I had to lay with my
hands behind my head; they made the incision and inserted the tube.
I could see it all on the big screen on the wall, I saw a white solution
jettison into my heart. Then the X-Rays started front and both sides.
"Don't look, it may upset you!" Dr M said.
"I find it very interesting and there's no pain." I said.
"Good, we're nearly finished!" Dr M said. It had only taken
about twenty minutes and I was being wheeled out with Dr M complimenting
me on being a good patient. Also to bear in mind "No one has
ever been through here and been A1. He had always found something."
"Daft twat!" I thought. "I'm okay"
Janet picked me up the next day, "You look great, I just didn't
expect you to look like that after an operation." She said.
"Come on, hurry up! I've a Bungee Jump this afternoon!"
I said, we both laughed as we drove home via a couple of stops for
A week later we were in Dr M's surgery. "Well, Mr Gillespie!
I have found three blockages, one is a very serious one." He
waited for my comments.
"Three eh?" I said nonchalantly.
"I'm afraid so! I recommend an operation as soon as possible."
"Can you do it tomorrow?" I said sarcastically.
He forced a chuckle. "I can't do it that quick, it's a serious
operation. You have three options. The first: Is no good for you as
it involves injections; you're too far gone for that! The second:
Is an angioplasty, which involves similar to what you just had. We
insert a tube into the diseased artery and inflate it to expand it,
when its removed the artery invariably stays open to allow the normal
flow of blood. Now this method is not always a success, this then
leads me to the last option. Which is a bypass, it involves taking
veins from your legs and grafting them to the side of your heart to
bypass the diseased arteries."
"Well, I don't want any of that! I'll have the second one if
it's alright with you?" I said. Janet was wincing at the description.
"Right, I'll arrange a consultation with Dr R. He will decide
which is the right op for you." Dr M said nodding to his secretary.
He rambled on trying to make his fee sound reasonable. A Consultation
with Dr R was arranged for the next day, at six in the evening at
the Hospital .
We arrived at the Hospital
and had to wait for an hour while Dr R turned up. We had our consultation
with him. He didn't look like a Doctor to me; he didn't even act like
"Sometimes its not possible to do an angioplasty, the arteries
may be too blocked." He said. He certainly didn't instil confidence
in me, and we had to pay for a standby Doctor in case he made a 'balls'
of it. He sat there looking at us, trying to think of something to
"How long will he be in hospital?" Janet asked.
"Well it varies, three to six weeks all depending on which operation
Jesus I've got a dummy, I thought as I threw a glare at Janet.
"Are there any more questions you would like to ask?"
"Show us your flooking crudentials you twat!" I thought.
I looked at Jan.
"When can you do it?" Janet asked.
"I can do it this Friday if it's convenient?" He said looking
at Jan and then me.
"Its okay with me." I said. Jan nodded.
"Yes, Friday will be okay!" Jan confirmed.
He started to fill an appointment card in.
"Do you know where the NHS Hospital is?" He asked.
"Yes!" I said. "On the left just past the new Supermarket!"
"That's it." He said. "If you can get there for ten
o'clock on Friday I can operate in the afternoon. Is that okay with
"Yes, I think so. No problem from our side." I said. Jan
nodded her approval.
Friday came. I'd never
been to that particular Hospital before, so I followed the signs.
I turned left into the long entrance with the graveyard on my right.
Something seemed odd. I suddenly slowed down. "Have you noticed
something?" I said to Jan, "I've come here for what could
be a life threatening operation, we drive through a cemetery entrance.
What's the date?" She glanced at the appointment card and in
unison we both shouted "FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH!". Jan froze.
"Have we to turn back?" She said. She was clearly upset.
I laughed again. "No love, I'm not superstitious. But is someone
trying to tell us something?"
"I don't like it!" She said.
"Don't worry. I assured her it'd all be over with by tomorrow."
The Hospital was so old I half expected to see Florence Nightingale
come wandering round the corner with a Tilley lamp. We were shown
to my private room at the edge of the public ward, the resident patients
were mainly geriatrics. They all stared at us. Noseying to see whom
the 'rich bastard' was who had jumped the queue. 'Railroaded' would
have been the description, I thought.
