So, today was “the” day. The decision had been made – in the end, it was my decision, with Di’s support, as it’s my body and my pain — some months ago, but as we were doing it via Medicare there was some wait involved. Anyway, I was booked in for day surgery, and had to be there at 6:30am.

Naturally enough, with three kids who can’t be left in the house alone, this meant getting up at 6:00am and piling them into the car at 6:15. A few teary, bleary eyed goodbyes to the kids, and I’m into the admissions unit, awaiting my fate.

Now, I’ve been here not that long ago – about 18 months ago I had an emergency appendectomy, and there I was bumped ahead of others, so I was somewhat worried about being bumped later and later – not that I want others to suffer because of my simpler needs, but simply because I don’t much like being in hospital in the first place. I was far more worried about the general anaesthetic, however – more on that later.

Booking into a hospital entails much paperwork, of course, and plenty of fact checking – I lost track of how many people I told my name, address, DOB and procedure to today, but I’m sure it got into the double figures. Then again, I guess that’s preferable to waking up and suddenly realising that your vasectomy has, owing to missed checks or lost paperwork, suddenly become a boob job. Sure, there’d be a career as a circus freak in it for you, but all your carny earnings could still be eaten up by paternity suits.

Anyway, paperwork having been done, I was taken to a booth and given a hairnet – hospital staff do have a sense of humour after all – some useless blue booties and a couple of hospital gowns. I know I’m ripping off a joke I’ve read elsewhere – and I can’t at the moment recall where it’s from – but why are hospital gowns backless? When is it vitally important that they get to your bottom in a hurry? The second gown is to wear backwards, in case (to quote the ward nurse) I’m feeling a bit “too sexy” in a backless gown. Feeling sexy is, of course, an everyday problem for someone like me. If only…

Anyway, at around 8:30, I get walked around to the theatre and propped into a bed. If I may digress for a moment – and it’s my site, so I certainly may – I noticed that just about everyone who dealt with me today had a different accent – from ward nurses with strong South African tones, to Anaesthetists with hearty Scottish tones. I don’t know if this speaks to Australia’s multiculturalism, or if we’re just importing lots of medical staff, but it struck me. Anyway, on with the show…

Probably the biggest factor that was worrying me prior to today was the general anaesthetic, if only because the last time I had it – as part of the aforementioned appendectomy – I had it intravenously, and it felt rather like being switched off for a couple of hours. One moment I’m discussing the options with the surgeon, next minute I’m waking up in recovery with no memory of the preceding hours. So I chat to the anaesthetist, and he suggests we use gas instead. I cheerily agree to this, feeling a little better, and try to work out if I’ve ever had gas before…

(queue tacky “gas” joke. No, maybe not.)

And then I panic again, because I remember the last time I’d seen gas being used. I was 16 years old, doing work experience with a local Vet in Armidale, where I was at school at the time. We were performing a hysterectomy on an already pregnant cat, and it was under gas. And as that memory comes back to me, I remember that the cat didn’t survive…

But it’s too late for all that, and I’m wheeled from one room into another and slid from one bed to another, before a mask is clamped onto me. I’m warned that it might taste a little odd – the exact words is that it might taste like petrol, which suggests to me that they think I might be a surreptitious petrol-sipper – and they’re not wrong. Some eight hours later, I can still taste it, and I don’t think I’ll be heading down the local servo for a pint of ULP any time soon.

And then BAM, I’m out. And that’s when the surgery is performed, and the alien tracking chip is inserted into my skull the vasectomy is performed. I wake up in recovery, feeling not too sore at all, but that’s largely because I’m more or less off my skull on painkillers at the time. Pretty quick in all – into the surgery at around 8:45 (I guess; it was 8:30 when they walked me in, but it’s not like I had a watch) – and it’s 9:45 when I came to.

I’m officially cleared to leave by 11:30, and Di picks me up at 12; it’s then off home to lie down for the next two days while my wedding tackle recovers. There’s some.. interesting stitches down the sides of my plums, which will hopefully stop hurting after a while. Until then, there’s always prescription painkillers.

Still, all in all, a successful surgery, and I’d definitely recommend it to those for whom it makes sense. Now, back to secretly preparing for the invasion of our new eyeless overlords lying flat on my back…

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