The journey has begun!

Gosh not one phone call but three! And hey, the weather is good, the sea is calmness personified, so the journey began today with a pre op and will continue next Monday, as advertised but with a stoma appreciation session now first, before the bicycle, let’s test your lungs session, culminating in the operation itself next Wednesday 18th of March at 0700. The calls just kept coming. “So the operation itself will be next Wednesday,” pause, “have I taken you by surprise?” My legs I can feel are shaking slightly, “Well yes. I am just amazed at the speed.”

So, how do I feel? You know the operation is coming because they have told you but when you do know the actual date for sure, (I guess there is always some flakey place in your mind that thinks a) it’s all been a horrible dream or b) they made a huge mistake in the first place,) there comes that smack between the eyes again. And suddenly we are off with a pre op date, and a very nice lady calls to add my stoma educational date to my lung testing day, to cut down on multiple visits to the hospital. The diary is filling up again but with dates that are certainly not uncertain and this time will be fulfilled.

This morning I arrive at the first floor of Frimley Park Hospital, not really sure what to expect, except Mary has told me it’s nothing invasive. They have asked somewhere in all the relevant paperwork that arrived through the letterbox yesterday, that I take along a urine sample in a clean bottle. Why I didn’t go to the surgery and get a sample bottle I have no idea; my brain certainly seems not to belong to me at the moment. So I find myself seeking out an almost empty after shave bottle and preparing that for use this morning.

A lovely warm smiling greeting, “Sit yourself down over there Mr. Treen and someone will be along to attend to you.” The television is on in the waiting area and the interminable Coronavirus story continues to dominate any conversation in the news. I will forever associate my treatment with this world wide Orwellian outbreak.

“Hello, Malcolm, come through.” Oh, how I wish I could remember names under tension. A lovely lady checks, as always, my date of birth and I lie on a couch while she attaches stickers and wires all over the place, mainly feet and chest and eventually she pushes a button. “All done, thank you. Sorry, it takes longer to wire you up than actually take the reading.” Back out to the waiting area, where the global apocalypse carry’s on, with Ireland now announcing its schools and colleges are to shut. Another lovely, lovely lady escorts me to a room and here we go with lots of questions. Again a bit like Tony Hancock, had any of these diseases, and the answers are no, no, no and certainly not that one, how dare you! Gazing at the screen, “Right, let’s take a look at your medical history.” Now there is a long pause; which is strange because there cannot be much to look at and indeed maybe she can’t quite believe what she isn’t looking at, if you see what I mean?  “2004, an endoscopy?” “Yes, I’m afraid that’s about as good as it probably gets. I couldn’t swallow and was admitted overnight and then had that endoscopy procedure eventually to make sure all was well. And it was; I was simply told to make sure I went away and masticated. Which my mum always told me would make me go blind!” She chuckled but had obviously heard this one before, indeed as she had with the hearing question, when I replied, “pardon?” “I sometimes fall for that one, if I’m not concentrating.” “Let’s take you blood pressure.” The machine kicks in, “Text book reading!” 

We parted real chums and she explained everything beautifully. I was given two sachets of the dreaded Picolax and her deepest sympathy and some nutricia preOp, to down in order to replace the fact I would be pretty dehydrated. She explained her love of being a nurse was just such a lucky calling because she got up every morning and actually wanted to go to work. Shades of me and LWT, because I always said I was so lucky to be in exactly that frame of mind most mornings myself. The thought of 9 to 5 in an office was just a non starter. Her husband, apparently, couldn’t understand her frame of mind but his problem she explained not mine. Once more someone’s dedication shone through and I explained how Mr. Nizar’s love of the bowel had really filled me full of confidence. “Funny, we never meet them,” she said. “You should, you really should,” I said, “Have a cup of coffee one morning with him in Café Glade, you’d love it.”

Back to the waiting area and finally escorted to take a blood sample. Even the nurse was old enough to quote Hancock back at me, “That’s nearly an arm full!” And I was allowed to drift down to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for some antibiotics to take the day before the operation. How they stay in place when the Picolax kicks in, I have no idea and I didn’t ask. They know what they are doing don’t they?

The queue to get out of the car park, almost took longer than waiting for the prescription. When that system works, a bit like Heathrow, it is fantastic. When it goes tits up, it’s a nightmare. In the queue, I have time to realise I still have that aftershave bottle of pee in my pocket, no one has asked for it. Now be careful dear boy, I know you no longer possess your brain, but do not to get confused and put that bottle back on the bathroom shelf! Splash that all over yourself in the morning and the dentist will not be very impressed. Oh god, the dentist, Friday 13th, what can possibly go wrong? 😱

Six days and counting and how do I feel? Sorry, I have no idea, I really haven’t. So please, don’t ask me but I may ask myself again soon.

Thank you for reading, dear friends.

M & M 🧪🎭💊