I was ordered to undress
by a senior nurse who reminded me of Robert Newton in 'Treasure Island'.
"Ooooh Arrrrgh" I said, Janet stifled a laugh and pointed
a threatening finger at me. I had to put the white gown on that displayed
a full backall. I sat on the bed and looked round. "I'd wreck
the place but somebody's beat me to it!" I said.
"Its coming down in a few months" Janet said following my
"Well, I'll be off. I want to do a bit of shopping on the way
home." She commented.
"Its only half eleven, what's the rush? Someone to meet have
"Don't be silly!" She said laughing.
"Wear that nice thong and suspender belt I bought you, and don't
forget the kinky boots." I said sarcastically.
She was upset at leaving me to the "butcher" but she managed
to laugh. "You'd better tell me where you're hiding them,"
She poked me with her finger. "Aren't you frightened?" She
"No I'm not love, so I don't want you frightened or upset. There's
a private phone here. You can ring me anytime. Here take the number."
I said pointing at it.
She took my hand. She was trembling.
"Hey, calm down. Now, it's nothing to worry about. You get yourself
off; I'll see you tonight! It'll be all done and dusted. You'll see."
I sounded convincing, she kissed me and then walked to the door. She
half turned and blew me a kiss, I could see tears welling up in her
"Now then." I pointed at her. "See you tonight!"
She nodded and left.
Jan was one hell of a good looker, she was the best-looking woman
anywhere around. A real head turner. I used to observe the reaction
of people when we entered a bar or walked around town. The fellas
would stare from the corner of their eye. But the woman would stare
openly and try to get in her company. She always looked real class
and almost everybody thought they had seen her in a film or on television,
especially when we went abroad. She has what I call a Mediterranean
'kisser' (face). I'd always get the odd drunk or cheeky bastard coming
up to me and saying ' You're a lucky man' or words to that effect.
I used to throw my two pence in with quotes like 'Yes, and she's a
very lucky woman. She could have been unlucky and ended up with a
cheeky twat like you!' I had a knack of saying things without being
At twelve o'clock Dr R came in and sat on the bed. He explained exactly
what he was going to do and if he couldn't, it would mean a triple
bypass, which a Dr N would perform; as he wasn't qualified to do bypasses.
Also Dr N would be on standby in case he made a 'balls' of it.
"Any questions?" He asked.
"Yeah, how long will it take?" I asked.
"I can't say! I'm operating at 2 o'clock; it could take anything
over an hour depending on the condition of your diseased arteries."
His team came at one thirty. Lifted me onto a trolley and wheeled
me to the operating theatre. I was given a pill to relax me. Then
About 2.15pm I was wheeled in, and we went through the preliminaries
of "How are you feeling?" and "Just relax!". I
didn't know until then;that they operated while you were awake. It
was similar to the angiogram procedure. He made an incision in my
groin and inserted wires and cables in the main vein and shoved them
up to my heart. I could see them on the large screen as I lay with
my hands around my head. I could feel no pain. After about an hour
and a half Dr R informed me he couldn't complete the operation. He
couldn't get the balloon inside my arteries as they were too badly
blocked. Everyone saw my disappointment, "Have another bash!"
I said. No one answered. Dr R pulled a chair up to the operating table
and sat down. "I'll tell you what I can do!" He said. He
hesitated and motioned for a nurse to pass him a contraption that
was still in its wrapping.
"This is a brand new invention, I have never used it! It's not
been tried North of London. What it does is drill the hole wider in
the vein. Using the same procedure I previously did. Would you like
me to try it?"
"Yes!" I said, "Anything is better than opening me
up." He needed me to sign a consent form. Then he just got on
with it. The next thing I know there was quite an audience. Everyone
seemed excited at the prospect of seeing a 'first'. I called a nurse
over and asked her to make sure my knackers weren't on view to everyone.
