Tag Archives: Hospital

Not, The Nine O’clock News

connery

If there’s a couple things that have become apparent as I’ve grown older, its that,

A. You really DO slow down (you may not think you do, but you DO)

and

B. Things don’t work like they used to.

Also, I must admit, I don’t like too much information pertaining to having any sort of operation or a procedure. The less the better for me if I’m being honest. (See Fainting Goats and What The Mop Lady Saw)

To save you the details, I had to go for a camera investigation to clear up some concerns. I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to swallow a foot-or-so of optic equipment, and had been stressing, not so quietly over the prospect.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to.

Instead, I was to have about 15 foot of firemans hose inserted up my bum instead.

Oh.

What a relief that was to hear.

I had gone through my usual routine of being told about what was involved in the procedure, by sticking my thumbs in my ears and going “lalalalala” and “Being in a happy place”. I think having gone through the examination by my GP, who (never doubt) was always professional, oozed calm and reassurance and who, incidentally, had the hands of an Irish navvy.

So initially, upon visiting him with my problem and having him say,

“Ahh, yes Mr. Walsh. Just drop your trousers and pop on the bed. Yes that’s right – just tuck those knees to your chest. Heeeeeeeere we go…”

When he said he wanted to examine me, my eyes were drawn to these meaty appendages he called “hands” that were displayed before him on his desk, and wishing I hadn’t been so bashful about visiting the other Doctor’s in the practice first. Who were both women, and had the deft little hands of a small monkeys by comparison. I can assure you, it was with some very slow hesitant steps I got onto the bed in the required position and tried to take a deep breath.

I lay there as he slid his hands into his gloves (I actually think he had a glove on each finger) and heard a raspberry-like-quelch of applied lubricant. I seem to recall him whistling cheerfully, but that have been nerves.

It was with an audible grunt from him, and, I believe, a whimper and clawing scrabble at the wall from me, he inserted what felt like a bunch of bananas and shattered all my illusions of the calm reassurance he had moments before been projecting.

“Ok Mr. Walsh? Just try and relax, deeeep slow breathes.”

Relax??? He was lucky my buttock contraction didn’t break his fingers. (I was counting the depth of insertion by knuckle joints) (And breathe? I was panting like a dog)

It was with a self satisfied,

“Therrrrrrre we go. All done!”

That he snapped off his numerous gloves and dropped them in the bin as he went back behind his desk to begin tapping his notes into his computer. Humming “Hi Ho” I think.

I deflated like a balloon. I had till this point been unaware I had levitated 3 inches or so off the bed until I dropped back on it as he evacuated the scene so to speak. I got dressed gingerly and sat back down before him as he went on. I’m sure anyone who has been abducted by aliens and roundly probed can sympathize.

“Yes, I think I see the problem but I’d like you to be investigated further to be on the safe side. Yes? Ok. I’ll get you an appointment sorted out. Ok? Good man. Off you go Mr. Walsh. Well Done!!”

It was like being mentally slapped on the back by a senior officer in the army. I paused momentarily expecting a medal until I realized my appointment had finished and I had been dismissed.

I won’t bore you with the following weeks. The visits to following consultants, I’m happy to say, was no where near traumatic as he had incredibly small hands compared to Gargantuan, my local GP. Either that Or my local doctor had left me looking like a bucket back there..

Finally the consultant I had been sent to see decided to send me for a camera to investigate further. I had been dreading this moment, the possibility of having an intrusive investigation. I was given a sache of powders to help clear the way for the camera, with instructions on drinking a litre or so every 2 hours the day prior to the investigation. No food just drink.

Now I must admit, I mixed the first concoction and thought “Ha. Nothing to it.” And began glugging away at my(attempted) vanilla flavor drink. It was soon obvious that even with the most dogged determination, drinking down jug after jug wouldn’t be as easy as I thought.

It gets to the point that you finish one jug and think, “Well, that was easy,” until you realize that its already time for the next one to be mixed and started.

