A Glimpse Of What’s Been Happening

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A combination of my own slumbering stupor and a hot, humid, largely overcast, day presaging the predicted thunderstorm caused me to doze the day away.

Jackie, however, prepared Mum’s perching stool, and bolstered one of the wooden chairs, so that, first from the perch, and then from the chair, I would have an opportunity of focussing, to some extent, on that little corner.

My choice of the selection of supermarket ready meals Jackie has kept in stock for these crucial days, was tasty cannelloni. This was followed by vanilla ice cream.

Keep Calm And Carrion

I won’t dwell on the agonies of transferring myself, stiffened after an hour’s drive, from the car to our living room; adjusting to the different seating levels, and manoeuvring myself around the home yesterday evening. Two examples will suffice.

While Jackie was in the kitchen preparing wonderful scrambled egg on toast, I decided to rise from the old worn out Chesterfield sofa which was my favourite TV seat. When Jackie returned after twenty minutes she had to put the tray down and haul me up to the arm of the furniture. I was dripping with sweat, but that didn’t stop me relishing all my dinner.

The most frightening challenge had been ascending the stairs to bed. Having eventually summoned up the courage to give it a go, I surmounted these with comparative ease. Our bedroom is part of an extension added in the 1970s. There is a further step down into it, twice the depth of those on the stairs. Still using crutches, I fell down it, tottered forward and came to a standstill, realising that my replacement knee had twice taken all the weight, with no adverse effects.

This morning, we pondered how we might insert an intermediate step. Having provided me with coffee, Jackie wandered around the garden. Soon I was greeted by her smiling face beside a slab of concrete resting on her shoulder. Would that I could have snapped the moment. I was soon able to step on it and descend the stairs.

Concrete step

We will have to be satisfied with a photograph that the Maintenance Department produced later.

Derrick after knee op

Having given me a personal cleaning service Jackie felt I was really home once ensconced in my corner chair. Note that I am wearing my more familiar slippers.

I slept through most of the afternoon. Later, I really looked forward to my dinner of fish pie, carrots, peas, and green beans. It was eaten with considerable relish.

“I Done It, Mummy”

In hospital life’s true  importances are pared down to the bare essentials. The result of blood-tests fade into insignificance when compared with the ability to get out of bed; to put one foot in front of the other; to preserve your dignity in hospital gowns designed to expose your backside; to make your way to the loo on crutches; and to perform evacuation and ablution without falling over.

Well, this morning, I enjoyed my breakfast, managed a poo in the right place, and wiped my own bum. I had memories of infancy and proudly calling: “I DONE IT, MUMMY”

Oh, and the blood tests revealed no problems; the physio took me for a walk, and Mr Kask pronounced “home today”.  But you must admit, I have my priorities right.

Jackie had been asked to collect me at 1 p.m. She arrived at 12.45, just ahead of my lunch. This was appetisingly moist, well filled, tomato omelette, new potatoes, and fresh salad, accompanied by tangy orange juice. I made a little headway, then needed an urgent trip to the loo. I managed to get there without tripping over anything, poo in the right place,  and wipe my own bum without gathering too much excreta in my finger nails. When I returned to the ward, wanting to cry “I DONE IT AGAIN, MUMMY’  ……..you’ve guessed………

Nurse Vanessa gave us a very clear explanation of the discharge pack, and Hanah wheeled me to the car and prised me into it. Jackie then drove me home in the pouring rain.

 

The Doppler Effect

Despite my best efforts, my meals today were somewhat interrupted.

Following instructions I walked with crutches to the loo after breakfast. The expression ‘taken short’ developed new layers of meaning as I closed the door and deposited a goodly amount of blood, urine, and excreta in a trail on the way to the lavatory seat. There was nothing for it but to summon help to clean myself and the room. I had made a start on my lunch which had been removed when I retuned to the ward. I had no more interest in it anyway.

The results of the blood tests taken yesterday, show no real cause for concern, but a Doppler ultrasound scan has been ordered today to ensure that I don’t have a deep vein thrombosis. Just as dinner was being served, I was summoned fo the scan.

