Aha, I hear you cry, it’s the new Star Wars robot.
A prototype car, perhaps?
Nope. It’s me. Or rather, it WAS me two weeks ago.
Neurosurgery ward 2 bay 4, bed D at the Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield.
Clearly a big event in my life, since it has kept me from both blogging and tangling for two weeks, so I’m going to tell you aaaaalllll about it. Alright, I won’t, I promise. Just the amusing bits.
It begins a week before the op, when the loved one decided we should do a recce ready for my admission. The hospital is close to the city centre and the university, so traffic is gruesome and parking is a nightmare. Since I was to be admitted at 07.00 for surgery at 08.30, we decided that he would just drop me off at the door and go home to await news when I came out of theatre. So, on a quiet Sunday morning, a week in advance, when traffic would be at its quietest, we did a practice run to find the right entrance and see where he could drop me off. And it went like clockwork – Road B, Day Surgery Entrance – easy peasy.
Come the day, we left home at 06.00, allowing a full hour for the journey, because we were determined not to be late. The journey took 25 minutes because there were hardly any cars on the road but, since they don’t open the doors for admissions before 07.00, and you can only park for ten minutes because it’s a drop off only area, we wandered around until we found a side street where we could park and sat trying to think of things to talk about that wouldn’t be medical in any way, shape or form. We redesigned the garden of the house we were parked in front of, criticised the paintwork on the one across the road, which had been somewhat neglected and discussed what the loved one would have for his evening meal. (Beef stew, by the way, home made, of course.) I tapped my fingers a lot and slyly checked the clock.
At last we set off up the hill towards the hospital but, to my surprise, instead of turning left at the junction and taking me to the exact spot where he had dropped me before, the erstwhile love of my life turned right along the bottom of the hospital, then left and left again, to approach from the opposite side. I’m sure he had his reasons. I got out of the car looking around me a little bewildered because it didn’t look the same but how could it not be? Must be my memory or my state of nervous tension. I waved him off, took a VERY deep breath (I took a lot of them in the next few hours, believe me.) and walked across to the door, which not only was not open but was piled with chairs and cobwebs and clearly had not been used in a long time. All it needed was tumbleweed… Was this a parallel universe? Nope. It was a parallel road. This was Road A and I wanted Road B but none of the doors were open because it was still before 07.00, so I couldn’t ask.
Eventually, not quite hyperventilating by this point, I found a sign saying Theatre Admissions and followed it to a desk, behind which sat a very nice man who told me I was not on his list. More deep breathing. He did find me on someone else’s list and gave me directions round to Road B and off I went, panicking now because it is 07.03 and I am technically late. Finding the correct desk, I joined a queue, much relieved because you can’t be late if you’ve been waiting in a queue can you?
At this point all the admin process began and I was OK because things were happening. One or two surprises – you don’t need pyjamas because you are in a theatre gown but you do need a dressing gown, which I don’t possess. And you need slippers, which I never wear so I had sandals which they didn’t want me to wear because they were out door shoes in a “sterile” environment. And they give you thick white compression socks to prevent DVT and you have to be measured for them. Measured for socks. Wow. Eventually, after a tussle with said socks, which were resistant to the idea of being worn on chubby little legs like mine, I was walked down to theatre by a twelve year old who turned out to be Theatre Sister.
At this point I really was pretty much hyperventilating and more than willing to make a run for it as per Butch and Sundance if the chance arose. And then they started attaching wires and tubes, which doesn’t worry me all that much, it’s the scalpels that bother me. One thing I have noticed about anaesthetists over the years is that they have a dry sense of humour, which helps me a lot. So, when they asked me “Do you know what you’re having done today?” I replied that I would like a tummy tuck, a little collagen round the upper lip and a Mac n fries. One of them replied that anyone wanting a Mac n fries at that time of day must be really sick and could he refer me for counselling afterwards? I liked him.
And that was that for three or four hours. I came to in my alter ago of N24D shortly before midday, with 22 staples in the back of my neck and off my trolley on various opiates. The loved one appeared for evening visiting and sat with an irritating grin on his face because I kept falling asleep mid sentence. However, he brought me strawberries and cubes of melon, which, since I couldn’t sit up to take a drink and had oxygen tubes up my nose, giving me a mouth as dry as Nevada in July Sorry, had to use Nevada as nowhere in England is ever that dry, not EVER.) , were absolutely joyously received. I forgave him for dropping me at the wrong door that morning. I may never stop reminding him but I have forgiven.
Agreeing that he would return the following evening with some different clothes (for me, not him) and more fruit, he left to wend his lonely way home to an empty house, calling, it transpired later, at the pub on the way. Missing you already? Huh!
Because of the drugs, I didn’t have a bad night except for one surreal experience, which I wondered the following morning if I had dreamt. I was gazing vacantly across the ward at some point in the early hours when I focused on frantic movement in the cot/bed diagonally opposite. (There were four beds in the bay, three occupied.) There were limbs waving about all over the place and odd mewing sounds now and then. In my dazed state I had trouble identifying what limbs were where and suddenly realised that they were mainly legs, one over the side of the raised cot bars and one across the pillow. As I watched, they waggled about in my direction, revealing far more of the lady in question than I was prepared for. It was at this point that, even in my drugged state, I realised there must be something seriously wrong and rang my buzzer for the nurse to come. I wasn’t quite sure how to explain my problem when she arrived but I managed to point mutely across the room. With one bound, she was across the ward, closed the curtains (much to my relief), called for another nurse and did whatever was needed.
She reassured me the following day that it really had happened and the lady in question had accidentally dislodged her intravenous pain relief and was, in fact, writhing in agony, unable to find her own call button, as it had slid down the side of the mattress. All I can say is, I’m glad I didn’t imagine it – I would be worried about an imagination like that!
And that was the end of Day 1. I’ll leave it there for now, although you may be getting hospital tales for weeks to come, as my sense of humour was tickled quite a few times. I’m hoping that I may be able to manage to hold a pen effectively by Monday and have a go at the Diva Challenge. Until then, world, be good – ish.
And I CAN hold a pen, though not well, so I have an excuse for wobbly lines this week. I shall milk it for as long as I can. And the Challenge? Well, I did it, using the pattern Knightstar and thoroughly enjoyed it, only to discover that that was LAST week’s Challenge. Anyway, here it is and I shall add this week’s attempt when the painkillers kick in.
And it’s a tricky Challenge for me, as I find Meer a struggle. Why? You tell me, it ought to be simple but I get the angle of the lines wrong. Anyway, for what it’s worth, just to get back on track, here’s my offering for Challenge 279.