Back on the ward

I’m now deemed to have recovered sufficiently to return to my
room. There’s not a lot I can do, or in fact want to do, right now.
The TV’s off so the remote doesn’t work. My books are in my bag, in
the wardrobe. I doze.

Every fifteen minutes a machine inflates the armband and takes a
blood pressure reading. Then a nurse pops in, copies things from the
machine onto my chart, and leaves again.

Time passes.

I feel the urge to pee. A nurse gives me a bottle, but I’m unable
to perform flat on my back. Eventually they decide I’m well enough to
try walking to the toilet.

They teach me how to get out of bed. Lie on your side by the edge
of the bed, then push up with your arms and bring your feed to the floor
at the same time: in other words, pivot around your bum keeping your
spine straight.

I’m a bit woozy when I rotate to the vertical for the first
time. The wooziness is more a spine thing than an anaesthetic
thing. When my head clears I stand up. Ooh, no sciatic pain! Oh,
surgery pain! I shuffle carefully into the bathroom, two nurses
waiting for me to fall, one of them carrying my drip which she hangs
on the coathook on the bathroom door. Aah, that’s better.

Clearly the drip’s going straight through me, as I’m eating nothing
and drinking very little but have to pee again soon afterwards.

The postman arrives with a Get Well Soon card from Chris and Melanie.

I overhear a nurse telling another patient that mobile phones are
allowed on the ward. Good, I can let people know how I got on. When
I can get to my phone.

I get a quick visit from the surgeon again, who tickles my feet to
make sure I still have feeling down there. He tells me they did
everything they planned to in surgery, and that it was quite hard to
scrape out the innards of the disc – due to the length of time I’ve
had the problem. (I’ve got a small bottle containing the bits he cut

The anaesthetist also pops in for a minute. He tells me I don’t need
the drip any more. Good. I just have to persuade a nurse to remove it.


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