September 20: In the morning, I checked into the hospital and was given a four-bed room female surgical ward – Room 504. After the nurse had checked my blood pressure and measured my weight (57 kg at this point of time) and height (166cm), I was allowed to go back home to get my stuff for my stay at the hospital; but I have to be back by 8pm.
So I went out for lunch with Azmir at our usual spot in Desa Pandan (little did I know that eating will no longer be a pleasurable experience for me after the surgery) and then headed back home to Shah Alam to pack. The whole family drove me back to the hospital later that evening and we had supper at Old Town White Coffee (opposite APSH); they sat with me while I had my favourite kaya and butter toast and then sent me off to my room. Looking back, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been for them to say good night, knowing that I’m going in for surgery the next day. I slept alone at the hospital; I was feeling a bit more nervous now.
APSH' green backless surgical gown.
Later, the Anaesthetist, Dr Arul Balasingam greeted me and asked if I was feeling all right. I told him to please be extra careful and make sure I wake up. After asking me to sign a consent form, with Hari Raya songs playing in the background, he smiled as he injected anaesthetic through the cannula into my vein. Another nurse asked me to breathe into a mask and after catching a glimpse of the white round clock on the wall (it was 3.45pm) and a few deep breaths, I was out.
The next thing I found myself being awakened in the Recovery Room. “Cik Aida Munirah, bangun cik. Operation dah habis. Boleh dengar tak?”. My instant reply was, “Betul ke? All right!”, and all the nurses laughed at my cheerfulness. The clock on the wall shows the time as 8pm. I felt a bit drowsy and nauseous. The nurses continued to monitor my heart rate and blood pressure. There was a tube that was put into my neck, attached to a drainage bottle – to remove any fluid which might build up in the gap that they had left.
Once Dr Arul was happy with my progress, the nurses asked me to move from the surgical bed to the hospital bed. It was excruciating! As I moved across, I saw a large stain of brown Betadine (I think) with some blood on the surgical bed. I was slightly tearful as I was wheeled out of the Recovery Room, only to be greeted with happy faces of my family (Ba, Mom, Dad, Sara, Amir, Hafez & Ibu) and Azmir, and I knew I was going to be all right now.
Around 8am, the nurse came to help lift my head and I’d managed to sit at the edge of the bed for awhile and felt light-headed. Then I’d tried to walk to the toilet; it felt good to walk, but I was weak. I had breakfast (porridge, of course) and it took me a while to learn how to open my mouth without forcing it too much.
As the day wore on, I felt better. I had a few visitors, it was a real blessing. My table was piled high with flowers, fruits, chocolates and magazines. Thank you all! Dr Amin made his rounds in the evening and came to explain that the surgery lasted for three hours and went very well – they’d removed the tumour and already sent it to the lab. He told me that he took some photos during the surgery with his iphone and will e-mail the pictures to me. He checked the bottle attached to the tube from my neck – the bottle was slowly filling up and if it doesn’t continue to fill I will be discharge tomorrow.
September 23: Well today was much better. I can actually get in and out of bed by myself. Dr Amin came in the afternoon to check the bottle and told me that I can go home this evening! Hurrah! Later, the nurses came to remove the tube from my neck. It was so painful, I was crying in agony so Azmir tried to distract me by asking me what do I want to eat when I get back home. I'd told him that I want to eat KFC. Good distraction - but still I could feel the tube moving under my jaw as the nurse tried to pull it out. After settling the hospital bill, I was given a week’s course of Augmentin (again!) then packed my stuff, thanked the nurses for their cheerfulness and efficiency and went home. It feels good to be back.
P.S.: Bad news - I'd failed my Taxation paper, unfortunately. Boo hoo.