I have always heard about the Doppler effect, but  not the scan. Although the attached YouTube video might suggest otherwise, I can now definitely state that the Doppler effect is to keep a man from his food. The scan appeared to show no problems.

Mr Doppler, however, was thwarted this evening, for Jade produced the first meal I have been able to relish in this establishment: a fresh, moist, egg and cress salad served with a suitably tangy vinaigrette, followed by flavoursome vanilla ice cream and accompanied by zesty orange juice. This Jade was not the young lady who had helped with the scan.  I know this because the caterer sported no visible tattoos.

P.S. It just goes to show that I am not really up to scratch yet. Until I read the contented crafter’s comment below I had forgotten that the physios had wheeled me along to the stairs, decanted me onto crutches, and guided me up and down a flight of six steps.

“That’s Quite A Bunch”

This is my post for yesterday, 22nd May. I seem to have forgotten to send it until now.

Just as I was beginning to regret not having ordered breakfast, Nurse Lucy asked me if I would like some coffee. I would. She brought me a large mug. I drank it all. Soon afterwards the breakfast lady came with more coffee, and asked me if I was sure I didn’t want breakfast. I wasn’t. She brought me twice the usual ration of toast. I scoffed it.

I also had a little accident. I began pouring the coffee into the full jug of milk, with the consequences that would be expected. Now, Mrs Knight, do not mark this down as me getting back to normal.

Soon after 9 a.m. it was Nurse Jing’s turn to put me through agony. This was in order get me out of bed through the customary machinations, when she was sure I was comfortable perched on a stool in front of the wash basin she left me to my ablutions, with instructions to use the alarm cord if necessary. That was probably the moment I blew it. Up until now, I had still been unable to open my bowels. I had a go at sitting on the loo. This, you realise involved the usual painful motions. Not those I was hoping for. My bowels remained firmly closed.

By this time, I was a clammy mess and summoned help. Whilst Alisha was doing her best to get me decent, Mr Kask, paid a visit, brusquely prescribed suppositories and an attempt at the stairs. I don’t think he was offering an easy way out. When Alisha offered me a choice of chair or bed, I opted for the bed, into which I collapsed.

Less than half an our later, Alex came to get me out of bed and transferred to another ward. Starting with the frame, we decanted to the crutches in the corridor.  I managed half the rest, in a wheelchair.

Soon afterwards, I was given liquid morphine. I was encouraged  to stay in the chair. That didn’t last long.

Eventually, with assistance, I returned to bed. Alex returned with Connor, and said immediately that we would not be doing the stairs today. I told him that that had given me great relief.

Later, I enjoyed conversation with Ted, a very friendly man who now shares my four bay ward.

After lunch, Jackie drew the attention of the medics to the excessive swelling on my affected knee. This had become most worrying to her., Dr Veselina was worried enough to consult with Mr Kask on the telephone and bring another consultant see it. A blood test was ordered. Dr Veselina G. administered this this evening I asked her what it was for. It was for haemoglobin levels and various other ingredients. I said that was “quite a bunch”, and was called upon to translate the phrase. Ted chipped in quite helpfully. The relationship between me and the Bulgarian doctor is good enough for such an exchange. Later, it was Marcus’s turn to take the routine evening blood test. I ate no dinner. Having secured my comfort, Jackie returned home.

 

A Day In The Life Of

It is probably accurate to say that my day began at 2 a.m. That’s because I didn’t just doze off again, but actually did some work on my computer.

Then I dozed off.

Then the lovely Elise woke me to take my blood pressure and stuff, with “How are you today?”.

“I’m much better except when people wake me up to do stuff to me”.

Laughter.

It must then have been about 6.30 a.m. when I heard: “Would you like some tea or coffee?”

” No thanks” must have seemed very churlish. At least it was delivered with a smile.

“You haven’t ordered any breakfast” must have woken me at about 7 a.m.

With another smile, “because I didn’t think I would be able to eat any. But thank you for checking.

The wittily caring Carley has been my nurse for the day. “Here are your painkillers”. I’m not sure when. “I’ll have to sit you up a bit. Cos I don’t want you choking”.

“That would be most unfortunate”.

“Especially after all that work we did yesterday.”

