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An operation

One day, out of the blue, I received a telephone call. It was from the local hospital. There had been a cancellation, meaning that a slot had become available should I wish to go ahead with the proposed hernia operation. “Excellent timing.” I said, accepting the offer. (As you may remember, I had recently managed to compound the hernia further.*)

I was given a pre-op appointment for the following day. That was a simple routine affair. However, I was then asked to return the next day for a COVID test. I explained that that was not an option as I could not afford to be paying for taxis every day. It was costing around £15 for the round trip. After some negotiating, it was agreed that they would organise a community nurse to visit to do the swab. I was given a ‘home kit’ just in case the nurse couldn’t make it. I was also asked to hold-off on my herbal medicinal teas until after the operation.

I was warned that as I live in a caravan, I might be required to stay in overnight. I explained that I could arrange for some-one to park next to me, which would be no different from having some-one in a neighbouring room of a house. They didn’t appear too keen on that suggestion. I spoke with Michael. He then arranged for one of his mates, Froggy, to pick me up and take me to the hospital on the morning of the operation. Froggy would then cat-sit for as long as needed.

Froggy turned up the evening before to confirm arrangements. The next morning, we headed to the hospital and I gave him the key to my caravan.

In hospital, I settled in. By lunchtime, it was my turn. Gowned and ready, I was escorted to the operating theatre. Before entering, the cannula was fitted. As always, I had to be distracted as I have a bit of a needle phobia. Then the anaesthesia was administered. This was not the first time that I had been anaesthetised, but it was the first time that I thought that I would die! As the anaesthesia coursed through my body, I suddenly experienced incredible pain. The last time I experienced that sort of pain was when I had the heart attacks. It was so similar and so painful that I genuinely believe that that is what happened. The last I remember was clutching at my chest and folding myself into the foetal position.

The next thing I remember was coming round with a nurse rousing me. It took ages to become fully compos mentis. I felt exhausted. I don’t remember it ever taking so long to recover from anaesthesia before.

I was so concerned about the experience that I did some research. It took no time at all to discover that there are a number of anaesthetics, some more dangerous than others. I would strongly advise that anyone who is due to be anaesthetised research, particularly if you have a heart condition. Make sure the surgeon is aware. If necessary, refuse certain anaesthetics. I was lucky! My time is obviously not up just yet.

As the anaesthesia wore off, I became aware of the pain. I felt incredibly bruised. I could hardly walk. In fact, I needed a Zimmer frame. Apparently, as the hernia was so bad, I had open surgery, whereas the other patients around me had keyhole and therefore recovered quickly. It was decided that I would stay overnight. I can’t say that I was disappointed.

The next morning, I could move somewhat easier. As soon as I was given the ‘all clear’ I telephoned Froggy to come and pick me up. I wasn’t allowed to attempt to walk out of the hospital. I was wheelchaired. I was to have some meds to take home with me. That was another farce. I had been told that I would be given strong co-codamol; a type that I knew worked with me. When it came to it, I was given some other weaker product. Then, I was also given a bottle of liquid to take with the pain killers to prevent constipation. I explained that the product that I had been told I would have doesn’t cause constipation. It would therefore be cheaper to give me one product that works rather than two products, one of which is to counteract the side effects of the first, which doesn’t work, anyway! I was ignored. I then refused their medication. My refusal was not accepted, I was argued with and forced to accept the medication. I had no choice but to dump the medication in the first bin I saw as soon as I left the hospital. A ridiculous and costly situation! Fortunately, I still had a few of the stronger co-codamol at home.

Froggy was brilliant. He met me at the hospital entrance, having reversed his van all the way to the doors. He helped me into his van. I’m so glad that it wasn’t a car. I don’t think that I would have got down into one.

For four days I was a virtual invalid. I could hardly move through the pain. Eventually though, it eased and moving about became easier. However, I was not allowed to lift anything. Not even my saucepans, especially as they are cast iron pans.

Froggy and another friend, Stuart, were great. They did all my lifting, shopping, etc. One day I got them to go over to the woods to collect loads of firewood. We took my bow saw to cut branches off of some of the fallen trees.

Froggy had a go at cutting some of the larger stuff with my chainsaw. I supervised. Daniel came over and helped me finish the kitchen. (I will write about that in a separate post.)

Soon, I was forgetting that I was not supposed to be lifting anything. Now and again, I would just do what I always do, only to be reminded by a sharp pain or eventually, a twinge. My problem is that I live alone (apart from the cats). I’m used to being active and just getting on with things. It’s difficult to rely on others. I can’t be arsed to keep contacting people every time I need something doing. It’s quicker and easier to just get on with it.

I managed to get a load of light jobs done; painting, polishing, etc. I even had a go at sewing! I finally managed to sew the leather patches to my work trousers. It took near on a week, though!

*see entry Health issues

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