Do you remember that scene from Dumbo where the cute little elephant is torn away from his mum. Having my operation in Covid times means you are not allowed anyone to sit with you, comfort you or support you. Once you are in the hospital, limited visitor hours are allowed only once you are on the ward post-op.
I packed the day before, my parents came up that weekend and we hit a few bucket list areas I wanted to visit in the Cotswolds (Burford, Winchcombe and Chedworth Roman Villa). My mum walked me to the reception desk at Cheltenham Hospital to say goodbye, dad waited in the car. At reception, I checked in and was prepared for a wait, but as I was speaking a nurse called my name to enter the ward. I wasn’t prepared, I’m 38 and I’ve never wanted my mum more than at that moment.
Both mum and I were stunned at how quickly I was being admitted, we just hugged and cried. I later found out after my operation, that my mum was in bits at the reception desk when I had left, I feel awful for that – but it’s comforting how the hospital treated the risk of Covid. I don’t think I’ve felt more vulnerable in my life being lead to the ward.
The nursetook me to the bed area and told me I was first on the list for operating. I was still in bits at the time and to her credit, she was brilliant with me. I was asked to put on my lovely hospital gown, and I then had the fun job of an enema – honestly compared to the colonosopy or eight laxatives a day, this was surprisingly easy.
She then gave me some tramadol which confused me as I was going under anaesthetic and I was told I was having an epidural pre-operation. Now, this was a complete surprise, I’m not sure if this was discussed at my pre-op meeting with the surgeon or not. However epidurals are big needles going in to my spine and WHAT THE ACTUAL ****!!!!
So fear, turned to terror, and I was lead shortly after to the operating theatre. The nurse came with me and once we reached the door, I refused to enter, burst into tears and she gave me a very much needed hug. I’m pleased to say the epidural process itself wasn’t so bad, I’m grateful you can’t see the needle, I’m less grateful to the nurse who kept telling me to stay still when I had an epic needle going in to my spine. The epidural felt like a pinch, it is not pleasant but it’s nothing to be frightened of. I’m still shocked that I managed to do that. I was then wheeled on a hospital bed to the theatre and we all know the drill, the count back from 10, 9, 8 and……
I remember seeing my mum after the operation, I’m not sure if I was high from the anaesthetic or the morphine. I remember little else of that day.