Do I rock at deadlines or what?
Worse than being late, I will warn you now that this post is going to be gross. Not many people enjoy looking at pictures of my legs at the best of times; even less so when one of those legs is rather swollen and slightly stitched in places. Still more people find looking at pictures of surgical procedures distasteful, and the sight of what those procedures removed from the aforementioned swollen leg might be enough to inspire them to revisit their breakfast.
If you’re one of those people, stop reading now. Go and put the kettle on, make yourself a nice cup of tea and watch something harmless on the TV for half an hour until you forget I even mentioned it. If you’re not one of those people, I still apologise for what follows.
I went to the John Radcliffe Hospital on Tuesday morning at about seven-thirty. I was ushered into a room with three other day patients to give a nurse the same answers to a bunch of questions they’d already asked me (no… not that I know of… no… no… yes… about 5 or 6 a day… yes, I know I should… last night at about ten… no… no… no thank you).
Then the anaesthetist arrived and asked me them all again. She also gave me a couple of pills “to remove any excess acid from your stomach and to calm you down.” I wondered which part of me being asleep when she had arrived to talk to me might have indicated any need for the latter.
Shortly after she left, the surgeon and his minion arrived. Clearly asking questions was not their style; they didn’t need to ask me questions, they were here to tell me what was going to happen (again) and to see if I had any questions for them. I spent the explanation (delivered this time by the minion) looking at the surgeon, who spent the explanation looking at the minion, who spent the explanation looking through me at the imagined page from the text book he was clearly remembering it all from.
Having announced their intentions, they strode off looking pleased with themselves. It was hard not to liken their pre-surgery performance to a particularly cocky batter in a baseball game indicating before the pitch which side of the ground he is about to hit the ball out of. I hoped their talent matched their preamble.
I was wheeled off to theatre. The last thing I remember thinking before the anaesthetic took hold was that it had just gone nine o’clock exactly according to the clock I could see and wasn’t it strange how simply injecting me with something as small as that was going to make me pass out completely in the space of a few sec…
While I was under, here’s what Babe Ruth and his able assistant were seeing (I've made it as small as Blogger would let me - if you want a bigger version, click on the image).
I’d love to tell you what’s going on in those pictures, but I’d be lying if I claimed to have a clue. The next thing I had a clue about was a nurse (who was German and must have been pretty as I started trying to talk German to her before I remembered that I can’t) gently waking me up and asking me how I was feeling.
I don’t remember being wheeled back to the day ward – I presume I fell asleep – but that’s where I ended up. I drifted in and out of sleep for an hour or two. I ate a sandwich. I chatted with the other patients as far as that was possible; it must have looked like a narcolepsy ward as we all kept drifting off mid-sentence.
What I did manage to glean was that the others had serious problems compared to mine. One was in the later (but far from final) stages of recovering from “An Alan Smith, but worse” while another had just had the same surgery as me, but only so they can then decide how best to go about repairing his torn cruciate ligament.
As I lay there thinking about how lucky I am that my recovery time will be so much shorter than either of theirs, I also thought about how, when it comes time to play the Olympic football match, I will definitely be playing in goal.
The surgeon arrived shortly after the last day patient was returned to his spot in the room and talked us each through how it had gone and what happens next. Mine went swimmingly. They removed what they had to remove (the “vast majority of the medial meniscus”), left what they could, and expected me to be in good shape when I come back to see them again in six weeks.
At the moment (as you can see) I’m not in such great shape – at least not to look at – but I’m definitely improving each day and have finally laid off the painkillers that would have made an earlier blog entry even more impenetrably dull. I suspect that the first consultant’s guess that I could be doing a bit of light jogging after two weeks might turn out to be somewhat optimistic, but it won’t be too much more than that I hope.
For now though, I’m hobbling about (with crutches if I’m going further than the fridge) very slowly and filled with even more admiration for the athletes in the Commonwealth Games than I was before I couldn’t bend my leg.
If the sight of all that naked, swollen, nasty flesh has you feeling slightly sick, there are some pictures of my niece looking cute at her christening last week here to make you feel better if you’re into that sort of thing.
Do I rock at deadlines or what?
Posted by John McClure at 12:55 pm