A tale of unfortunate events

I think Lemony Snicket was on call yesterday

It’s 1.54am in the morning and I have been lying here for the past two hours unable to sleep and thought I would write about my eventful day yesterday.

I was booked in for a Hysteroscopy and arrived at the day surgery ward at 11.10am feeling fairly relaxed and ready to get it over with. The booking in clerk told me that I was last on the list and added that it was going to be a long afternoon’s wait.

Armed with 3 second hand Hello magazines and an iphone, I was directed to my designated cubicle for the duration.

And what a long day it was…

Three nurses along with a healthcare assistant ran the show absolutely rushed off their feet all day long. Different uniformed people flowed in and out of the ward but the nurses (and their voices) were the faces that became familiar throughout the day.

The first check I had was the normal blood pressure, temperature, questions etc and of course the ‘tagging’ to make sure they operate on the right person and the right bit of my body!

This nurse started her shift at 6.45am.

An hour or so later and 3 magazines done (I only like the pictures) the Anesthetist came and had a chat. Throughout the conversation and the legal warnings that have to be said, he constantly held the cheekiest smile upon his face. It seems that any given moment he could have burst out laughing which in turn made me smile and banter along with him.

I signed his consent form.

Next came the Gynecologist who wasn’t the consultant named on my admittance form and with him two trainee doctors. He was tall and slim with a wispy grey moustache wearing all beige. My friend katie and I have a long standing joke between us that whilst she chooses vibrant exciting colours, I go for, and in her very own words ‘beige dear‘ time and time again. It always makes us laugh so I figured that was a good sign.

I signed his consent form too.

It wasn’t too long after the beige man’s visit that the young trainee doctor returned with a request. He asked if it would be okay to examine me?

“What right now?”

His face coloured a little red and he replied with a;

“No! I mean when you are in the operating theatre.”

I asked him why and he explained that after the Gynecologist had completed his task, he would like to take a look too and that it would help him to learn. The young man looked around the age of 19 I’m not kidding and I proceeded to ask him what year of learning he was currently in and he replied year 4.

Anything in the form of education is a must from my belief so I agreed and signed yet another consent form.

One by one the patients on the list were taken away. It used to be that you would undress in your cubicle, put your theatre gown on and hop up on to the wheeled bed.

Oh how things have changed…

With an aching back and numb bum through all of the sitting around, my time finally came.

Yet again, more of the same questions just to treble check and then a lovey nurse led me down to the theatre by foot; porter and trolley in hot persuit behind us.

After stripping off and gowning up I was then allowed to get on to my bed and was pushed in to see the happy anesthetist.

At this point, I stop smiling and so did he – things aren’t so funny anymore!

I look away as he attempts his first cannula in my right hand;

“Sharp scratch” he says, “nothing to worry about” and then, “oh no its ruptured.”

The anesthetist has another go in my right arm and the flow of fluid is incorrect, so it has to be taken out. His third attempt is in my left hand and after much banging and squeezing and the use of a tourniquet, fails.

At this point my legs had started to shake uncontrolably and I was freezing cold.

The not so smiley anesthetist begins his fourth attempt when the theatre nurse politely reminds him that he is not allowed to try again as he fumbles at my arm suggesting it will be fine and we all need to calm down.

Protocol is three attempts and then call for a consultant anesthetist.

Another one is called and my whole body is now shaking.

I started to breathe deeply trying desperately to calm myself down because at this point I was super anxious about what was happening. My body seemed to be disconnected from my mind for a period of time as I struggled to control the shaking even though I knew that it was totally possible to get myself in to a relaxed state.

I just couldn’t calm down. My old familiar friend fear, took over…

Two more people arrived in the tiny room so that made six altogether. They were talking amoungst themselves about the problem and how they were going to manage me.

“Her veins are very weak,” was one comment, we could try…. and at that point the shaking at risen to my whole face with my teeth unable to keep up with the rythym of the rest of my body. They tried to keep me warm by laying a warm blanket over my feet.

