A stent in time 

The problem with having a job like mine, which deals a lot with events, is that the work is not evenly spread over the year. So quite often it ends up being like a load of horror movies: quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, BANG. Periods of relaxed meditative chin stroking are followed by manic dashing around and long hours and irregular hours of a whole year’s work squeezed into six months.

So the workload has started to drop and we are feeling the squeeze in my tiny team, but not so much that we can not manage. Still, one effect of this is that I have begun to notice time more acutely as it slips like Mercury though my fingers.

My father was going in to hospital today to have a temporary stent, which had been inserted to assist his kidney to drain, removed and replaced with a fresh one. He was going to have a general anaesthetic so it would be an overnight stay, but because I had not been at the specialist visit, I was a little unsure of the details given that my only source of information was my mother, who has a much better hold on memory than my father, but not such a strong one on linear narrative.

They had been told he would be admitted at noon, so I was hoping that I could go down to the hospital with them, catch up with the specialist, ensure the nurses knew that my dad would forget any and all instructions he was given on the post operative ward almost immediately, and then leave him to the tender mercies of his surgeon, a very considerate and careful man who has seen more of my father’s bladder than is reasonable for any human to put up with, and his anaesthetist. One hour tops, I hoped, would get the job done, but as usual I had miscalculated hospital time and my estimate was way too optimistic.

We arrived and suffered the usual difficulties with parking – one of the reasons I went with them. They got out the car and I circled the tiny car park for a while, then gave up and tried another carpark, then came back for a second look just as by some miracle a woman was crossing to her car to leave. Hurrah! The time gods were smiling upon me.

Maybe in the carpark they were, but they apparently did not cross over the hospital threshold.

We waited and finally our name was called. I sat with my dad while they admitted him and did the paperwork. Then we were shown to a waiting room. Previously, we have not waited long in here – and I had been heartened by the sight of the surgeon as we had walked in, but this apparently was not a good omen. We waited and we waited. The entire population of the room emptied, refilled and then emptied again, and still we sat. My dad fell asleep.

After over an hour later, my mother muttered loudly about having been waiting for two hours within earshot of a nurse and as a result she same she would check up for us. A minute later we were called.

Whether it was my mother’s muttering or coincidence I do not know, but I suspect it was the former because the bed we were shown to in the holding ward had no blanket on it. The nurse took some details and brought him a blanket, but it was too late, his hands were so cold they could not get a proper reading from the machine that goes BING for ages.

It was good that the blanket had arrived, though because we had an aspiring comic who came to take an ECG reading. My father squawked theatrically as she was peeled the pads off his chest, She responded by covering him back up with the blanket, but momentarily including his face, so he looked like a corpse.

‘Just kidding!’ She said, ‘don’t want to frighten the nurses!’

This was all highly entertaining I am sure, but I had now been away from my desk for almost three hours. The Dr was already in surgery and was going to ‘pop out’ to go through the procedure and get the consent form signed.

Eventually I gave up and left a note asking the surgeon to call me after the surgery to let me know how it went. He very kindly did to assure me that everything had gone very well and my father’s new stent was snugly in place so possibly would not need replacing for at least four months.

As I pulled back into the carpark at work, my colleague was just leaving. She starts a good deal earlier than me but I still felt as though the day had evaporated before it had even started. I finished off a few tasks and left with more on my to do list than I had planned, but at least my father is being looked after and hopefully with enough notes on his case file to ensure they do not stretch his short term memory beyond its fragile limits.

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