- Preparing for your next surgery.
Your new doc tells you that he needs to chop more bits out of you – not just a few bits but lots of bits. Heck, you are going to end up neutered like the family dog! You resign yourself to the inevitability of ending up half the filly you used to be. You ask him if, with the loss of bits that make you female, you are going to grow a beard and if your biceps are going to resemble those of one of those body builder dudes. He just laughs.
But! Before chopping out more bits, he wants you to have a CAT scan, just to make sure he doesn’t have to cut even more bits out. You front up to the CAT scan place. The CAT can dude tells you that he can’t scan you until you have your kidneys tested with a blood test. He sends you off with directions to the Leech department of the hospital. He tells you to turn right at the end of the corridor and you can’t miss it. WRONG! After wandering along corridors up floors, down floors and around in a few circles you give up and ask someone. That someone points to a door next to him. It is the Leech Dept. Oh good grief!
A phlebotomist (I just used that word soze you know that I can spell it, without resorting to spell-check!) lady tries to find a vein. You squeeze and she punches but no vein shows itself. You explain that many, many people have tried and failed to find your veins. She takes a deep breath and plunges the needle in. It’s a miracle! That needle goes straight into the invisible vein. You congratulate her. She says that sometimes she just has to have faith, because she knows that anatomically there must be a vein in that spot. You leave, very impressed with her expertise and wishing her that the rest of her day will be filled with big bulging veins to attack. She giggles.
Back at the CAT scan place you wait until they get the blood test results to say your kidneys are functioning perfectly. The CAT scan dude tells you to pop into a cubicle and change into a purple paper gown. There are both purple and blue paper gowns in there. You wonder why the gown has to be a specified colour – so they don’t confuse you with some other test? But why purple? You finally twig to their twisted reasoning. They are going to pump an iodine compound into your blood and when iodine is heated and sublimates, it produces wonderful clouds of purple gas – the exact same colour as the paper gowns!
It is then that you realise that the gown you have donned, doesn’t quite cover all your embarrassing bits. Bending over slightly so it covers your front bits and clutching the ends at the back you sidle crabwise over to the waiting room area and sit down with your legs tightly clamped together. There are other people here also wearing purple gowns, but unlike yours, their gowns are a respectable size and leave everything to the imagination. You wonder why you got caught with the short straw, so to speak.
The CAT dude calls you in to stick a cannula in you. You sidle crabwise again, trying not to give everyone a full view of your nether regions, but you fail. The CAT dude pokes and prods but fails to get a line in your paw with a cannula. He is starting to look desperate when he sees the dressing that the leech lady left on your arm. He rips it off and shoves in the canula with relief. The bleeding cheat used the same hole!!
Now it is your turn in the CAT gadget. The CAT gadget is a strange shiny silver donut which you get slid in and out of while it talks to you and tells you when to breathe. At least it doesn’t bloody well beep at you! Two radiologist ladies tell you that they are going to shove the iodine into your cannula and you will feel a rush of warmth through your body. You thank them because it is a freezing winter day and the warmth will be most welcome. It is, but unfortunately it only lasts a few seconds. With that over, you are helped up and the nice ladies try to cover your personal bits. They tell you that you must have selected a child size gown by mistake. BAH!
Finished with that, you pay the bill. You are now over $700 poorer, but you do get your very own CD with pictures of your innards on it. 🙂
- The Big Surgery
It’s another 6.30am start at the hospital. You are all prepared. Your boss has kindly offered you the loan of his GoPro camera with the chest harness, so that you can film your op. You decline his obviously self-interested offer – the sick bugger!! You are sterile from head to foot (especially foot!!!), because you have washed yourself in chlorhexidine. No crevice has been left unwashed! You get led into a waiting room to wait. You are dying for a cup of coffee. You are also busting to go to the dunny to err “open your bowels” as they say in hospital parlance. You have become very bowel-conscious in the last week since reading all the pre admission literature the hospital sends you. That is because in every paragraph of every piece of literature you are given, there is a stern warning about not getting constipated and how you must move your bowels every day after your op.
Well, at this very moment you are more concerned about moving your bowels now, before the operation – because otherwise you dread them moving all by their own selves, whilst you are unconscious on the operating table!
Someone comes to collect you and you get to relieve your bowel anxiety. You are placed in a curtained off cubicle with a TV of course! There are rows of these cubicles on both sides of the corridor, which are full of patients like you. It rather resembles the holding pens for animals at the Coliseum. One by one the other inhabitants are led off to the arena for the ritual slaughter. Not you, though. This time you have drawn another short straw and your surgery is not till the afternoon. It’s not bad though, as there is the TV and a stream of hospital visitors to come in and ask for your name and date of birth, to keep you distracted.
