More surgery

Going in for my second surgery was like balancing precariously on a double edged sword. I was so looking forward to just going in and getting it over and done with, but what would come hand in hand with that was pain…lots of it. Then there was the fear of not making it through at all. Just before being put under anesthetic again I didn’t pray, I completely surrendered. I came to terms with the fact that if it was my time, it was my time and that there was nothing I could do about it. It was in Gods hands. To tell you that I pictured my loved one’s faces in my minds eye as I was falling asleep would not only sound sickeningly clichéd, it wouldn’t be the truth. I was so exhausted and worn out by that time, I couldn’t think anything. I was blank and numb…I had nothing left to give.

Waking up after surgery the pain wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…at first. I was just so happy and found it miraculous that I had woken up again. Once the post op medications wore off the searing pain returned. This time they gave me another Tramal injection for the pain as the totally ineffectual Panadol was of course not enough. I was weary of the side effects I’d been warned of and it hit me like a steam train. As the nurse started to inject the Tramal my lungs seized up. I felt like a fish out of water as I struggled to get air…as hard as I tried I couldn’t breathe in. It was as if there was a stopper in my throat preventing oxygen from passing through. Before she could inject any more of it into my IV, I grabbed the syringe out of the nurses hand and threw it across the room. She lunged for the oxygen mask and put it over my face. That was to no avail however because I suddenly felt my stomach lurch as this incredibly overpowering wave of nausea hit me. I dry heaved for what seemed like an eternity, desperately trying to get air into my lungs at the same time. By this time my private ward was filled with nurses pressing buttons, picking up phones to the ICU, sitting me up more and massaging my back in upward movements to try and get me to relax. As they were on the verge of rushing me through to intervention, the nausea abated and my breathing slowly started to return to normal. I spent the next two days on oxygen.

Me and Michele

Me and Michele in her home city of Cape Town.

My mobile was next to me and family members were phoning constantly to find out how I was. Jaco and the girls were not able to visit me in the hospital at all during that whole time, because it was so far from home and Jaco had to work. He had exhausted his leave and was the only bread winner, besides I did not want to put the girls through anymore than they had already been through. I was already seeing signs of stress in them and I wasn’t going to be responsible for making it worse. As much as I appreciated everybody phoning me, it was such a struggle to talk to them and breathe at the same time. I would have to take a deep breath every second or third word and was wondering what they thought as they heard me battling on the other end of the line. A very dear friend of mine MIchele paid me a visit about two days after my second operation when things had settled down and were more or less under control. She brought her husband Gregg along. They are still good family friends of ours, and he later told me that when they walked into my room, he knew my voice when he heard it, but didn’t recognize the person lying in the hospital bed. He sat with me for a while and then excused himself to go and wait in the car. I wasn’t hurt or offended, I understood. Michele bravely sat with me for hours talking to me, soothing me and trying to take my mind off everything. She brought magazines along for me to read knowing that I’m a huge mag and book addict. I also only found out afterwards that when she left me to go to the car, she got in and completely dissolved. I don’t know if she realizes today how much of a lifesaver her visit was on that day. She made me feel like I wasn’t so isolated from the outside world after all. That I was still a member of the human race and not just a patient perhaps on the verge of becoming a statistic. She helped me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and showed me that day what a real friend really is. She’s still my dearest friend to this day.

That evening I also found out from the medical staff that all in all, they had drained 5 liters of fluid.

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