If I was going to have an accident, breaking my wrist yards from the A&E entrance of Tommy’s was about the best location for it to happen.
Although it would have been nice to have my op straightaway, it was also nice to go home, and I was told that as it wasn’t a clean break, the team would want to discuss who was best to do it. Of course I wanted the best. Who wouldn’t? But by half past nine yesterday morning, with no word from the hospital and my blood sugars sinking rapidly, I was becoming wobbly and weepy. Just before ten, to distract myself, I went onto the landing with some recycling. Naturally I missed the call. While I listened to the message, my mobile rang, but by the time I reached it, it had stopped. The message left bothered me. It implied the caller thought I had been ‘phoned already and might be in the hospital, but if not, to call and speak to the on call surgeon. If anyone from Tommy’s reads this, please note that it would have been helpful to leave a direct number to call back, as my stress levels rose trying to reach the right person and being put on hold several times.
Once at surgical admissions, time stood still. Celia, who accompanied me on the bus, stayed and kept me company, and played an exhaustive game of I Spy, for what seemed like hours, before a lovely nurse, Ingrid, I think, called me to take my details. That used up the better part of an hour and I had hopes of being in theatre by two. But two came and went. The consultant came to see me and said it would three thirty at the latest, and the nurses would get me ready. I said I write and my wrist is important for my income, I am concerned about deformity and reduced mobility. He looked serious and said I had a significant wrist injury. This was not like an elderly person falling and breaking a bone; on a scale of one to ten, he put my fracture at seven point five. Apart from my stres fracture a couple of years ago, I have never broken anything. It seems I have decided to collect all my points in one go. He then showed me the x-rays. I don’t recall what he called it, but using my own vocab, I said it was like the Portland Vase. He nodded. Just so. He then showed me the ‘divot’ in one bone. Is that a medical term, or could he be a sporting man? Golfer? Rugby player?
The plan was to use a metal plate to push the bone back together and then I’m afraid I have forgotten the technical details. I felt he was a man I could trust.
An anaesthetist came and talked to me. Then nothing. I dozed, one eye on the clock. At three fifteen the nurse came back and said I should get into my gown, disposable pants and special socks. She gave me some lovely warm wipes and instructions how to wash myself. I was just struggling into the pants when there was a flurry of activity outside the door. I was on the day surgery list and unless I got to theatre by half past three, there would be no op for me.
We made it, with the nurse fretting that she hadn’t given me slippers, so no chance of a surgical Cinders act for me. The theatre seemed cosy, the team smiley. I don’t remember anything about the anaesthetic. Last time I counted to two. This time I was unaware it had been given. And then unaware of anything until I reluctantly opened my eyes in a very bright recovery room. A straw in a cup of water encouraged me towards wakefulness, and then I was taken to the ward. Not George Perkins with the promised fabulous view where Celia and Octavia had been waiting for me, but a private ward. So my first ever overnight stay in a hospital may have given me a false Impression. I imagine that on the NHS wards, while it is the same staff, the coffee would be instant, and I might not get my own toast rack. Also, I might not get a pair of nice red slipper socks, a comb, eye shield or earplugs.
However, as the treatment is the thing, I don’t think it is much to complain about. And the thing that has made the biggest difference to this experience has been the support from friends. Celia, Olivia and Lovely Neighbours have freed me from anxiety. Words cannot express how grateful I am to them. My virtual friends’ messages have buoyed me, and just having access to the big wide world via this page, twitter and texts has been amazing. I hope I miss out on the post op blues, but forgive me in advance should I post something miserable in the next few days.