Finally it is your turn and you are in the holding bay. There is a new nurse on duty there. She comes running over to you. You look at her and she looks at you. It is your bleeding niece!!! She didn’t know you were having surgery and you didn’t know she was working here. She gives you a hug as you are wheeled into theatre, to the surprise of other hospital staff.
Once again you are staring at the ceiling. This time you can see how close it is cuz you still have your glasses on. You keep your head down. You are about to ask what sort of elevation device the other normal height staff use, but you don’t get a chance. You go clunk.
Note that with this operation the surgeon bores a hole in your belly button (you hope it is lint-free – your belly button that is) and shoves a bicycle pump down it and pumps your belly up with CO2 gas. The gas is to make your innards float around and separate so that the surgeon can find the bits he wants to look at easily and chop out. An inner tube patch is stuck over the hole so the gas doesn’t escape causing you to take off and fly round the room bleeeeaaaaaaarrrrrrting like balloons do when you release full ones. You should also hope that your surgeon is not colour blind and short sighted and mistakes a helium gas cylinder for a CO2 one 😉
Hours later you are in your own room in the hospital. You notice a distinctly tender part round your right eyebrow. Maybe you did hit your head on the ceiling of the operating theatre, whilst resembling a balloon 😉 You are tied to the bed rails by tubes and cables. There is a mask over your face so you can’t scream for help, you surmise. One of the tubes you are attached to comes from a bag hanging on a hook full of liquid. The tube goes into your cannula, up your arm and down your innards and exits your body at your urethra. It ends up in another bag tied to the bottom of your bed. When the top bag gets empty it beeps madly and a nurse comes and replaces it with a full bag. She periodically empties the bottom bag. You just hope they don’t fill the top bag with the contents of the bottom bag;)
Your legs are also tied to the bottom of the bed by another weird contraption. This contraption has tubes which are connected to leggings. The contraption rhythmically squeezes each leg in turn and vibrates. It them releases the stranglehold on each leg with a very loud and prolonged fart. This is actually A GOOD THING, because it disguises your own almost continuous flatulent emissions. You see what goes in has to come out – in this case CO2 gas. You are thankful you are in a private room, where no one else will be disturbed by your emissions.
The vibrating farting leggings.
Now, about this hospital. It is not just any hospital. It has to be the best hospital in the state of Wozland. The rooms are comfy and you have your own en suite. And the meals – did I mention the meals? They are 5 star meals and nothing like customary hospital meals. Each day you are provided with the day’s menu with a very large choice of yummies for each meal. You are very pleased that the next day when your nice new doc comes to see you, he agrees to let you stay another night. This is A GOOD THING for two reasons:
- You are absolutely knackered because you have had no sleep since the night before last (not the hospital’s fault – it is just you and anaesthetics), minus the few hours in theatre.
- You are very partial to one of the selections on the menu for the evening meal.
The staff, as mentioned before, are all, without exception, very friendly and caring and all have a good sense of humour. This latter was most important as witnessed by the sphygmomanometer (yes I can spell that too without spell-check too!!) incident…
You see every couple of hours the nurse comes and takes your BP and pulse. Soon you raise your right arm automatically for her as soon as you see her. Well, it just so happened that one time she was doing this, that she had just stuck the cuff on my arm and had moved away to check something else. The cuff blew up as expected, but then it exploded and shot through the air with a loud bang and the BP machine started screaming like a banshee.
“I think I have just broken it,” I mumbled at her.
She was too busy laughing;
“I’ve never seen one fly through the air like that before!” she giggled.
It was quite a spectacular show.
The nights were taken over by Scotland – or rather in the form of a jocular Glaswegian nurse. She told me that patients often mistook her as Irish. Good grief!
She gives you your first shot of rat poison (yeah OK, I know it is not warfarin, but it has the same effect!!).
“It’ll just be a wee prick,” she tells you.
You are tempted to say that “Size matters”, but you refrain. She has probably heard that line a thousand times before.
Alas all good things come to an end and you are turfed out into the cold hard light of day. No longer to be treated like royalty with your every wish and demand met by willing servants and no more 5 star gourmet meals. What happened to the good old days where patients were kept in hospitals for weeks? BAH!!
Much much later, at home, you finally manage to remove the inner tube patch stuck over your belly button. What do they use as adhesive – super glue?!! You look at your belly button. It looks different. Heck! It looks really different! Wait a minute – this is NOT your belly button! They have swapped your belly button for somebody else’s!
THERE IS SOMEONE IN PERTH AT THIS VERY MINUTE – WALKING AROUND WITH MY BELLY BUTTON!