She laughed and assured me everything was okay. People were coming
and going. Some smiled and nodded to me, I felt like a star. Anyway
it was a theatre wasn't it? Dr R looked pleased with himself as everyone
cleaned up. A nurse put a temporary clip over the groin incision.
"Everything has gone well, Mr Gillespie. The nurse will give
you a pill to make you sleep now. Tomorrow I'll do an angiogram to
see if all has been a success."
It was six thirty. I refused the sleeping tablet as I wanted to phone
Jan and put her mind at rest, but she had already set off to visit
I had various Doctors and Consultants visit me while I told Jan the
"It's been like that since they brought me down." I said.
They would check the monitoring machine I was wired to and asked how
I felt. "Fantastic!" I said lying. Jan said I looked a lot
fitter than she thought I would.
"I won't be long in here." I told her. Next morning I was
wheeled back to the theatre. I lay there chatting to the nurses who
informed me 'they had never seen anyone look as fit as I did after
"What's the hold up?" I asked.
"Dr R is always late." I was informed. He eventually turned
up excusing himself and blaming it on the Saturday traffic.
He did the angiogram to cheers from nurses and staff. One nurse gave
him the thumbs up. Dr R had a smug grin on his face as he informed
me that all was well.
"I have done two of the diseased arteries. I shall do the other
in a couple of months time."
Back in my room I phoned
Jan to tell her the good news. "I'll be home tomorrow,"
I said. Dr R came to see me in the afternoon. He was still patting
himself on the back. "I'm very pleased with the outcome."
He said checking the monitors.
"I don't need these in do I?" I said lifting my hands and
nodding to the tubes in the back of them. He studied for a while.
"No, I think those can come out now nurse." He ordered.
"I feel fit enough to go home tomorrow." I announced.
"I don't know about that! We'll have to see." He said.
The nurse came to see what I would like for my dinner. "You must
be starving. You haven't eaten since you came in." She said offering
me a menu. "You can have what you like, you're paying for it."
"Right! I'll start with a bottle of Rose wine." I said glancing
at the menu.
"Oh, I don't think you could have that!" she said apologising.
"Well, I won't need that!" I said passing her the menu back.
She refused the menu then stood with her hands on her hips in typical
"Oh, I've got an awkward one here have I?" she said pressing
her lips together tightly.
"No booze, no food! They go together."
She blew off and fetched Robert Newton to me. "Your not allowed
alcohol so soon after an operation." She informed me.
"Okay, no booze; no grub." I tried the blackmail. They walked
out leaving me holding the menu. The nurse returned 10 minutes later.
"The Doctor said you could have half a bottle." She said
looking at me hands on her hips. I smelt contempt. I couldn't help
"Right my love, I will have half a bottle if Portuguese Rosé,
steak and chips in that order please!" She took the menu and
blew. I then rang Jan and asked her to bring a bottle of wine and
a corkscrew. At ten o'clock Jan had been and gone. I read all the
papers. TV was crap. I was bored out of my tiny mind when a night
shift nurse entered into my room. She was a rough looking old cow
if ever I saw one.
"Is there 'owt you want?" She asked.
"Yes, come here a minute." She waddled over. "I want
you to nip down to the Off Licence and get me a bottle of wine. Do
you think you could handle that?"
"Hah, no chance!" She said, "I can't leave here."
God, she was a rough old goat. And what do rough old goats fall for?
Charm! "Do you know a taxi I could ring? He could fetch me one
and probably pick you a take away up at the same time." Her mouth
dropped open, she was thinking. 'I've got her!' I thought. Well, sometimes
Syl and me order a take away through a taxi. That's when we have money!"
"Right, order a bottle of Rose and two take always and tell the
taxi to get a move on." She hesitated.
"Well, actually. Its just around the corner at the back."
"Here!" I said, giving her a tenner. "Will that be
enough?" She was back two minutes later with a bottle of Rose
and two pounds change.
The next day I convinced
Dr R I was fit enough to go home. Robert Newton was loathed to let
me go. But, we managed to leave with Jan picking me up at the back
(c) William Gillespie
END OF PART TWO
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