The day didn’t begin well…

Although we had an appointment at West Suffolk we weren’t sure if it was simply for a consultant meeting or for actual surgery. But in fairness, the team weren’t sure either. The reason, quite simply, was the frightening overload on their resources. When we got there we eventually discovered I was on the ’emergency list’ for an operation. Which meant I’d definitely have it, but they couldn’t tell me when it would happen.

What I did get was a mission-critical consultation with the stoma team to discuss precisely where the stoma opening would be placed. It had to be somewhere that worked in terms of practical physiology, but also worked with my actual anatomy and the placement of my clothing – above my normal waistband, but on an area of my abdomen that was relatively flat. As always the surgeon was given the choice of two possible sites, one on the right and one on the left of my navel.

Initially we’d hoped the operation could be done the same afternoon, but as the day wore on – and ambulances brought in more people in need of absolutely immediate treatment – it became clear that wouldn’t happen. Luckily we’d brought plenty to read, but that didn’t help me with being sat on a rather hard chair with an increasingly agitated and agitating rectal tumour for hours on end. We were very kindly offered something to eat – much needed – and something to drink (probably needed even more). But at the end of the day it was clear that they’d run out of time.

No matter. I was told that I’d definitely have my surgery the next day, and that they’d keep me in overnight to ensure I had a bed on the right ward. Foolishly I hadn’t brought any overnight things, but Rosemary was quickly able to garner the essentials from the hospital shop, and shortly afterwards I was shown to Bed 3, Bay 3, on Ward F5.

My treatment journey was about to begin…