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Operation cancelled…Again

A man in shorts standing in a brightly lit shopping parade in the evening

Updated on December 6th, 2022

Las Vegas, Jul 2011

On December 8th 2014 we were due to go in for Terry’s operation – open-heart surgery. This had already been postponed once due to one of the surgeons being unavailable. When this happened we used the opportunity for a week in Dubai, which meant that this time Terry was really psyched up & in a positive frame of mind – “just want to get it over now”.

We were all packed up & ready to go when at 8.30am Terry had a phone call to say that there was a problem. It had been a busy weekend at Harefield Hospital & they had more people than expected still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). We were advised that we should just wait and not come at the planned midday slot until they could confirm that Terry would have a place. Basically, Terry would be transferred straight to ICU after the operation, for at least 2 days afterwards so we needed to make sure there was space for him. We were waiting for someone to either make an amazing recovery…or not to make it. Whichever way we looked at it, it was frustrating, distressing & grim. Obviously, we hoped for someone to do better than expected but knew the chances of that at Harefield were slim.

For Terry, this was the worst news he could have had. He was fired up & ready, waiting was never his strength, neither was not being in control. We just had to sit & wait while we discussed our options.

If it was postponed Terry’s first instinct was to go to work at the company conference which was starting that day in Dublin. If he went, it would mean flying that evening. He’d had to cancel his flight due to the op & went so far as to call British Airways to see if he could get it reinstated. Thankfully this was more complicated & expensive than first thought & I managed to convince him that this would be much harder for him than just staying at home. In my opinion, he had handed everything over at work, everyone had said what they needed to say to him & to go back would just mean retelling & reliving the need for his op in the first place.

Instead, we put on a film to try & take our minds off things – “Duplicity” with Julia Roberts which had a really complicated plot – probably exactly what we needed. We waited to hear anything & called a couple of times to find out what the latest news was. In the end, at about 3.30pm we were given a choice – either go in & wait so we are ready for the op tomorrow in the hope a bed comes up, or postpone for a week when it would definitely happen. Frustrating though it was, it was good to finally be in control again. We felt the least painful course of action was to wait until next week – we now go in on 15th Dec for the operation on 16th.

The next challenge was to keep Terry occupied for a week at home – not an easy task but by the end of the afternoon, we had formulated a plan. Terry had ideas to meet up with friends, go to London (I discovered weeks later to buy my Xmas present), we would have a “traditional” day in London on Saturday, no doubt there was some drumming involved & Terry would get the house generally ready for Christmas when my sister & family were coming.

I went back to work – at least then Terry could get on with things for himself. All in all, although the day was really painful & frustrating, we didn’t realise at the time what a bonus it was – we were given an extra week together. I feel I should be grateful for this & I have especially happy memories of our last day out in London – doing all the things we loved. It was always going to be tainted though. We always had the operation hanging over us, ever more ominously. No matter how much we tried to distract ourselves I know Terry was still scared & worried.

I like to think we made the most of it but how do you know?


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