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Pre-assessed and Pre-approved




Being woken at 3am to the sound and feel of my daughter throwing up into my excessive chest hair started my day in a less than pleasurable way.It was the day of my pre-assessment meeting with the hospital, before my surgery next week. This is where the nurse checks to see if a) it is likely that I would suffer a slight death under anaesthesia and B) if I did, what blood type would they need to try and pump through my tightened arteries in order to try and revive me from aforesaid inconvenience.I was a little anxious going in because I do indeed tend to look at things as I flippantly scribed above and also...I am a great big baby girl when it comes to needles. Not to mention, having eaten probably less solids all week than my daughter managed to cast upon me in the early hours of the morning, I was very much inclined to keep all calories inside my body today - even the blood!So, I turned up at the hospital with a mix of nerves, excitement (despite my overwrought fear - I am very excited about what is ahead of me) and a faint smell of curdled milk.The nurse was a very lovely lady. Violet was her name and she had absolutely no idea about the surgery that was ahead of me. She wanted my history, my blood pressure, my drinking and drug habits, precious viles of my blood and of course, my pee. That was all she came for and that was what she was going to get. There was a small amount of pleasantry while she approached me for each - a few laughs about terrorism, the odd chuckle about famine. You know - all the things your mind stumbles upon when you are staring at what seems like a six foot long needle.I, being a responsible and caring citizen, advised her that previous attempts of extracting blood from my inner elbows usually failed because of my veins clenching up like a frail and pretty new prisoner on his first shower day. At which, she dutifully laughed at the obvious inexperience of the former extractors and moved in for her one and only successful attempt.After the one and only successful attempt failed, she proclaimed that I was indeed running a little tight and that she should have listened to me and prepared the veins a bit more thoroughly before stabbing me (I of course exaggerate for effect...but not much). A good fifteen minutes of a tourniquet induced black arm, some fist flexing and finger prodding allowed one scared little vein to pop its head above the parapets for a sniper shot - upon which she pounced.The vampire had completed her task and now needed my urine.After a failed attempt at humour about an equally clenched trouser vein, I scurried to the lavatory and half filled her pot as directed. I left it where she asked and I returned to the room to advise her of the package drop. Without a word she scurried off, slapping on a bright blue pair of rubber gloves. I always prefer the timing of the donning of rubber gloves to be as a nurse leaves the room rather than when she enters.No more than thirty seconds later, she returned with a beam on her face. Apparently, I was high in ketones - which meant my pre-op diet was working and I was burning fat. Time to get on the scales then!For a private hospital, the technology behind the scales was somewhat disappointing - and even a little humiliating. I was asked to sit on a chair (a very big chair) that had somehow been welded to a contraption that looked as if it was used to measure the weight of livestock. What happened to the ultra snazzy, hi-tech, digital, wireless, chrome-effect, wafer-thin machine I stood on at the dietitian's office last week? This was for big..big people. Apparently though - the looks didn't matter - they did the same job - which leads me to believe that I wasted my money buying an iPhone when I could have bought a touch screen breeze block for a lot less.My diet over the last week had been a success - I had lost 11lbs. If I was schizophrenic, I would have been beside myself. I knew it was mainly fluid loss and 11lbs a week is a pretty unhealthy loss outside of these controlled circumstances - but I was happy. For a moment I started to think about why I was going through this process, especially if I could lose so much in one week. But then I remembered all the other diets I have attempted over the years - the few pounds lost here, the more than few pounds gained there - and I realised that I didn't want a short term weight loss, I want it for life.She probed further into my family history, asking questions about past conditions and medications - when suddenly, a rather scary looking Italian Doctor in Residence marched in, lifted my top and slammed a stethoscope on my chest. He listened, whilst thanking me for seemingly having a heart beat, then spun me around to listen to my back. "Brease in. Sank you. Brease out. Sank you. Brease in. Sank you. Brease out. Sank you.". He then scribbled something incomprehensible on my records - drew two kidney shaped lungs with an upward pointing arrow across them - shook my hand then left. I looked at the nurse and waited for some kind of translation of what that was all about. Apparently it was all good. Which was nice. I was pre-assessed and, dependent on the blood tests, was pre-approved.I put my shirt back on and thanked Violet for her time, whereupon she showed me to the finance department where I could arrange the least exciting aspect of the surgery.As I sat and waited for the admin girl to come off hold, I couldn't help but stare at the cream bun that she was saving on the side for her afternoon tea. I couldn't help but stare and think "never again". And, I couldn't help but smile.My Blog - Banded BenMy Site - Benedict Francis



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