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  • Writer's pictureAja McDonald


Five days ago I had checked out of the hospital once I was cleared by my surgeon and nurse.

Discharge paperwork was gone over – meds were prescribed – bandages and wraps were stocked up – backup drain bottle was handed over… you know, the basics of having a breast removed.

Hubby arrived as I waited for the new drain bottle to be checked up on, with a bouquet of red peonies. One of my absolute favourites.

As I continued to try to find words recapping my time between now and the day I was discharged, much has happened. To the point I just could not find the energy to put letters together and form words.

So I will leave you with the words of my husband, updating the GiveALittle page he created in order to help me find the comfort in having time off with no income to secure my rest and daily expenses…

1 Week Home. Recovery so far.. 8 November 2022 So it’s been 7 days (8 now) since Aja had her surgery.💖💝 She’s home, and doing her best to take it easy.. which is a challenge in and of itself. 😅 What a week it’s been; day one of being home included putting down a beautiful bouquet of flowers to remove the non pet friendly ones (Lillies, Mums & Eucalyptus oh my) only for Leo to essentially teleport to the flowers, have a munch and immediately start foaming from the mouth.. so that involved an emergency vet trip, an overnight fluids drip and several hundred dollars in bills.. he’s on the mend, but probably 70-75% of his normal self. Trying to replicate the functionality of the auto raising hospital beds via pillows is a nightmare 🤣 Aja’s side of the bed has literally 10+ pillows and cushions wedged in and around her to form a cocoon of moderate comfort.. always hard to achieve with a wound drain siphoning out your wound-juices. 🧃 Oh, speaking of the wound drain, that’s a whole other story; once Aja is producing less than 40ml of fluid in a 24 period she can get the drain removed.. (usually 7-10 days from surgery) She’s close which is great, but the siphon is regulated by a gentle pressure valve on the collection bottle, we noticed on Sunday eve that Aja’s tube was full of liquid and the valve had popped up, so needed to be replaced (now something we know how to do here, but at the time needed a nurse to do.. Community Nurse team finishes at 9:30pm.. this happened at 9:34pm.. so off to ED at Public.. we get in at 9:45pm, and stand in queue to be triaged.. we get seen at 10:10pm, move to a bed at 10:25pm and then wait til 11:45pm for them to find a replacement drain bottle and someone to attach it.. then LUCKILY the on duty Surgeon comes to have a once over of Aja’s wound and drain to allow us to discharge at 12:35am instead of waiting til after whatever late emergency surgery she was about to go do.. home about 1am.. 🥱 Monday was full of a GP visit and arranging alternate pain relief options, Aja ordered her Lymphoedema sleeve And we even looked briefly at Prosthetics & Wigs in NZ to be slightly ahead of the next steps. 💟 We also had a care package from my work arrive.. a big box full of shower treats, face masks for Aja, self care diaries (for both of us) a beautiful candle, a wheat pack, loads of wee goodies.. that was so very thoughtful and touching. 💝 I have to take my hat off to the Health Professionals we have dealt with, from Aja’s GP, to the Surgeon and his staff, all the incredible Nurses at Mercy & Marinoto, the ED help, the community based nurses.. the care, the understanding, the heart they bring to this process makes it easier. There are days, when the pain is high, or the reality of the surgical process and diagnosis etc weighs fucking heavy.. but having the people fighting with you and helping you be so on point is uplifting. The road ahead is long, we’ve just cleared the first hurdle.. everyone reading this has been a huge part of this with us. 🫶 Your support and time and love give us strength. Aroha nui.

Thank you, husband, for your strength and focus. For being so supportive even when I know you are tired and stressed. For making me a menu to order from whenever I want something and should not be doing it myself. Today, I will start taking my rest more seriously and form a shape of a potato on the couch so I can heal faster and allow you some head space to not be doing everything at once for 24 hours a day.

Leo resting with his mum while recovering together.

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