Week 698

Sunday, 8th May, 2022

Absolutely glorious morning with warm sunshine from clear, blue sky. We are so luck to live here. The skies are big and wide, largely unhindered by buildings. There is a sense of freedom which you don’t get in a town or urban area.

Angmering Sunrise

Out early for a walk. Another chat with the fat, brown rabbit or its young ones who haven’t realised yet the danger humans pose them. One came right up to us the other day. Robins are everywhere. They are particularly excited by our garden development and who could blame them but the woods around our Development are a rich habitat for wildlife.

Angmering Wood – Not my photo

I’m trying to get all the jobs done this weekend that I will probably not be fit enough for a while after Monday. The cars have been cleaned and the lawns will be cut.

I killed a fly today. You might think that is an incidental observation but it has become increasingly significant to me. It was a huge ‘blue bottle’ which flew in to the Study window and fought strenuously to escape. I sprayed it and it fell, noisily, on to the window sill and buzzed and struggled on its back for some minutes. I found myself feeling terrible that I had inflicted such a terminal result on a living thing. This has been happening to me increasingly as I grow older. I step over beetles on the patio. I let spiders live. I seem to be valuing life a lot more as I travel towards losing mine.

Monday, 9th May, 2022

Up at 4.30 am and out before 5.00 am walking on a mild, May morning. Got to get my 10 miles done before leaving for the hospital and my hernia operation. Let it be said, he never gave in!

The world is such a beautiful place! Backlit by the rising sun, you’d think it would also be silent at this time in the morning. Wrong! It is so noisy with nature. Birds everywhere asserting their right to life and territory. Blackbirds singing their gorgeous phrases. Two Barn Owls talking to each other in the huge beech tree. Seagulls sitting like figureheads on house roofs.

And down below is rabbit-central with groups of rabbits everywhere. A barking cough and scream came from a long streak of fox tearing across the park as the rabbits scatter.

Life goes on outside and beyond us. We are just blips on the world’s timeline. No more. No less. Blip!

Kevin has sent me a cartoon to inspire confidence ……

Tuesday, 10th May, 2022

Yesterday developed rather differently than I had expected. Mr DiNicola had a completely Italian team. Throughout the afternoon, they dropped in on me at regularly intervals to apologise for keeping me waiting. An operation from the morning had given them major problems which hadn’t been resolved and I would go down as soon as possible.

It wasn’t until after 5.00 pm that I was wheeled down in gown and paper pants and white, compression socks. The operating team talked to me about Oldham. (My notes said I had taught there.) I wanted to talk about their homes of Bologna and Parma. …. and then there was nothing …. I awoke being asked questions to test my consciousness. I remember deliberately making a huge effort to answer them accurately, clearly and concisely. I wanted to prove I was ready to go home. What I didn’t know was that they had already decided I wouldn’t.

My operation turned in to a major incision and I had to stay in hospital over night. Unfortunately, I could not move because of the stitches so, at 11.30 am today, I have only managed 44 paces !!!!!!!!!! I was in a Recovery Suite of just three people. It was incredibly hot and seagulls were squawking all night and I was semi-prone on the bed with two urine bottles. I was told I wouldn’t move until I’d filled them. I didn’t move and I didn’t fill them. You can see it is the height of luxury!

In the morning, I was scanned and told I would have a catheter fitted to drain my bladder. You will know this involves having a tube inserted up the ‘willy’. I struggled to get off the bed with help, shuffled to the bathroom, and instantly managed naturally. Really ‘relieved’.

Looks like 10 miles a day will be on hold for about 2 weeks. I will then have to fit in 2 weeks of 20 miles a day to catch up. Probably need a hip/knee replaced by then. In the year 2025, begins 30 miles a day routine …. little time to sleep at all … wife despairs….

Wednesday, 11th May, 2022

Managed to get in to bed last night but woke at 1.30 am in agony. Struggled to a chair in the Dressing Room and managed to find a reasonably comfortable position. I slept fitfully until 5.30 am. Woke up feeling very emotional. Felt it for most of this morning. Had some lovely messages of encouragement which made a huge difference.

Kevin has contacted me a few times. Does feel nice to be back in contact. He wanted my help in finding Bob Barker-Wyatt. Of course some people just want to disappear and he is one.

L-R Pam Burston (nee Cox), Jane Shaw (nee Hutchinson), Linda Blencowe (nee Moore), Christina Hockin (nee Earhart), Carol Thompson, Pam Heron (nee Fleming), Liz Steel (nee Ashton), and John Ridley

John Ridley met this group of ‘girls’ from my year and I suddenly realised I only remembered one of them. I suppose I also ‘disappeared for a long time.

