Getting Used To Out Of The Ordinary


The time has come for another operation to my head. This is operation number five. The others have taken a lot out of me. For the first one, I was standing tall. Now I am on my knees. But I’m up for this. I have never shied away from anything.

It’s a bright Saturday morning as Michelle and I get a taxi to Charing Cross Hospital. I’ve been assured I will not stay in overnight as the operation should be straightforward, but I wheel my overnight suitcase down the hospital corridors anyway. It is an enormous hospital and we eventually find the lift and go to the fifteenth floor. The area by the lifts is deserted and we wait around on some sofas for a bit. It seems an odd day for an operation and it’s eerily quiet. After about ten minutes, a nurse comes out of a lift and we follow her into a ward. There’s another nurse at the reception and it transpires we are in the right place. I sign the consent forms.

After another wait, a cheerful nurse shows us to my room. I unpack some of my kit as, given my medical history, I don’t believe I will be going home today. Another nurse comes in and asks me the usual pre-operation questions about the last time I ate anything and do I have any allergies. My blood pressure and oxygen levels are noted down and a cannula is put into my hand. I change into the operation gown and chat to Michelle.

The window has a panoramic view over the Thames meandering in a wide bend. There are housing estates, building works and industrial estates down there. Boats are sailing up and down the river and I can even see some people in the streets below going about their usual weekend business. I wish I had normal stuff to do today but, here we are, in hospital waiting for another operation. I am getting used to all this, but am still a bit nervous. Butterflies race around my stomach as Michelle tries to jog a conversation along.

The surgeon, Mr Harker, breezes in and reassures me this is routine and should not take long. After a quick consultation with the anaesthetist, it’s time to lay on the bed and get wheeled to the operating theatre. I say another goodbye to Michelle, who says everything will be alright. The porter pushes me along the empty corridors in silence.

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