Five minutes after my last post entitled ‘Bored, bored, bored’, a press gang arrived in my room and things started moving pretty quickly. Having kept me hanging around all day, they were obviously now in a rush to get home. I was frogmarched down to theatre, closely followed by my bed. At least the nurse leading the gang tied my surgical gown properly otherwise the neighbours might have had cause to complain about my cheeky passing.
Having arrived in the prep room I was yet again asked to prove my identity and, for the hundredth time, I refused to give them anything more than my name, rank, and number. If the anaesthetist couldn’t remember who I was, it was odds on that she wouldn’t remember my insistence that I slept throughout the whole process. I immediately reminded her and her team of my threats. I didn’t think I was particularly worried about proceedings but my pulse gave me away. Having been hooked up to various monitors and the volume set to ‘extremely loud and humiliating’, it quickly became noticeable that my pulse increased markedly whenever the anaesthetist came near me, and it positively raced when the needle was stuck into the back of my hand and a sedative squirted in. I was then instructed to sit sideways on the edge of the trolley, hug a pillow, and thrust out my lower back so that a gap opened up between my vertebrae into which a needle could be inserted! Listening to the pinging of the monitor, it was apparent that at this stage of the proceedings, my heart rate was well past usually fatal levels.
I was then laid onto my back before I keeled over, and there followed a period of being brutally pinched until it was announced that I ‘was cooked’. I do remember that I was so cold and clammy that they couldn’t stick down any of the numerous needles (well, one) and I awoke with a couple of metres of tape wrapped around my left hand. I am not as brave as I thought I was, clearly. Shortly after, a mask was placed over my mouth and nose and I was wheeled into the theatre.
The next thing I remember after getting a jolly greeting from the Great Man himself, was someone bellowing ‘Michael! Michael!’ in my ear. I was confused at first because only my mother calls me ‘Michael’ and it took me a while to realise that I was in the recovery room. Looking around, I observed that I was the only patient in there and that the nurses were looking pointedly at their watches: ‘It’s time to go home’, mouthed one of them, tapping her watch to reinforce the point. That explained the bellowing to wake me up. Judging by the fact that I had no recollections of anything, the anaesthetist had obviously taken my threats seriously. I hope I snored throughout.
I got back to the ward at 9.45pm and felt well enough to ring up The Unfeeling One and my Mum. On a roll, I was about a quarter of the way through my contacts list, when the Great Man turned up and announced that it had gone splendidly. Once he left, I expected to go straight to the Land of Nod but found myself wide awake wondering how to fill my time. Just after midnight, having consumed a ham salad sandwich, a bowl of fresh fruit salad and copious amounts of black tea, I got out my iPad and started my Christmas shopping. This activity continued until about 0630 with regular interruptions for observations and more pinching of my lower limbs to see if they were coming alive. It was a great relief when I found I could wiggle my toes but that relief was as nothing compared to the relief I felt when my bladder started to cooperate. I had been threatened with a catheter but it was felt by the anaesthetist to be unnecessary ‘because you are so young’. What a lovely lady. The implication, of course, is that if you are a bit older than me, you could expect to have one fitted. My advice would be to ensure that it is inserted whilst you are fast asleep.
Following a light breakfast, I felt it prudent to check my inbox to see if I had made any silly or expensive purchases. As it turned out, I had only made two all night. One email, timed at 0327, was confirmation of an order I had placed for large bouquet of flowers to be delivered to The Unfeeling One at her place of work. She has been terrific throughout and I hadn’t really appreciated how worried she has been. I had to delay publishing this post as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise of me actually showing some appreciation of her. Right, enough of the slushy stuff and back to the main subject: me.
Having always had a general anaesthetic (this was about my 14th operation), I was quite concerned about injections in the back accompanied by only a sedative. However, I would heartily recommend it. I felt absolutely fine when I woke, managed to eat without any difficulty, and, 24 hours later, I feel remarkably awake and ‘with it’. The anaesthetist and her team were terrific really, and looked after me. They knew that I was more apprehensive than I did myself. And it didn’t even hurt. Any of it. I feel obliged, at this juncture, to point out that this addendum has nothing to do with the fact that said lovely anaesthetist has just been to see me and forced me to give her the address for this blog.
Tomorrow, I will relate the saga of my post-operative recovery which culminated in something not often seen, I suspect, in a nice and shiny private hospital outside of an operating theatre: blood. Kneedyman.