Chapter #12 just can’t get enough – depeche mode – 1981

heart surgery

I don’t know if there are windows in wards but there’s definitely mood lighting going on in the ceiling to delineate night and day for those of us who aren’t so sure. So the lights were definitely on now, the pace had picked up. Mr I’m married to a footballers wife so could be a footballer’s predicament seemed to remain the same. He was visited by the same anaesthetist who had administered at my operation. In fact he had many consultant type visitors and his significant other was still there sitting by his side. There was one thing where they pulled the curtains around him and said she could stay but suggested maybe people didn’t always like to stay for ‘this’ so she left for a while but was soon back.

My new nurse had amazing curls of hair and seemed more based at the foot end of the bed. Night nurse always seemed to be ready at my head end. New nurse wasn’t nearly as generous with the morphine either. Well, I may have just got in the habit of asking for it every time I woke up which was generally when I was in pain. She just said no. I was stumped.

I was also excited that as it was now tomorrow, Bassalot would be visiting any moment. He would presumably arrive on a white steed with a slight ethereal glow through the double doors straight ahead of me. I was keeping my eyes on those doors.

Among many others who came through those doors tho was Little Mouse. She was dressed all in black with her hair pulled back into a pony tail. She skittled about the floor covering a lot of ground, without getting in any ones way and also came up to see me.

‘Can I take your breakfast order? You are on light snacks so you can have cereal or toast.’

What the actual?? I’ve been bathed, which would have been the last thing on my list following having your chest sewn back together and now I was being offered breakfast, similarly a crazy idea in my situation surely??

For some reason I’m just not a breakfast person. I always had breakfast at my mums. It was there so I ate it. Generally cereal or toast from the kitchen or, if we had people staying, cereal or toast in the dining room with little spoons to go in the jam and honey pots. When I moved to Portsmouth to go to Polytechnic I barely managed to pull together much more than a cheese and bean toastie and never in the morning. When I ran Spanbodywear I was generally too excited about what colour furry legwarmers I’d be sewing that day to devote time to breakfast and in the demanding world of retail why would I get up any earlier than my shift demanded in order to eat? A coffee maybe but that was about it.

So, generally, I don’t do breakfast.

Me: ‘Oh no I’ll be fine thank you.’

Little mouse: ‘You really can have whatever you like, what do you usually have for breakfast?’

Me: ‘No, no, I’m really fine.’

Little mouse: ‘Just a small bowl of cereal?’

I’m a drummer in a punk band. I have a look that can melt the eyebrows off a silverback but obviously not right now.

Me: (resigned) ‘Ok, I’ll have a bowl of corn flakes please.’ So polite. I did grow up in a village on a very short leash from my mother. I am inherently polite to everybody, even complete wankers, as I genuinely do believe everyone has a right to their own opinion and way of doing things. There’s a saying ‘Don’t judge another until you have walked seven moons in their moccasins’. Moccasins aside, I always try and not judge anyone else even if their viewpoints are entirely different from my own. I will never know how their life and experiences have shaped the way they view and experience the world. I’m not even convinced we all see colours the same, or smell smells the same at a functional level, let alone when our emotional attachments to certain colours and smells come into play too. So I couldn’t be rude to Little Mouse. She was doing her job.

Little mouse: ‘Would you like milk and sugar?’

Me: ‘No, no, just the corn flakes.’

As soon as corn flake gate was over my mind returned to the pain that had been slowly building. I’d forgotten in the night that the pillows placed down my left hand side to give my back a rest, had been removed, bar one which was now under my bum to stop me pile driving down the bed at it’s jaunty 45 degree angle. As it had now been there for so long and possibly forgotten it had become a bit of a crumple zone for me to mesh into and become a little contorted over time. I asked Nurse Curls again if I could have some pain relief but she said light-heartedly:

‘Here you go, here’s breakfast, try a bit of that and then see how you feel.’

A regulation table was put across my midriff. The bed was raised a little more. Sharp intake of breath as something (obscured by the table) seemed to suck a little more comfort out of my chest and I was faced with a bowl of dry corn flakes. And to the left of it, Little Mouse, at about the same level saying adorably:

‘You didn’t want milk or sugar so I brought you a portion of honey.’

And she had! Just there, next to the corn flakes. I loved her then for such a kind gesture although I didn’t actually want corn flakes or honey and I was really in pain. It felt as if two skewers were ramming in my stomach and supporting most of my weight to boot. Nurse Curls and Little Mouse both had so much hope for me in their eyes that I would eat the corn flakes and everything would be fine. For them, I stuck my hand in the bowl, pulled out a corn flake, and ate it.

It was the first food past my lips for about 18 hours. I had no saliva, cracked lips and now a dry corn flake in there as well. I think a small tear escaped.

Little Mouse: ‘Are you sure you wouldn’t like a leeetle milk with that?’

Me: ‘I don’t think I can face any milk right now.’
I tried again and fairground game stylee dropped my fingers, claw like, into the bowl (I think there was a spoon in the bowl but I’d decided to go feral for this one), and defiantly pulled out maybe 3 or more corn flakes and put them into my mouth.

It was no good. I gave up. The corn flakes just plain and simply weren’t working. Little Mouse wanted them to, Nurse Curls wanted them to, hell I wanted them to.

Me: ‘Please could you put the top of the bed back flat as I’m in so much pain.’ By now tears were freely flowing from my eyes, which I shut. I breathed purposefully out through my mouth interspersed with sharp intakes of breath also through my open mouth. I’m sure I was kind of whimpering as well although not crying. I don’t think drummers generally cry. Just hammer on things. The bed being put back did actually offer a huge relief coupled with the face of Nurse Curls holding 2 Paracetamol and a Tramadol which would soon kick in and all would be right once again.

Nurse Curls: ‘Here you go. Let me know if you need another Tramadol and we’ll get those tubes out of you. That can often help with the pain.’

Me: ‘Phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh’

Yep, I remember the skewers… they’re coming out to a Chelsea Smile, chapter #13, 11th November 6.10pm – see you there xx

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