Article History

March 2010





After having a pain in my rear end during the weekend trip to Canberra, I finally got to a GP and was diagnosed with a perianal abscess. Off to the hospital!

I started off in the ‘plaster room’ of emergency because the place was full. After getting a catheter in the top of my left hand (I hate needles!) and some inspection of the ‘problem’, I was put on a narrow bed in a curtained-off ‘bay’ in line with a half-dozen others. During the evening and night I was put onto a full ‘ward’ bed (still in emergency), then to a separate room off the side of emergency, and finally (just after midnight) to my own room upstairs in the surgery ward.


The infection in the abscess was getting into my blood. On Tuesday night (the 2nd) I had a temperature but by now a full fever had set in, despite all the antibiotics and Panadol I was being given through my IV.

I was seen by one of the surgeons and told they would try to schedule my surgery for some time after 4pm. I hadn't eaten since 3pm yesterday, mainly because no one was sure when my surgery would be and you're not supposed to eat or drink (nil by mouth) for a certain time before surgery. Waiting was not a whole lot of fun. I did find that my mobile phone got one or two bars of reception near the window though, so I was able to text my parents. The place must be a Faraday cage or something because I got absolutely no reception anywhere else. But dad's iPhone got 3G reception fine. The advantages of the 850 MHz band?

I was eventually wheeled down to surgery and prepared around 5:30pm. But there was someone still in the operating theatre, so I had to wait for them to finish and then clean up. It wasn't until around 6:30 that I actually went in and was given general anaesthetic. I hate being knocked out and I hate the process of waking up at the other end. But I especially hate the helpless state it puts me in. At least when I'm asleep I can be woken up when something is wrong. Anaesthesia? Totally helpless. And that scares me.

I woke up probably around 7:30 in the recovery room with a sore throat from whatever they stuck down it to keep me breathing, and a second catheter, this time in the side of my right wrist. At one point one of the surgeons came by to check with the nurse monitoring me and mentioned that my abscess had been “particularly large”. I was back up to my room before 8 pm and my parents arrived not long after.

I had my first food in over 24 hours - a cheese sandwich and two biscuits. I soon went to the toilet but in wiping my behind I somehow managed to remove the drain - a length of rubber hose resembling the finger of a glove. It had apparently been sutured into my wound but I don't remember feeling anything.

With the fever gone I was feeling much better and was able to get some good rest during the night.


The main surgeon visited me in the morning and said the removal of my drain wasn't a serious issue. Then was it really necessary? Later a pair of nurses came and removed the suture that had been holding it in.

Mum and Dad visited in the morning and paid for a card to allow me to watch television. I watched TV and listened to music on my phone most of the day. I had three half-decent meals as well. Even though I was feeling much better, my temperature was still a little high. I had been told that if it didn't come down by 5pm, I would be staying another night. I had started on dinner when Dad arrived and soon after by a nurse with the machine that measures temperature and blood pressure/pulse/oxygen saturation. She took my temperature in my armpit because I was eating and it turned out alright. Yay, I went home.