It was a kind of surreal conversation that surrounded me that day. It was like I was there, which I was - right there stage centre, can't miss me - but they were acting as if I wasn't. I didn't know what was expected of me you see. Should I try to join in from my precarious centre stage position, or should I just let them carry on..... ?
I guess it was something like being in a Doctor's surgery, or at the hairdressers - where there is an expected amount of small talk to be engaged in with every person that comes in contact with you. Exhausting, but it does put everyone at ease and makes the time fly by. Besides, in these situations the conversation signals are easier to read, you just join in - or pick up a magazine when they're blow-drying your hair so that everyone knows that conversation is no longer expected.
But this situation was entirely new to me. Eventually I just gave a wan, lop-sided smile, from my awkward tummy-lying position; hoping that this was a middle-of-the-road response that would cover all angles. Then everything went black........
ONE HOUR EARLIER..........
I was just lying there, having smiled at everyone I came in contact with and engaged in the necessary - and sometimes unnecessary, it must be said - small talk. I was nervous you see. Very nervous. Even though I had no reason to be, not really. I'd been through this a few times before, But now I was relaxing, nodding off even, while I awaited my 'treatment'. And then suddenly, before I could even gather my thoughts, along came the person to bring me along to the next stage.
As I was wheeled in and out of lifts, and up and down, and along bright and sterile corridors, my mind began to wander.....
It meandered between what we'd have for dinner later that evening, to hoping that the Teen Boy had remembered, - and not lost, thrown away, eaten?, - his hall door key, to 'please God, please let me come out of this in one piece. Better, if at all possible .... oh, and a few highlights and a bit of nice make-up would be lovely too'.
Unfortunately though, this was not a treatment of the beauty variety that I was being brought to, but rather one of the hospital kind. And one that required a rather large needle too. Well, there was another needle or two before the rather large needle was injected into my back, and not a million miles away from my spine either it must be said. Sure no wonder I was nervous.
I was delighted though that one of the needles would contain 'lots of lovely sedation' , as I said to everyone that I came in contact with, lest they'd forget and wouldn't give me enough. Or not give me any at all. Although I very much doubted they'd ever do that to me again. I've no doubt that the day they gave me this treatment without sedation is a day that has gone down in the annals of this hospital, never to be forgotten or repeated, ever again. In case my reaction would again frighten other patients waiting in line, like an injured human conveyor belt, for their 'turn'. It might even make this procedure completely obsolete! Oh no, sedation it most definitely will be.
So anyway, back to the corridor where I'm being pushed in a wheelchair with my thoughts going to places they had no right going, and thinking of the 'lovely sedation' that I was absolutely going to get. And then I thought: 'I know a General Anesthetic has more risks but what if I don't wake up after the sedation? Sure that couldn't happen, could it? I've too much left undone in this world, sure I'd have to come back to do all my 'jobs', especially one very important one. Nah, it'll have to be okay..... but what if it's not?
Okay, so if it's not what would the last things I'd see and hear on this earth then? See, I told you my mind went places it had no right to go.
'Well, I wouldn't want it to be that boring hospital notice over there,' I thought to myself. 'Nor that official sounding one on that door,' I mused.
'Oh, wait a minute,' I exclaimed in my mind as I was pushed through the double doors, 'what's that notice on that board I see.... 'Don't forget to.... bring your... Christmas Party.... deposits in this week... €10'. Ah yes, a Christmas Party, now that's more like it!'
So that was that all sorted then, I thought happily to myself.
Except it wasn't. I still hadn't reached my final destination you see, and instead was left in a kind of ante room to the operating theatre. *Gulps* . When the beeps stopped beeping then it would be my turn... on the table, so the speak... I was gleefully informed. *Gulps again... BIG ones*
I then flicked through some magazines desperately trying to distract myself again. Something here that would be the last thing I'd remember?..... ooh look, a pretty photo of my friend, Lisa Maree Domican !! Now, that really did distract me!
Then I was told that the radiologist would be here soon to give me me my 'lots of lovely sedation'. Okay, I can do this, no bother, I thought ...... and then I remembered.... OH CRAP..... it was a radiologist who gave me that treatment before wasn't it? You know the one I told you about above.... the one with 'Marathon Man' written all over it. - I refer of course to that movie with the sadistic dentist, except in my case it was a 'misinformed' ( chronic pain means CHRONIC PAIN Mister, so treat with due consideration!) Radiologist, and the pain inflicted was 'Marathon Man' multiplied by a factor of TEN, at least. My shocked sobs and screams lasted for a very long time after the procedure, and must have reverberated through the theatre and beyond for far, far longer.......
And then suddenly my radiologist appeared, fingers itching to get all sorts of wires etc linked to the canula which had already been inserted into my arm. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief on seeing that it was a different radiologist, and I was indeed getting 'lots of lovely sedation'.
Then things happened very quickly. I was wheeled into the operating theatre where there were lots of nurses and assistants buzzing around, following the usual routine for the next injured human on the conveyor belt, i.e. me! With great difficulty in preserving my dignity, I hauled my injured body from one trolley to end up tummy-down on another, and without further ado I was attached to all sorts of contraptions, while I listened to the conversation around me.....
After all the small talk and ensuring that I was well informed at all stages along the way, they were all now suddenly ignoring me! My Consultant, that would be the one who was about to stick a rather large needle in my back not too far from my spine, and his head nurse were discussing the ways of getting out of changing the duvet covers with their other halves at home! I was fascinated.....
Apparently 'but you're so good at doing it, much better than me' is the best, and safest way to do it.
And apparently these would be the last words I'd hear on this earth....... then everything went black.
But of course the weren't the last thing I heard, else I wouldn't be here to tell the tale now, would I!
It appears that post-Nerve Block procedure I now feel slightly better than I did before.......... but I still need highlights and some face-paint.
But that will be a whole other story....... and a whole lot more small talk!
Note: For any of you needing Nerve Block procedures here's what I learned:
Nerve Block 'Highlights' (!!)
The thing about these procedures is that the patient's reaction dictates it's success while undergoing the procedure - i.e. if the patient screams they've hit the spot.
- A Pain Management Consultant (some of them, not all) take a more humane approach and sedate you, so that you're just under, will still respond, but will not remember.
- A radiologist's skills and the way he/she does their work means that they've a much more targeted way of hitting the nerve to block it. But they don't sedate you.
The choice however is yours to make.