It’s Tuesday. And today my life changes.

Foolishly, perhaps, I haven’t really asked exactly what they’re going to do. The fact I’m going to have a stoma pretty much outweighs everything else.

It hasn’t exactly been a restful night. The ward is noisy, and someone in the women’s bay next door has a real problem. (We’re all disturbed by unpredictable and apparently random shouts, screams and expletives at regular intervals.) I’ve asked Rosemary to bring me my noise-cancelling headphones and the necessary chargers for that and my phone. After all, I’m going to be here for a while…

At this stage I don’t know when, exactly, my operation will take place – just that it will almost certainly happen today. By now I’ve already seen two different sets of theatre staff, both (of course) professional, cheerful and competent. And when the time finally comes for my procedure, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

My anaesthetist is an absolute star, reassuring and efficient and genuinely concerned to make sure I have the best possible outcome.

And when I come round, I have.

There’s plenty of discomfort (obviously), but much of that is soon relieved with a generous sip of Oromorph (orally delivered morphine). Oromorph will definitely be my friend in the coming days. I can’t see what’s happened to my abdomen, and right now I don’t particularly care. My nursing team check me out and set me up with some oxygen – apparently it’ll speed up my recovery from the anaesthetic. (It does – superbly.)

At this point I could probably eat a horse (or at any rate a small Shetland pony) so food is welcome. It’s also pretty decent – I have no complaints. And now I’m in a position to talk to my neighbours I quickly discover they’re a friendly and interesting bunch. We enjoy each others’ company right up to the point where I decide it’s time to get some shut-eye, and put on my headphones.

Sleep is good – despite being interrupted at regular intervals by the nursing team, who want to check my stats and put tablets and injections into me. (To my surprise, my stats are pretty much nominal. Almost right away. And stay that way…)

That’s fine. The job’s done, and I’m being looked after. Tomorrow a new chapter in my life begins.

I’ve no idea what it will be like. And that doesn’t matter a bit.