The Camp Vamp: Katrina Fox

Commentary on GLBTIQ issues, social justice and some of life's quirks.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Wishful thinking

The phrase ‘Be careful what you wish for’ springs to mind this week. A couple of weeks ago I read my opposite-page counterpart Mitzi’s column in SX magazine on how fast life has become nowadays and how we’re so busy ‘doing’ that we have little time to ‘be’ and enjoy the simple things. ‘How true’, I muttered to myself, thinking that it would be nice to have a week off work before embarking full-throttle with the new girlie mag I’m editing. I envisaged a cosy cottage, perhaps with a log fire, in the mountains or by the coast, tucked away in a relaxing retreat with my girlfriend and a couple of books. Well, I got my week off – but not in the manner I would have hoped for.

Last weekend, after throwing up at least ten times and clutching my stomach in pain, I was taken to the emergency room at a local hospital. A day later a doctor finally diagnosed appendicitis, whereupon my appendix was removed that evening. I spent the following few days pumped full of a concoction of drugs (the only fun one being morphine) and having what seemed like pints of blood removed each day for what could only be an impending vampire convention about to hit town, of which my nurse was the organiser. The third night I was transferred from a single room to a four-bed dorm with three others – a woman of 70-ish, a man of similar age and a 95-year-old Scottish woman who’d fallen over and fractured something – all of whom were delirious and spent the night talking in their sleep. Apart from the small pleasure of feeling positively foetal among such geriatric company, being on the ward felt like I was a bit player in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and I wanted out. I can’t fault the doctors or nursing staff who were all lovely and took good care of me – except for not giving me Pethidine as a pre-med before my operation.

Back in London, 1994 when I had a nose job (who says lesbians aren’t vain?), I enjoyed the euphoric high of this delightful legal substance, which was designed to ‘relax’ the patient before they are put under anaesthetic. To my delight I found that Pethidine does more than relax – it send you completely off your trolley, makes you cackle with glee and you couldn’t give a dog’s bollocks what the surgeon does with his or her knife. A little shot of that would have gone down nicely last weekend instead of the panic attack I experienced when an oxygen mask was placed over my face and I was told to ‘keep your eyes open’. But apparently Pethidine is no longer politically correct. ‘We get a lot of junkies come in and ask for it,’ the anaesthetic doctor told me. ‘It’s very addictive.’ Hmmph. A week later and I’m back at work suffering a bit of ‘brain fog’ but definitely on the mend. Motto of story: If you want something – be very specific.

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