26th March 2020, St Georges, University of London, Tooting, England.
Man vs machine
After the drama of the last few days, it’s good to get started. They forgot my paper knickers today, so I got to wear a flimsy dress without any underwear. It was quite liberating really.
I can see what all the hurry was about yesterday now though, as I’m the penultimate non emergency operation happening in this hospital for the foreseeable.
Clearly there’s a big ramp up for the Chinese virus, and it’s so different at St. George’s today – it’s empty! The calm before the storm probably.. I even managed to find a parking space.
Trouble free pre-op walkthrough, and I’m going to have a few stab marks. They have decided on dissolvable stitches rather than clips (whatever they are).
We’re also only operating on one side now, so it will only take half the time.
Apparently I will wake up feeling bloated like I’ve had a curry. Hopefully that’s not shorthand for me shitting the bed like I’ve had a mutton phal, 15 onion bhajees and 8 pints of cobra.
I expected to go down at 12, but at some point everything in the hospital changed. Mine was the last non emergency op and was put under at 4pm!
In a historic moment, I was also the guinea pig for the first surgery team working with full PPE. Theatre was packed with observers to see how things went.
It transpired, that all big London hospitals now have very new orders and it was the talk of the wards! No more non emergency surgery. If you work in theatres or you’re associated, you can either work with emergency teams at your own hospital or spend the next three months at the excel centre.
Some could even be heading up to the NEC centre in Birmingham. The bosses were looking for 3400 “volunteers” from St. George’s by 3pm. My guess, is that if you didn’t volunteer, someone would make your mind up for you.
Most people seemed pretty excited by the idea of getting new experience in a military field hospital! It looks like some of the operating theatres will be converted to wards too.
I woke up feeling sick as usual, and the aftermath of this op is pretty painful. The robot has drilled 6 deep holes in me hunting for nodes, and the air they fill you with leaves you very bloated.
He was half right about the curry though, it took me back to a night at the Sonar Bangla when I was at sixth form. I threw up all over the Caribbean club and had to take emergency measures in someone’s front garden using my boxers as toilet paper. But that was 1997 and I was building up life experience.
I’m going home with a bag full of drugs and some blood thinners to inject.
What’s next for me? Well if they find any disease in the nodes they’ve taken out today, it’s chemo and radiotherapy together. If they don’t, then it’s just radiotherapy to my groin and I’ll be back to normal for the summer.
There might just be a bit more light at the end of the tunnel! Or it could be a train.