Had my pre-op tests yesterday. Felt like death with this awful cold and hacking cough, but dragged myself off to the hospital for a 10.30 am appointment. 'Get there 15 minutes early', the letter said. I arrived at 10.10 but wasn't called in till gone 11, so I was not amused.
I warned the nurse who was checking my blood pressure that I suffer from 'white coat syndrome' and the moment I see the machine, my blood pressure soars. Sure enough, it was a staggering 177 over 88! 'Hmm, that's a bit high,' said the nurse, 'I'll take it again in a few minutes'. She did, and it was down to 129 over 79, which was much better. Weird, isn't it? It's not as if I'm scared of having my blood pressure done. I suppose I'm anxious about being told it's too high and having to go on pills for the rest of my life.
They put me on a heart monitor, which was fine. Then they send me for a blood test. My heart sank. The only way of getting that done quickly is to arrive first thing in the morning when they open. By lunchtime, the waiting room is so full that there are no seats left. When I arrived, the illuminated sign was at No.10, having been round the clock several times that morning already, and the ticket I pulled from the machine was No. 43. So, after a quick chat with a nice lady who was No. 37, I beetled off to the hospital coffee shop and had a very nice coffee and a packet of organic, low-salt crisps and by the time I got back, they were calling for No. 32.
'Be gentle', I told the guy who was taking my blood. 'How much do you need?' 'Four tubes,' he said. I was reminded of the old Tony Hancock blood donor sketch. 'I'll have to look away,' I said, as I can't bear to see my red stuff squirting into the phials. My dad used to faint at the sight of his own blood. I remember my mum trying to take a splinter out of his finger once, and h went spark out on the floor! I'm not that bad; I'm fine so long as I don't have to watch. And the guy was gentle and I only have a tiny bruise and a red mark today.
Finally, I arrived back at the reception desk, where I was handed a letter and told that my operation was scheduled for next Wednesday. NEXT WEDNESDAY!!! OMG! Having had to wait 11 months for a hysterectomy despite having pre-cancerous cells in my cervix, I thought a minor thing like a pile operation would have a waiting list of about a year. Well, the old NHS has certainly speeded up since they whipped out my womb in 1998.
I'm on the afternoon list. I can have toast at 7.3o and can drink water or black tea or coffee till 10. Then nothing else, not even a sip. As somebody who swigs water constantly, this is going to be a real hardship as I don't have to be at the hospital till 12.30 and probably won't be 'done' till mid afternoon. Hope my cold has gone by then because the letter says if you have one, the op will be postponed. Fingers crossed... or should that be legs?