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  • nbrightside 11:33 am on September 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    No hallucinations whatsoever 

    During my stay in CCU, I was very tired and tended to sleep periodically during the day. Occasionally, this meant I found it difficult to get to sleep at night.

    One night, I was trying to get comfortable in bed when I heard an alarm sound. It was louder and more urgent than the repeated beep that sounds when an IV drip has run out and needs attention. Immediately, I saw and heard a flurry of activity. My dedicated nurse left her station and hurried across to the bay diagonally opposite me where a clutch of doctors and nurses were gathering.

    This looked serious – then it struck me – I was in an intensive care unit. By definition, patients in here were seriously ill (including me). What followed was like an episode from ‘Casualty’ as the defibrillator machine was called for and the ‘crash team’ was assembled. ‘OK – charging to 140. Stand back please.’ I couldn’t hear the jolt or see the patient as an electric charge was delivered to the heart but I could imagine it. Vividly.

    Three more attempts were made but all efforts appeared to be in vain and I was shocked to hear a doctor say ‘Sorry everybody. There’s no more we can do here. Thanks for all your help’ followed by a slight pause ‘Time of death: 02:17’.

    I pondered on the fragility of life and wondered about the friends and family of the poor man. If I was restless before, it would be impossible to get to sleep now. I considered asking for some sleeping tablets but my train of thought was interrupted by the arrival of two men, dressed in immaculate dark suits with white shirts. They were wheeling a trolley onto the ward. Not unusual in a hospital but this trolley had a coffin on it. A beautiful coffin, sturdy, build from a light coloured wood with brass fittings.

    The men encountered a problem as they wheeled the trolley down a sloping incline with a glass partition. The coffin was slightly too large and was scraping the glass partition. They probably could have forced it but they halted and one man walked away and returned minutes later with a plane. He then proceeded to plane the wood on one side of the coffin and to ensure symmetry, did the same on the other side. Now the coffin fitted and they were able to position it next to the bed. A few minutes later, with some assistance from male nurses, they silently and respectfully wheeled the coffin away.

    A couple of nights later, there was a shift change and I found myself attended to by two Asian male nurses during the night shift. After my surgery, I was on bed rest but there was a slight complication – I couldn’t lie on my back to keep pressure off my backside. This meant I could lie on my side but every 2 1/2 hours I had to be turned to avoid bedsores from lying in the same position for too long. This 2 1/2 hour interval was adhered to religiously – even during the night, which was frustrating if you had just got off to sleep.

    The two Asian male nurses were incredibly efficient. They rolled me at 00:30 and you knew they would return at 03:00am and 05:30am. Precisely. I am a ‘big bloke’ (medical speak for overweight fatty) so they used an orange blanket to effect the manoeuvre. Quickly and efficiently. Then they would dispense the drugs and move on to the next patient.

    One night, as they turned me, I felt a slight stabbing pain on the back of my neck. This was strange as most of my pain was around the pelvis and lower back. The turn was completed and the two nurses quickly exchanged words in Chinese. What were they saying ? What were they doing ?

    They went to the lady in the adjacent bed. I was facing the right way to watch as they attended to her. One of them intentionally stood to block my view but I am sure they did something to the back of the lady’s neck. Just like they did to me.

    I told myself to stop being paranoid and get some sleep before the next visit in 2 1./2 hours. Only I couldn’t. The two Chinese angels of mercy had reached the elderly gentleman in bay 5. He started shouting. I assumed he was disoriented after being woken up coupled with the effects of medication. ‘Stop it. Stop it. Leave me alone. You are not stabbing me with that needle. LEAVE ME ALONE’.

    This confirmed it for me. Without any doubt, the two Asian male nurses were imposters and were actually inserting microchips into the backs of every patient’s neck so the aliens could monitor us.

    After another sleepless night and enduring one more visit from the male nurses (who wore different uniforms from everyone else – how had no-one picked up on this obvious clue ?), morning arrived and the day staff came on. The doctors rounds started. A Dr. Williams introduced himself ‘Good morning, Mr. Brightside. I am the pain relief doctor responsible for checking your pain levels and prescribed medication. Now, any bad dreams, nightmares or hallucinations ?’

    I looked him straight in the eye and uttered the immortal words

    ‘No. No hallucinations whatsoever’.

