Sunday, 15 March 2009
On Friday I had surgery. It was just about as much fun as you might expect. I was instructed to present myself at the Mercy at 6.30 in the morning and did so, but then had to sit and twiddle my thumbs for three hours in a chair facing a television showing morning television shows. The form-filling-out preliminaries took about ten minutes and then I just sat and waited. There was no visible queue which somehow made it more annoying. Have you ever tried to read a review of three monographs on the Nazi film industry while Spongebob Squarepants is squealing in your ear? By 9.30 the operation was a welcome interruption to Mel & Kochie induced irritated boredom.
I must have looked terrified when I went into the lying-down-on-table room, though, because the three people there to get me ready all immediately began making soothing clucking sounds while putting in the drip-thing, squishing something cold through the tube into the back of my hand etc. I was lying there sleepily looking at the double doors to the operating room and then I was waking up, still on the table but in another room, looking at a clock that said 12.30.
A nurse was asking me what my heart rate was normally. I tried to say that I didn't know (but was it just that I didn't understand the question? If she had asked me what my normal blood pressure was I would have known, but anyway.) Another nurse came and asked me if I did a lot of exercise and I seemed to say yes to this and this appeared to have satisfied them both. Now Nurse #1 was flipping through the pages of forms I'd filled out.
You're a uni lecturer, she told me.
Good hours. You only come in to work about four hours a day.
mm nn no
After the heart rate conversation I felt it would be a good idea if I tried to not go back to sleep in case my heart slowed down any more but I don't think I succeeded. After a bit I was wheeled into another room and lay there, sleepy, curious, and bored while various things happened. My stomach began to hurt and I was given a ‘morphine-like’ pill. I became confused and wished I had brought Voss to the hospital so I could read it while on morphine-like drugs. One of the surgeons who (apparently) did the operation came and showed me two sheets of A4 each with eight full-colour photographs of my ovaries and uterus on them. She pointed out some of the highlights to which I paid less attention than I now wish I had paid, and I think she said I would get the pictures to take to my gynaecologist, although perhaps not because I don't have them now. Or perhaps she knew I would just post them on my blog and so she didn't give them to me. Everyone else in there was wearing blue scrubs, but she had on a really strange dress which was like a normal fitted bodice to the waist, with a scoop neck and cap sleeves, but the skirt was like a full bell with deep pleats folded like the noses of paper aeroplanes, and it was short and pouffy. It also appeared to have a small brass plaque (exactly like a doctor's nameplate next to the door) affixed to the back just below the neckline.
A nurse placed a round of corned beef sandwiches in front of me and another nurse took them away because it was too soon. A bit later the first nurse brought them back again. It was very still and there were few other patients. Someone I couldn't see was quietly sobbing. The nurses and doctors were talking about a caesar, and after a bit I heard a newborn baby exercising its lungs. I could not get comfortable on the trolley because my arms wanted to flop off the sides. I thought about the thing a yoga teacher said to me eight years ago – you have got unusually long arms, Laura - which I have probably thought about more than anything else anyone has ever said to me in my whole life. Based on nothing at all that I could observe, a nurse told me to put my clothes on and go to the toilet. 'When you get up you will see there's a surfboard between your legs' she said. A surfboard? I was very curious about what it could be and was disappointed to discover it was only a big lump of cotton wool. But was I supposed to leave it there? It wasn't attached to anything. I tried putting my undies on over it and the result was ludicrous enough to pierce the morphine-like brainfog. So I left my surfboard on the trolley and went away.
Dorian was there to meet me when I came out of the toilet but I had to wait a bit longer before being told to go home. I have four small cuts in my belly, which is grotesquely distended because they inflate the abdomen with gas: one cut on the navel, one above the hairline, and one at each side of the curve. It's really damn peculiar to think of total strangers fiddling about inside my stomach without my being there while they did it. I only have the cuts to show anyone was ever in there. They have got sticky tape over them. The belly button sticky tape panel goes over the entire belly button, which is gross. I didn't have a shower until early Saturday afternoon, and while I was wiping away the yellow rinse that had been swabbed across my stomach I discovered several creepy dried drips of blood running horizontally across my hips from front to back.
Not looking forward to picking off the sticky tape. That's got to hurt.
at 9:24 am