It was actually quite a good day……

I can’t say that I often think of a day of medical intervention on one’s body as normally a cause for celebration, of hilarity, or even pleasure.

A nagging pain, and the insistence of ‘Lady of the House’ meant a visit to my GP some time ago. A subsequent uncomfortable, and personal, examination at Stobhill Hospital, near Glasgow, discovered no under-lying life-threatening situation…. so relief was unbounded. However…… the pain was still around, and a visit to another practice GP showed that there were now TWO seats of pain to be investigated…..ugh! An appointment with a surgeon decided that knife-cutting was to be the answer.

We had a family cruise organised and knew that it was unlikely that a surgical team would meet us in Santorini, or Dubrovnik, to perform an operation, due to sensible, not-unexpected, budgetary constraints within the NHS. However the waiting list involved (which was within the guidelines) meant that no such options/decisions had to be made!

I slept better the night before the op than usual, and the alarm gently woke me. Daughter and wife saw me safely into the arms of the Receptionist, medics, and nursing staff, and I was swiftly re-clothed in the double front/back- tied surgical clothing. Strangely, it was printed all over with…. ‘Only to be Worn by Hospital Patients’……as if any non-hospital-patient person would be seen dead in it!

Then the re-questioning began…….again and again. Every member of staff who came near had to ensure themselves that I was who I was. Maybe a label attached to me like Paddington Bear, with all the details, might be more sensible…or is that what they do in a morgue?

The amount of technical information pumped-into ones brain, by the surgeon, anaesthetists (yes, I had two!), and ward staff, before the procedure, is astonishing…..as if one were able to retain it, and if necessary act on it under anaesthetic! On the trolley, going to the theatre, the chat is pretty trivial, enlivened only by me seeing a trolley coming the other way, and it looked as if we were in a race for the same theatre!

For me, the worst part of surgery is the holes they make in you, for blood samples, plasma drips, different anaesthetics, and nerve blocks in various parts of the anatomy….It’s a bit like the Tony Hancock comedy ‘The Blood Donor’ (You-Tube it). They can be painful, and you might well wish to call the whole thing off, before they get the real cutting implements out. But by then the numbing chemicals have taken effect, and no amount of complaining will come from your mouth!

Surgery started at about 9.15, and I wakened in the recovery room just after 11. Professional but very kindly faces asked on a regular basis, how I felt. This I was to indicate, on an index of pain. Since presumably everyone has a different threshold, it has little absolute meaning, but comparatively it gives an indication of improvement level. I like to work on the basis of ‘How would I accept having this for the rest of my life’, and it seems to work for me. I have to admit that I was not a happy bunny for some little time, (after all, they had worked on two parts of my anatomy!) and pain-relief protocols were discussed and applied. This all happened within a framework of daft jokes, laughter, and good-hearted banter. The anaesthetists came to see me and gave their professional advice.

I then had the cheek to ask if I could get up to go to the loo, (‘Permission refused, Mr Monroe, as protocol does not allow it just yet!’). A bladder scan suggested to them that it would not be necessary. Gentle persuasion and discussion of the consequences, allowed a compromise, and my bladder proved it WAS necessary…technology isn’t always right!

Alternating episodes of inactivity, brief walks, and coffee, hot choc, and numerous biscuits passed the afternoon with everyone in a jovial frame of mind (it was Friday afternoon after all!) Lady, and my Daughter arrived to take me home and I was discharged at 4pm. On return home, they indulged in a chilli con carni, whilst I made do with a bowl of cereal, apple pie and custard.

…………..and thanks to a lot of people, it had been a good day!

THREE YEARS LATER I HAVE TO STATE THAT I RECOVERED WELL…..

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A doubt in the mind…..

medical-symbol

For those of you who have nothing better to do, you may remember that I had a little ‘medical event’ a couple of weeks ago,which we all originally agreed was probably labrynthitis (a viral infection of the balance mechanism in the inner ear).

Both I  and the consultant  had a nagging doubt that it was not that, as I felt I didn’t have all the normal symptoms which manifest themselves. There was obviously no suspicious problem in the brain (that’s not what some people say!) as the CT scan proved clear. But we all do like having such occurrences named definitively don’t we?

Lady of the House spent some time exploring the Internet and, good for her, she found what was a  more-likely reason. Having read several relevant papers and my modern text books, it does seem to fit better with my symptoms. It is often mistaken for labrynthitis, and it is only relatively-recently documented to any extent. I can therefore not hold any criticism of my receiving consultant.

