I’m just out of hospital after my total hip replacement (THR is scrawled in thick ink marker across my right leg so the doctors didn’t carve up the wrong thigh by mistake.) I was in Our Lady of Lourdes in Navan, operated on last Tuesday and crutched up and out on Friday.
I had a spinal anaesthetic (not a pleasant experience) which is supposed to numb the lower part of the body. The doctor flicks ice cold water over you to test it has ‘taken’ and I can tell you it is ice cold as that pesky hip simply did not take. “Ah well, you can’t interfere with nature” said the anaesthetist apologetically (initially, I was confused at this comment as it seemed to me that anaesthetics are supposed to do exactly that), how and ever, as a prone, scared body on a trolley, I wasn’t in a position to argue, particularly as it seemed that he thought a general anaesthetic would be necessary. I thought this an excellent idea as I had forgotten my ipod with its play list of heavy rock and roll and techno to drown out the sounds of the sawing and tugging of my precious hip out of its nesting place. Yes, I nodded, a general, good idea.
At first I thought I was being murdered as he pressed a face shaped transparent plastic object over my mouth and nose with vigor. A sweet old lady leapt to mind. I hope Miss Marple is knocking around Navan, I thought. “Breathe!” he commanded in a raspy and evil voice. I breathed in deeply and woke up in the recovery room, a corridor full of box files, trolleys and nurses. Coming out of a general and a spinal anaesthetic isn’t a bad experience, particularly when there is a bed, a bell, a bed pan and beakers packed with painkillers to hand.
The only time I had been in hospital before was when I had Roisin in The Wittington in London (I got a parking ticket and the car towed away for parking on a yellow line). I stayed there 24 hours (the birth taking 18 of them) before signing an I Am Leaving of My Free Will form with a flourish. This was very different. It was as if I had moved into an alternative world which gently bobbed along, just a little higher and above the surface of my old one. I met lots of interesting people: patients, nurses, physios, care assistants, the odd doctor, dinner ladies, visitors. The food was wonderful and the service simply marvellous. The ward even seemed to enjoy my bed ridden rendition of Mary Poppins. A captive audience! I am signing up for my left leg next year before the hard slog of the next six weeks colours my enthusiasm.
Our Lady Of Lourdes you rock!