The easy wait

The day after the biopsy began with all the usual poking and prodding that comes with hospitals. Two healthcare assistants, Wendy and Jean came to offer me a bed bath. It seemed a bit previous, having met them mere seconds before, so I politely declined. They offered me a bowl of water to give myself a “quick swish round” instead. I assured them that I was going home later that day, and was happy to ming until then.  They then took the farty leg tubes off and I started to peel off the compression stockings too.

Wendy: Oh no pet, you have to keep them on.

Me: How long for?

Wendy: Six weeks.


Surgical stockings of lust (with added Sideshow Bob slippers)
Surgical stockings of lust (with added Sideshow Bob slippers). Try to control yourself.

Maybe it was the residual morphine or something, but I tried to protest that wearing those things for six weeks would be impossible on the basis that everyone in Newcastle would be driven wild with lust by my surgical socks, and it would negatively impact local productivity. Strangely, Wendy and Jean didn’t buy it.

Wendy: I’ll get you a spare pair in case those ones get soiled.

Me: Soiled with LUST? [yes, I really did say that. Oh very dear.]

Wendy & Jean: *back slowly out the door looking justifiably weirded out*

Ward rounds followed. In swooped Damian with a whole posse of medical types and asked how I was feeling.  Surprisingly well was the answer. There was some chuntering and conferring and it was agreed that after a quick CT scan to check for bleeding on the brain, I could then go home.

The issue of drugs needing to be re-prescribed post operatively now reared its head again, and I met the second person in this saga (after light obsessed night nurse) to go on my shit list. Not to go in to too much detail, I take some medicine for a separate condition that has not been prescribed for me; it’s generally not prescribed in the UK at all. This was done after considerable research, blood and genetic testing at my own expense and with the understanding, if not blessing, of my GP. The ward doctor decided she wasn’t prepared to prescribe drugs for me that hadn’t been prescribed in the first place. Fair enough, that’s her prerogative. However, rather than just declining to prescribe, she decided to lob a hand grenade in to the situation by calling my GP* to demand a review of the medication and refer me to a specialist so they could also tell me I’m stupid and irresponsible. She also refused to give the medicine, which takes time to source from overseas, back.  We had a long argument about it. I may have had slightly more respect for her position had she not made a number of factual errors about the condition and its treatment which demonstrated she didn’t know what the chuff she was talking about. *and breathe* To put it mildly, I was fuming, and will not be handing any of my medicines over to a hospital should I need to go in again. If she wants to cover her arse, fine. If she wants to make life more difficult for me and imply I’m as thick as mince, she can get tae fuck.

(*Not helped by my insistence that the GP who knew about the situation was called Guy Ritchie. He’s not. He’s called Guy Something-Else. Guy Ritchie is Madonna’s ex-husband and definitely has no clue about my medication.)

A nurse checked my wound and the 12 staples holding it together. The wound was very neat, and the shaved area surprisingly small. It’s the width of a razor and around 10cm long. It’s a perfect rectangle. They must have used a set square to get the corners that sharp. She handed over a medieval torture instrument that the GP practice nurse could use to take the staples out after a week.

At this point, I was still so relieved to have survived the biopsy, I hadn’t really started worrying about what it might show, and I made the lovely nurse cry, waxing lyrical about how great life was, and how lucky I had been with this whole situation. She said she’d been nursing for nearly 40 years and virtually never cried. Sorry nurse. It was especially unfair to make her cry, as she kindly smuggled my drugs out of the quarantine the ward doctor had placed them in. Ha!

After a lengthy wait, a porter came to take me for a CT, in the neuro-imaging suite next to the ward. Remember, the one with the pretty tree panels in the ceiling? A CT scanner looks like a massive donut. The body part being scanned goes in the hole in the middle. The inside of the ring is covered in dark glass, showing the residual wipe marks where it has been cleaned. I have noticed this every time, on three different machines. Weird what catches your eye sometimes, isn’t it? Inside, you can just about see the camera whizzing round the ring, building up the picture of your brain. It’s pretty quick, maybe a minute or two.

Damian came by a few minutes later to say the scan was clear, and I could go home. This is illustrative of why I think he’s such a great doctor. You may have noticed that he was at the initial diagnostic appointment, the pre-op review, greeted me on the way to theatre, visited me in the recovery room and came to tell me himself that the scan was clear. Many of these jobs I think most consultants would delegate to a junior. Not Damian. You’re his patient, and he’ll bloody well look after you. He may not have the most effusively warm bedside manner in the world (it’s perfectly lovely though), but I guess as a Neurosurgeon, most people you see aren’t in a good way. Many of them will die, so there has to be an element of self preservation in keeping some emotional distance. It must also be a bit weird, being chummy with someone and then elbow deep in their grey matter a few minutes later. So he pours everything in to being a consummate professional. I’d happily put my life in his hands again anytime.

A arrived and we left, with me hugging every person I could find on the way out, except the ward doctor. She very pointedly did NOT get a hug. Let that be a lesson to her.

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