Hello world, I’m alive. Despite having to repeatedly tell every member of health care staff exactly what procedure I was in for, they managed to take my tonsils out and not kill me. Big tick for the NHS, then.
However, if you could read the following paragraphs while listening to this, you’ll probably have a clearer ‘feel’ for the whole experience.
When I arrived, no-one knew what to do with me as theatre was full and my room wasn’t ready. Yes, I had my own room. Swish. But that’s probably the only benefit of being canceled on by the NHS repeatedly. Anyway, we sat in the patient waiting room for half an hour or so, watching daytime television and observing crabby nurses shout at elderly men who couldn’t recall their room number.
Once I was in my room, a seemingly unending stream of staff sailed in and out, referring among themselves to ‘she’ or ‘her’, despite my immediate presence. My marital status and date of birth were wrong on all of their records, despite me clarifying this during my pre-op appointment. Then Jesse, a newbie contractor, was tasked with ‘admitting’ me via a wheelie computer. Now, as The Boy kindly observed, Jesse is probably extremely qualified and a good guy to have around in the event of a medical emergency. In this instance, however, watching him try to complete the simple task of checking boxes and inputting simple words was akin to watching a child with the IQ of a paperclip change the tire of an articulated lorry. MASH MASH MASH.
Unable to cope, he then fled the scene, returning with another nurse who all but fainted when she couldn’t find the mouse (it had fallen off the table). A further nurse then appeared; a tiny, shrill banshee of a Chinese woman. ‘YOU PREGNANT?’ she screeched at me. ‘YOU SURE? WE TEST!’ I explained that I was 100% positive I wasn’t pregnant. ‘YOU USE BIRTH PILL? NO? THEN YOU PREGNANT!’
After we’d ascertained that I was, in fact, not pregnant, and I’d reminded them that they needed to take a urine sample, I heard another nurse shouting down the hallway, ‘If she doesn’t get in theatre now she’ll miss her slot’. Not really what you want to hear when you’re already stressed to the eyeballs, doubly so when the reason you’re late is because the people who are supposed to get you there on time probably struggle to use a spoon.
With no time to say a proper goodbye to The Boy, or even take my glasses off, I then pegged it down the corridor with Jesse The Clown, and was deposited in the theatre waiting area. I’ll admit I was a bit upset at this point, and so when the Hungarian anesthetist came over and bellowed, ‘NO TEARS. ONLY LAUGHTER’, I almost bottled it.
But, spurred on by the thought of living a life not continually marred by lethargy and pain, I dutifully climbed onto the operating table and tried not to wince while they shoved all manner of needles in me. My final memory is thinking about how much my arm hurt where they were putting the anesthetic in, and wondering if it was similar to the pain the protagonist in District 9 felt when his arm started transforming. Good work there, brain.
I came round two and half hours later. Apparently my tonsils were the biggest the consultant had ever removed, and he’d struggled a bit. But they’re gone. Such relief. So now I’m in quite a lot of pain, and my tongue, which was held back using some kind of vice-like device, is numb and swollen (and will be for up to a week, apparently). I’m dribbling everywhere and, when I can bear to speak, sound like a Muppets character, much to the amusement of everyone. But Housemate N and The Boy are being brilliant. N didn’t even flinch when I coughed a load of water and mushy codeine in his face, and The Boy spent the night on the hospital floor, listening to me gurgle and groan (although he did get a full English for his trouble the next day, which he scoffed down as I looked sadly between that and my piece of dry toast).
But despite all the discomfort, I can already feel that my base state of health is much, much better, and that’s all the incentive I need to deal with the recovery.