Written by Mick
Not only has the writing of these blog posts been a cathartic exercise throughout this journey but so to has the process of acting like observers, rather than feeling like victims. When we first sat and waited in Austin Curtin’s consulting room, Prue’s innate eye for detail had her zoning in on the dishevelled, crammed layout, dated furnishings and paint work from the 80’s. Austin had no sooner walked in when Prue delivered her suggestions re a makeover of the room, to which he replied, ‘It’s all yours’. And she thought she couldn’t market herself! Of course observing is somewhat more challenging when you’re unconscious and the guy’s trawling your gut with a scalpel.
Our latest post-surgery debrief was with Terrence, the young registrar surgeon, the guy brandishing the scalpel in front of the ‘L’ plate. This meeting was always destined to be a biggy. Ten years back it was during such a meeting we learnt that I needed no follow up treatment… no chemo… no radiation …. nothing… job done… Tommy Tumour had left the building… go home and drink Moët till it seeps from your eye sockets (and probably create another Tommy). But Prue’s squatter had settled in, mounting shelves and hanging family portraits along the back passage.
And so, Terrence and his small band of clinical cohorts, whisked us into a cold, sterile procedure room where we stood around a stainless steel trolley listening to Terrence describe what had been done during Prue’s surgery and the subsequent pathology results. It was tantamount to having a job interview in a janitor’s cupboard. Terrence is obviously no slouch on the tools, but he’s certainly devoid of a PH.D. in People Skills. In fairness, we were also in that particular room to have Prue’s bum stitches removed, so it was never going to be a totally happy, shiny occasion.
Terrence sketched how seventeen ‘wall fixings’ had been successfully removed, leaving just one as a reminder of the squatter’s existence. Given the size of the original squatter, follow-up chemo was always on the cards, but we had prayed for a Moet outcome. This was more a Yellow Glen result – yeah, we got bubbles, but you can’t drink the bloody stuff! Having said that, the result was considered to be a very good surgical outcome, and why wouldn’t it be? How would we have felt had those numbers been reversed – one dodgy bit removed and seventeen remaining? We may well have then asked, why did we go through with the surgery? Terrence said that if Prue was much older they would probably forgo further chemo, but given her youth they want to make sure they nail it now. On leaving we thanked Terrence and I shook his hand which, compared to Austin, was like grasping a condom full of lukewarm oil.
From the moment this journey began we have had little choice but to try and remove this invader using every traditional medical strategy available. And we are very fortunate that the medicos in this area happen to be bloody good at rectifying colorectal catastrophes. Yes, we would’ve loved to have gone down the alternate route, but even Handymanning 101 tells you, if you’ve got a blocked dunny, best you don’t try and meditate the shit away. Just call a fucking plumber! So, in a couple of weeks we will meet with Austin to discuss the next chapter of the Tao Of Prue, and probably, if Prue has her way, the surgical gutting of his rooms.