17th February 2017
Basingstoke

Dear DTC Team,

I’m writing to you today to say thanks.

I wish I could recall the names of every person who helped me, but I’m terrible with names & no doubt I’d embarrass the lot of them, so it’s probably for the better.

I’d really appreciate if this could be shared and passed around the teams, even if it’s just for one day and as a private laugh you can share together.

If anyone cries patient confidentiality, tell them I give you all full permission to share this with the world in whatever way you want.

Here was my journey with your team, and although I might come across sarcastic, I want to be clear: I genuinely appreciated each and every persons help.

Pre-Operation

On the 31st of January I came in for a routine Endoscopic Nasal Polypectomy. I waited a number of hours before I got into the procedure which pushed my day-op into an overnight stay. Even though it was a slow start, I found each member of staff pleasant, helpful and attentive.

Knowing that ENT surgeries are often delayed due to the precise and detailed nature of the surgeries made the wait a lot easier and more understandable. My book helped too.

Operating Theatre

As I entered the Operating Theatre I noticed five ladies all preparing for little old me. Naturally I said I wasn’t used to all this attention, but before I could say anything too embarrassing, the mask with anaesthetic gas was swiftly applied and switched to its most potent setting.

I want to thank them for saving me from myself: it could’ve been bad. On a more serious note though, I’d like to thank all of them as even with quick introductions, I immediately felt I was in safe and comfortable hands.

Awakening

Following surgery, I woke up in a bed, groggy and lethargic with an amazing nurse beside me. I had a good laugh looking at all the half-conscious people in the room until I realised I probably looked like them.

With a few deep breaths to get me going, I had a slurred chat with the nurse. You know the kind of Sunday Morning, 3am slurred speech from the guy bouncing between his friends? That was me.

Somehow this nurse was able to understand me, a feat far more impressive than reading a doctors writing. But not only that, she seemed to genuinely care about her job. She talked about being able to help people and have them genuinely appreciate what’s been done for them. You people are too nice.

Wheeling Me Off

Once they were ready, I was wheeled off to a temporary ward. I must congratulate the guy on his driving, it was impeccable to millimetre precision.

I was introduced to the Ward staff, who were all genuinely lovely to me, even when I was sporting a bright-green Luigi moustache of a dressing. They were all impeccably helpful.

Dark Magic and Other Things

Later, my fiancé arrived and as we were chatting a ward member promised me his colleague would come in and show me a magic trick.

Suspiciously I asked, “What kind of magic?”
He replied, “The good kind, isn’t all magic good?”
“I was thinking Black Magic?”
“No, no” he reassured, “it’s only good magic”.
Phew, close one avoided.

A minute later his colleague arrived ready with a vomit bowl and some nimble hands. Thankfully I’d been reassured it was going to be a good trick, so I was quite comfortable.

My fiancé and I decided she probably didn’t want to see me at my worst or get in the way, so she went outside for a bit.

Quickly and comfortably the colleague removed my Luigi moustache, and untangled the tape and cords holding two dressings up my nose.

“Are you ready?”
“Yep”

A quick yank and the first dressing was out. Blood flowed like a leaky tap… but it was expected. Everyone was calm & I was ready for the other one.

Another yank, and I feel my head go with it… it’s stuck.
“Oh shit” I thought, “this’ll be good”.

A firmer yank and then it went. A full red fountain flowed out both nostrils flying into my little bucket & suddenly they both look a little concerned. Instructions flew:

“Get me another bowl”
“Get some ice out the freezer”
“Get a box of tissues”
“What tissues?”
“Just the normal ones”
“Where?”
“In the store cupboard, quick”

Bizarrely at this moment, I felt calm and collected, I trusted these guys knew their stuff & would get me sorted - besides, worst case A&E was just a few halls away, what could happen?

Sat in the middle of this situation, I couldn’t do anything less than break out with laughter. My fiancé later recounted it sounded like a combination of choking and laughter, she couldn’t quite make sense of it.

Minutes later and we’re three bowls down, one ice pack on my neck, another on my forehead and everything finally starts to calm down. At this point, I didn’t hear it, but I almost felt a collective sigh of relief.

I was alright. From this moment on, besides the occasional terror and mess of a sneeze I was a-okay.

The ward staff were incredibly funny, professional and helpful and I am incredibly grateful for all of their help.

Discharge

I’ll admit this bit was a bit boring, there was a lot of wait and not so much information about what was happening.

So I attempted an escape, and was politely guided back to my bed. I realised at this point they were waiting on both the sign-off by the specialist and also the pharmacy dispensing required drugs, but I would’ve been more comfortable waiting had I known that earlier. That said, my experience was so good I certainly can’t mark this small detail against anyone.

I found the specialist assigned was both excellent and thorough, and to the pharmacy, even though I never met them, I can gratefully say the labels were clearly written, the drugs were right & they definitely worked, so thank you too.

In Closing

If you’ve read this far and are wondering where’s your claim to fame, I’m sorry. I realise that for every person I met, there are a dozen others running around in the same hospital as under-thanked and unsung heroes.

So to everyone I didn’t meet, regardless of whether you work in a dark-office carefully fighting bureaucracy and paperwork for the rest of us, or even the team leaders who help cultivate the environment that allows each person to do the best they can, I thank you all.

Wishing you all the best,
Andrew McAuley

p.s. My only aim here is to make people feel good about what they’re already doing, so if this made you laugh or feel appreciated, please do share it.