Saturday, July 15, 2006

I've been to Hospital...

The title was the suggestion for a particularly naff bumper sticker by Alexei Sayle in his comedy heyday. Lets face it, no-one wants to go to hospital, even as a visitor. I had been forewarned that my own particular visit could fall victim to bed shortages or more urgent demands but surprisingly enough, I managed to get admitted and my session carried out. Whilst a minor operation, it still involves a trip to the operating theatre which involves putting your life in someone else's hands.

Having an operation under general anaesthetic, it is necessary to fast for a while. The main reason for this is that any reflux (a polite word for sick) that gets into your lungs whilst unconscious can cause big problems, principally pneumonia. having said that, this reference debunks this and also has an excellent pun for a title!

My regime was to be as follows, for my afternoon surgery.

No alcohol for 24 hours. (No big deal, most of my alcohol consumption these days is mostly a glass of port on a Tuesday evening, Tuesday being scales night in the Grey Household.)

A light breakfast before 8am. (A Weetabix and skimmed milk at 07:30, I often don't have a weekday breakfast so that was a treat).

A drink such as a dilute fruit juice before 10:30am. (A glass of water at 10:25 and abstinence from coffee the day before to keep down the cravings).

Don't suck on any mints or chewing gum. (Nope, just my thumb, so to speak!)

Admission at 10:30-11am, ring rirst to ensure bed available. (Because I have obstructive sleep Apnoea I am at slight risk after anaesthetic, so the anaesthetist organised a high dependency unit bed for me. That is a half-way house between a normal ward bed and intensive care. I didn't hear until 11:50 that I was clear to go in).

All conditions being fulfilled, I arrived at the allocated hospital ward (Ward 3, Head and Neck) at round about 12:30. My bed wasn't quite available yet so I was blood pressure checked, met one of the ear, nose and throat doctors for the various questions, met my anaesthetist (not the one I had been expecting), had a felt tip arrow drawn on the side of my head and eventually was taken to my temporary bed. It was now 2pm and I was gowned-up with the familiar device that ties at the back. I was pleased to see that the gown did not provide ready access to the arse area as Billy Connolly put it and indeed the nurse said I could put my trolleys back on if they were 100% cotton. (It seems that Bri Nylon is a fire risk in the Operating Theatre). Wearing my dressing gown and Homer Simpson slippers (one of which said mmm, beer... if you pressed it) I settled down for the wait. I was supposedly second on the list and it started at 2pm so it shouldn't be long...

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