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Going to hospital – the day of the op

Going to see a specialist at a hospital in France involves a carefully choreographed dance to the tune of computer printouts and the rustling of paperwork. In part five of our ‘Going to Hospital’ series, we look at what happens on the day of the op.

Nearly every hospital day starts at 6am with a change of nursing staff.  If it’s your operating day you will be given a sedative about an hour before the op, at which time you will also be presented with a rather fetching hat, an operating gown, shoe shuffling things, and be helped on with your elasticated stockings.

My veins were shot after my chemo so the nurses always leave the insertion of my drip to the theatre nurses but if your veins are good the nurse will now place this in your hand and cover it with a plastic film.

I guarantee that as soon as you are dressed, ready and in bed, you will want to “faire le pee pee”.  Do it, don’t wait – the next time you get chance will be in that bed pan I was talking about!

Eventually a porter will arrive and, to your amazement (at least I always found it incredulous), will manage to manoeuvre your bed through the tiniest of gaps and then charge down the corridor and enter the lift to theatres, chatting all the while to you, to his mates who work there, to anyone frankly.

I have always felt like a race horse at this point.  Not because of how fast we got to the pre-theatre area but because of how the sheer number of people on beds are lined up, “ready for the off”!

I don’t know how they do it but the theatre nurses always manage to look stunning (maybe it’s the pre-op drugs) as they come to your bed looking for your name and checking your wrist band, asking you who you are before wheeling you into theatre.

I have always felt like a race horse at this point because of the sheer number of people on beds “ready for the off”!

The anaesthetist, surgeon and other nurses will be in there at this stage and they will give you a cheery hello.  You will be placed under the lights, hooked up to all sorts of paraphernalia and be asked if you are okay.  Fantastic!

Then they will place a mask over your face, ask you to count from 10 backwards and, before you know it, you are awake again. You are in the post-op area, with all the other “race horses”.  You feel a bit groggy but you feel good.

It’s all over, you are alive, you can see people, they have taken your hat off and, guess what, you want to pee!