Written by Inchcock
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Monday, 27 February 2012

image for A True Diary of Woe - Part Forty-Five Mixed memories

A diary of one man's (Using the term lossely) utter failure, depression, frustration, cock-ups, and impecuniousness, starting in August 1947

Chapter 88 - After the Heart Operation

My first memory, was of the pain, and all the paraphernalia sticking into and out of seemingly all of my crevices.

Slowly it dawned on me where I was, and what had taken place.

I could not make out much detail of the room, and was in a confused state of mind for a good while.

After a day or so, a little more compos mentis, I was moved to a less intensive care room/ward.

The bladder informed me of its wish to be activated again. I pressed the button, and a concentration camp guard lookalike lady nurse arrived at the bedside:

Nurse: "Yes?"

Me: "Can I have a bottle please?":

Nurse: "No. it's about time you were up and about some!"

At this, she pointed to a door at the end of the room: "It's there!"

I untangled the monitors and tubes hanging from my pale body, and within about 15 minutes, had managed through the agony and pain to get my legs off the bed.

As I tried to sort out how to use the walking frame while carrying all the peripheral attachments embedded in my flesh, a different nurse, a human one came over and supplied and explained how I could attach the heart monitor to a clip around my neck. By the time I'd got to the toilet another hour had passed.

The small trickle that I managed to pass, was painful, and I had a hell of a job walking back to the bed.

Where I was offered some ice-cream like gel to eat.

The next morning, I was moved back into the regular cardiac ward.

The section I was in had 6 beds I recall, a toilet shower room close to me bed, and staff who were obviously under great pressure.

Here, after my first oral medications were given, the hallucinations began. It was like looking at life through an opaque computer screen, with visions of something akin to the Star Trek Enterprise's Main Bridge overlaid on top!

The main memory highlights of my stay there, are I'm afraid to say, painful!

I had a chance to explore my body, revealing three... er monitor things, one embedded in my groin, one in my stomach, and one in my chest. Tubes in three areas, an oxygen mask around my neck, and of course the expected wire that they rejoined by sternum together with, entwined into the bones.

My first trip to the WC (and all the other trips) was really painful and embarrassing. I sat and hoped that something would come out eventually, the pain was excruciating, half in, half out, painfully stuck - but nothing appeared.

Then trying have a wash, shave, and do the teggies proved painful also, and I got dirty looks from fellow sufferers when I emerged after an hour or so, who had been waiting to use the facility!

This practise was repeated several times over the next 48 hours. They kept trying me on various medications in an effort to encourage some movement.

Other who came from the theatre to the ward after me, were all passing their first time?

Later I was at the harrowing 'will it - wont it' stage again, and it did! Oh the pain! And stink of the yellow/green excrement must have overwhelmed the entire ward! When I came out with a red-face from the cubicle, all heads were turned in my direction, with twitching noses and a sneering disgusted look of contempt on their horrified faces!

This was repeated for my next five or so visits.

When the time came for the removal of the two monitors and thick sewn in wire from the sternum, I had to admire (after the event) how the nursed controlled the situation, very efficient I thought.

Three nursed approached the bed, each holding some sort of tool that they used with great professionalism.

Nurse 1: "Good morning, we're going to remove your clutter now!"

All this took place very quickly, giving me little time to comprehend the situation, very clever!

Two sat on me, as the one with the piers started to pull on the wire, another sprayed some morphine into my mouth, and the last one started digging out the monitors from my chest and stomach.

As the wire came out, revealing it was about 20 inches long, looking like a thick giant metal spring, the agony was the worst of the while procedure, even with the morphine given!
But that nurse gritted her teeth, and pulled it out as fast as could - for which I was very grateful!

I do not know if it was planned, but the procedure of taking out the metal spring at the same time as digging out the monitors, I thought was brilliant, because there was so much pain from the wire removal, I hardly noticed the electrical box monitors coming out! Great idea!

They put some dressings on the holes left by the monitor removals, cursing between themselves about why the surgeons make thing so tight when not necessary, one of them told me the last monitor in the groin will be taken out the next day.

I had a visit that night from my Sister and Brother-in-law,
who wanted to know when I would be coming out, as they were providing me with a lift.

She asked a nurse who said they expect Thursday or Friday.

A rehab lady called, and monitored my hobbling up and down some steps, offering guidance on how to do it without putting excess strain on the sternum.

I got back to the bed, and soon nodded off.

The next morning, Wednesday, a male nurse approached the bed and snapped: "Come on, get your things ready your going home, we need the bed for an emergency coming in!"

I replied, "Fine, will anyone be removing the battery powered monitor from my groin before I go?"

He disappeared, and returned with another nurse, and dug out Siemens monitor.

Gobsmacked, I complied with his rewuest, then asked if the nurse on the desk could phone my sister to ask if she can collect me.

Nurse: "You can use the phone yourself!"

Me: "Well as you can see, I'm wearing hearing aids if that will give you a clue as to why I can't?"

At this point I was feeling a little pissed off at being treated like what I thought, an unimportant lowlife"

Nurse: "Oh alright, what's the number!"

Oh course Janet, my sister was not expecting a call for me to be collected and taken to home at 0700hrs in the morning.

Meanwhile me remaining things from the bedside cabinet had been put into carrier bags and taken to a reading.TV area at the end of the ward, so I joined them there, and waited for the arrival of my kin.

Janet arrived about 1330hrs, and took me home.

Thankful that I'd been given an extension of life after heart failure, I could not but help being left with a feeling of disappointment at how I was handled.

To the 99% of the staff, I have nothing but respect for, and appreciation of their care given to me.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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