There. Is. No. Spoon.

Alan Johnston was released! Yaaaaay!

I think we’re all a bit happy now.

Okay, so: I went into hospital yesterday. It was surprisingly untraumatic – I even enjoyed a lot of it, which was about as unexpected as, uh, Alan Johnston being released today, I guess. I didn’t sleep a wink the night before (apart from ten minutes just before my alarm went off at 5am, during which I was convinced that Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter was poking me on my Facebook account), but the reason I didn’t sleep had less to do with nerves – of which I had none – and more to do with the fact I was in pain. So I ended up at the hospital at 7am bloody relieved to finally be doing something about it after six months.

The staff were wonderful, really friendly and chatty; it was one nurse’s birthday and I spent the whole morning begging her for cake, even though I wasn’t allowed to eat anything. I was asked about 20 times if I’d ever had a heart attack or if I had fillings in my teeth or if I was allergic to anything – my response to the latter earning me a bright red wristband with the word PENICILLIN written on it in enormous letters. When I told the anaesthetist I was allergic to penicillin he asked me what happens when I take it.

“I die, apparently,” I replied. “My doctor told me years ago.”

“Okay,” said the anaesthetist, writing on his clipboard.

“I don’t even eat mouldy bread,” I continued. “I’m not taking any chances.”

“Right,” said the anaesthetist, still writing on his clipboard, and then he looked at me like I was mad, realised I was joking and laughed like a drain. I’m glad I amused him because ten minutes later my life was in his hands.

I’m still rather surprised that being wheeled into an operating room for a general anaesthetic and a bloody great injection in the nerve at the base of my spine wasn’t scary in the slightest – my beeping heart monitor didn’t even speed up. I was just intrigued by the whole thing and kept asking questions, much to everybody’s amusement. For the record, here’s the conversation I had as they prepared to knock me out:

Me: “I can’t believe you’re playing Neil Diamond in here. Could we not have had some Led Zeppelin?”
Matron: “We were thinking about Def Leppard but thought it might upset the surgeon.”
Male student nurse: “Well, here’s the needle I’m about to put in your hand.”
Me: “It’s not very big, is it?”
Male student nurse: “No, it’s just a wee little one.”
Me: “All the men say that to me.”
[Shocked silence. Then laughter.]
Anaesthetist: “We’ve got a right one here.”
Male student nurse: [After slapping my hand to find a vein for a minute or so] “Um, I’ve got a problem…”
Me: “Are you trying in vein?”
Anaesthetist: Please let’s put her under soon.”
Male student nurse: [After injecting me and cocking it up, so the anaesthetist had to pull out the needle and put one in my other hand] “Sorry about that.”
Me: “That’s alright. You’re already torturing me with Neil Diamond, so the needle means nothing.”
Anaesthetist: “Okay, I’m giving you the anaesthetic now.”
Me: “I’m not doing that ‘counting backwards from ten’ rubbish, you know.”
Anaesthetist: “Alright. What do you want to say instead?”
Me: “See you later, guys! Wheeeeeeee…” [Snores]

You know, thinking about it, I’m amazed they didn’t give me an overdose.

Long story short: I woke up 35 minutes later absolutely fine; ten minutes after that I was sitting upright in bed back in the Day Ward, reading a book, asking for coffee, complaining they only had digestive biscuits and not chocolate digestive biscuits and demanding the nurses move the cabinet on the right hand side of my bed round to the left because I’m left-handed and I was being prejudiced against. Just after that, the birthday nurse gave me a biggest slice of chocolate cake I’ve ever seen and told me to shut up. I was quite happy.

Funny thing is, every single person in the Day Ward was poorly after their anaesthetics. The woman next to me was sick and all the others either slept for an hour after their procedures or were completely out of it. One guy even spent ten minutes waving his arms around like he was fighting off a swarm of bats. I didn’t feel woozy at all, certainly didn’t feel sick (even after an obscene amount of chocolate cake) and was up and out of bed so soon the nurses all gave me funny looks. I think I’ve found my superpower after 35 years: I am immune to the after-effects of general anaesthetics. That’ll come in handy in everyday life – couldn’t I have had super sex-appeal or something?

