After a sleepless night, Mr Mason and I rise early to make our way to Charing Cross. We get there at 7.30am, finding a parking place easily, and make our way to the day surgery ward. After a while I am called through by a fabulously camp nurse who tells me Mr Mason can wait while I am seen by the surgeon “in case there are any changes”. He is possibly psychic. I am moved into another waiting room where the morning tv news is blaring out. Eventually I am called through by a surgeon and we are shown to what appears to be a small cupboard. He explains rooms are at a premium on surgery days which is borne out by the number of times people try to gain entry by rattling the handle while we sit there. Firstly, the surgeon says he doesn’t think my voice sounds too bad. I agree but explain I was first seen in September and that my voice tends to come and go. He says perhaps I should have an injection rather than the full-blown thyroplasty but that he will talk to the consultant. Either way, there will be an anaesthetic and, depending on which procedure I have I may or may not be going home this evening. He checks which side the surgery will take place and taking out his pen, draws an arrow on my neck. The anaesthetist comes to see me next and we go through the same questions the other anaesthetist asked me. He says everything looks good and I can go back to the waiting room. I discover am quite a way down the list so I call Mr Mason and tell him he can go but to ring about 4pm to see whether I am finished or not. I remind him not to call me.
I sit back down in the waiting room and close my eyes managing to drift off to sleep without snoring or drooling. The surgeon comes back about 30 minutes later and calls me through. We go to another cupboard and he tells me he has spoken to the consultant and that they are not happy about doing the surgery. The anaesthetist has reviewed my last ct scan (finally!) and is unhappy about the amount of fluid in my chest. Huh? So what was the pre-op assessment about? Did nobody think to look back at my tests even though I repeatedly said that I have secondary cancer in the lungs and that I sometimes struggle to breathe? Does this mean the witch who was so rude to me and the lovely Joyce was not right? According to her, having a tube shoved down my throat would mitigate all other risks. He tells me that they will review me after my next scan, due at the beginning of March, and that the fluid on my chest will need to be drained before they can operate. I ask whether speech therapy might help. He agrees and says my vocal chords on the right hand side have compensated well for the paralysis on the left. Apparently it normally takes a year at which point people are reviewed for a thyroplasty. Hmmm. So this has been done all
arse about face back to front. “So I can go, then?” Having just sent Mr Mason on his way, I now have to phone him and ask him to turn around and come and collect me. I send texts to Mr Mason jnr and Mrs Safaie so they don’t worry and settle down to a hot chocolate and some slow-release morphine while I wait.
I wonder how much this has all cost. The time of the doctors, nurses plus mine. I feel that if someone had just listened, things might have been a lot easier and a lot less stressful. Although it might surprise some medical staff (although I don’t tar them all with the same brush), patients often know quite a lot about their own medical contition and state of health. I can confess now I didn’t want to have the surgery, it worried me. Sitting down later, Mr Mason confesses the same thing. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that surgery on someone with compromised breathing and a depressed immune system might be a bit tricky but I don’t know how many times I’ve asked the question, only to be told it will be fine, particularly by that witch of a nurse. Still, I get the rest of the day back which enables me to sleep properly for several hours and enjoy a bowl of tomato soup for my lunch.
In celebration of my early arrival home, Dog snuggles up to me on the sofa and produces something so noxious it makes my eyes water and causes me to wonder yet again whether it is possible he is burning tyres up his bottom. If so, it’s probably a new inititative from our fabulous coaltion government.