Viral  vestibular neuritis (as it is wonderfully called) is an infection of the vestibular nerve, often appearing after a persistent upper respiratory infection (as in my case) and can disappear very quickly (as in my case) or dribble on for a few weeks. It is also unlikely to return….

So you can see I am a lot more re-assured, and have proved that you can learn something every day!

Back to work tomorrow!…hooray

 

A week after my medical ‘event’ I feel ready to get back to work. It’s a strange feeling…..being off for a week, ill, for the first time in 25 years. I must be frank; for the first few days I gave the businesses no consideration at all…..things are quiet anyway, but we are lucky with the folk who work with us as they are perfectly capable and so as the week went on, I was able to stay relaxed about it.

It became a feeling of  ‘so this is what retirement is like!’  But of course it wasn’t. It was not a situation of our choosing, and there was uncertainty of the medical future. On the plus side, the clock became less important and we were able to establish a very simple routine…….

GP says he sees no reason why I can’t drive if I feel OK, which contrasts with the Consultant who said I should refrain for four weeks! So what to do? Perhaps I should only drive on alternate days, or drive on a journey one way and let the Lady of the House drive on the return journey?

Despite what I said in my previous blog, I have nothing but admiration for the medical staff. Non-judgemental, they had to deal with a 12 hour shift, swearing, bad manners, alcoholics, soiled beds, all with a calmness I would find difficult to maintain. They were always ready to help in even a small way, such as getting me a glass of water. So, if any of you are watching…. many thanks.

Cleaning and hygiene within the ward have exceeded all expectation and again have to commend all those responsible.

So for a couple of hours each day, I will slowly pick-up the threads again, and hopefully lay the ghost to rest…..and be thankful that the body systems have not taken a major jolt…..so thanks to all who asked after my health.

‘The patient spent a quiet night’

hospital-ward

…..like heck he did!
I had to go into hospital unexpectedly, recently and spent the night in the receiving ward. Unfortunately, it is also probably the most noisy. Oxygen pumps, bleeping monitors, ringing phones, talking nurses, clattering heels in the corridors, coughing, snoring, and other physiological noises all contribute to a ‘background’ which makes it very difficult to get any kind of sleep or rest.

So I was glad when I was allowed to go home at teatime the next day….for a bit of peace and quiet. So I have slept on and off today.

No work for a week nor driving for a month have made life a bit of a problem, but maybe it will give me a taste of retirment! I might also get a bit more blogging done!

It’s not a ‘man-cold’…..

….but my nose is running like a tap!…..and I have an un-requested deep husky (sexy?) voice. It may have been an allergy, or sitting in a car for a few hours with re-cycled air-conditioning (a bit like flying?).

Problem is that I am supposed to be singing with Angelus on Sunday night! Has anyone got an instant medicinal recipe (or pills) which does not involve copious amounts of alcohol? My audience awaits, but I don’t think they would like to see me swaying, or hanging-on to something, whilst my tonsils warbled uncontrollably.

Good news for a change!

A visit tonight to see the Consultant at Ross Hall, about Son’s problems with his hands. It was one of those meetings which you dread, not knowing if the news will be good or bad. It turned-out to be like the curate’s egg…good and bad.

The prognosis seemed to be that it was not Wartenberg’s Neuritis, but some other form, of unknown origin. It also seems to suggest that it will ‘ burn itself out’, but no time scale was mentioned or offered.

But the pains will still continue for some time, and the number of pills will increase to try to control the pain which is incessant (except when sleeping).

So all is not yet right, he is still desperate to get back to work, and feel that he is again contributing to the business.

 …..however, there is an end, if not in sight, then at least just santaover the horizon. Maybe this year, Santa will be kind after all!

So thanks to all those lovely people who have passed-on their good wishes, their prayers, and, in some cases, their experience…we will keep you informed.

The continuing pain….

For twelve weeks, Son has been suffering terrible nerve pains in hands and arms, and it has now just been given a name (it has only once before been seen by one of the specialists, in his professional career!) ……not that that has helped the reality…the pains are still agonising and debilitating. How he has put up so long with it, I don’t know. He admits that he could not live alone with it….you need the presence of human company.

The Consultants have called for another batch of tests and we await the results and their deliberations……with hopefully a rapid and positive answer to this distressing condition. The newest pain-killers seem to be having some effect.

His, and our, friends have been marvellous, with constant phone calls to pass on their thoughts and best wishes.

The best prescription seems to be football……Aberdeen has been playing quite well recently…..maybe it would be possible to get a couple of tickets on the NHS! Only trouble is that they might lose those matches!