Ear, Ear

February 13, 2009 at 12:27 pm 8 comments

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Having spent the best part of the last two months frequenting the depressing environment of Tameside Intensive Treatment Unit  it was with some trepidation that I approached my ear operation yesterday.

This was my first operation (unless you count a semi-circumcision which I was too young to remember) and my first general anesthetic. I was somewhat tense as C drove me to the hospital. My fear was partly the result of my recent hospital experience (they are not healthy places being full of MRSA, sick people and the like), partly C’s driving (I much prefer to be in control), and, partly because my homing instinct is strong and I was fearful that they would keep me in overnight. And, partly because everyone has spent the last week or so giving me their worst “general anaesthetic” stories.

Why do people do that? You are getting married so people share their wedding day nightmares. You get pregnant (well obviously not…..) and people tell you their giving birth horrors. You need an operation and, well frankly, you don’t want to know what happens to people in the operating room.

To be honest, one of my greatest fears was that I might just begin to drift under the anaesthetic and I would look up to see the face of one of the medics I was at university with smirking at me from beneath their surgical mask. All of them were irresponsible alcoholics and I wouldn’t trust any of them near me with a sharp instrument. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

Indeed, the whole lead up to the op was quite stressful. None more so than the whole process of buying pyjamas. Yes, pyjamas. Proper grown-up, adult night attire for adults. Not “PJs” or “jimjams” as C insisted on calling them. You see, I have not possessed a pair of pyjamas for………well, let’s just say that my last pair probably had teddy bears or super heroes on them.

Since being an adult I have much preferred to sleep commando, au naturale, in the buff. Calm down girls! But, with the prospect of an overnight in hospital, it was necessary to think of my dignity, the poor nurses, and, the not wholly unlikely need to hide an involuntary erection. Well, I often wake up with one, there are nurses about….in uniform…..and, to be frank those hospital gowns are rubbish and offer no protection. Nowhere to hide your Morning Glory.

So, a week or so ago, C took me shopping for fashionable pyjamas. Jeez, when did anyone connect the words “pyjamas” and “fashionable”. Being a bloke, I wanted something traditional and practical – blue and white stripes, fly, draw strings. Oh no, no, no. “Far too old fashioned”. “Wouldn’t see you de..” (don’t go there). So, I spent two weekends….TWO WEEKENDS – it only took me two hours to buy a new car for Heaven’s sake – trying on every shape, colour and style of designer sleep attire that John Lewis had to offer. And, finally ended up buying a pair of M&S pyjama bottoms (lycra-type material, elastic waist, NO FLY….but trendy, apparently) and a white polo t-shirt.PJs

sandals-and-socks__1112776aI drew a very clear line when it came to the prospect of buying slippers. I am not an old man yet! I have fought hard to fight off my working class, Midland background. I only wear white socks when doing sport these days. Consequently, I never wear white socks these days. My family still won’t leave their houses to visit anyone without their slippers. It is the first thing they do upon arrival – take off their shoes and don their slippers. Me, you get in my shoes or, if I think I might dirty your carpet, in my stocking feet (socks that is – I don’t wear stockings……..often).

No slippers for me. I took my flip flops (or “thongs” as the Aussies call them). I was hoping for that trendy, looks-younger-than-his-age, surf dude look as I walked the corridor to the operating theatre. But it was not to be. To be fair I was not helped by the fact that my friendship bracelet had fallen off just two weeks after we returned from our Thai holiday The hospital gown, my fluffy dressing gown, and skinny legs sticking out the bottom didn’t help. Oh, and the look of sheer terror on my face!

I actually wasn’t feeling too bad as I arrived at the hospital, despite the fact that I had had nil by mouth for the previous five hours. I was hugely relieved that my insurance company were refusing to pay for an overnight stop unless required so the hospital were happy for me to go home as long as there were no “complications”. Also, my environment was pleasant. I was going private. I had a private single room with en suite and a plasma screen. A nurse came, filled some forms, took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature. I left my urine sample (I’m never quite sure how much they need so decided to fill it as much as I could without “spillage”). The anaesthetist came, cracked jokes, filled some forms. And, then my Consultant came………….and he scared me.

He was clearly having a bad day. He was in a bad mood. It seemed to be my fault. He was annoyed that BUPA had refused to sanction an overnight stay (I think it messed his schedule). He was annoyed that the person who should have showed at 1pm to do a hearing test hadn’t, so I had to wait until 2pm, which meant that he was running late. Then it came to the consent form. Then it came to him telling me all of the things that could possibly go wrong requiring drilling of bone, skin grafts, pierced eardrums, deafness, hearing aids and the like, if I every survived the anaesthetic and post-operative infection. Help! At this point I was all for going home with an “actually, I feel much better, thank you”.

But, I needn’t have worried. I went in. I went to sleep. I woke up – no erection, phew. I went back to my room – C fussed and looked please to see me. Within quarter of an hour I had had a drink and a sandwich. Within the hour I had had a wee (hospitals are obsessed with the need to urinate). The, now much happier Consultant, turned up to tell me all had gone well and, despite the fact that they had had to drill bone and do skin grafts, he was happy for me to go home.

And at home I am. I have a huge dressing on my ear which makes me look not unlike Van Gogh following his self-harming incident. I am not allowed to drive or operate mechanical equipment for 72 hours which means that I am under a strict regime as laid out by she who should be obeyed.

And, my advice to you all – don’t broddle*, if you get an infection go to the doctor straight away, and, if you can, go private.

* Broddle = to insert an alien object such as a cotton bud or finger or pencil end for the purposes of scratching or cleaning your ear.

Post script: It didn’t work. I am 80% deaf in that ear. 😦

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wingnut  |  February 15, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Glad to hear everything went well and thankyou for the warning about broddling!

    I’m also sorry to hear that people only spoke of unpleasant experiences! You would have been no doubt appreciative to hear (or maybe not!!!!) that I’ve been under the knife four times and never had any problems with anaesthetic or the like. Apart from the obvious discomfort post-op!

    The wonders of modern medicine!

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  • 2. Ina  |  February 16, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I would have had you fashionably jammied-up in under one and a half hours. That was a waste of perfectly good shopping time!

    Like

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  • 3. matildagretchen  |  February 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    Shit. I broddle with cotton wool buds all the time! My ears have the heebie jeebies now…..

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  • 4. Schnarchen Blog  |  December 9, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Phat article, good looking weblog, added it to my favs!

    Like

    Reply
  • 5. Middle Man  |  December 9, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Why thank you Schnarchen. Hope to see you soon.

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  • 6. Tim GARRATT  |  January 13, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    Even more fun to have bi-lateral grommets ‘installed’ under a local anaesthetic. My surgeon has done this twice for me now – and i don’t mind sharing the pain with you. It f-ing hurts. A lot. 13 minutes of pain. And you get to see the worried look on his face when he says – not to worry (yeah right) about the ‘bit of blood’… But then again I was home an hour afterwards.

    My advice – if you can tolerate the pain go for it. The local needles bit (five in each ear) just stings in comparison to the drilling a hole job!

    Too painful for me to blog about!

    Great blog – Tim

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    • 7. Middle Man  |  January 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

      Ouch! I hope you are well and truly fixed now.

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  • 8. Tim GARRATT  |  January 13, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    yep – lasts about 12 months! Then the fun starts again…Tim

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