A restless night ensued, kept thinking to myself by this time tomorrow it’ll all be over and I’ll be recovering surely. Losing track of the night, the vitals, nurse shifts coming and going, Friday was here already tired and exhausted through worry, no breakfast adding to that lethargy, there was no looking forward, no excitement, no positive thoughts, the lead handed clock again was ticking as the team of consultants rocked up with a bigger entourage going over the revised procedure, more reassurances and “we’ll see you later”. Another double check from the anesthetist, weight and height then back on the lead handed clock watch!
As the morning bled into the afternoon the hospital porters turned up around 14.30 “OK Mr James let’s get you down to theater” as jolly as can be. Feeling of dread and fear was the main motion, more ceiling tiles and pictures on the corridor walls, passing the children’s wards as things became more clinical looking – big sign above the door “Main Theaters” through the double doors and into a lift and upon exit exchanging for pre-med and anesthetist guys wheeling my into pre-surgery room dressed in what looked like space suits. I guess full over suits and full face mask protection fresh air assisted all in a day’s work for these kicking pub like mates conversations about what I do hobby wise, what brought me here as they went about putting more cannulas into me. I could feel the tears trickling down the sides of my face, dry throat, clammy with fear of going under – it’s not the first time so you’d think I’d be used to it by now. Hell scares the shit out of me every time. They can rebuild him!
As the anaesthetic started to send that cool chill in your veins we were just busy chatting away, sometimes they ask you to count but not this time and I was gone into that state where they take over your functionality, time becomes irrelevant as you have no concept of it, the next thing you know you’re in recovery with a kind nurse asking how your feeling and taking your vitals again as you drift in and out of that semi-conscious state, not knowing where you are, tired slurred struggling responses but with a hint of “thank God that’s over” Zzzzzzz ! Zzzzzzzzz ! It transpires the surgical procedure was 2 hours 20 mins but the whole time frame was circa 7 hours before back on ward around 19.00 ish. Oh boy that cuppa tea never tasted soooooo GOOD sucking through the straw, just had to have another. A better night’s sleep and the snoring brass nose quartet could knock themselves out I wasn’t waking for anyone as the meds were still on point. Arm on autopilot throughout the night as the night nurse carried out their duties, bonus having blood thinning injection in the abdomen. Joys eh, I was so out of it they could have stuck anything in me I didn’t care. They can rebuild him!
Saturday breakfast couldn’t come fast enough, again tea tasted divine, backed up with OJ and two Weetabix left to go soggy so I could swallow properly, breakfast never tasted so good after so many days of eating sweet FA! More meds and “have you passed anything Mr James ?” eeeer like no, I haven’t eaten for 4 days I’m sure I could offer you some methane I thought, but my deflection tactics worked a treat. Weekend shift came on and asked if I’d like a bed bath? I thought WTF I’d gone past caring about being prude, crack on I said and they don’t hang about and it’s wasn’t a scene out of roman gods being bathed in milk, more like wham bam thank you mam, never had so many ladies seeing me naked, and they didn’t hang about throwing a hot flannel around my rhubarb patch! Roll this way, roll that way, change of sheets, dry off and fresh CK’s and they were done! All in a days work, they are amazing people, they become your very function without batting an eyelid, deal with your mood swings, your pain and discomfort, fetch and tend to your every needs as you become solely reliant on THEM. Clapping in the F-kin street an insult really as I have always held all nursing staff regardless of position in such high esteem they are all truly amazing people doing some real shitty jobs for the pure love of caring for other human beings, mending them, treating them with upper most respect and dignity no matter how long your stay is and only those of you reading this that have had a stay at any hospital will know exactly where I’m coming from here amazing, amazing human beings. They can rebuild him!
The bed bath set off an eruption of pain that I can’t put into context. Those pain filled tears flooding down my face, deeper faster breathing trying to quell the painful feelings, fire burning down my neck and shoulder blades, like a Sambuca line had been set on fire, dripping with sweat, nurses jumping on it immediately connecting up a morphine drip, getting a fan set up, nerve drugs being administered, as the morphine started to filter through muscle groups relaxing, fire started to be put out as the dreamy calm took over the sensations and rest! They can rebuild him! Back on point in time for the morning rounds of the consultants. This would be the last time I’d be seeing Nikolaos, Head Surgeon, from now on in until discharge it would be Katarzyna, Trainee Surgeon. Nikolaos he’s effervescent self “Morning Mark how are you feeling? The operation went really well your neck is super strong now, stronger than before so get yourself up and get yourself walking. Get your neck muscles working and try not to rely on the neck support or the titanium”. With that they were off on the rounds, I just pictured them in surgery after completion going round high fives and fist bumps such was their enthusiasm in the results of the procedure comforting signs I guess, it’s just a matter of mind over matter now from me, trust in their work. They talk in a different mind-set and language with consummate ease almost as if it’s a meccano building challenge. They can rebuild him!