It’s only a porta-cath they’re putting in. After a double mastectomy this will be a cinch! Half an hour on the table, a little slit here, a tube shimmying down a vein there, a mini R2D2 installed under the skin, how tough can it be? With a devil-may-care smile bordering on the seductive: ‘Do I need a general anaesthetic? Would a sedation do?’ I asked the alarmingly handsome anaesthetist and his ex-bikie, bandanna-wearing nurse. Impressed with my bravado he checked with the surgeon. I like to think she said something like: ‘This woman is strong and sensible let’s give it a go’. As the story goes the trouble started on the operating table when I tried to assist in the insertion of the vital tube with both hands and babbled incoherently while my legs danced to an inner music better known to old scottish sailors! ‘Knock her out completely!’ cried the surgeon. Two hours later, after veins with sharp corners had been encountered, a squeaky-clean ultra sound had worked overtime and I had been stood on my head to more precisely position the device, I emerged porta-cath in place with more respect for the complexity of the procedure, wiser about the value of a general anaesthetic and ready to audition for Cirque du Soleil.