Well, the deed is done. I’ve officially made my transition from Cavalier to Roundhead.
It was an….experience.
I have a theory. Hospital clothes are designed purely to humiliate you, and therefore keep you docile and compliant. There’s no other explanation. What other reason is there for hospital gowns to be backless and impossible to put on by yourself? When has a Doctor ever needed to get to your ass in a hurry?
In the two hours between getting changed and actually having the operation, I asked no fewer than six nurses this question and not a single one could give me an answer.
The less said about the transparent paper underwear I was given the better.
Actually, scratch that, because that underwear went a long way to making my day less pleasant.
You see, I was waiting for my operation on a ward…a 40x30 room shared with three other people. This was generally an upside, because it meant I had three equally nervous people having equally embarrassing procedures to provide entertainment while I was waiting.
The downside was the guy opposite me hadn’t bothered bringing a robe, and for my entire wait he sat there, reading a book with his legs spread wide…with his backless gown up somewhere around his thighs.
I hadn’t brought a book or anything to read because my mother, who is a filthy liar, told me that as my appointment was at 8am, I’d be going in first and wouldn’t be waiting….it turned out that 10 other people also had 8am appointments…so I spent well over an hour just sitting in the chair next to my bed, directly across from a bloke that was proudly displaying his meat and two veg.
Oh, but after a while, he decided to lie on his side on his bed, facing away…so at least I had his hairy arse crack to distract me from his balls.
The other guy opposite was an older gentleman who provided endless entertainment.
The week before your op, you go for a physical and you’re told multiple times to fast from midnight the day before your operation. A few days later you get a letter with all your instructions in print, including the words ‘DO NOT EAT OR DRINK FOR TWELVE HOURS BEFORE YOUR PROCEDURE’ in inch high letters.
So, the nurse asked the older guy when he’d last eaten. He smiled and told her all about the full English breakfast he’d had two hours ago.
The nurse told him he wasn’t supposed to eat anything. He swore that no-one had told him. When she told him it was on his letter, he swore that it wasn’t on his. When she told him it meant he’d have to wait until later that afternoon for his op…he just swore.
(In all honesty, after a minute he realized it was his mistake. He was quite a nice guy. He even offered me his newspaper once he’d read it… I took it gratefully and used it to shield myself from the other bloke’s nuts).
The last cast member of our little human drama was the toast coveter…but more on him later.
Anyway, at about quarter to eleven, a nurse came and got me and I went into ‘forward waiting’. This is where you go to a smaller waiting room and actually get on a gurney.
About 15 minutes later I was wheeled to the operating theatre by the World’s Most Bored Sounding Man, who obviously was required to talk to the patients to keep them at ease…either that or they employed him purely as an alternative form of sedation because fuck me he was boring.
So I found myself in the operating theatre ante-chamber and they put that needle thingy in the back of my hand (and did a really good job, actually, I don’t have the slightest hint of a bruise…the the anesthesiologist came in.
Okay, you know how when you’re having an operation, you kind of want an atmosphere of calm professionalism? I swear my anesthesiologist was the bollywood version of Billy Mays mixed with that uncle everyone has who cracks bad jokes at really inappropriate time.
He asked me what I was having done (You get asked that question a hundred times along with your name, age and date of birth to make sure they don’t mix you up with someone else.)
I said “I’m having a circumcision, unfortunately.”
He stood back, held his hands out at his sides and said “Eeeeeeyyyyy” (Yes, just like The Fonz) “Why unfortunate? We sharpening it! Your wife will like! Yes?”
I just looked at him blankly and waited for Ashton Kutcher to step out and tell me I’d been punked.
Then he asked me what I liked to drink.
“Uhhhh….coffee?” I said.
“No, not coffee!” he said. “Like alcohol! What booze you like?”
“Beer?” I said.
“An’ how much beer you drink?”
“A couple a month?” I responded.
“Okay, this feel like about four beers. Good beers, but all at once…just to get you started.”
“Ok.” I said.
Lying fucker. He pumped that shit through the needle in my hand, I felt my head go a bit fuzzy and the next thing I knew I was waking up in the recovery room with an oxygen mask on my face.
(Parental lie number two: My filthy liar of a mother also said I wouldn’t need anything to keep me occupied for the two hours they keep you in after the operation because, and I quote “You’ll be so out of it, you’ll just sleep…we’ll probably wheel you to the car in a wheelchair and you’ll get home and sleep for the rest of the day)
Instead, I woke up feeling like I’d just had a nice, refreshing nap. I was a bit loopy for five minutes when I first came round, but after that I was fine. By the time I was wheeled back to the ward, I felt like I could have driven home with no problems.
After getting my vitals tested, the nurse asked if I wanted something to eat. She was just dropping off some toast and jam and a small pot of coffee when the coveter was wheeled in. (Luckily, the bullock flasher had left, so there was nothing to put me off my food.)
The coveter looked over at me as soon as the nurse left and said:
“Where’d you get that? I’m starving!”
“They’ll offer you some when they’ve finished taking your vitals,” I responded.
“She just did.” he said, looking around the ward as if willing the nurse to appear.
“Nah,” I said, opening up my little package of jam. “They take them every ten minutes for about half an hour first.”
“Oh,” he said, looking disappointed.
I spread my jam on my toast and poured myself some coffee. I could feel his eyes boring into the side of my head.
“You look like you’re really enjoying that,” he said as I took my first bite.
“Mmm hmm,” I replied, non-commitally as he continued to stare.
“I really am starving, not eaten since ten last night.”
“Me too,” I said. And you can fuck off if you think I’m offering you half my toast, I added, mentally.
Seriously, have you ever tried to eat while a stranger is just staring at you? On the upside, it was good toast.
Luckily, his stare was interrupted when the surgeon came over to my bed to tell me how everything went. There’s not much to say about him…except that he looked and sounded almost exactly like George Takei.
When I made a joke about swelling and he said “Oh my!”… I damn near soiled myself trying to suppress a laugh.
Anyway, with my paper undergarments now a thing of the past, the nurse came over a few minutes later and gave me some equally embarrassing underwear…an awesome assless jockstrap I have to wear for a week.
Well, before they could let me go, I had to go to the bathroom just to check everything was still working, so I went to the bathroom and had a peek under the dressing… They could have forewarned me what the stitches would look like… I took a glimpse and saw that my old fella looked like Frankenstein’s neck (although not green, thank god).
Anyway, after that, they handed me some more dressings and some weapons grade painkillers.
Now I just have six weeks of healing time to look forward to. On the upside, at least I can piss in a straight line again.