Oh hello world. Wrenched from a fairy peaceful sleep punctuated by you can’t lie on that knee, it bloody hurts. Reason being after not feeding us for two days, starvation rations of a small bagel warranted waking me up in the middle of night.
Doctor and student train wandered in seemingly surprised I was still here. “Haven’t we done you yet?” “Yes you have but the food is so great, I’ve decided to stay the week”. One person found this funny. I’ve always thought the medical profession lacks a certain humanitarian humour.
Crinked neck to look out of window in manner of Papillion. See life going on outside. Super hot but air conditioning doesn’t work with window open. Doesn’t work with window closed either I’m keen to point out, but hospital policy insists that patients can only die through boredom not by chucking themselves out of window for something to do.
Other people eating. Chris and I share the twisted smile of those who can feel their stomach linings start on their small intestines. We’re all forced to wear stockings to combat deep vein thrombosis which is a real probability since we’re here for most of our natural life. Steal marker pen and draw infantile amusing penis facsimiles on our feet. The childish thing to do now is a Pete and Dud stocking sketch. Which of course we do to the amusement of exactly both of us.
Good God. It’s my turn. Where’s the mayor to officially open my operation? I’m wheeled out and it’s an odd view of the world feet first into the corridors at a high speed when compared to the lethargy of the previous two days. I worry that the orderly will crack my knee on one of the many corners as he attempts to beat his personal ward to theatre record. When I say worry what I mean is more a “oh please please please please don’t fucking cut the corner“. We arrive at pre-op rather quicker than expected as the previous victim is still in there and I’m left chatting to the anaesthetist who reckons I’ll be out within the hour assuming there aren’t any major problems.
Like what I ask? Amputation? He gives me a secret smile that in no way slows my heart rate
Okay gong to give you’re the aesthetic now. Count to ten if you like. One, two, oblivion.
Ceiling floats into focus. What went wrong? Why haven’t I’d been operated on yet? Oh. I have. Weird, no dreams, no concept of time passing but 90 minutes of my life has gone and with it a bucket full of trail dirt. There’s a bandage on my knee that looks ripe for mummification but there’s no pain at all. That’ll come later.
Surgeon reckons that with 20+ stitches I’ve got off lightly. Lots of injuries like this see the patient bailed with home leave before returning on crutches for many more painful operations.
Jesus. When everyone has gone I have a little blub. I cannot think of how the phrase “reconstructive knee surgery” could ever be reconciled with “stop wasting our time, go and get on with the rest of your life“.
They wheel me back into the ward and Chris waves groggily having been given similar treatment on his middle digit. If he thinks I’m doing another “English Patient” impression for his nicotine habit, he’s got another thing coming. I’ve got to eat.
Food. Can’t remember what it was but don’t care. Devour entire packet of Pringles Carol brought in a yesterday and anything within quaffing distance. Upbeat attitude lasts exactly as long as it takes for the Nurse to tell me home is happening to other patients before putting me downstream of some super bastard antibiotics that make my arm hurt. Still it takes my mind off my knee for a while.
So full of saline, I’m cruising to the bog every hour or so and it takes me a couple of minutes to complete the twenty foot hike. Knee not articulating at all and I;m sick of carrying saline drips everywhere. Trying to open doors, wrest the old fella out of the shorts and wee without lowering the drip below heart level is a whole arena of logistics I’m too tired to deal with.
Drug time. Wait for bliss. Bliss fails to turn up. Throbbing from the knee threatens to unleash a symphony of groans arranged for parched throat and rumbly arse. Stiffen upper lip and refuse to succumb.
Fuck, that hurts. What’s going on in there. Did they leave a nurse in there who’s now tunnelling out with an ice pick?
Succumb. Since I’m already full of needles they shortcut the normal pain relief process and inject morphine substitute straight into my mouth.
Oh my. That stuff is good.
Vivid dreams and I mean vivid. It’s like the Sistine Chapel flipped through ninety degrees directed by Tarrentino.
2 minute slow limp to toilet.
Limp no longer available. Hop to toilet holding two drips and chew way through bog door. Consider at what point final shreds of dignity were rescinded.
Okay, now I’m sure, the worst has to be over
Follow this for day 4