“It is easier to stay out than get out.”
New Year’s Eve morning. My final day in hospital. I shall be released later this morning and this evening we shall have the New Year's Eve party and then look forward to a cancer free 2016. I’ve got an exciting new job to look forward to too. A fine morning indeed. I just need to get this pipe removed from my bellend, say my goodbyes to my ever-attentive nurses and head off to complete my party preparations.
Shortly after breakfast the nurse promptly arrives to remove my catheter. Recalling the last time I had one removed I grit my teeth in nervous anticipation, but it slips out with relative ease and very little pain. I’m encouraged to go off to the toilet with a plastic bottle so I can demonstrate that my waterworks are fully operational. No problem at all. I take the bottle, head off to the toilet, aim the little chap directly into the large opening and … and … and … nothing. “Come on!” Heave. Nothing. Oh well, the tank has probably been drained by the catheter, I’ll try again later. Not a problem.
A few hours and two glasses of water later and I’ve buoyed myself up ready for another go. I take my plastic bottle back to the toilet and take aim. Still nothing. Not even a tiny dribble to leave on the toilet seat to annoy the ladies. “Come on, you vicious bastard!” The more however I strain the less likely it seems that I’m going to produce anything. Wait a minute. Relax. Deep breathes. Ok, now, push. “Oh, come on.” Nothing. Not a drip. Nada. Bugger all. I return defeated to my bed with my empty bottle and have another glass of water. I’ll give it another hour or so and try again.
I’m informed that my departure is now going to be slightly delayed as they can’t let me out until they’re sure I can piddle properly. Only a temporary setback surely, how hard can it be to have a Jimmy? Nonetheless it’s given me a bit of added pressure for my next attempt.
Later still the nurse pops by again to see if I have struck liquid gold, but all I can offer her is my unfilled bottle. I settle back with another glass of water and wait for nature to catch up. At half past four the nurse calls again, this time with the urologist in tow. They spy my still empty bottle and instruct me to have one final attempt. I head back to the toilet and spend a good fifteen minutes trying every technique I can think of to summon water before eventually returning to my expectant audience with nothing to show for my efforts but a pristine plastic bottle. I’m ushered back into bed; the curtain is pulled around me and a fresh catheter is duly inserted.
It appears that the party is off after all. Tori rings around our friends and gives them the last-minute news that they’ll have to make other arrangements for New Year’s Eve. Tori is allowed to stay with me for another hour or so and humour me about my inability to take a leak. It looks like I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve on the ward after all. My fellow patients don’t look to be in much of a party mood either. The chap opposite is dozing quietly after a particularly heavy dinner and the bloke next to me has his curtains drawn again and is chatting to his wife who has once again managed to escape the evening eviction.
There’s nothing for it but to lie back, close my eyes and wait for 2016. I have high hopes indeed for 2016. 2016 will be a great year. Cancer free. There’s a new Bowie album coming out soon and who knows perhaps a new tour? There’s the forecasted economic upturn following confirmation of the UK’s staunch place in the European Union to look forward to, and of course there will be the first woman president in the White House. Yes, 2016 is going to be a great year.
My semi slumber is suddenly disturbed by the sound of gunfire coming from the next bed. Disturbed from my blissful 2016 delusions I open my eyes and prick my ears up at this unanticipated turn of events. More gunfire rings out, followed by a massive explosion, shattering glass, falling debris and screams of terror. It appears that my neighbour's wife has found an especially action packed film for them to watch on their iPad behind the tightly closed curtain. I lay awake, staring at the ceiling and wondering if there is any plot at all in the film they are watching as it seems to consist of ninety minutes of nothing but rapid gunfire and violent explosions. Perhaps Tori is having a better New Year's Eve at home? The actual moment of New Year passes in my ward without acknowledgment, I don’t even bother to open eyes to check on it’s arrival. I just lie there and listening to the buzzing of the happy New Year text alerts on my iPhone.
I find out about Tori’s evening early the next morning when she arrives back at the hospital. She made her way home through the blustery dark night, pausing briefly to pick up a takeaway as my extended hospital stay meant that we never got around to doing the shopping. She arrived home only to find the cat lying especially motionless on the scullery floor. She wasn’t responding to the normal stimulus of rattling a fork in an empty Whiskas tin and a subsequent gentle poke in her side revealed that she had died whilst Tori was visiting me in hospital. Tori therefore spent most of New Year’s Eve in the garden, in the pissing rain, digging a grave in the lawn for our dearly departed cat. I don’t think there were any dramatic flashes of lightning to illuminate her toil as she drove the glimmering blade of the spade into the sopping lawn, but if I were writing a screenplay instead of blog, I’d add some in for effect and claim artistic license.
Later in the morning Mr. El Saghir, the other consultant urologist, spots me on his morning rounds and I overhear him irritably asking the nurses why I’m still here. They explain about my inability to urinate but he’s clearly not happy about my bed blocking. I’m not overly happy about the situation myself and quite frankly had better things to be doing. Indeed, if he would only be kind enough to take this pipe out of my willy I’d happily free up his bed. He comes over for a chat and I ask if he can remove the catheter so I can have another go at peeing, and, if all is well, go home. He’s not however, happy to remove my catheter as he doesn’t seem to have too much confidence in me being able to pee yet. He is thankfully happy however, to send me home with my catheter still attached. As I don’t much fancy another night on the ward I willingly settle for this option.
“Just a little bit of admin to finish off” the nurse informs me after Mr. El Saghir has left, “then we’ll get you a spare catheter bag and get you on your way. The little bit of admin takes another couple of hours so I pace up and down the ward impatiently holding my ever expanding bag of lukewarm urine until I’m finally issued with some pain killers and a spare catheter bag and discharged.
There’s not much left of New Year’s Day by the time I get home. Our normal New Year’s Day ritual of walking along the beach at Bournemouth and getting Fish and Chips for lunch has to be forfeited. Today, however, I’m just happy to be back home on the sofa.