I woke up at Ridiculous O’Clock on the morning on the transplant (Day Zero). It was so f>cking freezing in my room so I cuddled up in the tightest foetal position I could manage. If I’d known it was going to be the last time my belly would be pain free for a while I would have made more of an effort to do that thing I love the most; lie on my front.
As an aside, I last night dreamt that I slept on my belly. I must be missing it lots.
At Half Past Ridiculous a nurse shone a torch in my face to wake me up. You need to have a shower, she whispered (I know not why she whispered; I had a room to myself) waving a bottle of MRSA-busting shower gel at me. I dutifully showered and put on the hospital gown she’d given me. Then I sat on the edge of my remade bed, dangling my feet and watching an early morning omnibus of Coronation Street. Eventually, the nurse returned and popped my sexy stockings on for me. Look, you can free your toes and wiggle them if you want, she said. Oh, nice! (sarcasm)
My room was like Piccadilly Circus for the next hour or so. Another nurse came in to weigh me, take my blood pressure, repeat ad nauseum all the questions I’d already been asked the night before … Vampire King took more blood, the research nurse cuffed me again and Hugo the surgeon popped in to say a cheery Hello! and enquire as to whether I had any questions about the surgery. The research nurse took me to see Blokey and we smiled nervously at each other. The research nurse gave me a hug. I just felt bewildered.
Mr Anaesthesia and his brightly coloured dotty socks was the last person to come and see me. He was fabulous, although far too chirpy for Not Nearly Quite So Ridiculous as Ridiculous O’Clock. He made me laugh, which was perhaps his intention.
They made me lie on my bed and off we went! Through the ward, along the corridor to the lifts, down the lift, along the corridor, through a door, along a dark foreboding corridor and into the pre-surgery room. Along the way I watched the people watching me. It was … interesting …
It becomes a bit of a muddle at this stage. I remember thinking that this was my very last opportunity to back out as the theatre nurse put a cannula into my hand (this one won’t be here when you wake up; it’ll be a bigger one, she smiled) and made me tell her what I was going into theatre for. This struck me as a bit odd … didn’t they know?! D’oh! I was surrounded by four surgeons (Blokey’s two had popped in to wave at me), Mr Anaesthesia and a student nurse from the transplant ward. She hadn’t actually asked me if she could watch, but I’m not sure if I’d already signed my dignity away in that respect. Then they all left and the theatre nurse took me into the operating room.
Okay, so I admit to being both disappointed and gobsmacked, possibly in equal measures. It wasn’t like it is in Holby City. Granted, I was flat on my back, but it was full of stuff. FULL! There were hundreds of machines which were whirring and beeping merrily and everything was a boring grey colour. I think I was expecting it to be prettier.
The theatre nurse helped me move from my bed onto the operating table. Then she laughed. Do you know you have your gown on back to front? She asked. Oh! So, five or so nurses, four surgeons, one Mr Anaesthesia, a couple of porters and a plethora of hospital staff in corridors and not a single one of them could be bothered to tell me that I should have had my gown on the other way?! Did I feel like an idiot? Oh yes. She helped me out of it and redressed me. As she did so, two twelve year old boys came into the room. They’re student doctors, she informed me. Do you mind them observing the operation? I didn’t, but it was nice to finally be asked.
Mr Anaesthesia smiled down at me as they secured me into place. You’ll probably start to feel a little strange now, he said. A few seconds later he asked me how I felt. A bit drunk, I mumbled, as the room was spinning. He nodded in agreement.
And then I started choking.