By the third jug I felt a slight roll in my stomach, a bubbling so-to-speak. Please don’t think there was any stomach ache. There wasn’t. There wasn’t any urgency or pain. I just thought,

“Aye aye. I’ll just pop to the toilet to be safe.”

I’ve thought long and hard about this. I’m not going into detail. All I can say is, picture this.

James Bond with a hydro jet pack on his back.

Minus the tuxedo. And bow tie.

And jet pack.

waterjetpack3

What followed I had no control over what-so-ever. I found I was hovering about 5 inches above the toilet seat, held up by the sheer force of what was going on below me. I was literally holding onto the toilet seat to stop myself drifting off. Initially I have to say I was impressed. In a child-like way I took enormous pleasure over the water canon going off below me. It was like having my own personal built in Karcher power hose going off at maximum, and being unable to flick the “OFF” switch.

If I hadn’t have held on, I’d have hydro-planed around the bathroom.

I was sat there going ‘Whooooooooa!”

This went on all day. If I’d known it was going to be like this and last as long as it did I’d have worn a crash helmet. In the end I daren’t move too far away from the toilet. And considering I had no control I daren’t fart either. I was just glad to finish the concoction I was forced to drink and see some light at the end of the tunnel. No pun intended.

The following day dawned of the Endoscopy, with me feeling empty and just wanting to get the whole thing over and done with. I was nervous to say the least when I finally arrived at the hospital. It was a matter of procedure to be given my gowns, sign forms, get changed and sit in a tiny waiting room off the main corridor with a several other desparados waiting their turn for what ever camera investigation they were having done. And trust me. I thought I had it bad..

There was one old chap who was already changed and waiting to go down for his investigation. Now, bear in mind, everybody else is sat in this tiny room, with a changing room adjacent to it. So as you walk in to get changed you pass through this crowd of strangers sat in what is really, a nighty and underpants. They’re all waiting their turn to go to another room where, someone they don’t know, is going to make comforting sounds then ram something up their bum.

If they’re lucky..

What was brought to my attention as I sat there was that not everyone was there for the same investigation. And believe me, I was starting to appreciate that it was just going up my bum and not anywhere else.

This old chap who, I discovered was 92, (he looked early 70’s) was extremely sprightly and had acres of optimism. Not so much cup half full but overflowing..

The rest of us were sat nervously fiddling about, sweating with clammy hands waiting our turn. It took this old boy to break the ice in that Old man shout that is supposed to be a quiet question.

“What you here for son?” he asked me. (I was 43 at this point)

“Ah. Umm. You know. Camera up the bum.”

“Ha! Nothin to it lad. Be done before you know it. Won’t even feel it!”

Yeah right. Easy for you to say Slack Harry.

“What about you? What you here for?” I asked him.

“Me? Having the works!”

“The works?”

“Yep! You Know? One up one down.”

“One down?”

“Down your willy lad! You Know? Nothing to it! Ha!”

Fuck me. My legs were crossing as he spoke.

“Good luck with that then mate.”

“Aye, no problem son. Playing bowls this afternoon. Need to get a push on.”

OMFG.

I’d have been sat in an Ice bath.

Fortunately he was called up next.

“Here we go!” and off he did.

I sat there for the next 30 minutes making small talk with a couple of blokes waiting their turn, but I soon ran out of things to say. If It’d been my mum she’d have probably knew their sisters Aunty who lived next door to Mrs. Smith in 1976. Or some diluted connection or other.

And then she would have talked them to death before her turn. I just sat wishing I had her knack right now.

The silence was finally broken by the return of Captain indestructible who walked briskly back into the waiting room nighty flapping behind him like a cloak, en-route to the changing room.

If he’d had braces on he’d have had his thumbs tucked in them and chest stuck out no doubt.

“All done! No worries lads! Next up!”

The only thing he didn’t do was click his fucking heels.

Mercifully the nurse appeared over his shoulder.

“Mr. Walsh? Yes? Your next this way please..”

I was led along the corridor to a small room. Inside were 3 nurses sat around the bed surrounded by a variety of equipment. And with what looked about 30 foot of coiled hose that housed the optic camera. All I could think was,

Nurses. Female. Looking up my bum. Omg. My Mum probably knows 2 out of the 3…fuck.

