Home again, and recovering, I’m the owner of a line of body piercings that a punk would be proud of or a Goth would die for. I knew I was on the mend once I started composing blogposts in my bed instead of trying to work out which body part hurt least and so could be moved first. Unfortunately, once the morphine wore off, those wonderful essays I’d written did too, so I’m starting from scratch again.
What I can’t understand, now it’s all over, is why my stomach still sticks out at the front and hasn’t become concave. They seem to have taken everything out, even bits I didn’t know I had – S1 Biology wasn’t much help there! And what happens to all that empty space? Once home I googled Omentum, my personal equivalent of a rain forest species, extinct before its discovery, to find out why it was dispensable. I wonder if its loss counts as liposuction? Still, I guess I can manage without it.
I spent my first 48 hours in hospital falling in love with a string of anaesthetists, nurses and surgeons. I was plugged into an epidural delivering some magic substance that meant I didn’t have a care in the world. Every so often I would open my eyes to find someone staring at me slightly anxiously.
“Can you move your toes?” “I’m trying.” “Mmm…”
Then came the ice. “Does this feel cold?” “Does what feel cold?” “Aaah…”
So, in the small hours, the epidural was turned off, my toes regained some sort of independent life, everything was turned on once more and just one leg took the next 24 hours off. Could someone please tell it that it’s had far too much time off this year? Fortunately I was too well doped up to even think of worrying that I might never walk again. (All returned to normal, by the way, once the needle was out.)
The rest of my time was spent reading each line in my book at least 5 times, with a doze between each reading. When I eventually realized I was reading about a child with leukaemia I switched to AM-S, an altogether more suitable tome for one in my situation. I also spent time feeling alternately like a patchwork quilt or my mother in her last years. A leg that didn’t work, so precluding any independent activity – that waiting for hours for someone to have time to let me brush my teeth – and the inability to concentrate on anything gave me a minute glimpse into what she must have felt like after her stroke.
I shared my room with three more elderly ladies, whom I think of fondly as the ladies who lunch. More refined than I could ever aspire to, one must be the life and soul of the 19th hole in her normal life and the other two paraded gracefully up and down the ward, ridding themselves of all the wind that is a by-product of surgery. Wind that is, according to the surgeon, a Good Thing. It may be a good thing but it was also, I’m afraid to say, very funny. Can’t laugh though – it hurts the body piercings. The best came at 5 am. “Nurse? Could we have some tea and toast?” And they sat in the half light of the ward and chatted and belched as though it were a Sunday afternoon picnic. I do hope they’re all recovering well.
The GPs and their dad came and visited, laughed and cheered me up no end. They’ve been very tolerant of their invalid mother this summer, even if GP2 tells me I have 40 weeks of chores to catch up on and I needn’t think I’m getting away with it.
And I would like to send a huge public thank you to all those surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses at the Simpsons – not just because they were efficient and effective, but because they all seemed to care and because they treated me like a real, individual, human being.