Today, it was registration. It sounds simple. Hello, my name is so and so and this is my registration number, ok, room 4, thank you. But no – that’s not quite how it works.
There’s measuring and weighing. Saturation (oxygen level in the blood) to be read, ECG to be taken, and a number of other different tests. Lungs to be x-rayed. On top of that, the ears and the throat have to be looked into, the heart listened to and questions asked about everything concerning general medicine. After that, a scan needs to be done on the heart, a needle has to be inserted for the tests and for tomorrow’s anaesthetics. You have to talk to a physiotherapist about the time after the operation, to an anaesthetist about what they are about to do and finally the surgeon wants to discuss the forthcoming operation.
Most of the above has worked fine before. For the two earlier operations, Abbe was admittedly very young but he has been through the procedure several times since then, at examinations which required anaesthetics, for example.
Today, nothing worked. He almost refused weighing himself. The staff tried to calm him down and comfort him – they were joking around, to distract him. The hospital clowns came in to blow soap bubbles, they sang songs, played the ukulele and cut out Pippi Longstocking figures in yellow cardboard. But don’t for a moment think that Abbe was taken in by that. He was kicking and shouting and he was crying his little eyes out.
At one stage, there were eight of us in the room, holding on to him. But he was wriggling so much, a poor nurse dropped a little test tube with Abbe blood in it. It went straight onto the floor and made it looked like a minor blood bath. I felt almost as sorry for the nurse who was trying to insert a needle, as I did for Abbe.
In the end, my head was spinning. I was close to fainting and very close to crying.
Now we have washed the little Abbie here, at home, with Hibiscrub (antiseptic skin cleanser) first once, followed by an enema and then another Hibiscrub. At the moment, he is lying in his newly washed pyjamas, in fresh sheets, sleeping. Time to give him a last dose of baby formula. No more food before the operation tomorrow.
Then I’m off to sleep. I’m tired.