30 July 2006

Just because the appointment bookers in UCH's Maxillo Facial Unit can travel 3 days forward in time to know that I was going to fail to attend an appointment, they seem to think I have the power of time travel too.

Though, I wasn't planning on missing the appointment. But, who knows, maybe had the sound of the postman at 8am on June 19th (delivering a letter telling me I'd failed to attend an appointment 3 hours into the future) not roused me enough to get out of bed, I would have missed the appointment. So, it's possible that their on-staff mystics are right.

I was a little perplexed to receive a letter telling me that on the day of my operation I had to be on ward T14 at 7:30am. Now, anyone that knows me knows that asking me to be somewhere at 7:30am is asking a lot. Hell, most days I'm not even out of my pyjamas by 7:30pm. But the time they expected me to be there wasn't the aspect of the letter that left me befuddled.

What was confusing was the paragraph following the time they expected me to be there. The letter asked me "to call the ward between 9am and 5pm on the day of arrival to check there is a bed available for you."

So, I'm supposed to go an hour an and a half forward in time to call the ward to check that an emergency admission hasn't been dumped in my bed, before showing up?

I wish while I was in there, they'd taught me how to do that. Time travel would be fun. I'd never have to worry about oversleeping again. My alarm clock goes off, I want to roll over and go back to sleep for a few more hours? No problem. Just go back 2 or three hours and get that bonus kip. Lather, rinse and repeat as needed.

I'm incredibly jealous of that girl from Out of this World. Always have been. I wish my Dad was an alien (though, sometimes I think he might be. He's not allowed to eat grapefruit because it interacts negatively with one of the medications he's on. Part of his birthday present from me this year was some grapefruit shower gel. He asked my mother if he would be OK using it. I now think my Dad has a policy of washing from the inside) and I'd inherited from him the power to freeze time. Just how cool would that be? You'd never need to run late again! I think all punctually challenged people like me should be awarded that gift.

Actually, I think I should have the power to freeze time awarded to me as a reasonable adjustment under the DDA. It takes me longer to get anywhere in London than it takes non-disabled people (or disabled people whose impairment doesn't affect their ability to use stairs/escalators) because I can't get on the tube. This means that to get somewhere at the same time as non-crips, I have to get up earlier. Meaning I'm deprived of sleep. If I could freeze time with a clap of the hands, all would be equal in this animal farm we call London.

On the subject of being deprived of sleep, of course on that morning I had to be at UCH, I didn't bother to go to bed the night before. I was being given a general anaesthetic, it's not like I didn't have an opportunity to sleep during that day.

Or so I thought.

Many people wake up from a general rather dopey and spend the rest of the day sleeping, but, I've always woken up and immediately taken on behaviour resembling that of the Energiser Bunny. This was my first general since the age of 9, and I know the effects are often different on adults than they are on children. I was fully planning on sleeping like my mother does after an operation.

My mother is the woman who had her only child, by cesarean, under general anaesthetic. Instead of waking up and being overjoyed by the sight of her newborn bouncing baby girl, and being so excited by parenthood that she just couldn't get back to sleep; she took one look at me, said "Oh," rolled over and went back to the world of dreams. What a welcome into this world I got. "Oh." I suppose at least in her bleary state she didn't start calling me "Peter" which was going to be my name had I had a winky.

So, fully expecting to have turned into my mother, I was planning on catching up on some kip. I was so sure I'd be out for the count that I didn't even bother to pay the exorbitant fee to have the TV by my bed turned on.

Instead of course I woke up insanely hyper, with a major case of verbal diarrhoea (quite impressive given how swollen my mouth was having just had a bone saw in it). Much to the annoyance of the nurse overseeing the recovery room. Eventually she told me to lay down and shut up. You can see why with a bedside manner like that she opted to work with patients who are mostly unconscious.

The closest I came that day to proper rest was when I decided to change from blood stained hospital gown into my own pyjamas. Despite being rather squeamish, I was OK with the sight of dried blood on my surgical attire. I was even fine with the Lisa-juice covered blanket I woke up wrapped in. But, still, nighties aren't very me, I wanted my proper jammie bottoms on, so I decided to go in the toilet and get changed. Drip and all.

Changing from something with sleeves, into something else with sleeves, while you've got a drip in your hand is rather challenging. Still, I was confident I could manage it without having to ask a nurse to help me with all the tubes. As Julia Roberts once said "Big mistake. Big. Huge." Taking the drip down off it's stand to get it through various sleeves meant that my blood started flowing up the drip tube where gravity was no longer pushing the saline in the right direction. One notice of "Ooo, my blood's flowing in a direction it's not supposed to," had me laying on the floor, attempting to preserve what little consciousness I had left.

Actually, I wish I could go back in time and rethink that decision. How embarrassing.