I smiled and said simply: “for life; the freedom of living.”
I left the wards and headed to my appointment. It was on the ground floor of the same building and an elderly doctor in a long white coat and a pair of glasses greeted me. He was considerate and helped where he could to make sure I was comfortable; I still couldn’t turn too easily so he helped me onto the bed.
The appointment was for an echocardiogram and blood pressure check; the same test I had several times by now, so I was used to all the wires and bleeps. After the test was done he explained there would be a 30-minute wait while the results were sent over to the surgeon to review and I would then chat to him about what they revealed.
I sat up and cleaned the gel off my chest with the same coarse blue tissue paper that’s everywhere in hospitals, and thanked him for his time. I got ready to leave and shyly he said: ‘’If you don’t mind me asking, why did you go for the tissue valve?’’
I smiled and said simply: ‘’for life; the freedom of living.’’ He acknowledged my point, nodding his head, and I left.
I went outside to the central courtyard where I sat on a bench and contemplated what had just happened and where I was. I sat there with a buzz of activity swarming around me. I was in the central crossroads of the hospital hive with people rushing back and forth, frantically discussing their woes. I looked across the courtyard and tears started to creep out the corners of my eyes and down my face. A load of pressure had been released, which I hadn’t even known I was carrying. Like lifting a lid off a boiling pan, the pressure had dissipated and I felt both happy and sad at the same time. There was a sense of relief and I realised how far I had come in such a short space of time.
I gathered my thoughts, composed myself and went up to the where the appointment was. I was in the same waiting room I had sat in the first time I visited before the operation. The décor hadn’t changed and this time it didn’t bother me, in fact I barely noticed the gloom of the room.
I could feel myself passing through it like air, the room no longer portrayed how I felt. I was called and greeted by the same female doctor who had been assigned to me when I was in hospital. Wearing a bright red over coat she lit up the room and welcomed me with her characteristic big smile once again, asking how I was and leading me into a room.
We spoke about lots of things and I could sense having an open, two-way conversation with a patient was a rare thing for these practitioners, not only discussing my progress but also life and how she was. She explained that the surgeon wasn’t here as there was no need and the results had come back fine. I was free to go and carry on getting well. The elation of what these words actually meant only really hit me some time later.
The appointment had seemed like the make or break check-up, and I could now start to let go of the hospital, all the pain and confusion that had gone with it, and focus on full recovery and living my life.
I handed the doctor my last card and asked she made sure all the theatre team saw it. I wanted to give her a big hug as I felt the need to share the overwhelming joy I felt from the news, but it seemed as though it would have been deemed inappropriate, so I smiled and walked out on Cloud Nine. If I could have jumped up in the air I would have with a Tigger style bounce.
I went to Tiana’s office to meet her afterwards and catch the bus home together. She asked how it all went and I told her how incredible I felt and the wonderful discussions I had with the nurses on each ward. Learning over I rested my head on her shoulder and tears of joy gently fell from my eyes and made their way down my face.
I MADE IT.