At 7:30am I paced the corridors near the Day Case Center of Broadgreen Hospital, wondering why I had shown up there but no one else had.
It turned out that the area that was sign posted as the Day Case Center wasn’t where I was supposed to be, and soon enough a nurse came out from another wing and led me to my room for the day. Room 2 itself was nice and modern – it lacked a TV, but I figured it’d only be a while until I was taken to theatre anyway, so after changing into the fetching mesh underwear and gown I’d been given, I sat back on the comfy chair and rested my eyes.
A short while later the anesthetist turned up – a nice indian lady who explained to me what was going to be done with me when I was taken to surgery. It was during this explanation that Fliss turned up, too, which was most confusing. It turned out that after driving home she realised that she didn’t have any keys, so had come back to get mine.
After Fliss and the anesthetist had gone I was left to my own devices for around half an hour, before the nurse called Maria who had originally met me came back to take my details and put a wrist band on me. It was then that I found out I was fourth on the list and the first person had just gone to theatre, so it would be another couple of hours until my turn came.
When Maria had gone I reveled in the good foresight I had shown in packing my headphones, and, with my phone in “flight mode” for hospital friendliness, I set about listening to a couple of Moby albums to relax and pass the time. Unfortunately that time crawled by – two hours is a long time to while away when you’re sitting in a chilly room wearing a backless gown and mesh boxer shorts. 😐
As 11am drew near I packed my earphones and phone away and took a bathroom break in anticipation of the porter coming to collect me. When she arrived I popped the plastic slipper covers on and walked with her to the theatre, where the anesthetist was waiting for me inside a clean room that I entered through a big silver sliding door. That was very cool, actually – quite sci-fi. 🙂
A few minutes later I was on the trolley with the needle in my hand and a breathing mask placed over my face. I had assumed I’d be told to “count to ten” at this point, but nobody said anything. Five or ten seconds must have passed before I felt woozy, at which point I said “bye everyone!”, closed my eyes and slipped into unconsciousness.
My eyes flickered open to see a room with some other people in various states of consciousness – evidently the theatre recovery area. Glancing up over my shoulder to the right I could see I was connected to a heart rate monitor. With a deep breath I watched as my heart rate dipped towards 50bpm. A deep slow breath made it dip to around 48bmp. Cool, I thought – there were hospital staff in the room tending to people, but nobody seemed to notice that I’d woken up yet, so I decided to play with the heart rate monitor some more.
Another slow, steady breath and the figure dipped to 49… 48… 47… BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP went the monitor and startled I was right back up to the high 50’s. Turns out there are alarms on those things if they get too low, and now I had a couple of members of staff around me.
“You feeling okay?” a male nurse asked me.
“Yeah – sorry, I was messing with the heart rate monitor to see how low I could get it. I used to have a really low resting heart rate from all the road cycling I did.” I offered, by way of explanation.
“Ha! Me too – I could sit around the mid 40’s if I just sat back and relaxed.” He smiled, “Do you still do any cycling?”
“Only occasionally, and it’s more mountain biking nowadays.” I said.
This was weird – here I was, suddenly having a conversation with a complete stranger through the fog of anesthetic, and I hadn’t yet considered the pain in my knee. And there was pain in my knee – although it was only a dull ache and a feeling of pressure, so nothing bad.
I was then wheeled back to my room, where Maria was waiting to hang my drip up. Maria said she’d get me a welcome drink of water and when she returned with that said she’d send for some tea and toast, too. I was looking forward to this, since it was now around 1pm and I hadn’t eaten since dinner time on Friday. When the room emptied of people I allowed myself to doze, but awoke about ten minutes later to see that no toast or tea had appeared.
I was too dazed to care much, so I reached for my jacket to retrieve my earphones and phone so I could listen to some more music. I took a fly picture of myself while I was at it – thought I might as well have something to remember the occasion, aside from some small scars. A few songs later Maria re-appeared to ask if I’d had my toast. When I told her I hadn’t been given any she went and got me a ham sandwich with some tea and biscuits to go with it. I wolfed all that down before the physiotherapist guy showed up.
He got me up and about and although it was painful I could walk okay and even manage some stairs. By the time I got back to my room my knee was aching a lot though, so it looks like I’ll have to take it easy. He showed me some pictures from the inside of my knee, which was cool – everything was fine, except a “fatty pad” had developed a rough edge from general wear and tear and it was that which was causing me the pain. He said that Mr Taylor, my surgeon, had tidied it up for me and I should be back to normal within a couple of months.
It was as much a relief to know that there actually had been a problem as it was to find it had been fixed. I’d been worried that they wouldn’t find anything and that would leave me with a mystery sore knee and a sheepish look on my face when it was all said and done. A short while after the physiotherapist left I was discharged and Fliss came to collect me from the ward and take me home.
My knee doesn’t feel too bad, actually – it has been a bit of a struggle to make it up and down the stairs, but not impossible. And, since I’ve been given a two week sick note to cover me at work, I think that should be plenty of time for me to rest and recover.