Blank walls rush past. Doors crash open and I’m hit by a blinding white light. For what seems like the hundredth time nausea washes over me. People in gowns, you know those gowns? The ones that are neither green nor blue. They surround me trapping me in a wash of flowing paper - like hospital attire. The fact that everywhere stinks of disinfectant doesn’t help the situation.
The unflattering gown I was handed at my pre – op appointment has ‘Walsgrave NHS Hospital’ stamped on it. Like I’m going to have a sudden burst of energy, leap off the table and run like I’m on fire out the door…dressed in this? No chance! Or like I’m going to try and steal it! What do they take me for? I’m not that desperate for clothes. They tie latex gloves around both my arms in their vain search for a blue blooded vein. I scream out in a mixture of pain and trepidation that it is too tight. They ignore my desperate pleas.
A needle sharp and oh so sterile is forced into my arm, they miss the vein and yank it out again, I scream once more in a futile effort to distract them from their cause, nothing works. They jab at me again creating another spot of blood to join its new friend. It looks like a snakebite; the red blood stands out in stark contrast to my pale skin, growing paler by the second. I see a bruise appear, I feel calmer, I realise for all my screaming they have just sedated me. I drift around in a semi – conscious daze. I try to scream, I hear muffled voices. I fight back against what they say. I try another scream. I’m not dying I swear, I’m not fading I’m fighting this damn cursed affair. But already I feel that cold wash over me, that familiar cold that means once again they’ve ignored my screams. Already I am fading, unsure if tomorrow will bring new hope into this already shattered life. Unsure if I shall wake to face another day.
The mist clears, my eyes stuck together like glue on paper. Where am I? I smell disinfectant again and breath a sigh of relief which I realise too late brings the nauseous after effects of anaesthetic on my already drug addled brain. I curse, how could I let them do this again? I’m still drifting; it’s endless more than monotonous. If you were to ask me to explain how sick, bored and alone you would get after a few hours in these uncomfortable beds then we would be here for an absolute age because there is no explaining that the only sound is your own heart, there is no explaining that the only movement is the almost imperceptible movement of that twitch you get when you can’t scratch somewhere.. My leg twitches again, I’ve long given up any thought of human contact.
Out of the corner of my eye I watch as the break in the curtain grows bigger. I see a nurse enter but I’m still drifting I wish the drifting would stop. I try to shout to warn her of the impending doom if she ventures any nearer, too late, why do they never listen? I hear her mention breakfast, breakfast? It seems ages since I’ve heard that word. Food even longer ago for food is not what my mother makes. I don’t know quite what to call what she makes, it’s a mess of a half digested substance she tries to pass off as “stew”. I can feel the nurse touch me with her gloves and despite the obvious warning of me trying to push her away she doers not move an inch. Her fault, I throw up my mother’s “stew” [I heard her remark later when she thought I was asleep that I had made no attempt to warn her!] it stains her plastic garment and dribbles crudely downwards landing on the floor loudly in this quiet cubicle I’ve come to think of as a “home away from home”. I’ve been here before...not the throwing up on the nurse part but the terrifying feeling of that needle breaking the skin and the boredom and nauseous feelings after are almost “normal” to me.