Thursday, 27 May 2010

In hospital

It's hotter than hot in the hospital, I've chosen the hottest day in the year so far. I'm so thirsty. The doctors and nurses are suffering in the heat. I've been fine, waiting, it's when they call you into the cubicle to strip off that it starts getting real. The surgeon comes by briefly to draw on you, the nurses check your records, the anaesthetist talks you through the process. All women. You sit in the TV room idly reading your book, it's quite absorbing, but you jump up the instant they call your name.

The nurse is small, blond & pretty. “I've just come to check you're ready for theatre.” She chats to put you at ease. “Jump up on the trolley.” What do you do? Oh, you work with kids. What age? Are they cute? They talk about the weather, the anaesthetist is Indian, they talk about the heat in Kerala. Have you ever been to India? All the time they're adjusting things, inserting the canula in your hand (“Sharp scratch” she says). When the anaesthetic hits it's like a cloud, a snowstorm shaken up suddenly, blooming from the back of your head. “Starting to feel sleepy...” Mmm hmm, I say, almost feel rude at no longer participating in our conversation. There's no need to count back from 10, I'm out.

I'm dreaming about work, I'm teaching in class. “Wake up Anne!” says the Chinese nurse urgently. Shit! I fell asleep at work! I wake up with a start and want to leap out of bed, but there's something on my face, something in my hand, a dull pain like a siren going off in my left side. Blink, blink, I'm trying to blink the anaesthetic away. How strange, my body has just gone through something that my mind has no knowledge of – how I must have been wheeled out of that room, into the theatre, undressed, operated on, stitched up, wheeled back like a rag doll – all totally unaware, whilst dreaming of something else. They said you might feel tearful, I don't cry but almost, having a moment of gratitude that it's all over. When my sister comes by I'm eating a sandwich ravenously. A nurse I saw before surgery spots me "So soon!" she says.

Hurrah for the NHS.

13 comments:

  1. Hurrah indeed!!!

    You normally have a restricted view when you go to the Theatre though don't you?

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  2. Tee hee! Good punning, Rog!

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  3. Are you as right as rain now then? Hurrah for you!

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  4. Work? They must have given you the non-hippy anaesthetic.

    The NHS is great.

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  5. Yes, I felt a bit cheated Geoff, should have got some good psychedelic dreams in at least...

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  6. Brilliantly discribed Annie, and v.glad that's all done and dusted. Huzzah & hurrah for the NHS!

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  7. Hurrah for the NHS, indeed! Take your time recuperating.

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  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed that sandwich! Here's to a steady and full recovery.

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  9. Thanks Em. Me too!

    Thanks Ian!

    Arabella, it was the Best Sandwich Ever.

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  10. Re-reading.
    I haven't ever thought about anesthetic much. Your comments on it though, make me think of mercy - it's a bit awesome.

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  11. It is! I'm fascinated by the whole thing, and the doctors who specialise in that.

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  12. And why surgeons don't get the title Doctor, too?

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