Lorraine tells me to get into bed. A few moments later someone
dressed for the operating theatre walks in and, with Lorraine and
another student nurse who’s observing things, starts to wheel me along
the corridors to surgery.

On the way I ask whether it’s anything like Scrubs. They laugh.

We pass through a set of automatic double-doors, on which is stuck
a hand-written sign: “Warning: hesitating doors”. Then we go through
another set of doors, and come to a halt.

It’s the anaesthetist’s lair. He’s not here yet, presumably out
back with a fag and a bottle of whisky or something. His two
assistants ask a few questions: am I left-handed or right-handed (it
determines which hand they use to insert the line through which
they’ll pump all the drugs), exactly what types of plaster am I
allergic to (the thick pinkish elastoplast for sure; they’ll use
something else to stick the various things to my body).

The index finger on my left hand is hooked up to the heart-rate
monitor (it’s like a clothes peg on your finger, but not as tight; it
shines strong red light through your finger and a sensor on the other
side picks up your pulse). I’m hovering at around 100.

“You’re a bit nervous, aren’t you,” says Lorraine. I can only agree.
Not as bad as I thought I’d be right now.

The Winston-alike anaesthetist joins us. For the student nurse’s
benefit, and for mine too, he explains what he’s doing. Although I’m
the recipient of all this attention, I feel a bit like another
observer. So much so he has to ask me twice to clench and unclench my
right fist so he can zero in on the vein he wants to invade.

“Slight scratch coming… now.” I decide I don’t need to look.

“I can tell you’re a bit nervous, so first I’ll give you something
to calm you down.” He tells the student nurse the drug’s name, then
introduces it down the line. I feel a warmth, a bit of pressure, around
my wrist. Then there’s another drug. And another.

“Whoooah,” I say as I’m washed in light-headedness. “That feels

Another drug goes in. “I’m feeling a bit drowsy now.” My eyelids start
to droop…


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