Straight away bright smiles,

“Hello Michael. Just pop on the bed and face that way please.”

“Jesus. here we go again.” I thought, scanning the 3 sets of hands on view.

They were certainly brisk and business-like.

“I’m just going to apply some lubrication Michael, then we’ll fill you with some air to make the process easier.”

Which she did. Which, wasn’t so bad. I could have done the same thing at Tesco’s petrol station and gone prepared. She popped in this tube and I was literally inflated like a tyre.

“Ah. Therrrre we go. All ready? I’ll just begin easing in the camera. Oh! Here you go Michael.! You can watch on the monitor!”

Bear in mind this to someone who really, really doesn’t like information about what’s coming. Now, in fact, I had it on a screen 12 inches from my face. In colour too. Do I really want to look up my own bum? I don’t think so. But here I was. In wide-screen. So with a,

“Hows that Michael?’

and me mumbling,

“Oh yes, that’s just dandeeeeeeeeeeeeee! ohmyfuckinggoodgod! Myeyesmeyes!! Ithinkicantastegunmetal!! (It seemed to go that far up)

You don’t need to know the intimate details. All I’ll relay was that they were very, Very Impressed with how cleaned out I was. It was with a slight whinney and scrabbling from me, that she inserted and gave me a running commentary, as professional as Sir David Attenborough.

“Oooh you’ve done such a good job – as clean as a Flute! Well done Michael!!”

I think it was supposed to be music to my ears… but I spent the time gnawing at my knuckles, with a brow beaded with sweat and my knees tucked into my stomach waiting for it to end. Finally she began to withdraw the miles of tubing only at the last moment to think she saw something and push back in. I must admit she must have caught something, because it really got my attention.

WooooEEEEEEEE!”

“No! Looks fine. All done!”

I Sounded like a steam whistle not a flute as she whipped the optic out. Knuckle gnawing, lip chewing, I was left lying there panting, feeling sickly and dizzy, thinking,

“My God! I sooooo need to fart!”

“You ok Michael? You’ve gone a funny colour..”

“Yes fine, fine – I’m really sorry but can I go to the toilet? Please??”

“Yes,” – Bright smile – “Common feeling don’t worry, First door on the left by the reception desk..”

I was already on my way down the corridor. I pushed into the toilet and locked the door. It was a single tiny room right behind the reception desk. The explosion of trapped air that followed was, embarrassing as I was constantly aware of being so close to the reception desk, but I couldn’t help it. I was more concerned with my vision coming and going as I felt more and more faint. What restored me somewhat was the thought that If I fainted in this tiny enclosure, I was more than likely going to head-butt the door. And knowing my luck go straight through it and land face-down-arse-up in the corridor. Which end would they resuscitate??

Well he’s breathing ok at that end..”

So I managed to hold it together and stumble off to the changing rooms past my new found friends.

My trip home was loud. And continuous. I have to say It wasn’t a painful experience just one that dented my pride. If theres one thing that I can safely say I learnt from the experience its this.

Check your GP’s hands before making him aware of this kind of problem.

And just hope, you get your results before your mum does…

Fainting Goats

knee1

I was sat in Croma, a pizza restaurant that opened in the  renovated center of Prestwich, with my family. I had only a day or two before undergone knee surgery to correct a cartilage  problem and was just happy to be on the recovery side of the experience. I was sat in shorts with one heavily strapped, swollen, elephantine-like leg stretched out awkwardly at an angle to the table.

A natural disaster waiting to happen to any unsuspecting waiter clumsy enough not to notice it. It was at this point I noticed the chap hobbling in with the same strapping on his leg. He dropped into his chair with an audible sigh (I didn’t do that – stiff upper lip) and rooted round with his leg like he was trying to get a signal with a tv arial, in an attempt to find a comfortable position to point his appendage.

He couldn’t miss me as we were aiming legs at each other, like attracting ends of magnets pointing at each other. I could actually feel my chair sliding forward.

