The Day Before Surgery

I awoke in the middle of the night and wrote the post below. Rather than post it right away, I decided to wait and see whether I’d feel differently after the remainder of a night’s sleep, assuming I could get to sleep.

I suspect this may be the last post I’ll make for quite some time. Once I’m in the hospital, I’ll be either sedated or unable to comfortably type or both. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to record comments along the way, during my recovery, that I can later adapt into one or more posts that describe the healing process. Or maybe not. Time will tell. I’ve asked my wife to send an email update post-surgery to people with whom I regularly correspond via email. My sister-in-law agreed to post a similar update to my Facebook page after my surgery. I expect to be neither capable of being my own messenger nor interested in doing anything of the sort after surgery. But I’m not really quite sure what to expect.

You’d think that, by now, I would have conducted sufficient research to have a sense of how I’ll feel in recovery. But I haven’t. Or, I should say, I hadn’t until around 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. I awoke from a coughing fit caused by sinus drainage. I took advantage of the fact that I was up and awake by looking for information online. The best information I could find was an online PDF produced by the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation based in Liverpool, England. While treatment in England may be different from treatment in the US, I imagine the protocols are similar. I’ll find it interesting to compare. At least after the fact I’ll find it interesting.

The closer I get to the time of reporting for my surgery, about 27 hours from now, the more subdued and anxious I feel. Especially after reading how my life will change, I am not happy with this whole episode. This turn of events in my life was utterly unexpected. I was planning on a long, healthy, happy, continuation of my retirement. I am going into surgery with the hope and expectation that it will go as well as possible, but I know that even the best outcome will leave me changed.

I will be short of breath for quite some time, maybe from now on. Damn. Just damn. I’m finding it much harder to be “up” than I have been of late. Until now, I’ve been able to convince myself that, as nasty as having one’s chest opened up might be, all will be well after recovery. But I know that’s not entirely true. But I know of many, many people who have undergone far more traumatic experiences and have bounced back from them. I am going into surgery assuming all will go well. But even the best outcome is an outcome I’d rather not have faced. I’ll try to focus on what’s possible and to consider how people have dealt with far worse hands. But, damn, that’s not an easy attitude to have at this moment.  Maybe it’s just the time of night. It’s approaching 2:00 a.m., not a day-part often associated with glee and good moods.

Posting here about my thoughts on my diagnosis and treatment, pre-surgery, has been extremely therapeutic for me. I deeply appreciate the comments and support I’ve received in response to my posts, whether they were made here on the blog or via email or by members of the close-knit Facebook group I was lucky enough to join several months ago. I am grateful for good people who care. You know who you are. Give yourselves a hug.

Sleep came easily a few hours ago. Maybe it will come just as quickly when I return to bed. I will try.

After we get up in the morning, we’ll go to the regular service, followed by Thanksgiving dinner, at church. Once we get home, we’ll pack what we need for our short stay in Little Rock. I’ll take just a few things, inasmuch as I expect not to be wearing my own clothes much for the next several days. My wife will take more, as she has arranged for a room at a nearby hotel for several days while I am in the hospital. That will be much easier on her that trekking back and forth from home.

If I am of the mood to do it, I may post yet again before I go to bed tonight. Maybe not. Either way, I suspect I’ll be back here with stories to tell in a week or two; maybe less.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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8 Responses to The Day Before Surgery

  1. joyce laurie says:

    John, you have been in my thoughts since you first let us know you will be undergoing surgery. Now I’ll be here waiting to learn how the operation went and what the future holds in store for you, You have no idea how much you mean to me. Our history goes back many decades. Healing thoughts for you. Fondly Joyce.

  2. Jim Hawarden says:

    I’ve been hearing good things from the grapevine, sir! Looking forward to hearing the same directly from you in the near future! Cheers!

  3. bevwigney says:

    I will be thinking of you tomorrow. Wishing you all the best and an uneventful recovery. Take care. <3

  4. John Swinburn says:

    Thank you, Pauline.

  5. Thinking of you John as you take this necessary steps toward good health once again. Sending vibes of strength ti you as well! Appreciate you and all you have done in the things I have been involved in with you along the way.

  6. John Swinburn says:

    Thank you Linda and Robin. I look forward to posting again to demonstrate that all’s well!

  7. lindakblack says:

    You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers as you go through the surgery and recovery, and I’ll be sending lots of prayers up for a successful surgery and complete healing. I’ll be checking in on you. Godspeed.

  8. We’ll be thinking of you tomorrow and sending you the very best healing wishes from the north coast of California. Hoping for the best outcomes, easy healing, and full recovery. Take care, John.

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