political correctness, hospital gowns and gallstones

dog hospital gown

I think the thing that sticks in my mind most about the operation was the crazy politcal correctness moment that popped up before I went into theatre.

The nurse said to me “When you come back from theatre, it may be necessary for us to put the side rails up on the bed. Do you give your permission for that to be done?”.

I reply “What?”

It’s just to ensure that we don’t place restrictions on you without your permission. Some people don’t wish to be restrained.

I look at the two half rails on either side of my bed – a total of 1 foot high, with a 2 foot gap in the middle of the bed where they don’t meet.

So, if I don’t want to be oppressed by the regime, I can opt to risk falling off my bed while in transit instead. I’ll be in pain, but I’ll be free!

She’s starting to wonder about my mental state, pen poised over the permission given box.

Yeah, of course. How stupid would I be? Of course you can put them up. I might should out about oppression, but I give you my permission to ignore me. Shall I sign?

Having got my all important permission, taken my food orders for later, found out what paper I wanted in the morning and locked my valuables in the little drawer beside my bed, it was time to walk up to the theatre. Having no suitable slippers, I’d ended up taking a pair of keds for this walk. I think I looked very fashionable in my theatre gown and robe.

You’re all rugged up!” said the anesthetist when I arrived in a tiny room that could not have been more cram packed with more scary medical stuff.

Well, without the robe my paper pants would be on show” I reply. “And that’s just not what the world wants to see.”

She nods, even though she’s never even seen my arse, and they lay me down on the black table in the middle of the room. They call it a bed. In my experience, beds are nice soft places that make you want to lie down on them. This one did no such thing. Plus it started off with some kind of canvas hammock that told me they’d be dragging me about on the floor in it for a laugh once I was out.

This is where it gets embarrassing. I look up and find eeyore and pooh bear dancing about on a colour printout stuck to the ceiling. I start to cry. I’m not brave, and I don’t want them shutting down my consciousness with drugs. There are three of them hovering over me. The nurse one is rubbing my arm and reassuring me.

Just a little scratch” says the anesthetist, who is holding my hand up for the drip. It never is a scratch – it’s always a pin prick. It hurts. They put the oxygen mask over my face. I manage to say “please take care of me” in the tiniest voice I have, cracking as I say it. God I wish I was brave.

They put something in the drip to relax me. It burns a bit as it goes in. Then it’s time for the knock out drops. “This will be cold” she says. I feel it up to my elbow, wondering when I am going to leave. Wondering if I will wake up again afterwards.


It’s 10.30am. My first thought is only a sensation of relief. It’s over, and I woke up again. I can see my girls again. There is a drip in my left hand, so I can’t move that. I hate drips, the idea that something is both inside and outside you. I am terrified that if I knock it it will hurt. So I keep that hand motionless.

They wheel me out of the recovery room. “Let’s take the stairs” I tell the man pulling me. It takes him a moment to realise I’ve made a funny. Someone made the elevators the perfect size for the beds, but forgot about fat dumpy nurses. I wonder if she’s going to turn beet, but the doors open at the new floor.

I’ve lost some time in the memory, because this them moving me from my first room to the the second. For some reason they shut down the ward I was in and move us all downstairs. How did I get from the theatre to my first room? I remember being pulled onto my bed on the canvas hammock, then rolling side to side to remove it. That was in the first room. I remember her closing my bag and picking up my porcelain Toby, and me telling her that there was a DS in the drawer.

We make it into the new room, and they park the bed in the right place. But no-one hooks the nurse button anywhere I can reach it – or the bed controls. The water is next to me, but I drink it all and then I am parched. I can see the clock on the wall in the corridor outside. I close my eyes and doze for a few hours. I check the clock – 5 minutes has gone by. My throat is now sticking to itself, my tongue is glued to the top of my mouth. It’s like sticky leather. I flail around with my good arm looking for the nurse button. I can’t reach it.

I close my eyes and another hour long 5 minutes go by. Eventually 20 minutes go by and nurse walks past. I croak at her and finally get her attention. She brings me fresh water and then dashes off before I can tell her I can’t reach the nurse button.

Finally someone hooks me back up and I can play with the bed controls. I spend the next fews hours alternating between reading my book and dozing, giving each pursuit about 15 minutes slots before switching back. I can’t make myself wake up properly, and feel alternately alert and dozy.

My in-laws arrive with my girls. They nearly pounce on my stomach, but are restrained thankfully! They come bearing chocolates and flowers. They want to open the chocolates immediately, but it turns out that they are rum balls.

Sorry, no alcoholic chocs for little girls!

