Welcome to Stanmore

This post starts exactly as my first one did, but with a much grumpier me. I am lying in bed, trying to write this blog and trying even harder not to feel pissed.

But I am. I know I am lucky to be here in this hospital waiting for my operation but I don’t feel it and I am not happy. Across the way from me, I could swear that I just heard one patient telling another that she has been here a week and already a good few operations have gone wrong. I’m pretty sure what she said isn’t true, and I would imagine that really, she probably didn’t even say that at all.

I was going to go and talk to this lady, but now I’m not going to, which is a shame because she had some really cool looking nail varnishes.

Truth be told, I’m just being sulky. I’ve felt sulky since I got here, and I feel sorry for myself. I think the problem is that I’m tired of being here. It’s two steps forward, one step back, which I know is good because it still means I’m getting there but I just want to be there already.

I want my freedom, and now, more than ever, it seems to have been taken away.

This is me not enjoying the food. Actually, although the fish pie was a touch heavy on the dill, the meal was alright, and the crumble was fab.

This is me not enjoying the food. Actually, although the fish pie was a touch heavy on the dill, the meal was alright, and the crumble was fab.

The ward I’m on has a sign on the wall that says, “Mobile phones must be switched off, due to the possibility of interference with medical equipment.” I immediately sulked about this when we got here, but it turns out everyone seems to be ignoring it so that’s good at least. Not that there’s any signal anyway.

They have locked up my drugs and I don’t like that. I sound like a petulant child writing this but I don’t care. I have asked two different nurses, one who had a bib saying she was on a drugs round, if I could have some codeine because my leg and back are really beginning to hurt now, but both said I need to ask another nurse who will come round with a key. That was half an hour ago. One of the nurses took my blood pressure and didn’t say a word to me whilst she did it, apart from to answer my question.

They are making me wake up at seven tomorrow, which I know isn’t that early for anyone who works, but for me, a lazy and sleepy student, that is way too early and it sucks. Lights out are at ten I guess, but the patient next to me says the patient bells are going off all nights and she only got two hours sleep last night. I don’t like the sound of that.

When I sat on my bed the only other young person on this ward looked at me, so I smiled back. She closed the curtain. I hope this wasn’t because of me, and I’m sure she probably didn’t actually even see me because she looks pretty doped up right now, but it upset me, and I don’t even know why.

Last time, when I had my operation in June I couldn’t wait. I felt like I was going on holiday but this time it is different; this time there is a lot to gain, but there is also a lot to lose. There are a lot of other nerves around that area, and if they have to take those out it could have scary implications. I had an MRI today which showed the tumour had grown, however not to the extent that it should change the surgery I will be having. I feel very happy about my surgical team, and I truly believe they are the best for the job but I can’t help but worry. Time after time the situation has changed…

This was how my post started and I feel almost ashamed, embarrassed about this, but I have decided I will put the above up anyway because it is important for you to see what goes on inside my head. It is important for you to see how my mood swings and my outlook changes. This may be this whole situation, the drugs, or it might be me being a moany bitch; I would imagine that it is probably the last. But either way, the last hour has made me suddenly realise that what goes on in the world around me depends on how I see the world around me. And how I see the world around me will let me change the world around me.

In the last hour nothing has changed but my feelings, and I suddenly like it here. The large, spacious ward that earlier felt cold and unwelcoming now feels warm and inviting. The codeine I was waiting on has been delivered, and since they couldn’t find my drugs chart they brought me a doctor who could write me a new one. He was friendly and he made me feel safe.

The nurses have become bubblier; there is more laughter in the room. I spoke to the patients either side of me who were both lovely, and had a conversation with the girl I thought didn’t want to know me. I wanted to go home, but now I feel home, or as much at home as you can feel in a massive hospital awaiting major surgery.

The room around me is dark as I write this, but I don’t feel scared. Everyone in the room is sleeping, and the only sounds are the snoring of dreaming patients, the distant closing of doors and the gentle, oddly soothing exhalations of morphine pumps – yet weirdly I do not feel alone. For the first time in a long while I feel okay…

Tonight we have compared scars, stories, sympathies.

Tonight we have said we are glad to be here together.

Tonight, not as numbers on a ward, but as individuals with lives ahead of us, we have said good night…


Alternative, much less poetic ending: Tonight I have been attacked by at least three daddy long legs, and no change of perception is going to make me not freak the fuck out about that.