Twenty-four hours later, the injection in my back doesn’t hurt at all, but I still have sciatica. The doctor told me it could take a few weeks for my nerve to realise it’s not been aggravated any more, and until then I could have “ghost pain” while it carries on behaving the way it’s behaved for the last six months. Thus, I went for a walk earlier and every time it hurt – which it did a lot, dammit – I mentally told myself, “There is no pain. There is no pain.” After a while that became a Matrix-inspired “There is no spoon. There is no spoon.” That’s my new catchphrase now.

Back to work tomorrow. If you see anyone on the Bakerloo Line looking pained and mumbling, “There is no cotton-picking, god-damned, sonofabitch, mother-humping spoon!“… You’ll know why.


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12 responses to “There. Is. No. Spoon.

  1. GoldAnne

    Jayne you are a card soooooooo
    love Anne

  2. Almagill

    Heh heh, I hope I’m able to make wisecracks if I’m ever getting put under.

    Good luck with that spoon.

  3. Lerxst

    I bet they loved you. Moving the cabinet indeed!

    But no, it is surprising how relaxed you can be going in for an op. The only time I’ve really been a bit unnerved was with the fairly minor procedure of a renal biopsy -done under a local, the doc decided to start telling me the risks while I was lying there..”there is a chance we could hit another vital organ, in which case you will probably need emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. But that only happens in 1 in 10 cases…”.

    But more importantly, good luck & hope things get better quickly – lick that spoon.

  4. Magic Bellybutton

    Good luck!

    I’ve found some people in hospitals to be decidedly immune to humour. My mum was in hospital a few years back and she had one of those pulse monitors on her finger. She took it off to take a drink of water – naturally the monitor went flatline.

    “Look, mum! You’re dead!”
    [Filthy look directed at me from nurse]
    [Mum in a wheezy laugh] “Don’t make me laugh, it hurts.”

    She still finds it funny.

  5. Lizwc

    Sooo glad it went ok for you. I remember I was going under a general anaesthetic once for a minor op to remove a ganglion. I was so scared (the anaesthetist looked like she’d graduated from Nazi torture training) that I started crying when they injected me. One of the male nurses told me to stop being a baby.
    Me: You’d understand if you ever went through this – waaah!!
    Male Nurse: I have… lifts top to reveal HUUUGE scar runnning right across his stomach…
    and that was the image behind my eyes as I passed out!

  6. Badger Madge

    Jayne that was the funniest blog I’ve read this week, you diva, you!

  7. Ruud Visser

    Glad the op went as it should, and we are hopefull for the endresult.

    I am happy to say that I never had any serious surgery, though I was quite hyper when I had a vasectomy. The needle with the anestethic was quite painfull (I think there should be some prior anesthetic before the major one.
    Oh, and scalpels shouldn’t be allowed in that region (I look at my transgenderd friend with a whole lot of new respect since then…).

    And about the spoon, well, a friend of mine who used to be a nurse told me that a good spoon is an important tool when one has to wash and clean lot of cheeky old men in the hospital.
    As long as the spoon is kept cold. Verr, very cold….
    So when I am old and cheeky, my mantra will be that there is no spoon.
    Take care while recovering!

  8. Anny

    yes fucking funnyi even chuckled out loud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. wapentake

    Hi Jayne,

    Just a note to wish you well from a fellow sciatica sufferer.

    I’m lucky to be recovering well from my second acute attack of the year.

    Thought you might find this interesting:

    Fear not, it isn’t another promise of a wonder cure!

    Just an article on advice givers from my blog.

    All the best for a speedy one.


  10. wapentake

    Sorry – link didn’t copy for some reason – should read “back-to-back” at the end.

    Cheers, John.

  11. Jayne Nelson

    Hi John!

    Alas, I couldn’t get the article to work from your blog. That “Error 404” message is the bane of our lives these days!

    However, the beautiful picture at the top of your blog did make me go, “Ooooh,” and get all misty eyed. What a lovely shot! Is that Barnsley or Ontario? 😉

    J x

  12. wapentake

    Jayne – Thanks for pointing out the bad link. Have now posted full article up at same place.

    Not sure where the picure is. It’s just the WordPress template I liked – Shhh!


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