COLUMN - Older, and grumpier: ‘My theatrical experience was such an anti-climax’

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No-­one wants to be in a surgical theatre unless there is a cogent reason for it, or you happen to work there. I don’t work there.

Most of you fellow ‘don’t work theres’ will, I’m sure, have no idea of what I am about to impart in your general, innocent direction.

There have so far, thankfully, been very few occasions I have required the services of a surgeon and at those times I’ve been impressed by the professionalism of those involved in my care.

Apparently, I had no use for my appendix: it was only four years old when they decided it was to come out and I can’t say I’ve missed it.

What I have missed, is the neat little tummy I had before.

There’s a memorial to my appendix sited at the lower right quadrant of my abdomen that resembles a badly sliced, undercooked cake.

As I grew it got larger with me and is now the size of a badly cut slice of white bread.

If you must have an operation, then it’s always a good idea to be properly prepared.

Sometimes you may be awake during the procedure, sometimes a full anaesthesia is required.

I am a full anaesthesia fan. I do not wish to see, hear or smell anything in relation to my body parts being re-arranged, chopped off or investigated.

I’m sorry if this costs more money, but there it is –­ I’m a coward when is comes to pain or seeing bits of me I’d rather not. Mr Grumpy accompanied me to the day surgery department, having remembered to bring his phone to play with during his wait.

I’d already had the pre-­op (are you fit enough to have this done?) appointment, where they ask everything there ever was to know about you, twice.

I was, therefore, surprised on my arrival that I was seen by the surgeon, anaesthetist and nurse who, respectively, asked the same questions again.

I suppose it was belt and braces: they wouldn’t have wanted to try take out my appendix or some such.

White surgical stockings, check. Back fastened gown, check. Right wrist and leg tagged, check.

I’m ready for the sleepy drug now please.

“We’re ready for you Mrs. Grumpy. If you’d like to come this way....”

A little wary, I complied with nurse instructions and followed behind her like a sheep to the slaughter.

The doors of the theatre open. I pinch myself. I am still awake. I haven’t slipped into a ‘sleepy drug’ surrealist episode from Holby City.

I delicately get on the operating table and note the seventeen plus people all dressed in bluey­-green.

I don’t know what they are all doing, but they seem really busy. Several of them come and ask me those questions again. “Yes my name is Grumpy and my date of birth is still....”

The anaesthetist is lovely, putting me to sleep before I had a chance to see any more of those shiny, sharp instruments.

“Hello...Mrs. Grumpy....hello...it’s all over. Sit up and sip some water. The consultant will be along later to explain.”

“Explain what?”

“Why she couldn’t do it. You’ll have to come back again.”