Just my feet if I may add and it appeared heavy and uncomfortable so I asked them to remove it.

Did they forget about the rest of my body?

The Consultant Anesthetist spoke very calmly and whilst rubbing my right arm. He stated that everybody in the room needed to calm down especially me and at that it was all fine, he will get the cannula in no problem.

At this point I was ready to run.

Remember! I am a runner it’s my normal pattern of trying to escape – I couldn’t run anywhere I just had to stay and face to onset of massive fear. I prayed silently in my head yet again and hoped that someone was on call to help me and I attempted to surrender the fear over to anyone who was willing to take it from me; God, Dad even Alan.

Was anybody on call that day?

This smooth dark skinned, soft speaking anesthetist had three goes and this time in my left arm twice, with his last attempt in my left foot (the nurse told me that this one would sting a little more than the others).

Really!!! Do you think?

And what a surprise, none of the cannula’s were successful.

This man suggested that the ONLY other way of getting the cannula is was to insert it into my NECK to which I told him directly NO WAY you are not touching my neck.

At this point my vocal chords had kicked in. I told them all that I believed that everything happens for a reason and maybe the reason was that I wasn’t mean’t to have this operation at this point in time. The anesthetist replied with; “that’s a great way at looking at things,” – Oh please…

I also told them that I was freezing and that fact wasn’t helping me as my whole boy shook in front of them.

A few suggestions were made with a few other’s in disagreement and I said loudly that if they can’t do it the normal way then I was leaving and they could wheel me back to the ward.

So in comes the number 3 consultant anesthetist (not sure whether his title should have capital letter’s or not?) because at this stage I was losing the will to live… get me outta here! He brought with him another Dr, male nurse or even another ANESTHETIST – who bloody knows who the extra male person is at this point because I didn’t, he wasn’t introduced.

That makes 8 medical’s in the room now.

This man was stockier than the others and had a bald head. He said in a competent loud foreign accent; “Hello there, whats all this fuss about then?”

I politely told him that this was the last attempt (number 7) that any one of them was going to have, as they clearly can not sort the problem out and I’d had enough. He agreed with me and asked if it was okay to try just one more time?

Holding back the tears, I agreed.

The man who came in with him, held my right arm very tightly in a downward direction whilst the anesthetist put his glasses on. I gasped a sigh of relief due to the fact that he was the only one wearing glasses and told the the audience of medical staff and they all laughed.

Glad I could oblige.

He used an Ultra Scan machine to try and find an appropriate vein.

“Ahh!” he said, “a big beautiful vein” and the man who came in with him tied a tournaquet around the arm and the bald headed anesthetist pushed the cannula in with success.

You see! (literally) It was all about the glasses…

I was in that little room for about 45 minutes before they were able to sedate me and after the operation, my eyes were already in tears before I opened them in recovery.

Bless the male nurse who looked after me in the recovery room who confirmed that I’d had a rough time in there… and that it was all over now. He gave me a sip of water and a mouthful of Oramorph.

After what seemed about only ten minutes, I was wheeled back to where my day had begun and given two bits of dry toast on a plate with some butter and a knife.

Looking back now, I am sure that if they had just placed the warm blanket on my arm for a while a nice vein would have been ready for the impending cannula. When my father in-law was going through his chemo treatment the nurse always warmed his arm first because she found it difficult to get the cannula in so the warming up process served a great purpose.

I wonder if any lessons weren’t learn’t that day by the medical staff?

Maybe they all need to get there eyes tested might be one of them?

The nurse that booked me in, in the morning was the same nurse that signed me out in the evening and at that point her shift was 13.5 hours long.

©All Rights Reserved – The boy in the chip 2019

Author: Michelle Denness

Wife, mother to three incredible kids and aspiring writer/poet. I am passionate about sharing personal stories to empower others and this space is for me to be open and free with my thoughts. This is my journey...

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