Soon after 9 a.m. my liquid morphine was administered in preparation for the torture session administered by Marcus, today’s physiotherapist. He arrived about half an hour later. ready to get me out of bed.

“First you must roll over on your side”.

Given choice, I opted for left.

“Swing your good leg. I will hold the operated one”.

Gradually using the walking frame I transferred my weight from my bum on the edge of the bed to both feet and the handles of the walker.

“Starting with the good leg take steps toward the chair,”

“Not so big steps”.

“Now turn sideways”

“Using the same system?”

“Yes”.

“When you feel the chair on the backs of your legs, try to lower yourself onto the seat.”

Mission accomplished. I thought.

At this point there is an interruption in the proceedings, because Marcus returned this afternoon `with Connor, a student.

“This afternoon we are going to a few more steps down the corridor with the Zimmer fame, and if successful transferring to the crutches.”

My complex expression, attempting to display both horror and amusement, was a giveaway.

“I can see you are very pleased with this suggestion”.

I then explained what had been inflicted upon me since his departure this morning.

I had waited for Gerrard to come and collect me for an x-ray. During this time Alex had guided me from

“Why are you wearing the name tag Alex Chris, when you are not Marcus?”.

“Because I am not Marcus”.

“Ah”.

Then, using the same process, one small step at a time, Alex masquerading as Marcus,  had guided me round the bed, into the corridor , and a few yards along it. We then turned around to reverse our steps.

I was then asked to feel for the front of Gerrard’s wheelchair behind me. Gerrard then took over.

“Place your good leg on the footrest. Leave the operated leg to me”.

We each played our part and were soon off to x-ray for the ‘after’ pictures.

Back in my room I was given the chance of  returning to bed or remaining in the chair. Given that I was expecting a visit from Mr Kask, I opted for the chair, and promptly went to sleep. He was the next to disturb my slumber. It didn’t take him long to pronounce himself satisfied.

I asked Carley to help me back to bed after this.

Omelette lunch

Lunch soon arrived. I woke up to eat it. I hope those readers who have expressed concern about the quality of the catering at New Hall will be suitably impressed by this ‘small’ option. I am not sure what the soup was, but it was very tasty. The omelette was plain, of my own choice, and the ice-cream was excellent vanilla. Nevertheless I could only consume one spoonful of soup, Three quarters of the egg, a sprig of rocket, one potato, one slice each of tomato and cucumber, and most of the ice-cream. This morning’s Health Care Assistant had advised that the new slippers were a precaution against slipping, not really to keep germs away. Perhaps I’ll check this tomorrow.

By mid-afternoon I was again interrupted from my posting. Jackie, Elizabeth, and Danni stayed for a good long visit. We conversed about all our usual topics, especially focussing on my sister’s house sale and purchase. My head was clear enough today to make what I thought were reasonable contributions.

Afternoon tea consisted of moist, well-filled egg and cress sandwiches, orange juice, and fruit salad, which I couldn’t face.

I hadn’t ordered any dinner.

 

 

Perhaps Not A Good Choice

Three days ago, on Friday, I finished reading John Le Carré’s thrilling novel, ‘The Night Manager’ This was while waiting, all kitted up, to go to theatre for my knee replacement operation.

Unusually for me, I had first seen the film adaptation series on television in 2016. The film, starring Trevor Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Tom Hollander, Olivia Coleman, and Elizabeth Debicki was most gripping. As usual, I will not reveal the story, but say that I am impressed by Le Carré’s research and his writing skills. He does, of course, have many worldwide admirers. His spare, descriptive, ability; his insights into human nature; his handling of dialogue; and his building of tension, are all impeccable qualities. He moves seamlessly through time and place. The gradual development of the characters in the  book, ‘The Night Manager’ is exemplary. The film did not adhere completely to the novel; one of the male figures was transformed into a woman and the ending has been changed. Given that a Series 2 is in progress that may also be fortuitous.

It was perhaps not a good choice to read this book whilst waiting for the surgeon’s knife, nor to feature it on this post between bouts of medical staff persuading me to leave my bed.

Orange juice and a plain omelette sufficed for my dinner. Richer pickings were on offer.