Sunday, 20 April 2014

Modern medicine - hurrah!

Dr No!  Picture from here

Following my trip to and in Cornwall I have now had surgery on my poor brokey wrist (that's a medical term).

I was due to have a steel plate inserted on Thursday but after three hours sitting on an uncomfortable plastic chair in a crowded waiting room, dying for a cuppa and something to eat (I was doing the nil by mouth thing), I was told that they would not be able to operate until Saturday.  Big sigh.  I am a huge supporter of the National Health Service (NHS) but sometimes it does cause me to grind my teeth (and that's a real pain when you can't get a local NHS dentist these days for love nor money).

Anyhow come Saturday I went straight onto a very quiet ward to await surgery from the comfort of a hospital bed.  A nurse told me that the surgeon would come to see me before the op and both I and the other-half misheard his name as Mr Van Cleef.  This was somewhat alarming as we expected a sinister looking cowboy to swagger into the room.  Thankfully we had misheard and although Mr Van Thingy did indeed swagger into the room (with a crowd of junior doctors or students hanging on his every word) he did not glare menacingly at me from beneath a black stetson.  It would have been nice if he'd explained who his hangers on were or maybe even introduced them but, hey, at that stage I was just glad the ball was rolling and it didn't look like I was going to get shot.

So the surgeon strode off, the other-half went home and I settled down to read my book while waiting to go down to the operating theatre.  'Merivel' by Rose Tremain is hugely enjoyable (one reviewer described it as a 'melancholy romp') but bearing in mind the main character is a seventeenth-century physician it probably wasn't the best choice of reading matter given my situation.  In fact as I sat propped up in my bed I read about a breast lump removal operation olde-worlde stylie.  It can be summed up in three words: laudanum, agony, screaming.  Just as I finished reading this section the anaesthetist came to check me over.  I think he was somewhat surprised by my happiness at his arrival.  In fact had I had two functioning arms I would have grasped him in a bear hug and grappled him to the floor in joy.  As it was I just beamed dimwittedly at him and happily agreed to have the knock-out juice administered into my foot.  (Options were limited as one arm was about to be operated on and the other was off limits because of the risk of lymphedema following last year's mastectomy.)

The operation went ahead with no problems and took place early enough in the afternoon for me to be discharged without an overnight hospital stay.  While I was waiting for the all clear to go home I continued reading the book (oh come on, I had nothing to lose at this stage) and read about a filthy seventeenth-century London hospital full of fleas, mice and a dead cat under the protagonist's bed.  Thankfully my ward seemed scrupulously clean with no wildlife of any sort alive or dead.

So I'm now back home, full of pain killers, an arm back in plaster being waited on hand and foot by the other-half.  Life is sweet.

I'm due to have chemo on Wednesday and while the surgeon sees no reason why I won't be well enough to have it, there is the vexed question of where they are going to stick it (if you'll pardon the expression) as I have a forbidden arm (see above) and the other arm in plaster.  Oh well, I deal with that knotty problem next week.  It's just one thrill after another.


  1. Della, as I was scrolling down your blog I realised I was dreading seeing the end coming, like a good book. Either I am a total saddo or your writing is brilliant. Why haven't you written a book yet?

  2. You silver-tongued harlequin you!

    Ta everso xx

  3. Your writing is brilliant xxx

    1. Ooh thank you! The suitcase of used fivers will be behind the phone box as promised. xx

  4. Well, you do know how to treat yourself, don't you? And how to make people laugh when they think they really shouldn't. Anaesthetists should always be bear hugged - especially when they come armed with morphine.