We came together four strangers, having never met before, to share for a few days and nights a closeness and comradeship brought about by the common experience we all went through. Ward 8. The fellowship of Ward 8. M across from me in the opposite bed arrived on the same day, and would have her operation on the same day. Br on my right hand side had been here some days, and was desperately trying now to eat and drink something and keep it down. Mrs C over in the far corner had also been here some days. She was helpful and filled M and I into the nuances of the ward, showed us where everything was, explained about baths, showers, meal times, and other tips for making life bearable whilst being part of this exclusive club.
On the Monday of our arrival, M and I were hardly left alone in order to have time to think. One body and another visited the side of our beds, taking blood pressure, temperature, blood, administering two, yes two enemas to each, one about tea time and the other later that evening. I was not concerned at all about tomorrows impeding operation, but I do hate waiting, so I was so glad to be informed that I would be the first down in the morning at 08.30am. That suited me fine! M was informed that hers would be later, about dinner time.
A lovely young student nurse came to ask me if I would mind her watching my operation? Of course I didn’t mind at all. I was also asked if the removed organs could be used in research and again I consented to this. Everyone seemed to be asking the same or similar questions as they filled in their paperwork. Mr N my consultant came to see me as did his registrar. All were polite and friendly and were willing to answer any questions or reassure you of procedures to be taken. Before you knew it, it was 22.00 and time for lights out. Hurray! ALL the lights were turned out including those along the corridor! It was nice and dark, my favourite state to induce sleep, and I turned onto my front and slept like a log on my tummy, because I was sure it would probably be a long time before I could do so again after tomorrow.
Before I knew it, it was 05.30 am and my usual time to wake up. I quietly tiptoed out to the toilet outside our ward door, and then had a circular walk around the H shaped ward simply for something to pass the time. I knew I wouldn’t get back to sleep, once awake that’s it. I made my way to the Day room and turned on the TV. I didn’t want to disturb the ladies in the next ward to the day room, so I had to keep the volume low. I watched the news. Another few turns around the ward to kill time and then it was soon time for me to walk down with my lovely student nurse to the operating theatre.
“I’ll give you all a wave on my return!” I told my three trusty companions on Ward 8. “See you soon!” I had been told I would be down there about two and a half hours or so. We walked down together chatting away about this and that, I remember a lift was involved somewhere along the journey. I was in a fetching gown tied around the back. On arrival at the preparation room, we were greeted by staff all dressed in blue hats, blue tops and blue trousers. I had to lay on a trolley type bed on top of a green ‘bag’ with grab loops at each side to enable them to lift me from there to elsewhere. My student nurse needed to change into her operation outfit and she went off to find one that fit her. She returned looking just the part though her top half was a different shade of blue to the trousers.
Next, I was wheeled into the anesthetic room where I met ‘B’ my anesthetist who was in a very jovial mood, cracking jokes left right and centre. He had me sit up whilst he administered his ‘concoction’ of pain relief drugs into an epidural in my spine, then I lay down whilst he injected the anesthetic into my hand. I drifted off to the land of nod.