Look at that huge needle. I’m only little!

I think Pauline is rather enjoying having me under her total control but she is doing absolutely everything for me. She has always been good at ‘medical’ things. I have had to stop my anticoagulant for the past week. To prevent the risk of heart attack and stroke, I have had to have injections in my stomach of some other drug. The nurse who injected me in hospital gave me instructions to do my own when I got home. There was as much chance of that as me running a marathon this morning. Pauline has done them for me. She’s always enjoyed inflicting pain!

Thursday, 12th May, 2022

I am feeling much better. (Thanks for asking!) I’ve been to the toilet for the first time since Monday. Rather relieved. I slept half the night in bed and half in a chair but I’ve got up walking reasonably confidently. It’s a beautiful, warm and sunny day outside so I am going to enjoy sitting in the garden. My wife says she’s knows I’m getting better because I’ve returned to my normal, belligerent self. The fight is coming back. I thought I was normally, obedient, sweetness and light. It appears not.

Can’t wait to start exercising again. I have been sedentary since I completed 10 miles at 11.00 am on Monday. Feels weird. So many people have told me not to do too much too soon but it is my nature. Done a bit of gardening this morning and gave more thought to replacing the lawn.

We have remarkably few National Carpet chain outlets in our area for a place with so much new house building going on. Tapi Carpets is our go-to place. They sent us 4 samples. The ‘Lords’ is the deepest pile and softest texture and the most expensive. When we put it on our lawn, it looked horribly false and ‘plastic’. The best of the 4 was ‘Oval’ because it looked exactly like our lawn and realistically fitted in.

Carpetright has an outlet at Brighton but all of their offerings were very poor and fell apart in the Packet. We have decided to call in a contractor and discuss the options. Like everything, as soon as it’s decided, I want it done yesterday!

Friday, 13th May, 2022

Walked 1.1 miles yesterday. Managed 5 hours in bed last night. Can now get in and out of chairs around the house without assistance. The most painful thing is that I have developed a cough and it translates straight to the site of my operation excruciatingly. My minimum target today is 3 miles. Hope, actually, to manage 5 miles. I aim to have a shower today because I stink after 4 days without one so I may need my dressing changing. That’s going to hurt in such a hairy area. I am considering renaming the Blog: Diary of a Wimp.

Women are strange creatures. I will never understand them. Although I am dealing with the important things in life like sorting out the garden development and choosing the best smartphones for our upgrade, Pauline is constantly browsing clothing sites. I know we have to wear a few clothes but just replace them when they wear out. Swimming costumes have been a major target of the searches for as long as I can remember and different ones were needed for the Health Club swimming pool to the ones required for sunshine holidays. I know bizarre but what can you do?

Having searched everywhere without much success, including in huge, American outlets in Florida and New York where items were selling for $100s, the search might finally be over. Costumes have been found and sent for from ….. Asda. I kid you not! They’re worth £10.00 of anybody’s money. The girl looks good doesn’t she?

Saturday, 14th May, 2022

An absolutely wonderful day in terms of weather. Wall to wall hot sunshine reaching 22C/70F in the back garden. A consolidation day in terms of recovery from the operation. I have walked 9.0 miles by 8.30 pm and I’m feeling quite tired. Monday will be a week since the operation and I am aiming for back to 10 miles by then.

Managed some shopping today. Went to Lidl to buy Almond Milk. Their version is easily the best and for Liz’s information, the cheapest by a mile. While I was there, I spotted some incredibly cheap (£10.00) wireless smartphone charger/stands. They plug into your computer or laptop via USB and charge while you use your phone. Perfect. Love gadgets!

Isn’t it a joy to have a shower? After my first one, the top layer of bandaging fell away. I expect tonight will bring me down to the sticky tape applied directly over the wound. Bit shocked to read that in a large hernia repair such as mine, the soreness and swelling could last up to 6 months or longer. Trust me, mine won’t!

Now I’m back in the gym, I am watching a fascinating 1960s, Portuguese, cold-war spy series on Netflix that is based on true events and speaks to my intellectual awakening in the 1960s. There is a small town in Portugal, called Gloria de Ribatejo from which the drama takes its title: Glória. Politics, Sex & Espionage. Delicious!

For all my bullishness, I feel rather uncertain about the future and when I feel like that, I turn in on myself like some grumpy hermit. I need to start travelling again and I can’t even drive at the moment. That’s driving me around the bed.

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