Elderly ladies in Regency days often kept a lap dog on whom to blame any audible or malodorous evidence of flatulence. No respectable lady would admit responsibility for such effects, and so the poor little doggies got a bad name.
I, on the other hand, was so overjoyed at the first signs that my re-joined colon was beginning to work last Saturday, 30 hours after surgery on Friday morning, that my txt msg flew around the world to close friends and family, announcing proudly: JUST FARTED! A message that may have offended those not in the know who happened to see it, but which elicited a great chorus of replies along the lines of “Great!” “Fantastic!” and “Wow!”
The Big Brother in charge of monitoring my e-mails and texts may be wondering if this is code for some kind of terrorist activity, but I can bring an entire medical team forward in my defence to explain that this fart – the first for two years – was indeed a cause for rejoicing.
And so I have joined the Noble Company of Dysons – ostomates who have undergone a successful reversal of their colostomy and are now bagless. At present, I still have 34 little metal staples holding my tummy together, and a dressing over the stoma site, which is not stitched but healing up very tidily from the inside out. The staples are due to be removed tomorrow, and as the surgeon made her incision exactly over the previous one I will be left with just one neat scar once it has healed completely.
Following that initial breakthrough – literally a breakthrough in this case – nothing much happened, so I took advantage of the fact that the hospital caterers provide such a wide variety of food to suit all ethnic groups in the region, and ordered a lentil daal on Monday evening and a vegetable chilli on Tuesday. They had the desired effect, triggering minor explosions on Wednesday, and so I was discharged on Thursday to my great delight.
Once again, I have to pay tribute to the kind, caring nurses of the NHS who looked after me, to the capable and skilful team of doctors and my very competent surgeon whom I look on as a friend after all she has done for me. I will gloss over the hiccups and mis-communications due to an unwieldy administrative system.
My Swiss granddaughter who generously appointed herself Granny-Nanny for the first few days, chauffeuring me to hospital, looking after her great-grandmother during my absence, stocking the pantry and generally running things as she would her own domestic empire, was shocked and amazed by British inefficiency encountered for the first time at close quarters. Her sister, arriving to take over, has now lived here for more than two years and grown accustomed to the English way of life and our habit of muddling through, so listened sympathetically but with a wry smile. Put Number One granddaughter in charge of the country, and she would solve all the problems that are giving Mr Cameron & Co such headaches. Alas, she had to return to Switzerland to her proper management job, so didn’t have time to put the UK in order. My mother wasn’t sure what had fired such indignation but gathered it had nothing to do with her, and simply enjoyed being able to stay at home with loving great-granddaughters to look after her. She, more than anyone else, was truly happy to see me home again, bouncing off the walls and in no pain or discomfort. I will say it yet again: I am very blessed to have my lovely family who are so ready to drop everything and leap into the breach.
Most of all, though, I thank God for bringing me through this with peace of mind and equanimity. I am also very grateful to all those who upheld and supported me in prayer and with loving thoughts. It has been a very interesting and enriching experience.