Sunday, May 6, 2012
The last time I was admitted to hospital was when I caught chicken pox at the age of 30. ‘after having some sort of fit induced by incessant barfing, I must not have been a pretty sight for the ambulance men. They may well have considered saving the NHS a few quid by taking me straight to the morgue, but instead whisked me to ‘a and E. There I was questioned, prodded and poked by a series of nurses and junior doctors, none of whom could find much wrong with me, aside from looking like I’d just crawled out of a local cemetery. One doctor, who clearly hadn’t bothered reading my notes, was disturbed by the fact that I was unable to see how many fingers she was holding up. ‘Apparently she had turned quite pale, presumably at the thought of having to break the bad news of my sudden sight loss. This time, at least my visit was pre-planned. I had already had my pre-assessment visit the week before, which I mistakenly thought was to check that I was fit enough for the planned hernia repair. It was only as I sat, somewhat dazed in the waiting area, one of the nurses having just let me head butt a magazine rack, that I realised they were testing my resilience for what was to come. She did reassure me that my head was not punctured, unlike my abdomen, which would be repaired by cutting me open and sticking some sort of mesh patch in there. A bit like mending a flat tyre. I wish she hadn’t used the word tyre...a bit too close to the mark. Fortunately, the staff who looked after me when I was admitted a week later, were a little more careful. In fact, a little too careful for my liking. Once they had decided that I shouldn’t risk walking to theatre so had ordered a trolley, I resisted the temptation to object and point out that my eyes may be f***ed but my legs still work ok. Who knows, they may been protecting me from some particularly vicious magazine racks en route to theatre. The issue of signing a consent form caused some degree of agitation. They were quite keen to get someone to witness the form to make sure no-one had amended it before I signed – not sure what they were expecting – a junior doctor with a sick sense of humour perhaps, crossing out hernia and replacing it with penis enlargement? I should be so lucky. The fact that, if properly guided to put the pen in the right place, I could actually sign my name, seemed to amaze some of them. Anyway, as I sit at home recuperating, which involves not moving very much, apart from to find and consume food, I now wish I had checked with the hospital staff that they were going to put in elasticated mesh. Otherwise I fear I may be back for another puncture repair before too long.