Stuart is currently lying in hospital. His slight stomach ache on Wednesday turned into excruciating pain overnight and he was admitted to the Whitechapel's Royal London A&E yesterday.
I left the office early and went to see him. I found him lying on a trolley in a corridor. He'd been there for four hours. Soon after I arrived they moved him though to a critical assessment unit. Thereby narrowly managing to keep to that 'inconvenient' four hour Government target.
The critical assessment unit was not a ward as such. It was just a holding area really. Not much better than the corridor. The nurses were great albeit rather overstretched. Stu and I sat there watching the admissions and having a laugh. Stu kept saying, "you don't have to stay you know". But I did. Have to stay that is. I wanted to. I know from experience it's no picnic having appendicitis and simply lying in a hospital bed waiting for a doctor to show up can be quite nerve racking too.
The disclaimer form Stu had to sign did make us wonder whether operations are ever successful! I'm sure they were only doing their job but we were made oh so fully aware of every possible risk of having the operation. Just covering themselves of course but it was a bit like those American drug adverts that list twenty seven different side effects. The one that always stuck in my mind was "possible anal leakage". Yuk.
Anyway the form got signed and we waited to see if they could do the surgery that night. Sadly there was a bit of congestion so his op got bumped until today. He'll have a general anaesthetic, through-the-belly-button key-hole surgery to take out his appendix and hopefully be able to come home on Saturday. I'll be looking after him for a few days until he can get back on his feet. Just one week off work though. Ah, the wonders of modern medicine.
As I was walking out of the assessment unit last night I couldn’t help thinking that hospitals are funny old things. They engender a mixture of safety and danger. You go there to be examined, diagnosed and hopefully made better. But at the same time it has hordes of strangers roaming around. It's where you are at your most vulnerable. And it's where people die.
Luckily I know Stu is in safe hands and I'm looking forward to seeing him the other side of surgery later today.