After frantically cleaning everything in the house, whether it moved or not, I went to bed early and fell straight to sleep. Aided by sleeping meds I managed to sleep all night without nightmares of the surgeon taking my whole foot off or operating on the dog instead. I woke up and went on auto-pilot waiting for my sister to collect me. Kissing the kids goodbye whilst they were still tucked up in bed was unusual, they are normally up and about, shouting and destroying the kitchen while I stay hiding in bed waiting for the house to sigh with relief as they depart for school with a final bang of the front door.
It was still Dark O’Clock when we arrived at the *private Spire hospital, Harpenden and “checked in”. We felt like we were going on holiday as a porter took us to our room and arranged for tea and a newspaper to be brought to us. Private hospital’s have carpet rather than smooth, shiny floors and so smell of carpet cleaner instead of toilets. They also have free tea and coffee, soft loo roll, garden views from the windows and an air of relaxation. It was hard to feel anxious in such a lovely place : )
Hospital wouldn’t be hospital without a bustling Irish woman though, ours was Mary. She clucked around me taking my blood pressure and measuring me for a massive pressure stocking, might keep that for next Christmas 😉 I mentioned my sore neck to her and before I knew it she had arranged for me to be taken down for anesthesia first as she didn’t want me sitting around being uncomfortable all day 🙂
I’ll be honest, this is the part that I had managed to completely blank from my consciousness during the ten month’s while I waited for the operation. I had been worried and frightened by what comes after but had never dared imagine the actual operation itself. Just as well really, horrific is the word that springs to mind.
I nearly jumped for joy when my anethestist came for me, it was Sarah, the nurse I had seen twice before at Dr Bramall’s clinic. Relief swept over me at the sight of her familiar, friendly face and any anxiety that had built up since arriving disappeared in a heart-beat. She took me down the corridor, with me wearing not much more than a smile and my new “grumpy but gorgeous” robe and set about numbing my foot.
I don’t know what I had expected, as I said, I hadn’t given it much thought at all but
AGHHHHHHHHHHH blimey the pain! I think in all I had 15 injections in my ankle before it finally went numb enough for surgery. I am good with pain though and tolerate it well so concentrated on my breathing like a good girl and imagined the tweets I would be sending had I been allowed my phone with me. The woman in the next bed to me wasn’t nearly as brave as Humph though, screaming and flailing about like a man big sissy. I heard that she didn’t cope at all well with the surgery either, surely a sedative of some sort would help patients in these circumstances?
Once properly numb I was wheeled into what looked like the “TV Room” on Willy Wonker, all white with massive lights on arms like the ones dentist’s have. To my immense relief a screen was put up so that I could not see what was happening to my foot. I know it was washed with iodine though and put through layers of cloth, leaving just my foot sticking out, propped up with a pillow underneath. It was then tourniqueted to within an inch of it’s life and several green-clad people arrived. Were I of a nervous disposition I would have been blubbing by now, there was no distraction other than a magazine which was pushed into my hand. Sorry but while having my foot sliced open I found the private lives of the disaster who goes by the name of Kerry Kantona only slightly less nauseating than the thoughts I was trying so desperately to blot out.
The nurses were milling about and one even took orders for lunch whilst discussing how straight and perfect my toes were, the deep , plummy voice of Dr Bramall said “straight but stiff”. Then I could hear bone breaking and realised it was mine. The sound of a drill vibrating on bone, mine. The only way I could cope was by mentally picturing the faces of my loved ones and trying to remember the lyrics of a beautiful song I saw tweeted a couple of weeks ago. Over and over I repeated them until after an hour I know the song by heart and the surgery was finally over.
Dr Bramall pulled down the drapes and showed me how to exercise my toe, I was fixated by it’s waxy, corpse-like yellowness. There is a long incision from the first toe joint right down to my heel, I think it will look lovely with flowers tattooed along it : ) A load of notes were plonked on my tummy and I was wheeled back to my room to re-join my sister (sleeping like Goldilocks in my bed, cheeky mare) Sandwiches and tea promptly arrived via the clucking Mary who took my blood pressure again and called me her Pet : )
Then rest… two hours later, after the physiotherapist has shown me how Dr Bramall wants me to walk with the crutches we set off home, being wheeled expertly to the entrance by another lovely porter. Home at last but can I get in? I have two steps up to my front door and then a raised plastic door frame to negotiate, Mum and sister end up half-carrying me in!
Tune in next time to find out just how much of a numpty Ms Cushion really is…..
* Just in case a certain MP leaps on the fact this was a private hospital, whilst the hospital is private, the operation itself was via the NHS