Friday, 17 February 2012

Life is a Stage... well, Theatre at Least

First off, can I thank you all for your wonderful well wishes. Deeply and humbly appreciated.

So, are you ready for this?

I was nervous, apprehensive but delighted my surgery was going ahead. For all of about five minutes.
Upon admission the nurse looks at my notes and says "Okay, surgery to the right arm ..."
"No, left-arm." I pointed out.
She giggles and says  "Oh, sorry," and crosses something out on the  paperwork.
I'm then told my anaesthetist will be here to interview me in a minute. Enter stage left ' Dave  the anaesthetist.'
"Hi, I'm Dave, your anaesthetist today."
After running through what I had eaten in the last 24 hours Dave seemed happy and confirmed that he was conversant with my medical history and within a couple of hours my surgery would be underway. He assured me he'd have me asleep in less than 30 seconds.  He then tells me a surgeon will speak to me in a minute. Enter stage left a 7 foot tall surgeon (I kid you not - he was a giant).
"Hi there Mr Grant. So, we are operating on your right arm today." Says he looking at my notes.
"No, left arm."
"Ah okay." he says, crossing something out on the paperwork. "I just need to draw on your arm now to highlight where the incisions will take place." He then takes my left arm and using a marker pen draws a line from my elbow to my wrist where he draws an arrowhead and some letters. "There we are, we'll have that sorted for you in a few hours. We do a lot of carpal tunnel syndrome surgery here. We'll soon have you fixed up."
"I don't have carpal tunnel syndrome. I have cubital tunnel syndrome."
Surprised, he stares at me, the paperwork, then at his artwork on my arm. Reaching for a medicated swab he then erases it all and starts again, only this time the line goes from my wrist to my elbow with the Arrowhead and lettering being completed at my elbow. My wife looks at me and I look at her and clearly we are both thinking the same thing.
' Does anyone here know what they are doing? '
And so I'm sent off to get into the garb I'll be wearing in theatre before being called to go lie on a bed ready to be wheeled in. As I'm lying there a woman in theatre dress hovers over me, "Hello there Mr Grant, I'm Monica your anaesthetist for today."
"I already have one. Dave. I spoke to him earlier."
"No, you must be mistaken. I'm your anaesthetist for today. Just been reading your notes. Won't be long now."
With that said, theatre porters start pushing me along the corridor towards theatre.
"Why you stopping here?" Asks porter one.
"He's theatre five." says porter two.
"Nah, he's theatre seven." insists porter one.
"Well lets just put him in five, if it's wrong they can move him around."
But what if theatre five is a sex change operation or a limb removal? I think to myself, but I'm beyond protesting.

Nurses gather around, stick needles in me, hitch up drips and offer reassurance before wheeling me properly into theatre five. It's all systems go. A face appears above mine, she's holding in her hand a green face mask, "Hello, I'm Jasmine, your anaesthetist for today."
Before I could tell her about Dave and Monica, the mask was on and I was asleep.

My one and a half hour surgery became a four-hour surgery. Not sure why, but it panicked the life out of my poor wife who was given no information (maybe they were sticking my balls back on after realising their mistake?).

I woke up in recovery before being sent to a ward.
"Three days you'll be here Mr Grant." The nurse said , "Or at least until you can hold water down, food down, pee more than 20 mm and move your fingers."
I did all four in less than five hours and begged to go home.

I was aching, drugged up to the eyeballs and tired, but once home I had to telephone my dad who I knew would be worried. What on earth possessed me to do that?
"Hi dad, it's me."
"Rory, your son"
"Can't be, he's in the hospital."
"I'm out. I'm home."
"It sounds like you, did they cancel your operation again?"
"No, they did it."
"And they've kicked you out already? What kind of health service is that?"
"No, I asked to get out. Everything seems to have gone okay."
"So exactly what they did they do son?"
"They took the damaged nerves in my arm and relocated them elsewhere in the arm and now I can move my fingers, even if only slightly."
"Oh my God, that's incredible. They take the nerves out of one arm, put them in the other arm and yet they still work the fingers on the original arm. It's amazing what they can do these days son."
"Well no, they relocated them in the same arm dad."
"That's what I mean, don't you see how incredible that is? They bundle them all up in the one arm and yet they work both arms! Amazing!"
(Big sigh) "Yes dad, yes. All my nerves are now in my right arm but they operate the left. Next year, they're going to put my brain in my buttock to cure my sciatica."
"Ah now you're talking nonsense son, it must be the anaesthetic. I'd better let you get some sleep. Great to hear you're okay! I'll tell your sisters you're well and about that amazing surgery. Fantastic what they can do these days. Bye son!"

