Biopsy day – I take the train up to Truro and get to the hospital right on time. Everything goes smoothly and there’s very little waiting around and no time to get nervous. The only strange thig is that there are TVs playing everywhere; in reception and in the small waiting ward where five chairs are arranged around a TV set blaring on a table and curtained off areas are along the walls with flowery curtains and patients come and go and nurses guide us about and prepare us; consent forms, explanations of procedures, canula fitted, blood pressure taken etc.
Then Dr Steven Iles comes over – he’s going to perform the EBUS needle biopsy. He’ll push a flexible tube down through my mouth into my trachea – it has a small camera at the end which allows him to see what he’s doing in there. The probe is also guided by ultrasound scanning at the same time and with a special auger type needle they are aiming to take a sample from the avid node in my chest that showed up on the PET/CT scan. He’s friendly and easy going. They have a thing going with the patients, asking me to think of a tune I’d like to hear during the operation…
Ten minutes later I’m let into the theatre and introduced to the four other medicals in there who are doing various things; administering oxygen, monitoring heart rate (sticky tab are put on my chest and I discover them again still stuck there when I go to bed in the evening) advising Dr. Iles on the biopsy sampling etc. I can see a large monitor on a desk showing the glowing lymph node image from the last scans – that’s what we’re after.
What’s the music then? Well, John Martyn ‘Go Down Easy’ is my choice and Dr. Iles does indeed find some John Martyn for me and the technicians and I have a chat about John Martyn as they get busy, and I can hear the music remotely as he injects pure morphine into my arm and sprays local aneasthetic into my mouth and down my throat and then with a needle below my adams apple a squirt into my windpipe which makes me cough as it’s supposed to do and then I have a mouthguard put in between my teeth with a hole in it to guide the brachioscope and then…
and then I’m waking up in the recovery ward just drifting around, I’m very comfortable floating on the mattress, I could stay here all afternoon. After a while the nurse comes over and checks I’m ok and I can’t really remember what happens but a bit later I’m out of the ward and out of the hospital and in the van with Alison and Milli. Oh yes, I remember now, Ali came up to collect me which is probably just as well as I had no idea where I was or what I was doing. Then we’re driving home.