet again but could do nothing but wait myself and wonder. Finally at 7 pm the matron responded to my call. She found Kevin and me in the deserted and semi-darkened second floor cantine near the admission and information desk, sitting alone. She said Les had just come out of surgery which took a bit longer than expected. 
   Although visiting times were 6:30-7:30, I told her I would not leave the hospital until I could see Les and speak with him. So she ushered Kev and I up to the fifth floor staff room, explained to the floor staff who were were and why we were there, and left us to it. 
   We waited another two and half hours for Les to come out of the recovery room. A wheeled bed went by the staff room window at one point and I said, "Kev is that Les?" He thought maybe it was--we'd only seen the back of the man's head as the bed went by. I grabbed the bag with Les' valuables and quietly stepped into the hallway, making my way to his bedside. The patient had an oxygen mask over his face and the lighting in the ward was really early fluorescent. I looked and nearly collapsed--my husband had aged fifteen years and had a gash on the top of his head! Of course it wasn't Les but some other poor man who was nearly accosted by an almost hysterical American!
   Sobered, I went back to the staff room to wait some more. A young surgeon joined us eventually. Colin, his name was and he was Mr. H's second. He said the surgery was long but it went quite well. The tumor was about as big as a three year old's fist and very nearly closed up completely. He found it hard to believe Les was passing anything at all.
   The good news was that they got it all in situ and the cancer had not broken through the outer wall of Les' rectum. We have to wait now for the pathology lab results on Les' lymph nodes which they also took from his groin, but the surgeons did not find any further involvement of cancer anywhere else. Colin assured us he would be checking in on Les every day and we could ask him any questions at any time. Kev and I hugged each other, tears in our eyes. Finally Les' bed went by and he turned his head to the window, looked bleary eyed at us and raised his hand. Thank the Goddess!!
   Kevin and I waited outside his ward room until they had Les sorted in his bed, the pain machine hooked up, and some other things organized. Les had an oxygen mask on and his eyes were closed. I took one hand and Kev took the other. Les opened his eyes, looked intently at me, then smiled and slipped his hand out of mine, making a loose fist and tapping his heart twice.
   We left at 10:30 p.m. after Les came 'round fully to coherence (he said a couple of things in his drug haze that were naughty and won't be repeated here but made Kev and I laugh like crazy. No doubt Les has no memory of it at all. Wink-wink-nudge-nudge!!)
   I got a text from Les just now this morning saying "Don't worry about me, doing good. Can't wait to see you. I love you very much.XXXX"
  I'm crying as I write this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to our family and friends all over this big, round world for your thoughts, prayers, good wishes and well--words aren't enough really. Les and I have felt all along that we were cradled in a hug the size of this planet made up of the care and kindness of each of you. Blessed Be!


Les Biggs said...

Hi folks
I feel good.
A big thankyou ti you all.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Oh Jaq we are so relieved that the op went okay. Having been through the same wait during Ian's op 6 years ago when the surgeon was just going to remove a tumour from under his arm and ended up taking 1/2 his shoulder away as well, I know what you went through. We send both you and Les our love and best wishes and for Les to hurry and get well soon.
Irene and Ian

Carol Ives said...

Fantabulous News!!! Big hugs to you both. The mind boggles at his suggestions, hope they are implemented soon!!!!!. LOL. Carol BV

Amy Willow said...

So glad to hear that the surgery went well. Love to you both xx

Carrie Bird said...

You're a star!
Onwards and upwards
Take care both ( ) big hug
Derek Carrie and woof from bungie
Nb Uccello

Pip said...

We are thinking of you, and rooting for you to make a full recovery now you've got rid of that nasty tumour.
lots of love to you both.
Pip & Roger xxx

Bryce Lee said...

The initial big hurdle of surgery is
complete. The patient is alive and well, ditto his family.
What more could anyone ask for? The spiritis and angels are riding with Les and Jaq.

KevinTOO said...

Hi Les & Jaq,
Praise be indeed, keep fighting, you've won another round of your battle :)
Best wishes,
Kevin & Harry

Nb Yarwood said...

Delighted to hear you are 'up an at em' Les now focus on recovery matey.
Best wishes
Lesley & Joe

Maffi said...

Still cant spell properly then Les. Glad to hear you are OK.

Anonymous said...

Dear Les and Jaq,

We are SO glad everything went OK in the end (literally!) I have been on pins thinking about you and it must have been Hell for both of you. Thank you for taking the time to let us know how you are. Our son's surgery went well too so we can breath now. Love you both,


Dragontatoo said...

SO relieved to hear it! Love you both 1000 Swedish Fish. Rest & recover, can't wait to hear more of your travels & much less of the apparently broken health system over there! ❤️

Geoff and Mags said...

Great news, well done both of you.

Anonymous said...

Tears in my eyes reading this. Fantastic news. Big hugs to you both.


Mike Muir said...

Great that the surgery seems to have got the lodger. Hope the nodes come up clean!
Mike & Phill, nb GARNET

Nb Yarwood said...

Best wishes for your road to complete recovery Les. Brave Boy.
Lesley and Joe

Working Narrow Boat Hadar said...

Excellent news about the successful surgery, we are both so glad for you both at the outcome, our best regards to you both from Keith, Jo, Paddy & Marmite.

Jennie said...

I am so pleased to read your update Jaq - thank you so much for finding the time to keep us all in the loop. We are delighted to hear that things are looking good. Don't forget to take care of yourself whilst all this is going on.

Jennie and Chris

Tom and Jan said...

This is very positive news...... Keep the fight going and long may it continue!

Charm said...

OK, Les, now stop being a slacker and get yourself back on that boat with your Big Love.

Get well soon!

Dave,Beryl Bradshaw said...

Fantastic news keep smiling.
With all its faults NHS gets there eventually.
With a little {or lots} of help from you.Love Beryl & Dave

James and Debbie said...

Bet you're both bloody glad that days over! All the best from us both, be thinking of you over the next few difficult days.

Neil Corbett said...

Thank goodness!
And thank you for keeping us all updated.
Kath (nb Herbie)

Andy124 (nb Festina Lente) said...

Glad the procedure went well and you are on the road to full recovery.

Andy and Sue x

Janet said...

Thinking of you all. Best wishes for a good recovery.

Del and Al said...

Hi Les & Jaq, bet you're blooming glad that's done & dusted, and now you can concentrate on your recovery Les. Stay positive and lots of love to you both x

Carol said...

Wonderful news - here’s now to a speedy recovery. Best wishes, Carol and George

life afloat on nb tickety boo said...

So so happy for you that all is going well, you couldn't be in better hands could you Les?
You and lovely Jaqueline are a force to be reckoned with, I think your both amazing, lots of love to you both
Debbie x

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thank you everyone!

Paul and Elaine said...

Good news guys, best wishes to a super duper quick recovery.
Paul and Elaine xx

Heather TakeyTezey said...

{Hugs} to you both full of strength. Was in tears reading this, tears of hope for you all...

Heth xxx

Chas and Ann said...

You can look forward now that is done.

Best Wishes from Chas n Ann

Sarah said...

It's Friday morning and I see that all your last week's posts have been taken down - including the last one 'Poor excuses and false assurances' which I haven't had the chance to read. Is this because the hospital discovered yhem and demanded it? I hope you'll be able to let us know what's happening and I would love to read your last post if you could find the time to email it...

Neil Corbett said...

Have you been 'got at'? Sunday's post seems to have disappeared and today's isn't there either.
Hope all is ok.
Kath (nb Herbie)

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs