One by one, these c***dren from the ward were taken to the bathroom for a bath in the order they were being operated on and really thick nappies applied so that their legs were spread apart like a frog from the thicknesses between their legs. While they were in the bathroom, their beds were made with clean sheets so that they were clean for theatre. The c***dren came back on the trolley without gowns on and were placed in bed and covered up.
It was Eric's turn to be taken into the bathroom to be got ready. One of the nurses fetched a glass with pink liquid in from the side of the bathroom and a k**ney dish. “We need you to rinse your mouth out with this antiseptic mouthwash, please, Eric. Take a mouthful, swill it round your mouth and teeth, then spit it out into the dish. Please don't swallow it! It's not poisonous, but it won't taste nice and won't exactly do you any good!” Eric did as he was told and realised that the pink stuff tasted exactly like the mouthwash from the dentist last time he'd had a filling in a milk tooth about three years before. “Lie down now, please, Eric. I'm going to give you an injection into your leg which may sting a bit. If you wriggle your toes as i put the needle in, and inject the liquid, it does help,” one of the nurses said to him. “What is it, please, nurse?” Eric asked politely. “It's a d**g to make your mouth dry called atropine which may make your eyes go a bit blurred and morphine to make you drowsy so you won't be worried about your operation. All right, Eric?” Eric agreed that it was all right by him as he reckoned, correctly, that if he'd refused, they'd have just got more nurses and held him down until he'd had the injection. The nurse swabbed his thigh with alcohol then plunged the needle into his leg as Eric wriggled his toes as instructed. It didn't sting – it hurt as she injected the mixture into his muscle, having first pulled back the plunger to check that the needle hadn't gone into a vein. When all this was done, he was wheeled back to his bed with his back, chest and upper arms already wet with perspiration from the rubber garment enclosing him. His thighs likewise were wet from contact with the outside of the rubber pants as they covered the thick layer of nappies. Inside that layer of nappies, his hips and abdomen were warm from the insulating layer of dry nappies. Slowly his eyes began to drift out of focus as his pupils dilated, his mouth dried up and he began to feel sl**py from the effects of the morphine.
Just as he was beginning to find the drowsiness pleasant, the curtains were pulled apart at the end of the bed as well as between Eric's bed and the little girl in the next bed by one of the nurses and a trolley was wheeled between the beds by a porter. Eric looked at the little girl dressed in her green rubber bib, shower cap and pink rubber pants, thinking how silly she looked which meant that he must look silly and c***dish too. The little girl was lifted into a sitting position on the trolley as one of the nurses shushed her as she started to cry. Eric was likewise lifted onto the trolley with her as the sides were pulled up to stop them falling off and blankets were put round them both to keep them warm. “You're both going to theatre now!” said the nurse as they were wheeled towards the opposite end of the ward from the main entrance. The trolley was pushed through the double doors at the end and down a short corridor. There was an entrance to the operating theatre with a red light over the door, illuminated, which, as Eric read the sign which fortunately was in large letters as he squinted to read it, said, “Theatre in use when red light is on. Positively no admittance!” Next to that was another door into which they were wheeled. A nurse was sitting there in theatre greens with mask and cap over her hair. The little girl was lifted off first and sat in the nurse's lap as she cuddled her. The nurse reached to a container and picked out a rubber dummy or pacifier and put it between the girl's lips as she sucked frantically on it for comfort. Eric was lifted onto a chair covered by a green sheet and was instructed to stay sat there. He was feeling extremely nervous and eyed the little girl and the nurse as if he'd like a cuddle too. He knew he was too big for that sort of thing, but he was feeling extremely nervous and really wouldn't have minded. As if she knew what was passing through his head, the nurse smiled at Eric. “It won't be too long, pet, before you're in and it will be over before you know it!” The little girl was crying and another 'nurse' came in with an anaesthetic trolley. The girl's name was Susan. The 'nurse' spoke to Susan and Eric, “Would you like me to show you what's going to happen to you in the theatre when they put you to sl**p?” Susan mumbled through her pacifier that she didn't really want to as she wanted to go home. “But Susan, you've been having all those nasty sore throats, haven't you? We're going to make them all gone so you won't have any more! Let me show you.” She showed Susan, making sure that Eric could see, the mask to put over Susan's face, the black corrugated snake-like rubber tubing connecting the mask to the machine, the cylinders of nitrous oxide and oxygen, the rubber bag which would inflate and deflate as she breathed and the bottles of special 'sl**py liquid' “to help you to go to sl**p in the middle of the day, Susan. Would you like to try the mask to see if it fits and I'll give you some special 'air' to breathe.” The nurse holding Susan removed the pacifier from her mouth as the mask was held out for Susan to take. Susan tentatively held the mask up to her face and then took it away. “It smells funny!” “That's the special 'sl**py liquid' which makes the mask and tubing smell, Susan. Don't worry about that. Just hold it to your face and see if if fits. Take some breathes of the special 'air' which, I promise, won't make you go to sl**p!” Susan held the rubber mask to her face as the 'nurse' turned the oxygen on. “Look at the bag go up and down! Can you blow up the bag like a balloon, Susan? Susan took bigger and bigger breathes as she giggled as the bag blew up larger and larger each time. She didn't notice the nurse turn on the nitrous oxide then the ether as the nurse holding Susan helped her to hold the mask over her face. Susan started to struggle feebly, but the 'nurse' started squeezing the black rubber breathing bag to f***e more gas and anaesthetic into her lungs. Soon Susan had flopped in the nurse's arms as the anaesthetist called of the trolley to take her next door into the theatre. She smiled at Eric, “No, I'm the anaesthetist, not a nurse! I'll come to you when we've finished with Susan!”
When Susan had been taken into theatre, leaving Eric with the theatre nurse who had cuddled Susan, she spoke to Eric. “This is your first time, isn't it, Eric?” Eric admitted that it was. “That trick won't work on you now you've seen it, will it?” she laughed. “Anyway, you're probably too grown up to fall for a trick like that.” “It wasn't fair, tricking her like that!” Eric exclaimed. “It's better than frightening her, isn't it? She drifted off to sl**p quite smoothly, didn't she?” Eric had to admit that, perhaps, she did. “You're worried, aren't you, pet?” she asked. Eric admitted that he was. “You look as if you could do with a cuddle too?” “I'm too old for that!” Eric replied, none too sure of whether his answer was really the one he wanted to give. “No-one's too old for a cuddle, Eric.” With that, she went over to him, lifted him into her arms and went back to her seat, cuddling him firmly to her breast and rocking him gently. “That's not so bad, is it?” She asked. Eric shook his head to agree that it wasn't. “Open wide!” she said, as she fished a large pacifier out of her bin beside her. She's popped it in Eric's mouth which he'd obediently opened before he realised what she intended to do. He was about to spit it out in protest when she held it there and pointed out to him that it had a very large guard over his lips because it was designed for big boys who thought they were too big for pacifiers. Eric sucked at it as his nerves took the better of him. The nurse was used to frightened 'big boys' who really needed a bit of mothering. She enjoyed her job and loved her work with the c***dren.
