It’s always the waiting and hoping that’s the worst part of anything medical. Luckily for us my waiting is punctuated with a visit from Tommy and his girlfriend, Olivia, en route to Sabah for a holiday. They stop here for the weekend and we tick off some of the tourist boxes – black pepper crab, the Botanic Gardens, a dim sum lunch, lunch in hawker centre, mum’s home cooking. It seems like they had hardly arrived before they left again – but they will be back.
My mini operation is to take place at the Thomson Medical Centre, and I have to report at 6 am! I am feeling very calm as my last Singapore hospital experience was more like a visit to a 5 star hotel. How my expectations are about to be shattered!
On arrival Ross and I are ushered into a room off a dimly lit corridor. Inside there are several cubicles, each with an invisible groaning or deeply breathing inhabitant. My bed is about 2 ft wide and covered in crackling plastic. I am told to change into my gown, and am given a paper shower cap (to be worn in the op) and paper knickers. The shared bathroom is filthy – hairs on the floor and toilet seat, well let’s not go there, and not even any paper towels to dry one’s hands after using the loo! So I struggle out of my clothes as best I can (no hooks to hang things on either!) without letting my body touch anything and then wait on my horrid little bed. The last place I feel like being is among other sick people on a cancer ward!
The routine pre-med tests show my blood pressure – normally subnormal, low pulse rate – has risen to border line levels of high! 139/84! Are you surprised? As I am wheeled out my last words to Ross are, ‘I am not coming back to this ward, even if you have to kidnap me!’
Another cubicle in the pre-op place…the Filipina nurses are having a high old time, laughing raucously; there’s some fuss about an emergency admission which might jump the queue, I pray, selfishly, that it is on another surgeon’s list as I am running out of humour. However, once things start moving and the anaesthetist and Dr Tay arrive, the better side of Singapore medicine takes over and soon I am drifting off to ‘sweet dreams’.
When I come to, I am in a day ward, also shared, but Ross is there. Dr Tay calls at 11 am sharp to say he didn’t find anything worrying but he would confirm after histology in a couple of days, which he does by text! All is fine, no weird unrelated cancers of a gynaecological nature. Phew. It really would have been incredibly bad luck, and that is why I never quite believed it possible. It is hard not to worry, though, and I was really having to think positive about there being no risk to our lovely diving trip in October and the trip to Burma in November. So much to look forward to! And the return of the island travellers in a week.
Meanwhile, I have been taking it easy this week, and only have one more chapter of the book to write! There seems to be a lot of interest in it, so I am holding out for the best offer. The website is nearly there just waiting for the Doc’s contribution and we can launch it in September…