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The Colon DIaries - Part III of IV

 By Steve Graham

 “We have to go through this in case anything goes wrong…” Wrong? I’m thinking, no one mentioned things going wrong! I thought this was plumbing for beginners, two snips and jubilee clip?” - this is the third instalment of the Colon Diaries.

(Catch up with the previous episodes  of the Steve Graham's Colon Diaries) 

So at 5.45pm that same day I was finally admitted. It was a strange time to enter a ward of a hospital, it was a mixed open ward and most of the curtains were closed. The patients were winding down to settling in for the night, a few had visitors but there was this eerie quietness about the whole place. The male matron greeted me in and showed me to a bed, but for some reason I was reluctant to get undressed, as if I hadn’t quite admitted to myself that this was it, even though my operation was scheduled for 9.30 am the following morning, but I guess I hadn’t quite believed it. A male nurse entered and reminded me I had to go through the whole ‘Clean Prep’ scenario again (clear my bowel before the operation). So here I sat, suddenly feeling like the condemned man, with a last meal of arse cleanser.
 
I sat quietly for a while, then the curtain drew back and in came the Head Surgeon with his entourage, a nurse, a doctor and two other surgeons. I was a little shocked, I don’t know why? The Head Surgeon sat on the bed and introduced his team than began to tell me in intimate detail was going to happen in the operation – then I suddenly realized, we had had this conversation before, but last time, in my euphoria of learning my cancer hadn’t spread I’d blocked out all this detail – but here he was telling me again in very hushed, but concise tones. 
 
Then he produced a white, A4, gatefold form, with one corner embossed in blood red and said; “Has anyone taken you through this?” I shook my head, “well, we have to go through this in case anything goes wrong…” Wrong? I’m thinking, no one mentioned things going wrong! I thought this was plumbing for beginners, two snips and jubilee clip? He continued, “there are a few possibilities were things may not go as we planned, there is the issue of having to fit a colostomy bag, but we hope it won’t come to that, but it’s a realistic chance. We also have to look at mortality, now it’s very rare, around 5%.” I’m thinking 5%? What if he’s had 94 successful goes at this operation and I’m number 95? Then I realize on the front of the form he’s holding, the blood red corner was about 5% of the white page and it looked bloody big! He begins to fill the form in, calmly stating, “We’ll just put down as purpose for the operation, larascopic assisted high anterior resection. Now you need to sign here.” He points to a space on the form and I realize this is a responsibility waver, if it goes wrong, even a bit wrong or very wrong, or very, very wrong, the hospital, the surgeon are not liable. I shakily sign and suddenly this was all very real! The Head Surgeon thanks me and asks if I have any questions? “Yes, how long does the operation take?” He thinks then, says; four to five hours. I was stunned, ‘four to five hours?…shit!’ Finally it hit home, how very serious this all was. 
 
 
The Head Surgeon and his entourage turn to go, then I call out, “Just do a good job boys!” The Head Surgeon looks at me stony faced, one of the other surgeons half laughs, breaking the ice, “I’m glad you told us that otherwise we’d have really botched it up.” The Head Surgeon remains ashen faced, then turns and they all walk away. Now I’m paranoid I’ve somehow offended him, and maybe he’ll give me a colostomy bag as punishment for doubting his ability.  
 
Then I’m left alone, in the silence, when the curtain swishes again and in comes a small diminutive woman and announces, “I’m probably the last person you want to see right now, I’m the stommer lady.” I’m just looking at her blankly, thinking, the stommer lady? What the hell is a stommer lady? I’m racking my brain, is she some kind of new age preacher, a crystal healer? She is just smiling inanely at me, “Stommer, you know the stommer bag, a colostomy bag? I’m sure the Head Surgeon went through it with you?” I’m caught completely on the hop, as she explains I have to be marked up, in case the surgeon needs to fit the bag, she needs to mark the spot on my belly. “Now we like these things to be discreet.” How can a fucking bag of shit be discreet! But I just nod, “now, we like to put it below the waistband, you’re not one of those hip-hop types who wears his waistband really low are you?” I’m fucking fifty; do I look like a bloody hip-hop type? I just shake my head. “Okay, stand up and show where you wear your waistband.” I stand and position my underwear just below my navel. Then she proceeds to mark a big black circle, about the size of 50p piece well above my navel. I’m thinking, what happened to positioning the bag below the waistline? The only person who could hide one of your bags would be Simon fucking Cowell! Then with a swish of the curtain she’s gone.  
 
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