The Freeze Continues
Monday 5 January
I send a text to Lily and Rose to remind then it’s their auntie’s birthday on Thursday. Except I don’t. As the message wings off into cyberspace it tells me it’s on its way to Rose and my sister. Doh! Later, my sister rings me to ask if she’s reached the age where someone needs to tell you not to forget your birthday.
It’s all because I’m sh*tting myself about going into hospital tomorrow and can’t think straight. To cap it all, The Killer Mouth Ulcer From Hell, has taken up residence on the side of my tongue right by my back molars; I can’t eat, I can’t drink and, because I also can’t speak, when I ring the hospital to check that there’s a bed for me in the morning, I sound like a mad, drunk woman.
I sit down to watch ‘Animal Park’ for some comfort viewing. There are concerns for Kadu, an elderly tiger who needs a general anaesthetic but who almost died the last time she was knocked out. Kadu survives the anaesthetic but has to be put down anyway. Not quite the comfort TV I was hoping for.
Tuesday 6 January
6.20 a.m. on the coldest, iciest day of the year and we commence the one and a half hour journey to hospital. It wasn’t where I was originally supposed to be going but the first consultant’s list was full, so consultant no. 2, THE Shoulder Man, is helping out. My mouth ulcer is hurting so much I am almost looking forwards to the general anaesthetic so I can escape the pain for a while. The journey is slow and a minor scrap ensues in the car when we can’t find the hospital and I express the concern that I’m going to be late for my operation. Except my language is a lot more colourful.
I make it to the ward just in time, but when Tom turns up after parking the car he is told he can’t stay. After sitting around feeling a bit lonely everything happens at once. A lovely nurse checks me in, snaps a plastic bracelet on my wrist to tell me who I am and informs me that there is NO WAY I will be out today. Oh dear, it’s serious then. Whilst the nurse is taking various readings from bits of me, someone else turns up to go through the consent form and then there is a kind of royal procession and Mr Shoulder Man and his entourage gather round too.
Mr Shoulder Man unclips a bit of kit from my finger and holds it to my face, like a microphone, ‘So, what do you think of the hospital so far?’ he asks. He is young and whizzy and shakes my hand with a firm, authoritative grip. ‘Now,’ he says, ‘Show me what you can do.’
I duly oblige and see an expression I am not expecting cross his face.
‘Well, I don’t think I can get it much better than that,’ he tells me.
‘But what about the bit I can’t do??’ I protest.
‘Not worth the risk of the general anaesthetic,’ he tells me, but just to show willing he takes hold of my arm and stretches it a way that I can only describe as ear-watering.
The operation is cancelled and I am left in the hands of a very kind physio who quickly discovers how much pain I’m in. ‘The thing is,’ he tells me. ‘There’s a risk your arm could have been broken during the op, you wouldn’t want that.’ No, I berludy wouldn’t, but I would quite like my arm back. And so I pack my bags. I have an urgent referral back to my local physio, the one who couldn’t do anymore for me because she felt I required an op, and Mr Shoulder Man has asked to see me again in a month. Well, that should be interesting, shouldn’t it?
Painting is ‘Preseli – Rain’ by Tom Tomos