It’s over a week since I was discharged from hospital, and I’ve just about contorted myself into a position comfortable enough for typing. Bloody cuts from m’ass to my chest and a torn sheet where my stomach muscles used to be makes it hard to sit. But I can walk reasonable distances.

Three weeks ago today they wheeled the bed from the ward to the lifts, then down to the basement where the surgeons live. Earlier, I had a visit from my anaesthetist, a glamourous young russian woman. Now we were reunited and sitting on the edge of a bed she slipped the epidurial needle into my upper spine. “Now you sleep…”.

That was around 10.30am. At 8pm I came out of theatre and into a recovery room. Indian accents talking to me, waking me, so I spoke about Delhi, probably not very coherently. They allowed A&B to see me at some stage when I was being moved. Their faces seemed to be framed. It was all very confusing. The recovery room I was in had a backstage feel – this is taking the theatre metaphor a bit far I thought but it was all from the flat of my back and through a drugged haze.

I spent the night there with a nurse at my side constantly. Getting into heaven with a personal angel assigned is a close enough description.

The next morning they moved me into the intermediate dependency unit – two nurses to each patient. I spent some time that day sitting in a chair, pain negligible thanks to ongoing epidurial. The days and nights after blurred – I was always in the same bed and position but frequently thought I was in a new room. During the day it was coherent but the nights were a different matter.

One big problem with (any) hospital stay is that lying in bed causes chest infections. Phlegm accumulates in lungs. One problem with a bowel resection is that it’s hard to sit up for any period. Dilemma – do I sit or lie on my side? Or do neither properly more like.

Another little fact about the bowel – touch your guts and they stop working. A reflex or something. Muscles won’t contract anymore, at least for a while.

And so I developed two interesting little setbacks. Even though I was only sipping water it had nowhere to go until I mastered the skill of projectile vomiting. Very Exorcist.

Then my lungs blocked and my oxygen sats wouldn’t rise above 92 (95/96 is required).

Anyway, the first kept me from getting onto the general ward for several extra days, and the second kept me from discharge for two extra days, but it was all still roughly according to expectation.

Surgeons are very satisfied with my wound. They stand around it in admiration like hobbyists. I have to say it is neater than I’d anticipated. They seem to finish it off with some sort of superglue these days. Generally, they are all pleased with my outcome. This has to be good.

Now, only the weakness and lack of energy to overcome.

Next Monday I report back for chemotherapy #2. They say that they have removed all bowel cancer cells and the secondary liver ones, so this is ‘just in case’. Three to six months and a heavy dose of insurance to be sure. As soon as the wounds stop weeping, they start.