The ma­king of a new man

Li­fe in the Slow La­ne

George Herald - - THE BEST SIDE OF 60 - Cliff B­ü­chler

W­he­ne­ver I think of hos­pi­tals my i­ma­gi­nings know no bounds. I con­ju­re up co­mic book sce­nes of doc­tors bran­dis­hing ma­che­tes, saws and pliers, going af­ter an es­ca­ping pa­tient.

In the cor­ri­dors nur­ses a­wait to trap him, ar­med with sy­rin­ges that will pe­ne­tra­te deep in­to ten­der skin.

All this be­ca­me re­a­li­ty w­hen I fell foul of the in­ten­si­ve ca­re u­nit of a cli­nic kno­wn for its s­pe­ci­a­li­sed he­alth ca­re. It's si­tu­a­ted al­ongs­i­de the sea with a stri­king view of the bay.

W­hat an i­de­al pla­ce to re­cu­pe­ra­te.

W­hat struck me for­ci­bly was the un­be­lie­va­ble de­di­ca­ti­on of the me­di­cal fra­ter­ni­ty. The he­art spe­ci­a­list is a­ble to y­ank out your leg ar­te­ries, u­sing them to re­pla­ce the al­most non-ex­is­tent on­es to the he­art. And the pa­tient sur­vi­ves mi­ra­cu­lous­ly.

The­se fi­ne folk de­ser­ve me­dals. T­hank­ful­ly, hu­mour lig­h­te­ned the ex­pe­rien­ce, despi­te the in­tri­ca­te pro­ces­ses and rou­ti­nes.

Nur­sing sis­ters are wi­de­ly de­picted as port­ly, with a ter­ro­ri­sing gla­re that ha­ve pa­tients ducking un­der their bed sheets. Not my ex­pe­rien­ce.

Wit­hout ex­cep­ti­on they prick, prod, pull, push, drain and shave - all with smi­les and small talk to the victims - sor­ry, pa­tients to help e­a­se the pain.

The odd nur­se would gig­gle w­hen te­a­ring off plas­ters from skin that had gro­wn hairs for se­ven­ty y­e­ars. I ex­plai­ned the te­ars we­re the re­sult of a sud­den cold - not the a­go­ny of stic­ky plas­ter u­proot­ing em­bed­ded fol­li­cles.

Then ca­me the dre­a­ded post-o­pe­ra­ti­ve exe­r­ci­se. Exe­r­ci­se? On two legs that ha­ve cuts up to the groin? My sur­ge­on, not kno­wn for small talk, barks, “Yes”.

It en­tails ha­ving to walk the full length of the cor­ri­dors (one ki­lo­me­t­re) ump­teen ti­mes. At first, pain­ful, then be­a­ra­ble, then a walk in the park. In a way...

With e­very walk a to­tal stran­ger would en­coura­ge you to "vas­byt, you'll be a new man soon".

A num­ber of pas­sers-by who had had si­mi­lar sur­ge­ry y­e­ars ago, con­fir­med the sen­ti­ment.

The­se tes­ti­mo­nies kept me going, ne­ga­ting the hos­pi­tal ef­fect.

Ad­ded to that, I was subcon­s­ci­ous­ly a­wa­re of back­ground pray­er sup­port from fa­mi­ly, friends and a­cquain­tan­ces.

P­roof of their ef­fi­ca­cy? I'm ho­me in one pie­ce, on the way to be­co­ming the pro­mi­sed new man.

And I now ha­ve re­al ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on for hos­pi­tals and the me­di­cal fra­ter­ni­ty at lar­ge who de­di­ca­te their ti­me and ef­fort to not on­ly spa­re li­ves, but gi­ve people a new le­a­se on li­fe.

Our gra­te­ful thanks to a won­der­ful in­sti­tu­ti­on.

And not f­or­get­ting my Hei­di, who's al­ways at my si­de and seeing to my sel­f­ish needs.

W­hat mo­re do I need?

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