They stay for a few hours, while we chat about everything and nothing. It passes the time well. I am waiting for my beef bourguignon to arrive, but it doesn’t. Eventually Miss Comic Relief announces “I want to go home and have dinner“. I smile.

I am relieved when they go, and wait for my dinner to arrive, but it doesn’t. Turns out that when I’d asked for a bucket as I was queasy they’d taken me off the dinner list. But I am hungry and say so.

Dinner arrives – the beef bourguignon and vegetables looks very nice. A decadent chocolate torte sits beside it. I try to eat the vegetables, but am too queasy, so it is taken away again after three bites, as they decide to give me an anti nausea shot. Half an hour later I feel a hell of a lot better and get my dinner back. The chocolate torte is now missing.

I am straight on the buzzer. The chocolate torte comes back.

It’s late now, and I want to sleep. But every time I have a glass of water, I urgently need a wee. A teeny tiny trickle of a wee. It’s horribly unfair, but I spend the night having 1 hour of sleep between wee trickle breaks. At 4.30am I realise I had a 2 hour sleep. Yay, breakthrough! Then they are waking me up to give me drugs. Can’t complain about that.

Breakfast arrives at 8. The doctor sticks his nose in again before leaving for his other hospital. I feel like we’re having an affair. “See you Friday week” he says. I wave my porridge spoon at him.

At 9.30am a nurse says she’ll be right back to take out my cannula, so that I can have a shower. An hour later I stick my head out the door to find out what exactly “right back” really means. Another nurse decides to do it for me, and I get in the shower. That’s blissful. Hot water really does cure a lot of ailments.

When I am done I decide to ring the buzzer. A third nurse looks in – looking harried.

I’ve had my shower” I say “I am ready for her to change my dressings”

I think she’s busy right now” says the nurse

I am just letting you know that I am ready when she is” I say.

The second nurse overhears this, and comes in to do my dressings. I think the first nurse must be having a bad day, and the second nurse is covering for her.

She peels the plastic strips off my four incisions, then sprays each one over with glue. It was like being varnished. I have a good look at each hole. The largest is just underneath my breastbone, and is about 1cm in length. The stitches are visible, the edges look a little angry. The centre is a thick line of congealed blood. The other three just look like blobs of blood congealed on top, no holes are visible.

I pull my fresh t-shirt down carefully and am ready to leave. Mr Boxer Shorts and Miss Trouble Pants walk in. It’s sunny outside, despite the mad wind and rain from the previous night. I feel like a cardboard copy of myself, not all there, not the right shape. But it’s done, I hand my discharge slip to the main desk and we leave the hospital and drive home together – a small bottle of stones in my bag.

Categories: health and stuff


  • @marymac says:

    Can I just say that I love the word ‘arse’?
    And that I think we Americans need to adopt it?
    Or is that offensive?!
    I just want to say THANKS for reading Pajamas and Coffee and further that I LOVE your blog design- have I told you that? Because I do. I love it.
    You rock.
    That’s all. Carry on!
    😉 xoxo

  • alison says:

    I definitely think that you should use the word arse more. It’s got far more clout than “ass”. I mean come on – an ass is a donkey. It’s pansy word, nothing more.
    And glad you love my blog design – it’s pure laziness! I was sketching out what I wanted for the design, and decided that rather than recreate my drafts, I’d just scan them in and use them as is! It does give it a more art directorish feel, to represent my roots!
    I love pajamas and coffee by the way – highly recommended read! All it lacks is better use of the word “arse”.

  • Appalled of Stockport says:

    I think this kind of disgusting banter is what gets the internet a bad name!! How would you like it if I littered the place with body parts like…elbows!! tonsils!! kneecaps!! earlobes!!! spare tyres!!! teeth!! toenails!!! spleen!!! sternum!!! bogies!!! cellulite!!! zits!!! acne!!! tongue!!! fore…er..finger!! THERE how do you like that!!?
    I`ve always said it, and I`ll go on saying it…leave women unsupervised and before very long, the conversation is in the sewer!!
    Appalled of Stockport

  • alison says:

    Now now – you’re the one who mentioned cellulite, and that’s a downright vulgar word! I’ll thank thee to clean up your language! You might get away with that kind of atrocity down the red lion, but we’re respectable here.

  • Love your site – the design AND the humour. Hope you’re feeling better. Glad to see you can keep your sense of humour through the pain!

  • alison says:

    Hi The Only Girl, thanks! I love your site too, as you know! I’m slowly healing though.

  • Hey, your blog is very good, found while in search for merchandise info on yahoo and it has very related information on it. Will be sure to come back again and bookmark.