It’s such a long time since my last post, and I know that some of you have been wondering where I have been. The answer is simple: my diverticular disease flared up again with a vengeance, and I have been sampling the wonderful care offered by the local NHS hospital again (and this time managed to get through quite a large number of the items on the lunch and supper menus).
I use the word “wonderful” advisedly: I am in awe of the medical and nursing staff who have been my constant companions during the past weeks, and can’t praise them highly enough, not only for their attention to me but for their dedication, good humour, competence, and compassion. Watching them attend difficult or very sick patients has been a remarkable and humbling experience for me. None of them are doing it as a job just for the money, believe me!
My own case was classed as major surgery (Hartmann’s procedure, if you want the gory details, with a few extra complications to keep the surgeon on her toes) but there was no opportunity for me to feel sorry for myself. Initial pain was controlled by a morphine pump, and in fact I suffered very little pain. Moving about was awkward in the first few days due to a long seam down my middle that made bending difficult, but that has rapidly improved and soon all the clips will be out and only a scar left.
I am learning to deal with my colostomy, which ought to be reversible in 6 months or so (we’ll see) and is less of a problem than I anticipated, so all in all I think I’m making good progress. My mind is at peace, knowing that the biopsy showed no signs of any malignancy.
My two weeks in hospital seem in retrospect to have been almost like a holiday. I had an incredibly comfortable bed, with a special inflatable mattress to prevent bedsores, placed next to a huge window; I enjoyed the food, was pampered day and night, and had very congenial room mates. There was a great deal of laughter with no lack of wit and humour, and a fairly steady stream of medical students coming to interview me. It’s common knowledge that people love to talk about their operations, and I’m well aware that few topics are more boring to the listener, but here was a ready-made audience eager to hear every detail of my medical history, and to look with keen interest at my wounds. One of the teaching doctors finally admitted that I had had more than my fair share of medical students because I was an interesting case anyway and could give a coherent account of my illness.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and this one had many. Grateful thanks to my granddaughter and daughter for rallying round and taking care of my mother in the time I have been (and still am) hors de combat, and to their respective husbands for sparing them. Because they were here, my mother, obviously concerned about me, was far less stressed than she would have been and it is fantastic how well she and her great-granddaughter have bonded – a joy and privilege for both of them. And a huge thank you to everyone who prayed for me, sent “good vibes” and positive thoughts, cards and kind messages. Your love and concern are truly appreciated.