Last Friday (September 27th) I ended up in hospital again. This time it was nothing to do with my heart. I’d had my meeting with the Cardiac Rehab people the day before, and mentioned a boil on my backside that was becoming more and more annoying. They recommended that I see my doctor about it the next day, in case it became infected, just to be on the safe side.
So, I made my appointment and duly trotted down to see the doctor at 11am on the Friday. Following a bit of prodding, the doc told me to go up to the hospital and have it drained. This procedure would, he said, take less than half an hour, leave a little scar, and not require stitching. Brilliant, thinks I.
So, I arrive in the waiting room of the A&E department of Stafford Hospital at noon. In less than half an hour I’m through the Doors Of Doom and into the A&E proper, where I’m shown in to a second waiting room (where the seats are hard plastic and have no padding).
After another hour of waiting I get to see a doctor who prodded at my backside a bit, and asked me if I was on medication. I showed him my repeat prescription list, the important parts of which are that I am taking Aspirin and Prasugrel, which together work as an industrial strength platelet inhibitor. This means that my blood does not clot normally. I explain about the recent heart attack. My blood pressure is taken, and I’m told they’ll do an ECG just to check my heart. I also mention that I cannot take Ibuprofen based painkillers.
Apparently they can do my quick operation in the A&E quite soon, but they’ll give me some painkillers in the meantime. I remind them about the Ibuprofen thing. Oh yes, don’t worry.
It is now about 1:30pm, and the doctor recommends that I have some liquid morphine, and intravenous paracetamol. Now, because I’ve got an IV hanging out of a cannula in the crook of my elbow, I can’t wait in the waiting room so I’m put in a room containing some laser printers, an eye-test chart and a comfy chair. (Note: the nurse that put the IV in commented that I bleed well, and I explain about the Aspirin and Prasugrel – that’s twice now, if you want to start counting). Heart attack mentioned, blood pressure taken again.
Time passes… Thorin sits down and sings about gold.
Another doctor comes in and asks me about any medication I’m on, so I show him the list and mention the Aspirin and Prasugrel and heart attack, just to be sure (third time). He does the blood pressure thing, writes something down and mutters something about being back soon.
Time passes… I’m going to throttle Thorin if he doesn’t shut up about gold. I get bored of reading the eye-test chart and wish I had a newspaper. More time passes. This chair is really comfy! I have a little doze.
It is now about 2:30pm. Another doctor has been in to take my blood pressure again and ask about medication, to which the usual answers are given (fourth!). We’ll move you to theatre. A&E is getting busy so obviously they’re going to want my comfy chair back. I’ll be having a local anesthetic, as they won’t be keeping me in. Fine, I don’t want a general one, and i’m not really supposed to have them because of the recent heart attack. Oh yes, you had a heart attack didn’t you?
Another hour passes, another nurse comes in an tells me they’ve got the bed sorted and I’ll be on the ward in ten minutes, drained and patched up and out within the hours. You said theatre last time? Yeah its busy. It is now about 3:30pm.
4pm comes and goes, and I’m still Steward of the Comfy Chair. The painkillers are wearing off, but I don’t mind.
Ten past four and I’m on the move. A five minute walk to the ward and I’m in the bed, still fully clothed. Medications are asked about, replies given (fifth!), blood pressure monitored, etc. Get him in to a gown, we’ll be over in a few minutes to fix this. Do I want a drink? Yes. Tea, one sugar, no milk. By now the pain killers have totally worn off and my arse is one fire. I mention this too. Oh, lie on your stomach while we sort some painkillers. Ibuprofen is offered and rejected.
Time passes… Thorin isn’t here singing. He may have left when the morphine ran out. My phone battery starts running low. Apparently I’m starting to get really pissed off, if the messages to my girlfriend are to be believed.
Time passes… I press the call button and ask about my tea. Oh you can’t have it now, the doctor is here to drain you. Have some water instead. Thats nice, is this going to take long? No, you’ll be out in an hour at the most.
Time passes… Finally the doctor arrives, does the blood pressure thing and asks about medication. I mention it, and the heart attack (six!). You’ve had a heart attack? You’ll have to make do with a local anesthetic. We’ve got to about half six now in time, and about DEFCON 2 on the threat-level-o-meter of my temper.
Just before 7pm. More medical professionals gather. Another blood pressure test, a discussion of my medication and heart attack (seven), and some scribbling and nodding. Pull his trousers down, let the dog see the rabbit etc. Hang on, shouldn’t I be in a gown or something? Oh no need, this won’t take long. Trust is placed in the hands of people who know what they are doing. The first needles go in to inject the anesthetic.
JESUS FUCKIN’ TAP DANCIN’ CHRIST!!!
Now please bear in mind that I had heart surgery last month, which involved a hole being punched in an artery (side effect – a huge fountain of blood) and a balloon being inflated in my heart, and shortly before that I had a cyst the size of a golf ball removed from my jaw. Neither of that hurt like the burning fires of Hades itself that were stabbing at my tender butt-cheek. Not even standing on a upturned three-pin plug in the dark hurt that much. Even having someone try to jam a MKII Ford Fiesta into my spinal column hurt less.
Anyway, back to the action… You bleed a lot don’t you? Yes, well so would you with this medication and some needles sticking out of your fucking arse. Theres no need to swear. Actually, there is every reason to swear, considering I’ve spent seven hours waiting for you do something that I could have done myself with a Stanley knife and a vacuum solder pump! We’re going to cut the lump out and stitch it up, says one doctor. No, we’re just draining it, says another. Make your mind up, says I.
I spend the next twenty minutes nearly grinding my teeth out, swearing a lot, sending very angry text messages and wishing a curse of boils on the medical profession in general. Finally they announce that it is done, and they’ve cut a hole in my buttock. I’m bleeding a lot, so they’ll just pad it and come back to stitch it up.
Time passes… 9pm rolls around and I realise that they didn’t pull the curtain around the bed. I’ve spend the best part of and two hours with my bloody arse stuck up in the air for all to see. The nurse appears for mop up some blood. They should have put you in a gown. Your kecks are soaked in blood, I’ll have to cut them off. Your shirt is probably ruined too. You bleed well don’t you? Yes, medication, Aspirin and Prasugrel, blood thinners, heart attack, etc (eighth time now!). Oh shit, you’re on blood thinners? Why didn’t you mention this? Erm I did, eight times at least. I’d best get a doctor.
The doctor arrives. A few of them actually. A senior one starts getting a bit loud when asking the others why they tried to cut out a part of my arse instead of draining it when any fool knows that I was going to bleed like a stuck pig. Get it stitched up now. Note it is about two hours since they gave me the local anesthetic. I point this out, but apparently they can’t give me any more. So I have six stitches without it.
JESUS FUCKIN’ TAP DANCIN’ CHRIST!!!
We’d best keep you in overnight because of the bleeding. Not a chance mate. I’m leaving now. Get me the paperwork, some kecks and a sponge. Stat. Ok, get him ready for discharge, sort him some antibiotics too.
10pm, paperwork signed. I walk out of the hospital, having subsequently been denied the antibiotics. I have a gauze pad the size of A5 taped to my backside with pink gaffa tape.
I am never setting foot in Stafford Hospital ever again. Ten hours to do a simple job that I was promised would take less than half an hour.