Last Wednesday we headed up to the children's hospital in Bristol so that my son could have the surgery to remove the meningioma. The car full with cases of clothes, cooler bags with some provisions and a very large holdall with everything I would need to dilate.
I had no intention of driving, especially after far too many days where I had a lot of pain in one part of my groin area, so much pain in fact that if it had been only a little bit worse I would have been crying because of the pain; something that my son has subsequently commented on with "now you know what its like for me". Yes, I do have a better understanding of how bad your pain can be now.
My wife was tasked with driving while I rode shotgun, acting as second SatNav. It was the first time she'd driven there and with a few prompts and explanations about the route we managed to reach her Uncle's house without any problems. After a short stay we then had to cross the city in order to get to the hospital. This was the point where I would find out whether I could drive or not.
I'd taken a couple of painkillers before leaving home, and topped up when we stopped, so was feeling OK. Time to test out just how well I've healed.
And it all went fine. We have a manual (stick shift) car so I had to control the clutch, brake and accelerator which was certainly going to test out my healing. There was a bit of discomfort but it was all around my neo-vagina and not in the area where I'd been having lots of pain. Remarkably quickly for a Wednesday lunchtime in Bristol we were at our accommodation and unloading the car. That task done we made our way into the city centre to grab something to eat at the pub that my wife tends to favour.
After a late lunch I left my wife and son heading back to the hospital for a CT scan while I nipped into one of the department stores and bought myself a new bag, something sturdy which I can keep a pack of baby wipes in for those moments when I need to use the toilet. Hygiene is so important after GRS, keeping the area clean means wiping the area and not just with toilet paper. Of course having wipes on me also allows for making sure loo seats are clean, something I learned to appreciate very quickly on my discharge from hospital when we stopped at a garage and I needed to use the unisex facility.
Arriving at the hospital I found my family as they were finishing the CT scan. We headed back to the X-Ray department reception to find that there would be a bit of a delay before my son's MRI scan. Not wanting to sit around for ages we headed to the ward that he was to be admitted to, only to find that there were no beds available, not there, not anywhere in the hospital.
Several hours later, after the MRI scan and a lot of sitting around in the playroom on the ward, we were told to head back to our accommodation for the night and to come back in the morning.
Back at our accommodation I unpacked everything I needed to dilate. My family nipped out to buy something to eat that evening and I got on with things. I have to say it all went smoothly. I was just finishing up when my wife came back to the room.
Dinner and a couple of games of pool followed (my son beat me both times, he's getting better at the game as last year we were much more evenly matched). Eventually bed called.
The following morning we were up at 6 so that my family could get ready to go into the hospital by 7:30. We rang at 6:30 to check on the bed situation only to be told that there were still no beds but to go into the ward and wait in the playroom again.
With the family off to the hospital I did my morning dilation and then headed in to join them.
Several hours passed with the anaesthetist and surgeon turning up to see my son. Finally it was decided that the operation had to be cancelled because there were no beds available but also that more time needed to be allowed for the surgery, at least four hours. The hospital rules say that a cancelled operation has to be performed within 30 days so we're now waiting to hear when it has been rescheduled.
Back to our accommodation, pack everything up, load the car and off back home. This time I drove the whole way back.
At home we unpacked the car, grabbed some lunch and then dropped my son off at college so he could pop in and see his lecture and fellow students, some of whom would have been worrying about him. My wife and I popped into the town centre and wandered around until college finished and we met up with my son which was over an hour from when we dropped him off.
The trip to Bristol hadn't gone to plan, but I did notice one thing when we got back home. Over the course of the two days we'd been away I had driven, including the hour plus trip back, walked around a fair bit as well as sitting on uncomfortable chairs in the hospital. During all that time, and in fact ever since, I have not had a pain in my groin area. Even the tender area that was there seems to have disappeared. I have no idea what happened but for some reason it sorted itself out almost overnight.
I'm not complaining, its nice to be free of the discomfort, especially as it means that I might be able to start being a bit more active.
And to finish, another playlist.
Enya - My! My! Time Flies!
Dolly Parton - Backwards Barbie
Gaslight Troubadours - Velvet & Laudanum
And having listened to Enya's track I just had to look up The Beatles Abbey Road album cover and indeed Paul McCartney isn't wearing shoes. Such an iconic image and I'd never noticed that before.