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Sunday, 11 April 2010

A New View

The hospital corridor is filled with trolleys containing files, Mr Fitch is extracting one of these files and talking to a nurse. In the distance my original consultant also extracts information from a similar trolley.

Earlier this year, in a similar situation, my heart rate would have escalated, and adrenaline would have coursed through my veins; but not today. Today I feel quite relaxed and at ease.

A nurse calls my name and Clare and I are ushered into a white room, sporting a computer, a chair, a bed covered in paper, and what looks like a vacuum cleaner for the body. However none of these things strike fear into me. Not even the title of the room “demonstration” in a discreet sign attached to the door fills me with trepidation.

My old consultant enters, clutching a large file. I immediately stretch out my hand and she takes it. I have had a strange, sometimes difficult relationship with this woman. She has wanted me to be disembowelled for a long time, and this has always been a matter of contention. Now it is done and we seem to be on a more level relationship. I am genuinely pleased to see her, and she is genuinely pleased that I am healthy. Brief conversation and then she leaves. “Back to the grindstone” as she puts it.

Next Mr Fitch enters with my notes. A large file held shut by a long brown rubber band. He removes the band and starts to twirl and twist it around his extremely clean hands.

After preliminary conversation, about whether I am getting on OK we move on to discussion of the future and possible surgery. Reconnection is the word they use.

“I think I want the full broadband 100 megabytes” I explain. The rubber band twists around his fingers tighter and tighter.

“I presume if it all goes wrong the worst thing that could happen is that I end up back where I am now?” I ask.

“No; the worst thing that could happen is that I could kill you” he says quite calmly. He assures me this extremely unlikely.

Later on we even have a joke and a laugh as he describes being in hospital himself one Christmas and being brought NHS sherry. NHS Sherry?.

"It was horrible and brown" He laughs loudly. I actually quite like this bloke.

I am not worried about the future whatever it may bring.

I must have travelled quite a long way in the last year. This would have freaked me out a few months ago.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Block Party and Swim

At my Gutless Rog party dressed as Dr Love, Talking to Dr M.
(We know how to party!)
(Photo by Frances Lee)
(Apologies for mis-nomer)

Sartorial elegance itself

I decided to have a “Gutless Rog” party to celebrate the end of 13 years with UC, and the coming of spring. I used to have lots of parties but not for a long time now.

The day of the party saw me preparing a number party plates; and baking potatoes. This smorgasbord of culinary delight included coleslaw, and Russian carrot salad. The evening arrived, and brought with it lots of old friends from different quarters of my life, and a jolly good night it was too. However parties are not the point of this blog. Lets stick with the nitty-grrrrritty.

The day after the party came and there was quite a lot of salad left over. Reasoning to myself that in the last year or two I had avoided salads and seeds on account of the old gut, and given that I no longer have the offending item, it seemed the sensible and healthy option to pile into the salad. Reasonable surely?

Surely not. Pain. With every wave of peristalsis considerable pain, and no word from Banquo. Not even a mutter. It was really horrible. Clare whipped around the internet reading up on the condition and promptly pronounced me blocked. The worry being that everything could gum and you can end up being nauseas and worse.

I rang the Stoma nurse, and she told me that it would probably unblock in a day or so. Clare prescribed hot water and rest. Which is what I took. On the Wednesday I was teaching and found it quite hard to keep going and I had to keep sitting down.

Anyway, eventually it unblocked thank god. So there was a lesson for me.

Followers of this blog may also be aware of my attempts to get back into swimming and exercise, and the sartorial problems of having a scar that stretches from my ribs to my whatsit, a hole in the side, and a bag.

The answer is a triathlon suit. I got mine from from Swimwear On Line, but I didn’t buy it online as I wanted to look at it and feel how stretchy it was. I phoned them up and spoke to a very helpful man. It would be fine for me to come the factory and look at the garments, and buy one there and then. I mounted my motorbike and set off for Sutton In Ashfield.

As an aside I have to mention that I passed something I had never been aware of before. The Sherwood Observatory.

In the factory I discovered the man, surrounded by piles of swimwear, a line of women operating sewing machines, and the occasional computer. He eyed my up and down and pronounced me 6 foot and about a 33 inch waist. I felt slightly trapped under his microscope for a moment. However I left with a garment stowed in my rucksack.

A few days later I joined a new gym. I felt that the old one was falling apart at the seams, and also that I would rather go somewhere people didn’t know me at all. A man without a past seemed more to my liking.

So it was that I entered the new gym, triathlon suit in my bag, and some excitement in my heart. I was amazed to be given a towel free of charge (this never happened in the old place – 50p they used to charge). The changing room sported an iron, hair dryers and a centrifugal spinner to dry your swimwear! The place had a range of machines that all worked, the pool was small but nice, and there was also a sauna and steam room.

So here are the results of the gym experience:

I was able to use all the machines without anything coming unstuck. The swimwear was perfect – both covering everything up and maintaining a good profile through the water. I’m delighted too, to report that the heat of the steam and the sauna also did nothing to loosen or dislodge any of my “apparatus”.

So, gentle reader, all is good in the world.