Everything But The Girl
Trip Start Jun 01, 2006
124Trip End Ongoing
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"Mate I can't complain. Work, friends, house, all good. Everything's good in fact... Everything but the girl".
"Ah... Ever noticed how similar 'everything but the girl' is to 'nothing at all'"?
-- Everything But The Girl
This bloke walks into the doctors and says "Doctor, you've got to help me - I'm miserable. I'm depressed all the time, drinking too much, I just can't seem to lift myself up. Everything's just too much effort".
And the doctor says "Well I wouldn't usually do this, but last night my wife and I went to the circus and saw Pascal the Clown - it was the greatest show I've ever seen. Everyone in the audience was crying with laughter and nobody went home unhappy. That's my prescription - go and see Pascal the Clown".
"But Doctor", the man says, "I am Pascal the Clown".
Anyway, enough of that bollocks.
I went to the Doctors last week. I had this lump on my back, just above my arse, and it started to hurt. Then it started to hurt more, and then it upgraded to 'agony' the next day. It was just a cyst, nothing major.
So I went to the Doctors, casual like, expecting him to give me a bit of local anaesthetic and cut the bastard thing out. That's when the whole thing started to escalate - or jump up a notch, depending on your preferred Anchorman quote.
He took one look at it and sent me to hospital.
So I stopped back at home and picked up a book, because he told me I could be waiting six hours or more, and headed off to the hospital, which conveniently is five minutes walk down the road.
They saw me after two hours, took some blood tests, had a poke around - it turned out to be a perennial abscess, which had given me a fever and blood poisoning. So I got admitted, then transferred to another hospital.
They were going to have to operate on it, so it was the proper general anaesthetic deal. I wasn't particularly worried, I just wanted the pain to stop.
I got to my new hospital and checked in - it was a bit weird, because I had to make my own way there with two needles stuck into my arm and hospital wrist bands on, so I undoubtedly looked like an escaped mental patient.
Then the good times really started to roll. I was taken to my room, which was a twin with only me in it, TV, air conditioning, a balcony to smoke on - it really had it all. Then I was given Codeine, Morphine and toast and left to my own devices.
The next day I had the operation, which was probably great - I woke up after a couple of hours when they were pulling that tube thing out of my throat, and immediately felt better - all the pain was gone, and I was able to relax in a post-anaesthetic high.
I was up and moving about within about ten minutes, seriously thinking I'd be out of the hospital within a couple of hours.... As it turned out, I was there for three more days.
The problem, you see, was that they had made two holes in my back that both led to this massive hole under my skin, which they had to stuff with a bandage made out of seaweed, every day - and if it sounds painful then good, because it bloody well is. I've been out of hospital for ten days now and a nurse comes round to see me every morning to re stuff my wound. That's not the worst part though - the worst part is half an hour before she gets here, I have a shower and pull out my dressing from the day before... That sucks.
The morphine nightmares were great for the first couple of days - really intense, vivid and surreal dreams.
What wasn't so great was what happened the night after the operation. When someone comes for scheduled surgery they tell them not to smoke for a week before and a day afterwards - it's to do with the effect the anaesthetic has on the lungs... Trouble was, nobody told me.
So ten minutes after coming out of my torpor, I was outside puffing away, and all was fine. Over the rest of the day I probably smoked ten more cigarettes - I wasn't exactly busy and there are only so many things you can do in hospital to keep yourself entertained. Everything was fine until I went to sleep.
It's hard to describe exactly what happened, but basically my lungs stopped working. So I was hyper ventilating in my sleep, and half woke up, but I couldn't do anything about it as I couldn't move. I ended up battering myself in the head several times to force myself to wake up so I could get control of my breathing.... And then, hilariously, I fell asleep again and the exact same thing happened again. The moral of the story is, if you're lucky enough to be told not to smoke after a general anaesthetic, please, please, please listen to them.
Anyway, two weeks later and I saw my surgeon, who told me I could stop having my back stuffed with seaweed - a great result, on balance.
So I'm on the mend, and although I still have a hole in my back that leaks blood and pus, things are fine and dandy. The Australia Healthcare system rose to the challenge and performed at least as well if not better than our own welfare state. It was helped along the way by our reciprocal health agreement, but still - I was impressed.
So that's it for now - that's the only particularly interesting thing that's happened recently, and doesn't have much to do with travelling, but hey - who cares?
Everything else is kept, as ever, firmly between the lines....