What a hellish time we have been through. The last post we were hugging Nick before his operation. He went into theatre on the 23rd at 12.30 pm and a text came from the hospital at 5.30 pm to say he was in recovery. That was it! I expected a call from a doctor but nothing. I decided not to ring as my previous experiences have all been very non-committal while the patient is in recovery. The usual, ‘Patient still sleeping, surgery went well , the Doctor will be in touch,’ so I left it till the next morning.
I rang early but got an answering machine. I rang again about 30 mins after and got a nurse who was able to tell me Nick was awake and talking and fine and the Doctor was trying to ring me. Well I had been carrying my phone, afraid to put it down in case I missed a call, so I knew no one had tried to call. But she led me to believe they were going to ring me so I waited patiently but increasingly getting annoyed. A text from Nick which just said he was in a lot of pain and couldn’t take texts, was strangely reassuring, though made me more anxious and annoyed not to have some feedback from the doctors. I waited till later and finally rang again and got another nurse who sounded surprised that no one had rung. The actual surgeon was in another surgery and when I said it was now 24 hrs without any feedback the nurse promptly called the neurology doctors. Dr. Louis rang me back in half an hour and finally I received the feedback I needed. I expressed my displeasure and he was contrite that I had not been notified. Even though I was next of kin, because Nick was of sound mind and able to make decisions for himself, I was irrelevant. The main thing is that he has had a successful surgery.
I am not complaining about his care. I just would have liked a more prompt response to put his family at ease. I had been fielding queries from concerned family for days and while it made me feel supported it was also a strain trying to keep all my family and friends informed. Trying to keep my own anxieties under control was exhausting. Like all mothers our children are so precious, and despite them being adults now you still fear for them.
Anyway he had the whole AVM removed and a further Angiogram the day after the surgery confirmed that all was gone. He has had a piece of his skull removed and replaced with screws which he said he saw on the angiogram. His scar is quite impressive and only dressed by a thin strip of bandage. Nick has got a sore head but otherwise physically he is making a good recovery. His foot, hand and shoulder are all more responsive and he has exercises to follow for rehab. By Saturday he was allowed to go home! I was quite shocked but Nick was thrilled. He had hit the wall over hospital food and his new room mate was very unpleasant and invasive. Nick was very relieved when he woke up and felt like himself. He had been afraid his personality might change.
I had had a similar fear though I had not voiced it to anybody. I had also been concerned about the impact on his physical abilities, but the Surgeon was skilled and the outcome was all we hoped. A good recovery. He still has another surgery to face in about six weeks to remove the other AVM at the back of his head. At least we are prepared this time.
When I returned him to his home, Georgia and Josh his flat mates, had put up a welcome home sign in his room. His first stop was the balcony to soak up the sun in his ‘lizard’ chair. He was so relieved to be outside. He kept comparing it to being in prison for a long time and how weird it seemed to be in the world again.
During this trying time we have had the compulsory masks enacted, restricted movements again and so the park has become even more important as my unwind space with Alfie. Here I can socialise at a distance and enjoy the fun of happy dogs. Half the dogs are CoVid purchases, that is they are all about 5 months old! All shapes and sizes of joyful puppies and all sorts of mixes of oodles. Though a new addition was Taco the chihuahua, a spunky little guy who retreated to his owners legs for shelter when the bigger dogs got too boisterous.
Amongst all the flurry of Nick’s drama I did take a break at the Auburn Lawn Bowls Club. Katrina had encouraged me to join before the lockdown and so I have only played a few practice bowls. It was a welcome change of pace, though I did play really badly because my attention was so scattered. Towards the end of play it started to rain and a rainbow appeared. I took it as a good sign.
Walking has been my major activity this last couple of weeks. I couldn’t concentrate on any gym or felt too tired from stress and sleepless nights to face the early Zoom sessions, yet I have managed to clock up quite a few kilometres and today Gary, my brother-in-law and I have finally finished our Virtual Camino.
A great outcome from a challenging time. I have often called on my Camino experience to keep me balanced through this period. One day at a time. Some days are shitty and some days are great but you just keep moving forward and try not to dwell on the bad. Every day is a fresh start. And today I learned it doesn’t take long in the microwave to cook a face mask! I had decided to sterilise it by microwaving but I left it for too long and I actually charred the corner. What a dill I am. I am now making some new ones.