I now feel sufficiently rehabilitated and courageous enough to actually write/type down a record of my experiences. I was considering doing this on my blog, but felt obliged to place it on this one due to influences medical humanities had on my stay at the hospital.
For some odd reason, the week before the surgery, I was not even thinking about it. This odd behaviour continued until the night before the oh so dreaded day, as I was forced into planning what I was going to take with me, due to being informed that I would spend one night in the wards. I was so wrapped up in planing my luggage, that I even asked my sister's opinions on which pyjamas I should wear. I ended up taking three manga volumes, my A4 hardback art book, a pot of ink, paint brushes, a pencil case, a Harry Potter book, my glasses (which I don't even wear), toiletries including facial wash, creams, and make up (god knows why I took them) an extra headscarf, pink woolly pyjamas (I forgot it was July, but liked the colour) and my journal book.
I thought fear might hit me like Heathcliff bashing his head against a tree trunk... but it didn't. 7.30 the next morning I was at the hospital, armed with various medication and pyjamas, whilst I still had not one ounce of fear, trepidation, foreboding of any other ill feeling, not even excitement. My family on the other hand were rather nervous.
I arrived at the medical admissions lounge, expecting to wait for four hours, but I was not even able to read 3 pages of Harry Potter, when a nurse called my name, I was interviewed for what seemed the 4th time about my medical history, which I am absolutely sure is all in the notes as I explicitly remember telling at least 3 physicians previously of the same details which got recorded into the same set of notes. The nurse would ask me of my name first in case I didn't know it, then gave me a wrist band saying my name on it to enforce my identity, I felt slightly like a prisoner as the hospital number had a much larger font than my actual name.
The questions flowed on to my asthma, medication, and allergies, of which I was awarded a second band, bright red in colour and detailing the murderous allergens. I really liked that band, it made me feel distinguished and special. The nurse kept asking me stupid questions about metal plates, here is how it went:
Nurse: 'Do you have any metal substance in or on your body'
Dessa: 'Just the pins in my scarf'
Nurse: 'Any metal studs?'
Nurse: 'Any metal plates?'
Dessa: 'Err... no.'
Nurse: 'Any jewelery?'
Nurse: 'Any gold teeth?'
Nurse: 'Any braces?'
Dessa: 'No!' (by this time I was thinking 'surely I answered all this crap at the beginning')
Nurse: 'Any retainers?'
Dessa: 'No' (I pitied her for having to ask all these questions to every patient by this stage)
Nurse: 'Any metal body piercings'
Nurse: 'Anything metal that might fall off during surgery?'
Dessa: (I actually paused to think about it here) 'Err... no.'
I was then dismissed and called again 30 minutes later by the anaesthetist, who spoke to me in clear simple language, I enjoyed shocking her into understand of my medical knowledge. Then we discussed my susceptibility to vomiting at the hands of analgesics; glamorised by medical jargon.
10 minutes after this interview, I was again called by the nurse to do the only thing I was afraid of: changing into the hospital gown, I'd like to describe them like a sheet of material that's only purpose in life is to make you feel uncomfortable, thank God for the dressing gown they offered! Despite the rather exposed feeling that accompanied wearing the 'gown' I made a new found discovery involving my feet. Being made to wear tight white stockings to prevent thrombosis, I was pleasantly surprised to find that white socks remarkably suited my feet and made them look very daintily cute, all I needed was a pair of heels and I'd be sorted. The effect was somewhat ruined by the trademark label on one side of the stockings and 'Property of the NHS' written on the other.
The worst was still to come, I had never thought that wearing these revolutionary stockings and horrid gown might prevent me from wearing my trainers, and so, I had to wear green spongy sort of flippers which were too big for my good-looking feet and made me feel like a genetically modified penguin. The idea of wearing the highest possible heels, never seemed more tempting. It was in this embarrassing state that I walked down corridors filled with normally dressed people, in normal shoes and who could possibly have metal plates, whilst feeling incredibly out of place, even though I was in a hospital.