The last time I was in hospital was in the early 90’s for an operation to help my meniere’s. At that time my meniere’s attacks has grown to an average of three a week with each loss of balance and nausea attack lasting on average 2-3 hours at a time. I’ve written before about a few of the oddest places I ended up on the floor.
The Trouble With Bill Wyman
My memory of my stay is quite intact though of course I remember nothing of the operation save from being wheeled down to the operating theatre (the lunchtime edition of neighbours was on the ward telly) itself and having to wait outside as the previous op had not cleared. I hadn’t gone under from the anaesthetic yet and the orderly had engaged me in an argument about Bill Wyman who at that time was notorious for his partnership with the then very young Mandy Smith (wasn’t she only 13 when they first went out?). I think the argument picking was part of getting under and I just remember starting the sentence “The trouble with Bill Wyman is he wants to…”.
In Between The Soaps
In my mind it feels like I was wheeled into the theatre and trundled straight out the other side. In reality a 5 hour operation took place and I returned drowsily to my bed as the tea time edition of neighbours was playing on the ward telly again which increased the surreal feeling that no operation had taken place. For those of a squeamish disposition, including myself, skip this description of the operation itself.
Sordid details Following…
Meniere’s is thought be be caused by an excess of a liquid produced in a sac in the inner ear. One solution to reducing the severity of attacks for the meniere’s sufferer is to puncture this over inflated sack of fluid to allow it to decompress. hence this operation is often referred to as meniere’s decompression (careful now I’m sounding dangerously knowledgeable). The operation involved the the leverage of one ear through an incision behind the ear and a delicate delving into the sensitive inner ear that gets close to the brain ensues. Once the op is completed the ear is put back in place and the large incision is sewn up.
My head was bandaged up and in an oversight was done in such a way that I couldn’t completely close my eyelids during unconsciousness and sleep. I was then placed by a partially open window. The air blew across my face all night.
In the early hours I realised that my eyebrows had been taped up too high and fiddled around to allow my eyelids to close completely but by then conjunctivitis had occurred. In the morning my surgeon and his trainees came around and he took one look at my completely bloodshot eyes and pronounced loudly “Ye gods” which bucked me up no end that my appearance sparked such a reaction. I remember the screwed up faces of the trainee doctors around him looking at the wreck that was my bonce (head).
I didn’t get much sleep that week. I was in the ear nose and throat ward (ENT) with a person in the next bed who had lost their jaw due to cancer on and was attached to all kinds of constantly beeping and breathing aid equipment which would periodically trip a quite heart stopping alarm and flurry of nursing emergency action whilst an alarming number of throat and mouth cancer patients wandered the ward which was filled with the sound of tracheotomies affected voices. This was a mixed ward and yes I did see one man in the rest room attempting to smoke via the hole in his neck with cigarettes that his wife, for heavens sake, had smuggled in. You can’t help some people.
I was in hospital for around 6 days and really was released way too early. Much like this time (I’m in hospital as you read this and I’ve used the wordpress’ timed posting facility) nobody could visit me in hospital due to various impracticalities (it didn’t bother me then and won’t now.) and I had to make my way home alone via public transport and the same will apply this time around. I had spent a week with my head bandaged in a kind of toilet roll tube affair with my then quite short hair poking out the top (I was so butch back then). When it was removed my hair had moulded into almost a replica of Bart Simpsons cartoon hair and I wasn’t allowed to wash it for some weeks to come so it has all pointing skyward but greasy too (yeah nice look).
Scaring The Natives
I still had bloodshot eyes and occasionally blood would leak from my ear which were still swollen from the operation and sticking out wildly in a look that I thought I’d be stuck with but which later was positioned back to it’s original position. I returned home via the tube which was exactly what I didn’t need. My meniere’s was worse than ever and the operation has stirred up my inner ear and I felt dizzy and nauseous all the time.My ear continued to bleed inside and a return trip several weeks later by train to the hospital for a check-up saw me lying on Thames link station platform unable to stand up with people assuming I was on drugs. I guess I did look the part.
I’m not here right now as I’m in hospital for a while now but please feel free to add your own experiences or comments. I’ll comment personally upon my recovery and return.