06:29am – I took my last sip of coffee and went to prod my husband. As he slowly got ready, I took the hound for a walk around the block. Right, got my bag with dressing gown, slippers, Kindle, portable radio and off we went. My husband completely changes personality when he gets behind a wheel of a car. In that respect we are complete opposites. I shove on Radio 4 and calmly glide around in my car sending everyone within the car to sleep. My husband becomes a man possessed. The road is his and his only. Woe betide anyone who gets in his way. Thankfully as we were making our journey to the QMC at ten to seven in the morning, we wouldn’t encounter too many feud inducing incidents. We were going smoothly until we were five minutes away from the hospital.
“Main Entrance or ENT?”
“ENT, if it’s possible…”
He indicated to turn left into a filter lane. The swanky black Audi didn’t see us and swished by honking its horn. The red rag had now been thrown. We followed the black Audi down the road towards ENT with expletives raining down. The Audi turned into the staff parking area.
“You idiot! That was probably the surgeon!”
My husband went quiet. He pulled round into the drop off zone and gave me my bag from the boot. We hugged and kissed. And off he went to encounter more road rage demons.
I made my way to the lift and waited with a nervous looking couple. It turned out they were going to same ward as me.
“Great minds eh?”
But you could see they weren’t in the mood for jokes. When we got there, we were ushered into a bay. This is where I lost my sense of humour. There were six recliner chairs in bay, each with their own table, chair and cupboard. It was just like chemo. My blood ran cold. I shook myself awake, sat in the chair and tried not to catapult myself out of it by fiddling with its remote control. Once I got into a comfortable seating position I flicked on the Kindle and waited.
After an hour a rather handsome doctor appeared and shook my hand. His name was Roberto and he asked me what I was doing there. I explained. He agreed that what I said was correct. He drew a black arrow over my left eye and left.
About twenty minutes after him, came a jolly anaesthetist. She was a bit concerned. She felt I needed a general anaesthetic rather than heavy sedation. Fine by me. She was also worried about my mouth. It didn’t open very wide. This meant that they wouldn’t be able to put a breathing tube down through my mouth, it would have to go via my nose. Although she didn’t say anything, she left me to draw my own conclusions about this. It didn’t sound pretty…
Finally, a nurse came with a gown, surgical stockings and some red Totes Toastie socks. I changed into these and waited. Then Patrick arrived. He was the porter who would be taking me up to theatre. He didn’t have a wheelchair but said he would walk me up. I put my dressing gown on over my hospital gown and followed Patrick.
“So, what should you be doing now then eh?” he asked
We had quite a detailed conversation about apostrophes, like you do. When we got to the theatre waiting area, there was an annoying American ghost hunter programme on the wall mounted TV. I was about to ask for the remote, when Mrs T appeared, scrubbed up. She seemed in a good mood. Yes, I was going to have a general and she explained in gruesome detail exactly what she was going to do.
After she left, the jolly anaesthetist appeared and took me to a broom cupboard. In the broom cupboard was a trolley surrounded by every drug imaginable. We went through the pre-flight checks and I had a huge urge to go to the loo. I blurted this out and one of the anaesthetist said
“I’m so glad you said that because I’m dying to go too!”
She took me back through some double doors, through a whole waiting room of people to the loos. When we were done, we streaked through the waiting room and back into the broom cupboard. Before I knew it, a cannula had been put in and one of the anaesthetist was coming towards my nose with a long tube.
“Right. We’re going to give you some medication that will make you feel slightly drunk. Then you need to drink this.”
It was some red liquid and it tasted vile. While I was drinking it, they squirted a huge dose of local anaesthetic up my nose. Then came the tube. Then blackness.