My lucky streak comes to an end

20:20, May 22 2012

Of all the awards I imagine I may be highly likely to win in the future - for example, world's best drunken shimmy - there's one I can guarantee you right now that I will never receive: World's best patient.

Growing up with a doctor for a mum, I've done my very best to avoid the health system altogether. Although it was very hard to pull a sickie from school, it meant that I didn't have to step foot inside a doctor's surgery very often.

But a few months ago my lucky streak came to an end: I was told I would have to have an operation. Nothing life-threatening, but of the skin-cutting, put-to-sleep, generally unpleasant, kind.

I've never had an operation before and it'd be fair to say I wasn't overly keen (my pre-surgery consultations had involved a lot of poking, prodding, waiting and listening patiently as doctors spoke about me loudly in the next room). But I was put on the waiting list and promptly forgot about the whole affair.

That was until last Tuesday afternoon, when I got a call from the hospital saying my operation was booked in for 7.30am on Thursday. Great.

A letter would be sent in the mail to confirm my operation details, the kind lady on the line informed me, except it probably wouldn't arrive before the actual operation.

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I would have to go nil by mouth from 6.30pm the night before the operation, she added, except for clear liquids.

Fine, I thought. Just vodka and gin will have to do.

E.K looked weary and shook his head.

So, unfortunately, I arrived at the hospital bright and early on Thursday morning rather hungry and decidedly sober.

I was greeted at the hospital doors by a grumpy security guard who demanded my letter and continued to chide me for forgetting it even after I explained the letter was probably still in a mail bag in the hospital's own depths.

Surly guard led me to a much more friendly nurse who made me fill in a pretty comprehensive questionnaire (Did I have a responsible caregiver to look after me for the next 24 hours? I hesitated on that one - define responsible) before I was wheeled off to the operating room (feeling rather lazy I might add, as I really could have walked and saved the poor nurse the trouble).

I must say, the biggest disappointment of the day was the fact I didn't get to count backwards from 10 when being put to sleep. Instead they just injected something into my arm which they told me would feel like several glasses of wine, but not to worry as it was ''top shelf stuff''.

They weren't lying; waking up did feel exactly like a hangover. The next thing I knew, I was lying askew on a bed with blurry vision, a churning stomach and no idea what had happened. It was just like first-year university.

After a rest and a surprisingly edible hospital meal, I was sent home and ordered to spend the next couple of the days on the couch recovering.

The whole experience had been pleasantly straightforward. That was, until I entered the recovery stage.

Why is that when you're at work you think the idea of lounging on the couch with choc and magazines sounds absolutely lovely, but when you actually have a sick day, it's anything but?

In reality, I was bruised, sore, swollen and my head was stuffy with painkillers.

And, on top of all that, I smelt (I wasn't allowed to take a shower for two days after the op because of my bandages).

But, if I'm to be honest, the main problem I was facing was extreme boredom.

I read a trashy mag. I ate loads of the new peanut butter chocolate (which, I must add, you absolutely have to try). I even watched back-to-back Dr Phil and Dr Oz.

However, all of the things that were meant to be relaxing were actually incredibly boring when I was under strict doctor's orders to do them.

It wasn't long before I found myself reading The Press website and looking longingly at all the stories I was missing out on writing. I itched to go for a walk or a run, although I would have settled for being able to stand up.

I even, dare I admit it, had an overwhelming urge to do the household cleaning.

E.K did a stirling job waiting on me hand and foot (even insisting I didn't put away the washing, which must be a first) but I felt sorry for the poor bloke having to put up with my increasingly irritable moods.

In short, I spent three long days beached on the couch like a sullen manatee.

Although he insisted he cared for nothing but my well being, I think both E.K and I were ridiculously glad when I was well enough to be able to get up and fend for myself.

Not to mention, to be able to shower again.

Have you had an operation? What was your experience? Comment below, email Anna at anna.turner@press.co.nz or follow her on Twitter.

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