Friday, 30 May 2008

Musical patients

It was an odd experience, being a day patient for surgery. I didn't know what to expect so jogging along the corridor next to an equally unfit theatre nurse really didn't strike me as odd.

I had spent the previous hours irritating Tracey and Bethan in the waiting room with my version of humour. Nurse DeAth separated patient from anxious relative before the double doors at the end of the waiting room. I kept waiting for my turn to play victim but it never came.

Eventually a very stressed nurse appeared carrying a sheaf of papers and shouted my name. She ushered the three of us into a small room and asked me lots of medical type questions, identical to the ones I had been asked the day before when I turned up for a pre surgery consultation. As she was already showing signs of stress I decided to play the game properly and answered most questions correctly. Relieved that she had found me she made me change into my very fashionable surgical gown and dressing gown.

Tracey was ordered to take all valuables off me but I managed to keep hold of my MP3 player, even when I was told I wouldn't need it as I was just about to go to surgery. It became obvious that the only way they would get it from me was to prise it from my cold dead fingers. They gave up and and I was told to go and wait in the waiting room again. Nurse DeAth reappeared and it was finally my turn to brave the ordeal of the double doors. I went through and as I suspected the double doors didn't lead to surgery, they led to more chairs.

The NHS has taken a leaf out of the theme parks books in this respect, they make you queue for the real queue to the attraction. So just when you think you are getting close you discover a whole new world of queueing misery ahead. So I was sat next to an assortment of outpatient cases in various stages of undress. Better than my last experience of surgery when I was left in the main public waiting room of the hospital sat in a wheel chair in my underpants and bleeding onto the floor.

I plugged myself into the MP3 and tried to forget the hunger pains. Now I am a big lad, a healthy eater, and I enjoy a big breakfast most mornings so had to starve myself for the operation. In a masterpiece of planning the waiting room, full of starving pre operative patients also contained the theatre staff kitchen, so a host of hungry nurses and doctors appeared while I listened to Metallica and made themselves sandwiches, soups and hot drinks.

A registrar appeared and confirmed my personal details which were remarkably similar to the questions I had been asked about two albums ago. I complied and answered, this time signing the form.

I was starting to feel strange, very sleepy in fact, my mind was drifting away with the music and I was having imaginary conversations with animals from Rock HQ. An anxious goat disrupted my daydream, I looked around the waiting room, a few patients sat around were giving me funny looks. Had I been talking out loud?

Metallica gave way to Mike Oldfield in my headphones and I settled back in the chair for some more goat conversations confident that the drugs they had given me were having no effect whatsoever.

Another nurse appeared carrying the form I had just signed and asked me the questions again and asked if the signature was mine.

She left.

Mike Oldfield became Do Me Bad Things.

A very upset nurse appeared, "Are you Tony?" she asked

I nodded

"I am glad about that" she said

"So am I" I replied

"Quick, follow me they are waiting for you" she turned and jogged off along the corridor.

Luckily she was nearly as big as me so I was able to keep up despite my drugged up state of mind. We raced along the passageways dodging the giant pink elephants and white rabbits emerging out of the walls. Finally she shoved me through a doorway where a complete surgical team were ready and waiting. Everything was in place, except me. The surgeon patted the empty bed in encouragement "Glad you could make, I was beginning to think you weren't going to turn up" I sat on the bed and tried to catch my breath and tried to speak "Never mind that" he continued,"what are we doing today?"

I lay down as instructed, "I was hoping you would remember"

"Ah yes, arm, metal, its coming out, not all, but most, no you cant have it, health and safety things you see, God there was a time when we gave people whole limbs back, not anymore, not even allowed to give you a screw"

I looked at him in his surgical gear, him giving me a screw was a scary thought. The anesthetist started to up the medication. I protested, cant I have it done under local anesthetic, "No you can't, silly idea, it would hurt too much"

As I started to tell the surgeon he only wanted me unconscious so I wouldn't know what music he was playing during the operation I was told to wake up.

As quick as that.

I had checked the clock as I went in, my conversation with the maniac with the scalpel had been over an hour and a half before being told to wake up in the post operative room. This was production line surgery that Henry Ford would have been proud of.

My arm felt odd but apart from that I was fine, oh and thirsty I was definately thirsty, and hungry, very hungry.

So the operation was very successful.

Nurse DeAth made me a cup of tea which by hospital standards was quite good.

Tracey and Beth came to fetch me and were surprised at how lively I was.

In fact I have heard Tracey telling our friends who phoned about me that I was still annoying so I must be getting better.


faye said...

I can't stop laughing!!!!

Tony said...

Bless you :)