Ah. no.

That was just the anaesthetic still wearing off.

I could see him straighten slightly as he became aware of the similar strapping, and then we shared a knowing glance, my leg doppleganger and I across the way. It was that bottom lip sticking out and silent nod, saying

“Yeah. I feel your pain mate.”

Kindred in spirit so to speak.

Also I was thinking,

“Please God let the waiter trample on, and fall over his leg, and for Christs sake not mine..”

I must admit I had been nervous initially going into the operation. Too much information brought to my attention in the run up to it. I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to be made aware of all the facts entailed in the operation.

I would happily wander into the theatre and have the op blind, rather than be inundated with information about the whole procedure.

Really. I don’t need to know how I’m to be cut, even if it was key-hole surgery. The insertion of what-ever to cut away the damaged doo-dar and make good with a snip here and a shave there and a… well.

Really?

I don’t think so. Hack away good man, just don’t tell me what the hell your going to do as long as I wake up at the end of it.

My wife on the other hand, needs information before she can progress in similar circumstances. Go to the dentist and he would have to explain, step by step, exactly what he was about to do.

I mean. Come on.

She would, as my Gran used to say,

“Want to know about the inside of a cats arsehole.”

Just to settle her mind.

When the day dawned I was also preoccupied with other things.

I ran a team with my good friend Tramline Dave and, after a season of notable success, we had the Oldam Chronicle coming to a training session to take photos of the boys, and print an article. On the day of the interview, I was due in hospital for surgery on the cartilage problem in my knee. I was desperate to be at the team photo, just to stand at the back of the picture and be part of it after the success we had experienced.

As it was, it would be touch and go whether I would be out of hospital in time after surgery and more importantly, compos mentis and coherent after coming round. I was pig-headed in my attitude that I would make it. My wife Jane, on the other hand (a nurse) (what did she know?) was more skeptical.

“Mmmm. I think you should just take it easy Mike.”

I affected that tone you take when your talking to someone who, doesn’t understand the situation because she’s being a girl

“Jane. Dear. Its the paper. We’re going to be in the news. I have to be there.”

Adding a silent (Pffft.) and a (Derrrrrrr.) All in the privacy of my own head.

Jane did what she normally does and just left me to find out the hard way.

When we got to hospital at 7.30am sharp and checked in, we found out that they weren’t actually sure if I could be fitted in on the day. So it was a case of sit and wait. And wait. Annnnnd wait. All I could think about was the time. I was caught between thinking about the operation and what time the photographer was due for the team photo.

Until around 11am we asked if there was any news on my operation situation only to have the nurse do a double take as if realizing I was still there and a quick dart off to the reception counter. Followed quite sharpish by,

“Mr. Walsh? Yes this way please.”

Ah. Here we go then. And we were led off to another part of the hospital for the surgery.

We arrived at another department where the nurse halted us and said to my wife,

“Maybe you would like to say goodbye now Mrs walsh?”

A bit terminal if you ask me. Because all I could think was,

“Fuck me. I’m going to die.”

I mean, I was expecting another waiting room for, a short wait. Somewhere I would have time to steady my nerves and get ready to go in. But this was it. They were going for in. Right now.

I gave Jane a slightly clingy, clammy hug. I think she pried me off in the end, and I was led off beyond another door stopping just before I went through to throw back,

“I will be back.”

and then in a more urgent whisper,

“Don’t go far, I need to get out of here sharpish for the photo..”

Beyond the door I was given 2 gowns and the privacy of a changing room to get my theatre outfit on. Which I have to say is an improvement on the old days. Then, you were given a single gown and no idea which way round it was worn, only to put it on either opening at the front, so you could reach and lace it up, then spend the trip clutching it to your belly in an effort at modesty. Or put it on open at the back, unable to lace it up, with your arse-end on full display as you wandered around. And socks. You can never wear the right matching socks with these gowns..

With 2 gowns, you put one on one way and the other one over it the opposite way. Result. Complete coverage. You still look like a dick with whatever socks you wear mind.

