I settled into a room alone. This had the advantage of letting me lie awake all night for regular rounds of reading, TV watching, and worrying without disturbing anyone else. Besides visits from my surgeon and anaesthetist, a variety of hospital staff - cardiologists, physiotherapists, dieticians, people bearing monitors, needles, questionnaires, jugs of water, newspapers, menus and good wishes all came through the room. Did I need anything? How was I feeling? Anything they could do? If I ignored the fact that someone was about to saw through my chest, I may have been deluded into thinking I was at a five-star hotel.

In the morning, ritual preparation for surgery began. I didn't feel particularly great prior to the operation; illness, worry, hunger, and unattractive theatre attire were all contributors. There were a few interesting experiences along the way.

An energetic nurse bounced into the room brandishing a razor. "I've come to shave your chest!" she announced with enthusiasm. I looked at her momentarily, blinked and then looked down at my chest. I know I was facing life-changing surgery, but did not think it extended to gender. She stared at me for a minute, examined my hairless, and not breastless chest, and departed.

There must have been a shaving quota on that day, because another nurse came in to shave my left arm in preparation for the insertion of cannulas, injections, tubes, and whatever else is required. Apparently, a hairless arm is less likely to encourage infections. Good! I didn’t want any golden staph leaping on my unsuspecting forearm hairs and having some kind of bacterial bash. When I did finally go to theatre the cannulas, injections, tubes, and whatever, were promptly inserted in my right (unshaved) arm. Another medical mystery.