This is a true story. The incident occurred quite recently, in France where I live. Let me share with you the experience I had immediately following an operation. It was the first of two which I needed to rid me of something nasty inside me. The surgeon used an endoscope, the tube thingy with some nifty tools on the end, which is inserted without the need to cut you open. The doctor was very good and he remembered my anxious request to please leave all the external bits alone.
I was admitted to the hospital on a Wednesday evening and the op was scheduled for the following morning. OK, I thought, the “nil by mouth” wouldn’t be for too long, then. The following morning I was prepped and ready by nine o’clock and told to stay put in bed. A bit later I was told there were delays; I might have to wait. OK, no problem, I thought. So I waited, and waited. It was to be half past one in the afternoon when I was finally taken down, tummy rumbling like distant thunder, just when I had begun to wonder if I might make medical history as the first person ever to suffer bed sores whilst waiting for an operation.
Numb from the waist down, I watched on a monitor screen the whole procedure as it happened. Fascinating. All done, the anaesthetist left and the two theatre nurses started to move me from the table onto a bed, as they do. Routine stuff, I imagine. At that point I was still hooked up to several plastic tubes connected to various parts of my body. The bed was drawn alongside; it was slightly lower than the operating table. One nurse took hold of my feet; the other got her arms under my armpits and with one extended hand, started to fold down the safety rail on the side of the bed. It stuck. So she tried again, then (with me in mid-air) watched in horror as the bed slowly drifted away on its castors.
Panic! The nurse yelled, the surgeon sprinted around and took over from her, supporting my front end. Meanwhile my recumbent horizontal form very slowly started to dip in the middle, becoming U-shaped, drawing forward the little nurse hanging onto my ankles. (Now I swear to you that I am not making this up.) Thereupon the first nurse, also a small person, with commendable presence of mind, immediately fell to her knees and, on hands and knees, positioned herself strategically directly under my rear end. Voila! Position stabilised.
On the count of “Un, Deux, Trois”, everyone heaved my inert form upwards. For me it was the most unnerving feeling, trying my best to help by “hoicking” myself, to find that I simply could not get my body to move. I could not hoick. Dead from the waist down, literally a dead weight!
With me finally bundled unceremoniously onto the bed, everyone relaxed. The surgeon, fortunately for me a fit young man, was ashen. “Sorry”, he apologised, “the bed broke.”
Next morning propped up in bed I tucked into my breakfast croissant and a bowl of coffee, my first hot drink for two days. It felt like the best coffee I had ever drunk. Then for some inexplicable reason I sneezed a mighty AAAA-TTISSHH–OOOO……….and my (hitherto) permanent implant of two front teeth flew out and disappeared into the rucked bedclothes !
Perhaps more French farce than a drama, then.