After signing the surgery consent form and meeting briefly with the anaesthetist, I am wheeled in bed from my room to the surgical staging area where two theatre nurses are waiting. The nurse whom accompanied me from the ward, hands me over to them, lays her hand on my arm, wishes me good luck and disappears back the way we came.
The theatre nurses introduce themselves, explaining they will now prepare me for surgery and will be looking after me throughout. The two women have an easy rapport and routine born of a long time working together. I observe them as they check their lists and my details. Another person joins us – the anaesthetist nurse. She will also be looking after me in theatre she tells me as she wraps my legs in mechanical compression devices for the prevention of clots.
I am now moments away from being wheeled into surgery. Everything slows down for me and I take in the activity around me, keeping my breathing measured and calm. I take a moment to look sympathetically at the man nearby, standing at the head of another bed, patting the hair of young man (his son I presume, he looks about 16 years old). The young man is still and staring at the ceiling looking terrified. I feel for them both.
The nurses finish the paperwork and getting me into another gown and tell me they are taking me to theatre. I nod and begin the slow ride to my fate. I look at these women, in their theatre scrubs and think how good it is they introduced themselves and let me know they are there should I need them. Their hands and the anaesthetist’s will be the last I feel before I am rendered unconscious. Unexpectedly, I find myself reflecting upon a dear friend, who used to be a theatre nurse, and I am filled with comfort at the thought of these nurses being like my friend, as I cannot imagine a kinder, more reassuring person to have in theatre. Imagining my friend is with me as I take this step helps me to proceed with calm curiosity and confidence of a good outcome, as the wood and glass barn doors of theatre part to allow me entrance.
Thank you, Miss M.