I was led to a room and told to pop onto the bed and realax. (?) I lay there, stressing over the op and looking at the clock wondering if I would be done and dusted in time to get to the other side of Manchester for the team photo.

The attending nurses were professional and already prepping my hand for the anaesthetic.

“How are you Michael? Ready to go down to theatre? Just a small incision and in he goes , little bit of a clean up, nip here BlahBlahBlah….(FFS. Here we go again I thought.) ”

In answer to both questions,

Sweaty. I felt Damp even. And anxious. Definitely breathing a bit harder. Harder by the minute with your description thank-you-so-much.

And No. No I’m not ready. I would say I’m ready to just go-the-fuck-to-sleep-now-please. Now? Please God now??

(And only my mum, nurses, doctors a Priest and the Police call me Michael)

And on she went with my anxiety rising with what was about to happen, thinking along the lines of,

Would I wake up? Jesus! Is that the time? This is going to be a rush alright! My God! Did they mark the right knee? Oh Shit! I’m going to come round minus a fucking kidney-”

And other similar thoughts until finally the nurse said,

“Here we go Michael, we’ll just pop this needle in here, and there you go. You should feel something cold going up your arm now. Yes? You’ll feel slightly sleepy and in a minute you’ll drop off to sl-”

I’ll tell you what.

That anaesthetic was the business. Because the next thing I knew was,

“Michael? Michaelll? Hello? how are you feeling Michael?”

I sort of popped out of quite a heady deep sleep, to open my eyes, with a “Whaaaaa? Wha?” That lip smacking sort of wake up, not quite with it, to see a new face, a new room and my leg heavily strapped and propped before me. It had really seemed like moments before that the nurse had been telling me I would drop off to sleep shortly, I couldn’t even remember my eyes closing.

I was impressed to say the least.

I was wheeled from the single room into the recovery room, where other people lay on beds obviously recovering from they’re own visits to the theatre. Another nurse came over to ask me if I wanted anthing to eat or drink.

“No. No thanks I’m fine. Yep. Smashing. Can I go now?”

“…Actually you don’t look too good Michael. Maybe a cup of tea and a sandwich? Yes?”

Actually I felt terrible but the over-riding thought was

“Done! Woohoo! I can make the team photo. My god. I feel shite.”

I really should have had a cup of tea at the very least. Just something to settle me down. But it really wasn’t too long after I was insistent on giving my wife a call to come and collect me.

“Your sure?? How long have you been out?” asked jane.

“I’m finnnnnne janey. Just come get me. You can run me up to training later for the picture.”

“Your joking. Your not. You idiot. You really need to take it easy. Come home and put your feet up. Relax.”

“Jane, Jane Jane. Oh ye of little faith. Come get me. Please? I’m sat waiting. See you in 20.”

And with that jane was on her way. I called the nurse over and told her.

“my wifes on the way, I can get out soon yes?”

“Are you sure Michael? Really, you’re colour isn’t too good. You should take a bit of time. Really. A cup of tea? Just one?”

“I’m fine thanks. Really. Where should I go and wait?”

She just fixed me with a look that my wife often wore when, she knew better, knew that I knew she knew better but was resigned to the fact that I was doing it anyway and I could suffer the consequences.

And I must admit, under that stare I felt a moments unease. I really did feel dreadful but was slightly desperate at this point to get out, and was watching the seconds hand on the clock do laps.

“Ok. If you insist. Just head through the doors and sit in the waiting room. We need to discharge you.”

“Thanks nurse. I really appreciate it.”

And I slid my bandaged leg off the bed onto the floor and took a step forward.

I had to hop onto the other leg and as I did, Someone had taken away the bendy bit in my knee and replaced it with something that really hurt. I managed to slip into my shorts and trainers, no way I was going for the laces. All I felt was nausea, but I thought I’d grit my teeth and just take it a bit careful, and sit down as soon as possible. This was sore.

I managed to get into the waiting room and find a seat. Feeling quite pasty I sat waiting for Jane to arrive. I realized that I must have looked a bit worse for wear when Jane came through the door and took a good look at me.