About twenty minutes later, the anaesthetist came back, wheeling the anaesthetic machine. “I won't catch you out that way, will I, Eric?” she asked. “No, miss,” he replied. “I bet you wish it would, don't you?” she asked. “Yes,” came the quiet reply. “Are you frightened by this, Eric?” “Yes, miss. I've never had this done before and, yes, I am frightened.” As he said this, he involuntarily released a stream of urine into his nappy which the anaesthetist noticed as the front of his rubbers became steamed up with his hot urine. “We could sort of pretend that you've not seen it before, couldn't we, and nurse could go on holding you while you go to sl**p? How about that?” “Yes, please!” came back the more confident reply. “We need to do this rather differently, Eric, as you're rather bigger than Susan. Would you lie on your back across the nurse's lap for me?” As both the nurse and the anaesthetist helped him, Eric shuffled into position with his head hanging over the nurse's lap, as she put her arms around him. “Good boy!” said the anaesthetist. “I'm going to put some straps round your head to hold the mask in place first. The mask won't be connected to the tubing yet.” She attached some black rubber straps to the mask after she'd disconnected the tubing. She held the mask against Eric's face and pulled them over the top of his shower cap so his cap was held tightly against the back of his head as the mask pushed against the front. Eric saw what Susan had meant by the smell of the anaesthetic lingering in the mask, almost, but not quite, hiding the rubber smell of the mask. She turned on the oxygen and told Eric that that was what it was. She connected the tubing to the mask and Eric watched as he too blew the bag into a big balloon. “That's the stuff, Eric. I'm going to turn some more gas on more and you may begin to get a bit sl**py.” She turned the nitrous oxide on to about 70% nitrous and 30% oxygen. Eric found that he was getting drowsy. He could hear the bl**d rushing through his ears as he tried to watch her closely through ever closing eyes. “It's time, Eric,” she said as she moved the ether control to fully open. The strong smell of the ether caught in Eric's throat and, as it did so, she started massaging the bag, making him take really deep breaths. He couldn't see and all he could hear was the bl**d rushing through his ears, louder and louder as he had the sensation of falling down a deep black tunnel. The anaesthetist continued to massage the bag as Eric breathed in and out, squeezing the bag hard as he breathed in to f***e more into his lungs and letting go as he breathed out and the bag refilled again. Eric's head flopped back of the nurse's knee as he was lifted onto the trolley and taken into the theatre. “The bigger they are, the more frightened!” said the anaesthetist to the nurse. “I know: the poor boy was terrified.
Eric found he was lying on his side with someone shaking him and telling him to wake up. He didn't want to as his throat was sore, but the person was insistent. “Wake up, Eric, you're back on the ward and it's all over,” came the voice. “How can it be,” thought Eric to himself, “I've only just gone to sl**p!”
A few days later, Eric had to go back to theatre for the site of the tonsillectomy to be surgically cleaned as he'd got an infection there which wasn't responding as well to the antibiotics as the doctors would have liked. He received another injection of atropine and morphine to dry up his secretions and to calm him down, although that wasn't necessary this time as he knew what to expect..
The trolley came to take him to theatre and, as he was the only patient on the list, he was wheeled straight into the operating theatre. There he was lifted onto the table. Eric was dazzled by the large overhead lights shining down on him which, together with the out-of-focus eyes caused by the atropine, preventing him form seeing too clearly the rest of the theatre. He was aware of figures dressed in green with masks and caps moving around, but he felt he'd rather not see the rest of the theatre. He did see the anaesthetic machine beside him. It was the same anaesthetist as before who had her mask down and smiled at Eric. “Hallo, Eric. I'm sorry you're back here again. I'm going to put this roll under your neck to tip your head back, then I'm going to hold the mask over your face. I'll give you oxygen to breathe first like last time, then I'll put you to sl**p.” Eric said that it was all right by him, so she put the rubber roll under Eric's neck so that his head was turned back toward her, opening his airway. Next she turned on the oxygen and picked up the black rubber mask with its inflatable rim. She was seated on a stool just behind Eric's head with the anaesthetic machine beside her. She held it over Eric's nose and mouth, pressing it down firmly to get a good seal and curling her fingers under his jaw to both pull his jaw forward and to hold the mask in place. Eric could see the black rubber bag inflating and deflating as he breathed. She reached over to the machine and added nitrous oxide followed immediately by turning the ether on full. Eric struggled against the anaesthetic as the ether caught in his throat, but she massaged the bag to push the ether into him, telling him to try to take deep breaths so that he would be asl**p quicker. As Eric struggled as the anaesthetic took him down the path to u*********sness, he was aware that his bladder had let go and felt the warmth of the urine soaking into his nappies. That was the last he remembered before being woken up back in his side room.