“To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub”

Today was my anaesthetic assessment. This is where the anaesthetist checks out me and my medical history, and determines whether I’m fit enough to handle the anaesthetic, and more importantly whether or not I’ll wake up again afterwards. I’d been secretly rather worried about this (the assessment, not the waking up afterwards), as I’m more than a little overweight, and was concerned that that might adversely affect my ability to cope with the anaesthetic.

It turns out that in practice this is all a matter of degrees. I may well be overweight, but in comparison to many of the people that have to go through operations, I’m still on the lighter end of the scale. Which surprised me. In the end, I came through the assessment just fine, and was ASA 1-rated (ie best category possible) right up to the point where I remembered that my mother had experienced a pulmonary embolism a year or so ago. Which immediately cost me an ASA grade, and gained me a free pass to the ECG suite.

The ECG machine in the hospital was a whole lot more sophisticated than the one I’d been hooked up to by my GP. Lots more contacts for starters. And a lot faster in operation too, producing an incredibly detailed plot, with all sorts of extra information about voltage levels and waveform shapes. The pads they use are a lot stickier too … *wince*

Apart from an elevated heart rate (I’d taken the stairs rather than the lift) I passed the ECG with flying colours. So as before, it’s nice to know that electrically speaking my heart is still in tip-top condition, and certainly no cause for concern as far as the anaesthetist is concerned.

Unfortunately, the cold that I’ve had for the last few days was a completely different matter, as there were signs of infection in my lungs. Nothing major, just the usual stuff you get with a nasty cold. But enough to get my operation cancelled if I don’t get the infection cleared up quickly, because (tah-dah!) I have a provisional date of the 20th of March for my surgery.

So, a quick side-trip to my GPs surgery on the way home from the hospital has me prescribed with a weeks course of antibiotics. Because none of us wants me to miss that surgical slot.

Status update

Yesterday was my first appointment with the doctors to do some further investigation into my high blood pressure, and to check if its causing me any other problems.

So I dutifully presented myself at the surgery, where they hooked me up to an ECG machine. Which was kind of cool. From my youth I had a vision of this thing being a machine the size of a room, and requiring all kinds of fancy preparation before it could be used. In fact it was a bit of a let-down. Its about the size of a fax machine. And all they do is apply cuffs (with contacts built into them) to your wrists and ankles, and some self-adhesive contacts to your chest.

In my case this involved a debate about whether or not they needed to shave my chest first – they were keen, I was not. Now, it has to be said, I’m not that bothered about having a hairy chest; but as the hair on my head thins faster and faster, I have to nurture the little devils where I can, so in the end we settled on the compromise that they’d try it with hairy chest, and if it didn’t work then I’d let them shave me. Fortunately the machine decided it was on my side of that argument, and dutifully produced a series of about 8 plots, with no complaint over how hirsute my chest happened to be.  And the good news is that electrically speaking, I’m in A1 shape. My heart is working perfectly.  Which of course, means that the rest of me is the problem. Still, I went home feeling a whole lot better than I had gone there 🙂

Today I had the appointment at the local outpatients department to draw blood. Now, it transpires that I have a dark secret. Despite being a confident, outgoing chap, I’m scared to death of needles and blood. Roughly in that order. And I don’t mean slightly here … I mean flight or fight reactions, and completely terrified.  I know its irrational. I know it won’t hurt. Does that help? Nope. Not one jot. The only other times I’ve had blood drawn was 24 years ago when I had glandular fever and when I was altruistically trying to be a blood donor a few years after that. When I’d fainted three times in a row, they asked me not to come back because I was putting off the other people in the queue.

So today was an interesting experience, not helped by the fact that the doctor had ticked for almost every test on the chart, including all the ones that required me to fast for 12hours before hand. So, not only was I stressed out, but I was also starving hungry. And to cap the lot, this wasn’t going to be a little blood … this was going to be an armful or two (with a nod to Hancocks half-hour).  So I took my wife, not so much to hold me down, but rather to hold my hand (!)  And this meant that our kids had to come too.  So now I’m stressed to the nines about the needles and blood, trying to be brave in front of my wife, and nonchalant in front of my kids.  The only good news is that with my blood pressure, the nurse didn’t have any problems finding a vein!

Anyway … to cut a long story short, I didn’t hit anyone. And I didn’t run away or faint. But apparently I went a very interesting shade of grey, which provoked the nurse to recline my chair and produce chocolate, apparently to bolster my blood sugar levels. And I was told not to drive home, and to take it easy for the rest of the morning.  Which was nice.  The results from the blood work will be through to my doctor in about a week. I won’t see them until mid-January though, sometime after I’ve done the 24hour blood pressure monitoring thing. Here’s hoping that all is well.