Thank you once again everyone :)



  1. well done rory.....look after yourself ... the rehab starts now

  2. Good luck least the giant did rip yer arm off

  3. LOL On the point of rehab - I have the 'hand clinic' later today. It will be 14 days it seems before they can tell whether it's been a success or not. I can certainly wiggle ever so slightly all of my fingers - but I can't feel anything in them though. Maybe that's normal? I'll find out today I guess.


  4. ha ha.. great to be able to look back and laugh...sounds real funny now...:) that shit must of been as scary and as frustrating as hell at the time... yikes!!... your dads funny xx.. glad it's done and you're on the mend Rory

  5. I think I would have been off the gurney and out the door after all that mix up....brave man to stick it out. Good to be home yes?

  6. Wow glad they ended up doing the right surgery on the right (or I mean left!) arm. Hoping recovery goes much more smoothly.
    My daughter just had the same surgery right after Christmas. It wasn't anywhere near as severe a case as yours. The surgery took less than a half hour and we were out of there less than an hour after that. Healing went well and she has regained all feeling in her fingers.

  7. Hooray for surviving that! Are you sure you aren't in the states? Your Dad sounds like my doctors. It's all meant, I believe, to keep the bowels running.
    Rest up, heal up, eat up. The world's gone to helena handbasket and we need you on this mission! xx

  8. Thank you everyone - :)

    Thanks Dawna - I must admit I find it all perversely amusing lol.

    Delighted for your daughter Laura - Maybe catching it 'early on' helped - they have dithered over this op now for 9 months.

    Yeah Lawless it is good to be home. The only pain now is the surgery pain itself which is to be expected. I went to bed at ten last night and woke at midnight as the pain wouldn't let me sleep - but I spent the night using speech to text to keep writing - including this blog.

    Austan (Laura) - You've just freaked me out - I wrote a scene in a short story through the night last night where the President of the USA is talking to the administrator of the EPA - and she declares 'Everything's gone to hell in a handbasket' - it's a phrase I never use but thought it was the right one a couple of hours ago - and there you go and use it - cue x-files theme tune lol...


    1. Rory- *whistling* lol!
      I knew a drag queen named Helena Handbasket! Glad to hear you're back writing already.

  9. Glad all is well - would have been a little nerve wracking to say the least.

  10. I can confirm, Rory babe, that you are alive and it's clearly you even if your nerves are all bundled up into one arm. And don't forget to let us know when you'll be having the op. Are fathers for real! Love you. Continue to do well and try not to go so heavy on anaesthetists. Love, Alec xx

  11. No matter the circumstances, it sounds like everything turned out well. Hope you do well in therapy.

  12. Isn't it annoying when life plays like a bad sitcom? At least you're getting great stories out of it. Glad to read that you're home and recovering. Bestest wishes & etc.

  13. How awesome that you're back at the keyboard already. I'm glad everything worked out, in spite of the comedy of errors, and that you still have all the necessary body parts you went into the hospital with. Here's to a full and speedy recovery.

  14. Hurray for health care! I am with Delores up there: after the 2nd anesthetist and the left/right arm, I might be scampering out the door in the breezy hospital gown.

  15. Thank you everyone - I guess everything's well which ends well. :) I had my first 'hand clinic' yesterday and the wraps came off for a while. Not a lot to report - everything's much the way it was before surgery - but now some intensive daily physio and we'll see what happens :)

    I feel like an old man now as they've given me 'spongy' things to put on the end of forks, knives and spoons to help me eat lol....God I was so starving in the hospital I could've eaten the spongy things...


  16. It's a bloomin' miracle! Glad they got the right body part. Oh my.

  17. So did they get the balls back on in the right order. Or is the left one now on the right ... and the right one now on the left!

    Wonderful post! Made me laugh right out loud.