Well, at about 11.30 I called the hospital and they told me that he was still in surgery. This was a lot later than planned and so naturally I started to think that something had gone horribly wrong. Left a request that the hospital call me as soon as he was put in the recovery room. No problem, they said.
12.30, 1am, 1.30... I was starting to really let me mind go to wild places. Widow with three kids, eight months pregnant, nightmare stuff. At 2am I thought 'bugger this' and called. The night nurse said she had not wanted to call in case she woke me up. Gasp in amazement to think that anyone would a) be able to sleep while their husband had his back cut open or b) that they would be so angry to be woken up for 2 minutes to be told their spouse was OK that she was afraid to call. Decided that she had probably just forgotten!
It turns out that the operation had been more complicated than expected. Instead of three hours, it had taken five because once inside the spinal canal they had found a lot more scar tissue from his previous operation 11 years ago. This has caused his nerve to become fused to the side of the canal, and made it immoveable. The surgeon had been planning to move the nerve to the side to take out the disc.
Luckily, he was able to spot a tiny piece of the slipped disc from a different angle, and pulled the whole hernia out in one go (which was extremely lucky I think). He told my husband that he had removed a piece of disc the size of a small chipolata sausage. Ugh!
So relieved that the operation is over. So far there are no signs of post-operative infection or anything nasty like that. Husband is very woozy, but even on the first day, was able to stand with the help of the physiotherapist and sit for a short while. Amazing.