Arse, arse, arse.
Mr Genius, the surgeon came to see me this morning.
I was fast asleep, with my head under a pillow, so had to snap into Font of Charm and Knowledge mode - something I don't usually manage until I've had at least one cup of tea.
Mr Genius is my hero. He's got the blackest sense of humour I've ever known. He calls me "Bread and Butter" because IBD patients like me keep him in Tuscan holidays. He's twinkly and irreverent and he knows me well by now. More importantly though, he's the most brilliant surgeon.
I don't get lots of inflammation like lots of Crohn's sufferers, rather I get "strictures". They are fibrous narrowings in the bowel that build up over time until they block the bowel completely. The only treatment is to remove them surgically, but Mr Miller is one of the only surgeons in the country to perform surgical stricturoplasty. He slices along the thickened area and peels it back to reveal healthy bowel. Mr Miller has opened no fewer than 27 of these strictures for me. Using this technique, he doesn't have to take the area away completely (resect it) and I can hold on to most of my bowel. Under another surgeon, I would probably be dead and I certainly would not be able to tolerate food orally and would be sustained instead with a permanent, central line, liquid feed, TPN. (Total Parenteral Nutrition.)
He told me I'd need an operation (I could have told him that 3 weeks ago, but they do like to be in charge.) His next list is the 22nd December.
I am the surgery Queen. I always get discharged 5 days after surgery, the very earliest day allowed, but even I can't get home on day 3.
So what do I do? I only came in when I did because Xmas was coming. I calculated that even with an unprecedented level of cock-up, I would be on the mend and back home before Xmas. Silly me. The first rule of NHS is never assume they can't cock-up more.
The medics are talking about sending me home again while I wait, but my family are dead set against the idea. They are already stretched to breaking point and don't want a repeat of last time. My Mum has an 88 year old disabled husband and is already looking after my two children all day, then rushing home to feed my Dad and get him settled for bed. She can't run up and down stairs all day, bringing me cups of tea and medicines and food as well.
We mused over possibly getting me some community support - perhaps a district nurse or social service support. Most importantly, my GP simply has to do more. At the moment he's kind but ineffectual. He does everything I ask but takes no responsibility at all for my care. If I'm going to be this unwell at home, he will have to take a more active role in managing my medications and backing up the team here.
The only other thought I had was to lie to my 6 year old about the date. We could get him a new advent calendar now and say Mummy and Daddy made a mistake about when to start it. Could we really manage to do Xmas on the 29th without him realising? Surely the telly would give it away even if some well-meaning friend or relative didn't?
Oh well, no point worrying about it now, they might think of something clever long before then.
Yep, surgery definitely booked for 22nd December. I literally have the worst luck in the world don't I? That will be 44 days since I was first admitted. 6 weeks and 2 days. The entire process has never taken more than 5 weeks and despite leaving a week's leeway on top of that, I'm still going to be in hospital on Christmas day.
Now it's confirmed, of course, all I'm thinking about is the boys. How on earth do I manage not to ruin Christmas day for them entirely? I'll be barely able to walk, stuck in bed, with tubes everywhere - up my nose, In my vein and up my BLANK. (Fill in your own word for where the catheter will be "up")
The only brainwaves I've had so far are either :
1) Fib about which day is Christmas day. As I've already mentioned, I could get him a new advent calender and say Mummy and Daddy got the start day wrong and pretend Christmas is actually on the 29th
2) Do Christmas early. As I'll be at home til the 21st anyway, we could explain that Santa made a special call and said Giacomo was so special that he would bring his presents early.
3) We all have a whip round and send me private.
As 1 is probably too risky, and 3 is a joke, I suppose we'll have to go for the second option.
Any other suggestions gratefully received.