The continuing saga of me versus medicine
At one time I sold my soul to Satan, and became a travelling salesman, a "Rep". It was rather a strange job. We were trained to manipulate the buyers and opinion makers into ordering our products, even though sometimes we knew that other company's products were better suited. The job entailed lots of travel, about 50,000 miles each year, and lots of staying in hotels and having nice meals.
The job had two major perqs. A company car and free health insurance through BUPA.
I was glad the health insurance was provided, because my old trouble, the hemorrhoids were beginning to cause problems again. The repair job done in the Army needed re-doing, and I arranged to go into the BUPA hospital in Glasgow for the procedure.
I was in a private room with a remote controlled colour TV, classical music playing in the background and all very restful. Menus were provided and choices indicated. A glass of wine was available at lunch and dinner. All a bit different from my last sojourn in a ward, when no music was provided and we all had to lie at attention when the doctor made his rounds and the less said about the food the better. How in the name of the wee man can someone burn a boiled egg?
My operation was scheduled for the next day, so I spent a pleasant evening watching the TV, reading a book and sipping some restorative whisky I had smuggled into my room. I should point out that the nursing staff didn't care, as far as they were concerned, as long as I didn't drink to excess it was OK. It was my beloved I was hiding it from. She had this abiding fear that I would turn into a raving and raging alcoholic given half a chance.
Day of the op. I must admit to being a tad nervous, but the pre-op medication left everything in a gentle haze and I woke up in my own room. The surgeon came in to explain that (as a private patient) the discomfort should be a minimum, as he had packed the wound *small shudder when he mentioned the bit that had been cut* with an antiseptic gauze which was also impregnated with a local anaesthetic. He also reminded the nurse in attendance that I was to have the usual morphine injection that evening, as the local would be wearing off about that time.
He was right, the local was definitely wearing off by the evening, and it was beginning to feel that I was sitting on a pile of broken glass, but the morphine soon fixed that. if you've never had morphine before, let me describe the feeling. The pain is still there, but you just don't care. All is surrounded by a lovely, actively pleasant golden cloud. All the unpleasant realities of life were far, far away. My goodness it felt good. I can well understand how this stuff could be addictive, and ever since I have been careful to avoid all opiates. I reckon I could far too easily become addicted.
WARNING Some nasty bits ahead
The next morning the fun really started. After breakfast the sister in charge came in and gave me a 200 ml dose of liquid paraffin oil. She explained that it would make the first "movement" a little easier. She also gave me another morphine injection. It was in the golden glow of the morphine that I decided to take a shower. My room had its own private toilet and shower so I just slipped out of bed and glided in the golden cloud to the shower. I was still in the golden cloud as I had a lovely long hot shower. The golden cloud suddenly vanished as I slipped on the shampoo I had left dripping and landed on the metal ridge of the shower cabinet. My normal reflexes were attenuated by the medication and I didn't land gracefully. Not to put too fine a point on it, I land on my d*ck. No Richard [of RBB] that is not a duck, it was far more personal than that. Even through the morphine I felt the pain, but it soon faded back into the golden cloud.
That evening I was beginning to feel quite ill. My bowels were beginning to give the first indication that they were going to start working again, and my bladder was unpleasantly full, and I just couldn't pee. The sister offered me a hot bath, as this would help loosen the adhering gauze and would make it less painful to remove. She was absolutely correct. As I lay in the huge tub, (in a separate bathroom, off of the main nursing station) I could feel my muscles relax, and the gauze softened and separated. I could also feel something else. A strange sort of softening of my guts.
Just as I scrambled to my feet, the gauze gave way under the pressure of a liquid paraffin fueled deluge of sh*t, and the lovely perfumed air of the bath salts changed to a fetid odour so strong it would have made a rat retch. Nursing sisters are made of sterner stuff however, and she was very professional as, responding to my pitiful whimpers of pain and embarrassment, she whisked me out of the bath, gave me a gentle cleaning shower from the handheld unit and drained the bath. Well she tried to drain the bath, but the combination of the paraffin/awful stuff mix and the remnants of the gauze had well and truly choked up the plughole, and for the first time a trace of disgust crossed her features. "Never mind"she said, "Worse happens"
She was right.
By 8 o'clock that night, I still couldn't pee. The pressure was moving from really uncomfortable to acutely painful, and the doctor on his evening round finally decided to "pass a catheter".
I am going to "pass over the details" as apart from being grossly embarrassing I cannot remember much. Except that the relief was amazing and I was fascinated by one technical aspect of the procedure which was new to me. The catheter had at it's internal apex, a small inflatable balloon, which when inflated, held the whole apparatus firmly where it was supposed to be.
The reason this little detail is burned in my memory will soon become apparent.
The next morning, the doctor ordered the catheter removed and that I should be able to leave that evening. The accompanying nurse made a notation on my chart and they left. I sat back to watch TV and sip some more whisky. I was just in an interesting bit of "Take the High Road" (an exception all of its own) when a new, younger and red-headed nurse burst in with a wave of Oirishness and a stream of hypersonic chatter. She never stopped. It was sounding like a Gatling gun at high rpm. She never seemed to listen to any answers to her stream of questions, but just kept firing them away.
"Top o' the morning, my young salpeen" (or something like that. I'm not very good at Irish vernacular)
"My haven't you got a lovely glow to your rosy cheeks"
"Are you feeling better now?"
"Have your bowels moved again?"
"Do you want to go to the toilet, or do you want a bottle?"
"It's a lovely brisk day out there, you're lucky to be wrapped up so warm and cosy"
She went on and on, and it was like a mild form of hypnosis, gently fascinating, but made absolutely no sense whatsoever. She really looked very nice. Nicely rounded figure, slightly freckled skin (I've always been a sucker for freckles). She exuded that mixture of brisk no-nonsense professionalism and maternal caring (with an admixtue of a not inexpensive perfume) which entrances most blokes. It certainly entranced me. I sat there with (I suspect) a slightly goofy grin just gazing in her general direction. I even managed a quick glance down her cleavage as she whisked away the covers to check the wound and the catheter.
What was she doing.?
Dear God Above I Was Being Raped.
She grabbed my (rapidly diminshing) manhood.
I always heard the stories about the Irish nurses, but this was a private hosp........................
The stupid red-headed cow had, without warning me, decided to remove the catheter as per the Doctor's instructions. BUT SHE HADN'T DEFLATED THE BALLOON first.
I cannot describe the pain and anguish. Let's just mention Sulphuric Acid, Fire Ants, Broken Glass and Barbed Wire and just leave it at that.
|The PAIN. AGAIN|
My beloved came and rescued me that evening, and I was so glad as I hobbled towards our car and my inflatable cushion, that she was not Irish.