Monday 20 May 2024

Day surgery

 Greetings all.

For the sake of completeness, let me record that I had (apparently successful) eye surgery today.

If you are not interested in the details, scroll on down, ignore most of this post, and see a sermon I preached about a week ago.

Had some eye surgery today. Seems to have gone well. Let's see! Done under local anaesthetic. Advantages: It's pain-free. It's not general anaesthetic. You can't see anything.

Now if you're squeamish, don't read on. Stop now, scroll by. Nothing to see here.

If you are not squeamish, and have a list of things you don't want to overhear while in surgery, maybe add them in the comments. Bad eye puns also welcome.

It has to be said that while the procedure was and is pain-free, you can still feel it going on. Most of the time it feels like pressure on your forehead or nose from the surgeon's hand. It also feels like tugging, or in some cases, pulling out eyelashes. In a pain-free way.

I've never done that, but it is what I imagine pain-free pulling out of eyelashes might feel like to someone who was having their eyelashes pulled out in a pain-free way.

You also get to hear the whole conversation going on above your head, while you keep saying to yourself: "Don't move. Don't flinch. Don't sneeze. Don't cough. Don't twitch. Take a nice slow deep breath. Oh and did I mention: Don't cough. Relax. That went on for about two hours and forty-five minutes.

Meanwhile, I now have a collection of things that you don't want to hear surgeons and anaesthetists and nurses saying as the procedure proceeds. The humming and soft singing to herself of the nurse is fine. The nurses counting together the surgical accoutrements is faintly reassuring, except that they're not counting sheep, they're counting something that seems like they could be cotton buds and available sutures.

That said, here is a list of words and sounds I thought I heard over nearly three hours. The list will be inaccurate because it was supplemented by my imagination, and I was unable to take notes for obvious reasons.

Oh also, I had my left eye shut because quite early on as I was wheeled in, I realised I could see myself reflected in the casing over the lights, and then in the lenses of the equipment some short distance above my head, and realised I didn't want to see anything at all for the next three hours. When I finally opened my eye I realised that they had placed a veil over my face. I felt pretty sure they had, but I didn't want to check and I didn't want to ask because when your mouth moves, your face moves, and sudden movements are not called for.

OK OK the list, I hear you ask.

1. Chats about friends of the doctors' colleagues who had gone to live in France for a gap year, partly to engage in a medical fellowship and partly to consolidate their children's French. Mention of another colleague who lived on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland and it seemed to be working out well.

2. A sudden end to the conversation which appeared to signal that the procedure was under way. Nurses humming, singing softly and counting in the background. Specific instructions, of which I'm only going to give you the ones that lodged in my brain or that I imagined but felt real. But feel free to contribute your own experiences in the comments.

3. "Clamps."

4. "Could you just dry this out please?"

5. "Could you wash this out please."

6. "OK I'm going to bisect."

7. "How many [cotton] buds do we have left?"

8. "I need [piece of equipment]. Have we got [piece of equipment]? No don't worry about getting it from elsewhere, we'll make do with what we've got."

9. "Could you set up the long needle please."

10. "How many [something else] do we have left? We will need more."

11. Nurses counting together: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15."

12. Specialised pieces of equipment named after famous people. "Diesendorfer". "Speer. I need the Speer." Or was it "Spear"? Couldn't tell, just one thing requested and requested twice.

13. The 15 degree cutter please.

14. "Increase the pressure please." "How much?" "Right up to the maximum, no not 3000, 10 000. Straight away."

15. High pitched whining noises that suddenly go up in frequency, possibly accompanied by request for the Speer. Bit blurry on this.

16. "Andrew I'm going to need your help here. There's a lot of blood."

17. "Increase the pressure please. No, right up."

18. "This bit's really tricky Andrew, watch this closely. I remember one lady with a condition and she had had at least a couple of trebuchets [?] which.... "[exact detail fails me--GC]

19. "Cut me a length of thread for the suture... yes that's fine"

20. "How can we have run out of thread? OK just give me that."

21. "Get me the forceps. No not those forceps, the maximum grip forceps. Actually give me both."

22. "Scissors."

23. Snip. Snip. Snip. Very soft snips, quite close to my face.

24. And so on and so forth. Deep breaths were taken. 

  And here's the sermon: Quails and plague, from Numbers 11-12.

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