I arrived home from holiday to discover that whilst I have been away a date has been booked to have a pre op check up – which I have missed. I phone and rebook it and rearrange my plans to be there. I am expecting to be asked the same nonsense 90 or so questions again but in fact it is worse.
‘You’ve been here before, haven’t you?’ said the nurse. It transpires that as the last operation was so recent and due to some admin muddle I didn’t really need to come in for a pre op check. Now I am here she checks my BP, I think to make me feel like it was worth the 25 minute journey. ‘Ah, you’re seeing the lovely Mr F’ she says. I thought it was only me who called him that!
On the day of the operation George drops me off at the hospital and I wait to be called onto the ward. ‘You’ve been here before, haven’t you?’ says the ward clerk as she takes me upstairs. This time though, we turn right instead of left, on to the daycase ward. I feel like it’s a mini promotion.
The nurse comes in to check me in. ‘You’ve been here before, haven’t you’ she says, ‘and you’re seeing the lovely Mr F’.
When Mr F comes in to consent me I say to him ‘ Do you know all the staff call you the lovely Mr F?’. That’s very nice he says, but I wish my patients would call me that. (!)
When the anaesthetist comes in he says ‘ You’ve been here before, haven’t you?’
Yes, I say, and please can we talk about pain relief. The first op, having the metal in was truly hideous and took me weeks to recover. Having the metal out was a walk in the park and I had thought that as this was keyhole it would be straightforward, but the one thing that has been different about this journey through the hospital is that everyone says it will hurt more, he is planning on doing a lot of work in the joint and I should be prepared. My physio tells me that normally after a decompression it is three weeks of pretty bad pain.
In theatre the anaesthetist puts the needle in. I love this bit and I know why pop stars get addicted to it, but before I know it I am in recovery. The Lovely Mr F comes to see me on the ward after the op and I feel really, really unwell and even though I don’t want to make a fuss I mention to him how rubbish I feel. He tells me that is because he has done quite a lot of work in me – and he is sorry but he is not happy, he did not get the movement that he was hoping for from the op.
I sit in the bed, feeling crap, a half eaten egg sandwich in front of me and dressed up like a tit in stockings and theatre gown. ‘That’s OK’ I say, ‘Thank you very much for what you’ve done for me’.
He leaves and the nurse comes in to take my BP. ‘What did the lovely Mr F say?’ she asks.
‘He said’, I gulp, ‘ that it was not great and that he didn’t get much more movement. And I am so upset’, I continue, ‘partly because I feel so much worse than last time, and partly because I know there is nothing more that can be done’.
‘It’s OK’, the nurse replies. ‘ What you need to do is watch the Olympics, take your mind off it’, she says, as she turns on the TV.
And she is right. Within minutes I feel inspired by what the Olympians achieve and motivated to prove what I can achieve.
This won’t be déjà vu – this will be progress.