“Are you ok. You don’t look it. Your a terrible colour. Why are you going home now? Have you had a cup of tea?? You should be still in there.” She said indicating the recovery room.

(What is it with nurses and tea?)

“Ahh I’m ok janey, Just get the nurse so she can discharge me. I can probably make the training. I’ll take a deckchair…”

So with “The Look”, Jane went off to fetch the nurse. We were then led out of the waiting room into what I can only describe as a broom cupboard. With a table in it. It was the tiniest windowless room I’ve ever been in that’s officially a room.

When the door opened it left just enough room to squeeze behind it and around the end of the desk, to sit on a bench that ran along the 4 foot of wall, and left you sat opposite the female discharging nurse, who (was significantly built to hammer ship plates together with hot rivets and a 40lb hammer), had taken her turn to squeeze into the room after myself and Jane. The tiny room had suddenly become more air-less and all the time my knee (now throbbing) was taking up more of my attention.

The conversation went along the lines of,

Michael, blahblahbalh?Balahbalhbal blah blah? hahahaha! Blah? Ha?”

In the meantime my vision was narrowing down tunnel-like, and it just seemed to be getting warmer by the minute. And air. I felt like running a finger round the invisible collar at my throat, there just wasn’t enough air. And I realized I was (for the first time in my life) going to pass out.

I had just enough time to prop myself, right into the corner of the room, I mean really wedge myself in, because I’m not kidding, it was that or flake out and come round face down on the table with a nose bleed.

All I remember is Jane saying,

“Mike are you ok?”

And me saying,

“Not really, I’ll be back in a minute.” And I let go.

Bang. Gone. Brilliant.

I came round with the nurse, I’m sure she wasn’t alone, but by Christ it felt like she was making a good job of dragging me from the room single handed. And I’m sort of coming round on rubber knees, trying to get my legs under me intermittently thinking, “Blimey I feel awful -Jesus my knee!”.

As she drew me from the room towards a waiting trolley (I actually felt disappointed there wasn’t a resounding pop of a cork leaving a bottle) other arms took up the slack and helped me up. At which point I managed a look down the corridor to see Jane peering round the corner looking quite tearful.

And then I went again.

I just felt myself slump into the arms around me and a knee that wouldn’t bend, did.

I came round again with – it felt like – only the gargantuan nurse present at one elbow, (I think it was just sheer gorilla presence) lifting me up with varicose veins bulging like tangerines and saying,

“Michael! Stand up! Michael! For fucks sake stand up!!”

I’m sure in a professional sense she shouldn’t have been saying that, but I have no doubt in my mind, I’d have been saying worse in her position. In fact I’d have let them hit the deck, rolled them into the recovery position, said “Fuckit” and let them fend for themselves.

Anyhow, they had me on my feet with a nurse either side and Godzilla cursing and cajoling me onto the trolley until red faced, her temper finally snapped.

“Get on the fucking trolley Michael! NOW!”

And I tried, I really did. And it was only as I strained to get on the trolley, leaning towards it, that I realized that I just couldn’t get my feet off the floor. It was only as I looked down in obvious confusion that I understood. The 18 stone nurse currently supporting my right side and and cursing me heaven and back was stood on my laces.

And there was just no way, with the best will in the world, was I going to lift my feet onto the trolley with a small moon anchoring me to the ground.

“Michael! Micha-”

I managed to finally meet her eyes and say,

“Laces. Your stood. On my laces…”

“Oh my God! I’m sorry!”

And in a blink she was off them like an overweight gazelle and had me on the trolley in one smooth move.

I spent the rest of the day in recovery. Drinking tea.

I have to say I seem to have gotten worse with age. I’m not sure if it was the fact I tried to leave too early, (probably) or the fact I didn’t drink a gallon of tea before attempting to leave (possibly) or the shock of the swearing nurse (This seems far more entertaining)

I think It was the shock from the swearing nurse that put me in mind of the fainting goats. Youtube it.

And I never did make the photo.

Dave did though. The bastard.