My worst enemy after dragonflies

About the Author



allison semikin

Well done Beth, another great blog written in the face of adversity. You are the internet laureate! Proud as always xxxx


I hope your op went well and you are as positive when you wake up as you are now!
I also hope you won the battle with the daddy long legs 🙂


Thanks Louis, the op did go well and I am feeling good now! And I did win the battle… just about!

Emily Redshaw

Thank you for this insight into “your head”. I look forward, everyday to reading your blog. ..but I so wish it was a fictional story I am reading, instead of your actual life! I hope you are truly feeling the love of all around you and that the op today was a huge success (waiting for dad to let me know). Beth you are wonderful and no doubt rocking the hospital gown xxx

Ronnie Sims

I’m enjoying your blog… Although that seems entirely the wrong thing to say. I appreciate reading a real opinion and view. Im in Bristol so not much I can do from here. I’m not even sure how to encourage you, but you are doing a fine job of being honest with yourself and ‘coping’.
Goodness I sound patronising. I don’t mean to. I feel the frustration of having to wait on a nurse to get your meds when you are used to getting them out of a cupboard yourself. The unappealing look of a hospital meal. And the pleasant surprise when it actually tastes good!
As for the freaky daddy long legs- you have my entire sympathy! They are like kamikaze pilots flying straight at you with no sense to stay the hell away!!! I obviously don’t feel your pain. But right now I’m sat desperately trying to find a position that doesn’t hurt after being hit from behind in my car a week ago. Those darn daddy long legs freak me out too! And jumping a mile every time the decide to visit my face hurts!!! I think we both need a zapper!
This has become more about bugs than about you! Sorry! What I really mean to say is hang in there. Although not literally with you. You have your audience fully with you in mind. Caring about what you may consider the dumb details. In my head I can hold your hand, zap the daddy long legs and try to keep you occupied when you are at a loss. I’ll even chuck in some prayers for you!
Ronnie xxx


Hi Beth, I hope you don’t mind me following your blog. I was sitting opposite you in hospital just before your operation, I was with my mum where I also was being treated for a ‘benign tumour’ which turned out to be a soft tissue sarcoma, I can relate to all of your blogs, feelings and pain. I have had pain for 8 years in my ankle and only on 14th September 2015 did I find out it was cancer. Im now out after my op, I’m not a great patient and just wanted to go home and now I await my results again. Looking forward to hearing about your recovery and really hope it’s all good news for you. Xx


Another amazing post. I am so glad you decided to Post the first part of this about how ‘low, upset or sorry for yourself’ you were feeling, as this is simply the truth. You must never apologise for feeling like this. To feel like this is to be human. I never had an operation but remember all of these feelings when spending day after day in hospital having treatment after treatment. As important as it is to stay as positive as possible, it is also important to ‘let it all out’ at times, be that through writing your blogs or just having a good old cry. As the Macmillan counsellor said to me, the only things we can really controI in life are our emotions and our actions, and once you start recovering and feeling stronger, both physically and mentally,no doubt that is what you will do. I hope that the operation was a great success, stay strong and take care


Forget physics Beth, become a writer! Awesome blog. The Nortons are with you all the way and beam healing wishes your way. Hope the op went well. Hugs x

Lesley Gagg

I think you inherited the moaning streAk from your grand father
All my love
Queen quilter


Beth I’m glad to read from your FB post that you’re through your surgery and out of intensive care. It must have been gruelling. My young son spent a night in intensive care after his surgery and I was a mess (and not even the patient!). I hope you have a smooth recovery and can get back over to Jacksonville asap.


Hi there I’m a friend of the young lady in the bed next to you. I met her two months ago when she was in the bed next to me. I wasn’t in the same situation and not even sure if your in the same ward as I was (D.O.G) duke of glouster. Those days I was scared and tearful no not for the same reasons as you but because its the way I get with anaesthetic. I found 90% of the nurses were amazing one or two I fell out with. But what kept me going was the wonderful people in the beds around me. They gave me inspiration made me feel humble and most of all they cared. When I cried they comforted me when I needed to talk they listened and for that I am truly grateful
I wish you all the best and hope your stay is as comfortable as possible say hi to brooke xx


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *