25 June 2006

baby got back (aka, Richard's point counterpoint)

straight from the horse's mouth, Richard provides a blow-by-blow account of his back story, so that whoever reads this gets the full scope of things. see my back-ground post below.

Up at 5am to get to the hospital for 6am.

Arriving there we get lost and mistakenly get into the elevator. "No - first floor", the Dr tells us. Back down we enter the reception to be told that our first inclination was indeed correct and we should have been on the 5th floor.

On the 5th, we follow signs to the reception. This turns out to be a room about 12' x 9' with 9 chairs and a phone. Except I don't see the phone and have to be told "Hey, the phone's there"

So many patients needing 6am surgery, so few chairs! There's a guy with breathing tubes up his nostrils (where else would they be?) who gives up his chair for a fat old lady (I think it was fat old lady day at the hospital - ahem).

6.15 and I'm called thru' by Mary Ann. Nice woman, looks like the American off of Absolutely Fabulous.

Told to strip and bag my clothes and confirm I want a private room afterwards. I say "Sure" and then she says "You know how much it is don't you?" I have no clue but ask for the room anyway.

Next in. Anaethesiologist. Looks like Kevin Pollack. Nice enough. He IV's me up and starts hydrating me.

Next. Sean the Dr's PA. Nice guy. But he wears too much shit on this belt loop.

Next Dr Kim comes in. We slap each other with the hot mops, he says hi to Anne. The nurse makes an Anne Taylor joke.

Dr Kim tells me there will be students in there watching, but not to worry only he will be doing the surgery. Did not need the confirmation but was happy none the less.

Next some nurse with red plastic shoes. "Hi I'll be in there too".
Me: "Is there any room?" She stares at me. That freaks me out. I'm hardly the most attractive person but especially with a hair net on.

I now have the heart monitor shit on. That makes me think of chest hair removal in less than 24 hours

7.15. Alone with Anne and happy.

7.25. 5 mins to surgery and the anaethesiologist comes back. "Everything OK?" he asks. "It might be in my head but I think I need to pee real bad" I reply.

He unhooks the IV and leads me through the ward (probably ass out). The longest pee ever.

5 mins later they wheel me into surgery and I'm out before I leave the ward.

Later ...

I come round and go back to sleep again. 6 times. My room isn't ready (WTF - Motel 6?). I stay in 'recovery'. The Doc swings by. so does Anne. I notice they have left the blue plastic band around my arm to get a vein for the blood test. I think it's been there for 2 hours. No blood in my lower arm!

Finally to my room ... at the other side of the fucking hospital. Bumps, elevators, blinding sun, but finally here I am. Room 911.

No Twin tower motif, or even emergency services theme for that matter. As they wheel me in I notice the nurse. The guy wheeling me in smiles as if I was checking her out. With a 12" tube down my knob that's the last thing I'm doing.

Anne arrives, as does the room service phone call. No need to tell Zagat about the food at Beth Israel. It's shit.

As I'm tucking into the saltiest soup I've ever had, my room-mate arrives. Costantinos is a 258lb 62yr old Greek with a cancerous stomach tumor that has just burst. Bummer. That's just depressing. I'm trying to recover here people. (He's fine don't worry)

I watch soccer in Spanish.

First Dr Kim, know my nurse is called Kim. Nice nurse, bad root job. Pills, tubes, IVs.

PCA! Patient Controlled Analgesia. Love that shit. Push the jeopardy button and get morphine.

6pm and Costa goes to surgery. Ah! alone again, great window view and the sun is setting. I eat a Kit Kat.

7pm - Kim adjusts the bed and IV, but the catheter gets stuck in the bed and literally "tugs" me. Ouch.

9pm. Time to walk. I hold the IV while Kim holds the bag of piss. Sorry, I'm obsessed with the whole catheter thing. Anne goes home. Patience of an angel that one.

10pm. The hospital assistant empties the piss bag

Midnight. Imagine a wine bottle with a cork that goes to the base of the bottle. That's what it feels like to have the nurse take out the bladder tube

4am. I need to go. My new nurse is a sista and I think she thinks I'm sticking it to the black woman. She doesn't come and 1/2 hr later when I buzz again she gives me 'tude. Even worse I can't go, so it's just a wasted trip for her. We take a walk instead, and I try to raise the profile of UK/US/African relations. Fail. Miserable bitch.

4.30. WTF, I'm drifting into memory bliss and Costa comes back from surgery with his weeping wife and polite son (he wished me goodnight at 1am). Costa snores like a bastard.

Anne shows up at 8am. The Dr's PA Sean shows up and says I'm fine. Kim's back and she thinks I'm fine. Just need Dr Kim to say so. Notice Korea are playing in the World Cup this morning. Dr Kim doesn't show. Obviously football is more important than my spine. Korea win.

I'm wheeled downstairs by Josephine. What a nice name. I'd call my next cat that if I had one.

Get home. Hell begins. The first 24 hours were horrific. Half paralysed, in pain whether I stand, sit or lay. I wanted to be shot.

But it's got better since. It still hurts like hell to move, but I have a walking stick and puzzle books.


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