    • Scott Evans 11:57 am on September 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I had my own version of grounghog day by reliving Australia Day long weekend 1985 for 3 weeks! Morphine/Ketamin cocktail!

    • Dylan 1:22 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Andy – great to see these posts . . . I am definitely going to show this one to my dad, who to this day still maintains that following his heart surgery – whilst in CCU and at night he witnessed some huge cover-up concerning administering the wrong medication to some patients.

      He would not have it that possibly he was hallucinating

  • nbrightside 2:50 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    post surgery 

    Thursday May 17

    Lots of consent forms. Lots of brief chats with nurses, doctors and an anaesthetist. Each time the door opened, I thought I was going down to theatre and the nerves jangled. Finally, at 08:45, I was wheeled down to the basement on a trolley and the lengthy operation got underway.

    I was woken up around 10pm in the recovery room to be told ‘The operation went well and we are just giving you something to make you sleep tonight’. Zzzzzzzz.

    Next morning, I woke up in the Critical Care Unit (CCU). Similar to a normal hospital ward but each patient had their own dedicated nurse. Constant (15 minute) monitoring of blood pressure, temperature, pulse and other vital signs.

    My surgery was complex and involved three different surgical teams; colorectal surgeon (tumour removal), plastic surgeon (used one of my six-pack tummy muscles to reconstruct my rear end) and urologist (re-routed waterworks). Consequently, the doctor’s morning rounds meant three separate visits; one from each different team.

    I was aware I had six tubes draining various fluids from my body and I imagined each drain being a different colour (amber, green, yellow, red etc) but I preferred not to lean sideways and try to confirm this theory.

    I also had an intravenous drip (via a neck line) feeding me a white gloopy substance that looked reminiscent of PVA glue. The nurse told me this was liquid food (TPN) together with nutrients, minerals, electrolytes etc as the bowel had basically shut down after the trauma of the surgery.

    I also had a nasogastric tube up my nose and a catheter in my arm to get more drugs and antibiotics into me.

    All in all pretty overwhelming, but nothing I hadn’t been forewarned about, and I probably looked a real sight to my visitors but I felt pretty good – tired and aching a bit – although I was on pretty strong morphine which undoubtedly eased the pain.

    However, as I came round and started chatting with the male nurse (who was a Norwich fan), I realised I was thirsty – very thirsty. In fact, I was parched and I felt like I’d drunk 12 pints of Stella Artois the night before and then been forced to lick a dusty carpet.

    When the nurse asked ‘Can I get you anything ?’, I seized the chance and politely asked for a glass of water. He hesitated and said ‘OK but I’ll just have to ask a doctor first’.

    Five minutes later, he returned empty handed. No glass of water. ‘Sorry – no water allowed just yet…’ He reached into a drawer and pulled out a straw with a sponge cube on the end. He soaked the sponge cube under a cold water tap and passed it to me. ‘Here – take this and suck on it’ [ No soft porn jokes here – Ed ]

    I took the tiny sponge cube, placed it in my mouth and sucked on it. I felt a dribble of water trickle down my throat. I sucked again hard on the sponge, greedily extracting every single, last drop of water. I passed the straw back to the nurse ‘That was great – but please can I have another ?’. ‘No – sorry but that’s it for 4 hours’. Sigh.

    The surgical team visited and the surgeon told me the operation took a long time (12 hours) and was ‘challenging’ but ultimately successful. I asked him if he’d been able to remove all of the tumour and he replied ‘Yes – we’re confident we got it all out’. I could have screamed with joy and delight but felt pretty weak so I just said ‘Oh – that’s great news. Thank you’ which seemed a woefully inadequate response to the surgeon who had probably, without being over dramatic, saved my life.

    My ever increasing pile of medical notes were left on my bedside tray and a single entry caught my eye:

    Clinical outcome: Tumour excised.

    A brilliant surgeon and a man of few words.

    • Scott Evans 3:03 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Awesome news!

      Great to see you back on G+ & Identi.ca as well

      You’ve earnt your place in the survivors lounge 😉

      • nbrightside 3:06 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah – that’s 5 months ago now and the recovery was slow with the odd setback but we’re getting there slowly. Thanks.

    • empoprises 8:38 pm on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      “Excised.” I like that word. I’m sure you love that word.

    • Ruben 1:24 am on September 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Keep on keeping on Andy

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