Saturday, April 12, 2003

Home at last -- of which, more tomorrow I'm sure. Right now I hope you'll understand if I spend 24 hours with my family rather than chained to the computer. You'll hear the whole story soon enough.

Before leaving hospital I took a sneaky peek at my medical records. For the past week I’ve been unable to face the thought of looking at my x-rays. They just seemed too gruesome to contemplate. When I did finally flick through them I was struck by just how much of my foot was still intact after the accident; the toes, metatarsals, all those other bones I should have learned about during biology GCSE.

Everything was still there except for the triangle of bone where my heel once was. For the first time I asked myself “did the surgeon really HAVE to take the foot off?” It seems like such a brutal procedure for such a small injured area. Such thinking will get me nowhere, though. Like the electrical items you get for Christmas, stuffed with cables, leads, bags, warranties and cardboard – once you’ve unpacked them all, they’ll never go back in the box again.

My patient notes made fascinating reading. I felt like a school pupil getting my end of term report. One recurring sentence is “patient has passed good volumes of urine,” which is nurse-speak for “patient has a hamster bladder and cannot sit through so much as an ad break without needing to take a piss.” Which is why I always ask for an aisle seat when I go to the cinema. I’m not sure why they had to write this down as they only had to ask Aileen and she would have told them. If they’re going to mention my propsensity for frequent whizzing they might as well go the whole hog and draw attention to my not altogether healthy fondness for Kate Winslet.

My other favourite entries:

6th April: “Mr O’Doherty and patient told about the decision to have lower leg amputated, as reconstructive surgery not in patient’s best interests…..patient very upset.” And the Pulitzer Prize for Stating the Bleedin’ Obvious Goes To…..

11th April “Satisfactiory PM. Spent 4 hours in pub this afternoon.” I’d say that 4 hours spent in a pub could safely be regarded as satisfactory, regardless of one’s medical condition. Thank you Professor Jeremy Cooke of Jerusalem and Dr William Guinness of Dublin for your part in my recuperation.

One ominous entry, though.

11th April. “Mood a little falsely bright.” I’m hoping this is nurse-speak for “Patient returned from pub pissed on only 1½ pints and then fell out of wheelchair,” which is my recollection of the event.

Discuss Northern Iraq Weblog


Post a Comment

<< Home