It is not impossible that Isita will come home at the end of the week. The first few days after the operation were rocky, as we had been warned they would be. But the most dangerous potential complications have been overcome.
To start with, the doctors had to work hard to get her fluid balance right. Her system was in shock and so retaining fluid, her bowels were not functioning, she was lying quite flat, and because she was in pain her breathing was shallow. All these things were expected but caused her to collect some fluid in her lungs.
So just before the weekend, Isita was breathing with the oxygen mask, the doctors were tightly managing her fluids, and we were cajoling her to do physiotherapy exercises like blowing bubbles into a bottle. She didn’t want to, but she has grit. Having complained and turned her head away, she pulled herself together and pursed her lips together and blew.
I am sure that part of her motivation came from her memory of the last time she needed oxygen after an operation. A year ago last October she was much sicker and the crisis took her to the intensive care unit (ICU), one of the most terrible experiences of the whole treatment.
Last Friday we were visited by a pair of clinical specialists – some of the most senior nurses in the hospital – cheerful, brisk, super-efficient and kind, but also the storm petrels of the ICU. They make the call when a patient has to go downstairs to level 3. We had a nervous night, but by Saturday it was clear that Isita was not taking that journey. She has done better every day since. Now we can all breathe more easily.