Tuesday 27 November 2012

The Operation

I was woken up at 06:00, and had my heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels measured. The saline drip that I was attached to during the night to hydrate me was removed and I was asked to take a quick shower and to return to my bed in only my hospital robe.

The next two hours was a sensory overload. I had so many nurses and doctors asking me procedural and medical questions, had more blood taken, and more injections I can't even remember what for anymore.

The reality of it all was starting to set in. I never hesitated for a moment, but I was definitely anxious to have my first operation done. I was so happy to have Natasja, Pieter, Lizelle and Pieter's Mom, Marietjie by my side. They tried their best to keep me calm and positive, and it certainly helped. And knowing that I had my family, friends and colleagues wishing me all the best gave me great comfort.

Just before I was wheeled off to surgery I had to endure another 40 minutes of pain for the trial experiment. At least it made me focus on something different than what was about to happen. There were so many people around my bed by now, including Ray, Lilly, a few doctors and nurses. I felt really well taken care off and in extremely good hands.

The big moment we've been waiting for 4 months finally happened. I was wheeled off to the surgery theatre, to be held in a waiting area. I remember Natasja, Pieter, Lizelle and Pieter's Mom gathering in the hall and I gave them a round of high-fives. Lilly was so kind she waited in the waiting area with me for about 30 minutes, keeping me company while the theatre was readied. We said our goodbyes and I was taken to a small room adjoining the theatre where I was met by the Anaesthesiologist and an assistant. She again asked me many health and medical question such as allergies, previous reactions to anaesthesia etc. I was asked if I had any questions, and all I could muster was: "Be gentle, and don't let me wake up during the operation." She snickered and promised.

When done, she gave me an injection, supposedly 1 of 3, and an oxygen mask was placed over my face to "help me relax and breath better". Thanks doctor I heard all these tricks before I thought, waiting for injection no. 2.... Well I don't know if it ever came, and the next thing I remember is waking up in the recovery room.

It felt like I had woken from a very deep sleep, very disorientated, but no pain which was a relief. I was told that the operation was a success and had gone extremely well. I was so happy and relieved it was over. For me anyway. I thought about Pieter, saying a quick prayer for him, and dozed off.

The rest of the day was just one big blur as I slept most of the time, and when I woke there were always very happy and relieved faces staring back at me. Natasja told me at some point that Pieter's operation also went extremely well. The surgeon called it a "beautiful kidney", and it started working almost immediately!

With all this good news I decided to call it a night and let the morphine do it's work, while I started my healing process.


  1. What a wonderful journey, John!

  2. Indeed Alet. But the best is yet to come, as we'll be following Pieter's progress to a full recovery over the next few months ;-)