Chapter #18 hot mess – girli – 2019

heart surgery

All that remained now was to get a good night’s sleep…

Well, you’d have thought after all that activity, but my nursey check (a thermometer in the ear) at 9pm revealed I was quite hot. The night before another nurse had taken off my duvet asking if I generally got hot at night time. Now, I do get quite hot at night and normally sleep in the nude with various limbs sticking out of the duvet as I need to regulate my body temperature. For starters I’m now in a hospital which is warm surely by anyone’s standards, and lets not forget the purple leopard velour pyjamas. I tried to suggest I could have the window open but this didn’t go down too well. They said they’d be back in 2 hours to check and left me to it. Apparently if it went any higher they’d have to do a blood test. Obviously there was very little else going on in the wards that night as every conversation outside my room with nurses, passing doctors, probably barristas too, was all to do with Room 2’s temperature being quite high. I threw all the covers off and tried to fan myself, gently so as not to exert myself further. The nurse had basically said if I felt ok that should be fine. I knew I felt ok, I just had to get the thermometer to read the same.

Finally one of the night nurses came in, and my temperature had gone up by a degree! Flippin heck. At this point I relinquished fashion for cool and said I could swap my pyjama top for a short sleeved shirt. The nurse seemed to think this was a plan so I turned round and started to take my pyjama top off. I was now full frontal to the window and the nurse panicked and leapt to the open blind to close it. It was dark by now but honestly there was only a forest of trees out there and maybe a couple of night owls and insects. I settled down again as the world discussed my temperature outside my room.

Day 4 (Monday)

“If all your lines are out you may have a shower. The physiotherapist will take you up and down some stairs and look at how you are getting out of bed.”

My visitor today was my cousin who is training to be a Deacon. He was keen to come and visit someone in hospital as this was to be part of his deaconry duties. Before he got there however, Dr O came round. I was completely thrown and couldn’t really think of one thing to say to him other than the obvious thank you. There’s something incredibly humbling about meeting the guy who’s held your heart in his hand. And lets face it, sewn a vein onto it. He checked all my charts, said I was good to go home tomorrow and left. I felt a bit rude for not saying very much but I really was emotionally quite muddled.

Crisis over, I got myself up and dressed and really today felt pretty fantastic. I had energy, looked presentable, had my scarf to wrap over my wound and was going home tomorrow! Amazing, all the waiting, the uncertainty, the pains, the last two years really had, after a few weeks more of recovery, been sorted. I’d even done some sort of approximation of a poo. It wasn’t poo, but it was movement, an explosion even, the first in four days I guess. For the last 36 hours I’d been given what I can only describe as anti-medicine every time I ate anything. This was to encourage bowel movement. It was white, really gloopy and with absolutely no taste whatsoever. It was everything that food shouldn’t be, no colour, no taste, no texture, literally an anti food. The only good thing was, it turned up with food, so I could get it down me (normally on a spoon as it was too gloopy to slide out of the little cup it arrived in) and then use the taste of the food to make me forget it. Even thinking about it now makes me feel pretty nauseous. The other thing I was apparently low on was potassium. This was presented as some sort of highly citrus-ey fizzing beverage, again quite difficult to force down. In future I think I’d smuggle myself in a banana.

B came along later that afternoon (and brought chocolate!) and for the first time in my stay I actually was ravenous. My barrista came round to take my supper order and I went for the cheesy pasta and ham hock bake followed by crème brulee, by now a favourite. The food was amazing at the Spire, I just barely had an appetite for most of the time I was there. When it arrived, I wolfed down at least half of my meal really quickly but then, not having eaten for a few days, I was completely full. I hadn’t even had to sully it with the small cup of disappointment white non food. I had to save the crème brulee til later and decorated it with the last of B’s chocolate drops. This was it, my final night in hospital.

Even the nurses didn’t really bother with me that night so I got fairly uninterrupted sleep. If I wanted to I could overheat. Even I was a bit sick of pain killers (to the extent I was feeling quite nauseous with them) so I stopped taking them all. I was still confined to sleeping on my back but hey, it wasn’t actually so bad.

The next day I barely saw anybody. B arrived and took my bags down to the car and then an epic wait for my take out prescription drugs to arrive and various paperwork to fill in. The beautifully wise looking pharmacist who was in intensive care came and explained my drugs to me. Basically the same as I’d been on before without the need for the ones that kept my arteries open as now I’d had a bypass.

I’d had a bypass. This still seemed completely surreal to me. One part of my mind still lives in a world where I’ve got no idea what a bypass actually is. It wasn’t that long ago.

Finally I was discharged. I said goodbye to my private little health care room. I’d been so lucky to have this whole thing done in a private hospital. On-line this operation came in at approximately £17 500, presumably let alone the intensive care required and the after care. Private medical health care would have covered this but we certainly didn’t have that. Probably the most amazing thing was to have the dignity of my own bathroom. When I was learning to wash again, just having the time with my own thoughts and things around me rather than sharing a bathroom with a ward full of other ladies and their bodily misdemeanors. I did all right. The Spire did feel a little like not my world. My parents are staunchly Labour and proudly remember the NHS being introduced to this country. Private healthcare to them could sum up everything that’s wrong with the rift between rich and poor in Britain today. Despite being an NHS patient there I believe I received the same care as a private patient there would have. My own feelings of slightly not belonging in amongst the Telegraph and Mail readers was purely my own inbuilt feelings of inadequacy and not wanting to be afforded anything more or less than any other human being on the planet. I felt pretty fucking elite and it’s not something that sits well with me.

However, I did feel like a King as I stepped out into the warm sunshine that day. A fucking lucky and alive King.

Hometime boys and girls woop woop! Diesel Power, the penultimate chapter, here next Monday 16th. Have a good week y’all xx

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