Morphine Is Good


I arrive for the consultation a week later and Mr Hogan performs an endoscopy. A quick spray of anaesthetic and the fibre optic tube is inserted into a nostril. After a few moments, I’m asked to sniff and it goes in deeper. I close my eyes and try to control the urge to retch. Afterwards, Mr Hogan sits behind his desk and looks serious. The silence is uncomfortably long.

“I have to operate. How are you fixed for three days’ time?”

“Err, fine. I’ll switch anything so you can do what you have to do.”

I’m not surprised because I know something’s wrong. I don’t even ask what the operation is for. With an air of foreboding, the weekend disappears and I pack a bag for the hospital.

Michelle and I return to the Clementine Churchill Hospital early on the appointed day. A nurse leads us to a room, I pull the hospital gown on and a cannula is put in my vein. I’m wheeled on a bed to the operating theatre where Bill the anaesthetist is waiting. As the type of anaesthetic could have caused my previous post-operative sickness, Bill decides to switch to one that isn’t used often nowadays and he warns the experience won’t be a pleasant one. Anaesthetic is administered through the intravenous cannula. I look up at the white clock with a chrome surround above the light blue operating theatre double-doors to check the time I’m going under. Instead of a smooth sleepiness washing over me, my arm starts to burn. My eyes widen. Bill reassures me this is normal. The scorching sensation strikes up my left arm to the shoulder and I taste drugs at the back of my throat. I begin to cough and am wrenched into a rough unconsciousness.

I come round in the recovery room and pain is shooting from the middle of my head. Normally, I would have to wait for standard pain relief to kick in, but the male nurse stabs a syringe of morphine into my right thigh. The pain ebbs away in a matter of seconds. Morphine is good. I lay there as happy as can be. A floating sensation takes over and I feel fine. I’m wheeled back to the room where Michelle is waiting and spend the afternoon drifting in and out of sleep. Nurses ply me with pills to ward off pain, infection and sickness. I don’t feel too unwell after this operation, but am kept in overnight as a precautionary measure.

Mr Hogan arrives to check on me in the evening. The bedside light is on and a dull glow provides the only respite from the darkness of my room as I listen to an audiobook. I pull the earphones out to hear him say the operation went well and I can go home tomorrow. Just as he’s leaving, Mr Hogan gives me a concerned look, pats me on the leg and leaves the room in silence. I am not sure what to make of it. The next morning, I’m discharged with morphine patches and antibiotics. A follow-up appointment is arranged for two weeks’ time.

After being away from the office for only a week following this operation, I work long and hard the next week. I’m tired, but pleased I manage to get back to normality so soon after this operation and arrange a night out on the Friday evening with my mate, Rick. When at work on the Friday, I receive a phone call from Clara and she explains my appointment with Mr Hogan tomorrow morning is being brought forward and can I make it into hospital at 6:30 p.m. today? That’s fine, as I still have time to finish the work I need to do, go to the appointment and meet Rick in the pub afterwards. I leave work early.

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