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At Least You Have A Nurse Who Cares

, , , , , | Healthy | August 3, 2022

Surgeon: “You need a colonoscopy. It will be on Friday. Arrange transport home, because you won’t be able to drive. Are you on medication?”

Me: “Yes, [Strong Stimulant For ADHD]. Why, will I be knocked out?”

Surgeon: “Anaethetised? Not quite, only sedated. Either way, it takes a while to wear off.”

Me: “Can I cycle there and get a train back?”

Surgeon: *Pauses* “Yes, but you have to walk back to the train station. The nurse will ask you about sixty questions. She has to be sure who you are, so be patient.”

A colonoscopy. Lovely. On Friday, I am escorted to the private room. I am told to take off everything — underwear, jewellery, the bunch — and wear only the theatre gown. I lie under the duvet and read a book, waiting for the nurse.

In walks the stereotypical matron — a short, plump woman aged about sixty. She speaks in a plain, English accent, and she’s very terse with no sense of humour. I’m a young man.

Nurse: “I am here to ask you some questions. I need to go through them all in order, and I need an exact answer — nothing more, nothing less. Do you understand?”

She’s right. Patients have died because the wrong patient was operated on, etc.

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “What is your full name?”

Me: “[My Full Name].”

Nurse: “What is your date of birth?”

Me: “[Date, month, year].”

Nurse: “What procedure are you having?”

Me: “A colonoscopy.”

Nurse: “Have you taken off all your clothes?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “Are you currently wearing corrective spectacles?”

I pause for a minute and consider saying something silly, but I don’t trouble her. She is still looking down at her clipboard.

Me: “No.”

Nurse: “Are you currently wearing contact lenses?”

Me: “No.”

Nurse: “Do you normally need vision corrected?”

Me: “Yes.”

Nurse: “What transport home have you arranged?”

Me: “I will take the train.”

Now she’s looking agitated and confused. Somehow, these questions aren’t going as she expected. She looks at the floor, at my cycle helmet, lycra shorts and top, and cycling shoes — lots of hi-viz. Finally, she looks up.

Nurse: “How did you get here today?”

Me: “I cycled.”

Nurse: “How far?”

Me: “Twenty km.”

Nurse: “Where are your spectacles?”

Me: “Home.”

She puts down the clipboard.

Nurse: “How did you see to get here?”

Me: “Contact lenses.”

Nurse: “Where are they now?”

Me: “In the bin.”

Nurse: “How will you see to get to the train?”

She looks again at all of my cycling stuff.

Nurse: “Does the surgeon know about this?”

Me: “Yes. Check with him.”

She leaves. Enter the surgeon.

Surgeon: “Hey, [My Name]! Ready to get a camera shoved up your a**e?”

Me: “Mister [Doctor]! Depends if I can get past Judge Judy there. She seems to have a problem with my eyesight… or trains. What’s going on?”

Surgeon: “Yeah, she’s a bit procedural, but she has to do it exactly as it’s written. Patients have tried to drive home, crashed, and then sued hospitals. She has a list of allowable forms of transport, which doesn’t include trains. Even if it did, you have so much lycra with you that she doesn’t know whether to believe you.”

Me: “You approved it. What do you want me to tell her?”

Surgeon: *Pauses* “Just change your answer to taxi. Look, the sedative affects everyone differently. You of all people know whether you would be safe getting home because you have been managing your own concentration levels with [Stimulant] for years. I’m happy with anything other than driving. Just tell her taxi.”

Me: “Okay. What about the glasses thing?”

Surgeon: “Yeah, she can’t figure out how you’re going to see anything because you threw out your contact lenses.”

Me: “She could have asked. I brought spares.”

Surgeon: “She could have asked. [Nurse], come in, please. He’s brought spare contact lenses to see on his way home. Ask [My Name] how he is getting home again.”

Nurse: “What transport have you arranged home?”

Me: “A taxi.”

Nurse: *Smiling brightly* “Excellent. Off to theatre, then.”

The colonoscopy happens. I don’t remember much thanks to the sedative. I get dressed, take some [Stimulant] (per my prescription), and go to the cafe. I feel wide awake. It’s just like a normal day… so I cycle home.

The follow-up appointment comes the next week.

Surgeon: “How did you get home?”

Me: “I had some [Stimulant], that knocked the sedative out of me in an hour, and I cycled all the way home to [Town].”

Surgeon: *Laughing* “The nurse was right not to believe you! How did you feel the drug was working? Did you feel at all sleepy?”

Me: “Not at all. I was wide awake.”

The surgeon just laughed again, wrote the final report, and discharged me.

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