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Not sure whether you all realise, but Kevin says 'Hello;.
Arrived at the hospital on a Tuesday morning, huge long drive, nearly 2 miles! Ward D8 west block. Now Queens Med is big,big,big, a hideously designed building externally, but ok inside. I had concerns that it would take me forever to find where I needed to be. I was uptight, I had not been an in patient for some years and never at the Queens. Thus I was uncertain as to how it would go.
Went to the main reception desk
"Excuse me could you direct me to ward D 8 West block please, is it far?"
"Get in the lift (elevator) there, go up 2 floors, go in the door facing the lift and you are there."
Wow, and it was this had all been so easy, a good omen I thought.
"Hello my name is AG, I am booked in for surgery"
She shot it at me, an accusation almost.
" Ahh well you see the traff........." I stumbled.
Then she smiled,
" No its ok, your bed is ready, you are in Blue 6"
I realised that my own anxieties had caused me to mis-interpret her manner.
"I'll fetch Sister Sycamore"
As she said this I saw the formidable personage of Jenny Sycamore bustlig around the corner ahead, moving towards me. Suddenly, all staff were apparrently, very busy.
"Hi Alan, lovely to see you, have you booked in?"
"Was just doing so"
" Ok I'll make you a cuppa"
Wow she was lovely and whilst she was clearly the boss, she had a lovely nature.
"Oh Jenny" I chanced my arm with her christian name.
"Jenny, I stopped smoking"
I felt sure she would congratulate me on this success. She looked at me and smiled.
"Oh I knew you would" she said and headed to the tea room.
I sat with a nursing auxillary on the bed at Blue 6, a small ward of 6 beds, two rows of three, facing each other. Mine was on the end nearest the corridor. How useful that turned out to be!
I filled in all sorts of forms, signed all sorts of forms, filled in more forms, had a blood test, was weighed, urine sample given, temperature and all the usual stuff. Was a wonderfully relaxed routine. Surgery was definitely scheduled for next morning.
All forms satisfactorily filled I asked the auxillary if i was now to get into bed. I sort of expected that I would need to be pyjama clad and goody goody-ishly tucked up, ready for Matrons visit.
"B u g g e r off to the canteen".
"Oh" somewhat taken aback,
"Straight down the corridor at the end".
So I did.
There were a pair of peculiar things happened. One I remember, was walking along the corridor when a smartly dressed man walked towards me. He stared at me. For some reason I was walking full stoop, I had neglected to do the knees bend trick, I felt this man swivel and stare at me as we passed by each other. I felt sure that he stared at me all during my journey along the corridor.
I had a sandwich; then went to the ward once more.......
"Ahhh where have you been?"
"Canteen as I was told"
" Well we have forms to fill in"
I explained that I had done all the forms but was told no there were some more.
Was moving into the afternoon by now so I sat and read a while.
My wife and young daughters visited early evening. I was visited too and at the same time by the anaesthetist.
"Can we see Dad tomorrow?" Asked Ruth.
" Oh errr..mmmmmm..well err tell you what Ruth"
said the anaesthetist,
"Perhaps be best if you leave it a few days because Dad might be quite tired!
The first indication that this was not going to be entirely an easy ride. Rufus was upset, Esther, my youngest, ever the pragmatist was stealing my lemonade and a chocolate biscuit. Well she has always had a capacity for identifying the more important matters.
My family left, wishing me luck and promising to be there (Well Ellen-my wife) would be.
Alone now with the anaesthetist, a down to earth man he asked if he could do an experiment during the surgery.
Normally, before these things, one is drowned in laxative to errrr........wellllll.... not to put too fine a point on it, to empty the system. He didn't want to do this, he wanted to insert a tupe through the nose into the gut and stop the gut working, then take noxious fluids away via the tube.
"Will be ok, we will insert it whn you are under the anaesthetic".
Well that may not have been my best decision in life, given a choice of that again or being trapped under a hotel shutter, well the shutter looks inviting!
Chis Craine then came by. (You can see him on Adelaide Spine Clinic website).
" Alan you will feel some pain when you wake from the surgery, in the legs"
"Oh that's fine, I didnt expect it all to be easy, I will cope"
He gave me a knowing smile. He then drew out on an envelope precisely what he/they would be doing, and drills, hammers, chisels, screwdrivers, spoons and much other equipment would be used.
"See you in the morning then Alan". A very nice man.
Jenny appeared, she seemed almost to live there.
"You are first in Alan because you will be in all day, so up at 5 in the morning, shower, bathroom, then the technician will wire your head"
I was alone, in bed now, thought to do a crossword but found that I couldn't concentrate. I slept not at all that night, I wondered who was the odd man who had stared at me inthe corridor, why couldn't Rufus see me the next day, why was the theatre booked for the whole day, all in all I was in a euphoric state not quite believing that this was all happening, but thoughts were beginning to form deeper in my mind, wow wouldn't it be marvellous home in a few days, tall, lovely.......AS though even when retreating from skilled surgeons would have a way of letting me know it was still there. 4 am dawned, I needed not to be woken, I wandered to the loo and errrr...couldn't, god what if I do on the operating table, a little fear set in there, then the techician arrived. There were only two articulated lorries (trucks) full of cables, it took her two hours to wire me up, then a porter arrived, J K Webb grabbed my big toe, morning Alan, ready?, I was wheeled to the elevtors then seemingly wheeled miles to the theatre suite, the Anaesthetist awaited me, he held a large garden hosepipe in his hand,
"Is a bit bigger than I expected"
Dont worry you'll be asleep. Chris Caine walked past me, touching my arm,
"You ready then Alan"
I felt a ticking in my left arm. the anaesthetic was going in, a clock on the wall in front and above me said 6:57
Jesus christ, what am I doing here god will I be ok, I thought, then I was back in bed not that I knew I where I was, who I was or what I was, I only know I was screaming...........