On the morning of the 16th of January 2012, I woke up at 3 a.m. at my goddaughter’s, stressing about the day ahead. But Kara was lying next to me, and I found her presence tremendously comforting. It helped me banish any silly fears, and I soon found sleep again. Before I knew it, it was time to make our way to the hospital. But just as Kara and I were about to have breakfast, I got a message telling me that Abi was about to go into surgery. That led to a mad dash through rush hour traffic.
Thankfully, the original mid-morning appointment was kept, and I got to spend some quality time with Abi. I managed to keep my nervous emotions in check and before Abi was eventually taken down to surgery, we had a lovely time of tickles and films. I wanted her to go into the operation laughing, so I continued the tickles up to the surgery door. I felt terrible afterwards, having deceived her, but I knew I’d done a good thing.
It was horrible watching Abi fight the anaesthetic just before going to sleep, but my hand and her toy guinea pig ‘Pootle’ calmed her while she drifted away.
I promised Abi a present. She asked me to get her a mummy dinosaur, and Kara wanted to get her flowers. We weren’t exactly in consumer mecca, so we had to make do with a potted plant from Morrison’s and some plastic dinosaurs from a pound shop. Then I sat and agonised, waiting for the call confirming that Abi’s surgery had gone well and that she was in recovery. Her Surgeon had told me that the operation would take around four hours, so when four, then five, and finally six hours came and passed, I was a quivering wreck. I managed to stay sane by being Dad 2.0; by blogging nervously, clicking ‘like’ on all the lovely Facebook comments, tweeting updates and responding to emails. I don’t know if all the good-luck wishes helped Abi, but they certainly helped me.
Then, at around 4 p.m., my phone rang. “Hello, Mr Langston. I’m a nurse on the Neurosurgical Recovery Unit. We have Abi here. Surgery has gone well. You may come and see her,” she told me. “Thank you, nurse,” I replied, relieved to hear the good news.
When I went in to see Abi, I was amazed to see her looking comfortable and rested. I was expecting to see her as she was after her first surgery; all bloated from the drugs, with lots of tubes coming out of all sort of places. But this was nothing like that. At that reassuring sight, I shed a tear or two of joy.