3.30pm 18th August
The stout nurse bought over 2 of those ‘operation gowns’ – knee-length, short-sleave baggy jackets with small ties. She asked me to wear one with the ties at the back and one over the top with the ties at the front.
Where are your ID tags?
I ‘ve never been given any
You must have ID tags
She wandered off and returned with 2 plastic strips showing my name and date of birth, attached one around my good wrist and the other on my ankle. Strange dresses and plastic wristbands? Just like going to a festival!
We’re walking to the operation Theatre? Should I wear my sandals?
Stout nurse grabbed my arm and used this, unnecessary, technique to steer me down the corridor towards the Ward’s reception desk. At the reception desk she confirmed the name and route to the operating Theatre. I didn’t take notes. As we walked the hospital corridors where other people were fully dressed stout nurse explained that she was an agency nurse so she didn’t know her way around this hospital.
We got lost.
Stout agency nurse asked directions and we found the right set of swipe-card operated doubledoors. The nurse told me that she had meant to borrow a swipecard from the ward reception, but forgot.
I started crying.
Are you in pain?
A flood of words burst through my tears about how disconcerting it was when you have to walk in a silly dress amongst fully clothed people, how scarey it is to have surgery, and how getting lost then being locked out of the operating theatre just adds to a general level of distress.
You’re not in pain?
Normal pain for a broken and dislocated tibia
She didn’t understand. I put some effort into quelling the tears, wiping my face on the sleeve of the operating theatre gown. A lady’s face appeared in the round window of the secure doors. She wore green and a little hat. Her body-posture inspired confidence.
The anesthetists assisstant greeted us. She looked me in the eye as she told me her name, her role and started explaining what was going to happen. I gave the agency nurse my sandals as I climbed onto the operating table. I told her about the times before that I’d had a general anasthetic and how I was scared of waking-up screaming in pain like my last operation. The last thing I remember before waking up was her reassurance that I wouldn’t wake-up screaming in pain….