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Women's Talk: After the op Patsy’s on the prowl

I was barely back from the recovery ward when I heard them marching down the hospital corridor like Dad's Army. On hearing their approaching footsteps, my other half escaped to the hospital coffee shop like Houdini. Their presence is enough to put the fear of God in him, you see.

Patsy was dressed up to the nines in a new black and white coat and dangly red earrings to go with a slash of scarlet lipstick. The look was panda bear meets Liz McDonald from Corrie. I knew what she was up to. Equating the hospital with the TV programme Scrubs, she was hopeful of running into a doctor who was single, handsome and ready to take on a whole new world. I didn't like to tell her that those doctors were also running -- as fast as they could away from her.

Josie presented me with a bunch of flowers and enough magazines to keep me in reading material for a year. Maggie plonked a punnet of bright red cherries on my locker. They are not exactly my favourite fruit but they didn't last long as Patsy nervously started to eat them, all the while surreptitiously surveying the ward for lurking medicine men.

Unable to get rid of the stones, she ended up spitting them into an empty bag of salt and vinegar crisps she found in the pocket of her coat.

"You don't look any different," Maggie said, as she perused my face.

"I had a mastectomy, Maggie, not a nose job," I replied.

A doctor arrived and whished the curtain around the bed. "I'm sorry but just the patient," he said to Patsy who was rooted to the spot, staring at him as if he were George Clooney.

The doctor checked my vital signs and my dressing. I had a quick glance but not for long. It frightened me to look at the space where my breast had been a couple of hours earlier. Someone had told me, before I went in, that I may grieve for the missing body part. I had thought to myself I might grieve for a missing limb, but a diseased breast? Surely not. Yet the tug of love had already started.

The doctor pulled the curtain back and they were still there, with Patsy simpering like an old broiler. He managed to escape unharmed.

They hung around for a while talking and making me smile when I felt like bawling and then, like my body part, they were gone. Unlike my body part, however, I know they will be back. I'm not sure which is the more terrifying . . .