Friday, 27 May 2011
Painting the town...
The day had gone well. Despite leaving late, assertive use of the accelerator and a relatively clear run meant that I was at the dentist in good time. The anaesthetic was administered with such care that not the slightest pain was felt. It may not have reached the depth of the tooth, meaning that I was very aware of the second pin-hole being drilled, my high pain tolerance meant this was not an issue. The job was a neat one and fixed a tooth that's been broken for nearly a month now.
But later that day, I crashed. I had been asleep, feeling as if the drugs had filtered deep into my brain. I dimly cursed myself, wishing I'd requested he not use an anaesthetic at all. And then the pain began to creep.
I knew something was wrong when I was no longer concerned with my face and head. The burning, stabbing, tearing sensation just below my rib cage started slowly...a tidal flood. And soon I was under water and drowning.
I vaguely remember vomiting, not from any need to remove something from my stomach - I'd not eaten for ten hours - but in reaction to the fire. I believe I lost consciousness for a few seconds only, curled up on the bathroom floor. The ambulance arrived in what felt like either seconds or hours.
All I remember after that was the journey and cursing whoever thought to invent speed bumps. If ever I am judged harshly, Hell will be that journey...forever.
And then we were there. "Mind your elbows, or else we'll have to take you to orthopaedics...and by this time of the day they'll all be drunk" he said as he wheeled the trolley through the narrow ambulance doors.
And we were there. The familiar brick and blue plastic structure. I went to school less than 200m away from the automatic doors they wheeled me through.
A nurse with a familiar face took my blood pressure. In the ambulance it had been way over normal. Lying still and focusing on my breathing, placing my mind away from the pain (which had began to ease) I managed to get it down below my normal rate. Power of positive thinking.
A black doctor with exquisite bone structure went to wheel me through and then remembered the wrist band. It had apparently been a long shift and he had a new child at home. I smiled at the richness of life around me as the clip snapped shut.
"Would you take off your shirt please? We need to do an ECG" she said. One look at me, and she left to retrieve a blue safety razor.
Patterns were shaved out of my chest hair. She apologised for the harsh blade which I did not feel. The cold sticky tabs were placed over my body.
It was 11am the following day that I remembered to take the remaining ones off my legs.
The pain faded slowly. By 9pm I was desperate to be home. It had been three hours, my blood tests had returned back normal. My sugar levels were "...better than mine!" said the black doctor, checking the luminous green watch on his tunic.
It took an hour for the other doctor to discharge me. A cannula was still in place in my arm. A nurse approached, saying she'd just 'whip that off'. I feebly offered the suggestion that 'whip it off' wasn't a phrase to inspire confidence. She smiled back and said she'd remove it lovingly and with great tenderness.
To be fair, she did, and there is minimal bruising from the needle. And you can see this clearly thanks to the complete lack of arm hair.
It was an interesting evening, but not one I plan to repeat any time soon.