Chapter 16, Part 2 - Mrs Nicky And The Wait
Sorry to have kept you waiting for this next bit... Horrid isn't it... waiting...
As any of my friends will tell you, I am particularly bad at waiting. But wait I must, for the duration of Nicky's op. All 12 hours of it.
We said our "see you laters", refusing to say "goodbye", and I put Nicky's wedding ring on a chain around my neck, where it would remain, as my talisman, for the next 10 weeks. Nicky had been thoughtful enough to arrange for my sister-in-law to be with me, so that I was not pacing on my own. Thanks Sharon!
We sat for a while, had a cup of tea (well, that's what us Brits do in times of stress!), got word that he was successfully in theatre and then decided that it would do us no good at all to loiter in the hospital for hours on end. So we did what most pairs of girls with some free time do... went shopping. Aside from me obsessively checking my phone every half hour or so, to make sure I still had a signal in case the hospital needed to get hold of me, it was a pleasant enough morning.
The consultant had promised that he would phone me with an update about half-way through, which they were anticipating would be around midday to 1pm, so we made our way back to our hotel room to await the call. That was when I really got fidgety, either pacing or trying to calm myself with crochet. It didn't work…I think there was smoke coming off my crochet hook, I was going that fast (one advantage of this whole saga is that I have churned out loads of crocheted items!)
12pm came and went
That's ok - they said it might be later
1pm came and went
Hope it's all ok
2pm came and went
What's gone wrong?
3pm came and with it, the call I had been on tenterhooks for… the news was mixed. The cancer was far more extensive than they had realized (in some respects, I will forever be grateful for this fact, as they admitted afterwards that they probably wouldn't have operated had they known just how bad it was!) They had managed to remove a 6kg tumour mass, but it was tangled around a number of organs. They had called in urologists to help repair the bits of urinary tract that they had to remove in order to get Clarkson out. There was talk of removing Nicky's bladder, but they thought they could get away without doing so. Things were still pretty hairy. The surgeon sounded tired. I finished the call, updated Sharon and burst into tears. Suddenly, the massive reality of it all hit home in a way it hadn't done previously. There was still a chance that Nicky might not actually make it through, and he would potentially be a lot more disabled than we previously thought.
Through all this, Sharon was an absolute star, plying me with snacks and chocolate, chatting about anything and everything to distract me, and allowing me to cry when I needed to. We have always got on well, but in that time she became, and remains, my second sister.
Finally, at about 8pm, the operation was nearly finished and the surgeon came to speak to us while Nicky was being closed up and taken to ITU. He looked so, so tired. I wanted to find him a cup of tea and a good meal! The news was better than earlier - they had got all the visible tumour out and we would shortly be able to go and see him. I thanked him and nagged him to go home to recover.
Having worked in hospitals and seen patients on ITU, I was expecting a pretty scary sight, but actually Nicky looked remarkably like his normal self and quite peaceful, albeit with lots of wires, tubes and monitors. For the first time that day, I properly exhaled and relaxed. We were by no means out of the woods yet, but we had made it through the operation and I still had a husband.
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