Anaesthetists rock —

— mine did, anyway. He did a ward round before surgery on Thursday morning – and in my notes came across my letter to S2 with my “Damned if you do –” article attached. And he immediately really engaged with the issues, and did, I think, actually delay S2 (who was also waiting to see me) by spending so long with us. I do not mean that he agreed with me, but he acknowledged uncertainty and the limits of medical knowledge! At last! He even threw in some questions of his own, about why they offer reconstructions (= much longer procedure) at the same time as mastectomies, when they know that anaesthesia doesn’t help the immune system. This of course had the effect of making me feel I had made the right choice by turning down re-construction at this point.

His attitude i.e. the acknowledgement of uncertainty, his open-mindedness, and the way he engaged with us as equals, had an immediate and dramatically positive effect on my morale. B has since written to thank him in person, and I have mentioned him with gratitude on my hospital feedback form. Having felt that my intelligence had been insulted from the start by the withholding of information, I have now found one person in this process who considers not only my body and my emotions but also my brain.

When I was back on the ward after theatre, he came round again, and even though I was groggy. gave me some detailed information about why I was on oxygen (he had absolutely clocked my need to know). He specifically asked me to pass his regards on to B. Somehow this too was unusually emotionally intelligent – it is routine for partners to be “welcome” at all appointments, but I haven’t noticed anyone else paying much more than passing interest in B, for whom this business is also a huge challenge.

So back home now. Grisly details on direct application only. Not too bad actually – all went very well, and I can’t fault the care I’ve received. Now for some recuperation and adjustment. Next big stop is histology results in 2-3 weeks time.

And older daughter got home from Nepal today after 8 weeks, having bungee-jumped, paraglided, been on a walking safari, and travelled the mountain ravines on minibuses, very happy and with nothing worse than a bad case of nits.

I’ve had so many emails – sorry if I don’t reply individually just now, but truly grateful for all your thoughts.

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One comment

  1. It’s great to hear that you are back home and have a couple of weeks to recuperate before the next wave of information and treatment choices. I loved hearing about your anaesthetist: what a relief. Wouldn’t it make a difference if all medics were able to be as open and responsive as this?


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