March Blog

This is a bit late, but I’ve got a really, really good excuse.

My normally tranquil life took something of a kick in the crutch on the 19th of Feb when I had a new left hip fitted. Sounds simple enough but did involve getting rid of the old, knackered one, and five days in hospital – a unique experience which I can only compare to the retreats offered by Her Majesty’s Prison Service, or even worse, long – haul air travel.

Just as, at 39,000 feet, in a big metal tube, wherein you have become walk – on baggage, in hospital the staff also rule.

Institutionalized helplessness is a weird thing. Despite Shock, Horror reports of failings in certain hospitals, I have to report that no such uncaring behaviour took place during my medical sojourn. Quite the contrary. The days were punctuated by solicitous visits; sometimes to offer especially diluted NHS tea, coffee or hot chocolate; sometimes to check blood pressure and oxygen levels [I was impressed by having a little tube thingy stuffed up my nose on a permanent basis – just like they do on “Casualty”] and, very importantly, to be hoicked to a standing position by the occupational therapists and put through the painful business of crutch-walking.

Post-operative visits from the surgeon were interesting, especially  for those requiring a blow by blow account of the grisly goings-on in theatre. Sadly, I never saw the anaesthetist again. He was really interesting. German, around 5foot 2 , bald on top but long at the back, earrings, upper arm tattoos and every bit the pocket Bill Bailey. We’d had an interesting natter about cars as he stuck various needles in and prior to me slipping off to God knows where.

Mealtimes were big too. I was amazed at the ability of whoever prepared our food to render all of it grey. Even the carrots.

On the ward there were four of us– two new hips, two new knees. The knees were the worst, their physio spells often  punctuated by, “Fookin’ ‘Ell !” and other quaint northern remarks. Hips are certainly painful, but its but more of the nagging variety. However, twice a day, stocky, capable no –frills Brenda the drugs nurse came round with her squeaky wheeled cabinet and doled out long lists of chemicals all gratefully swallowed. Especially the little yellow and orange jobs which cause a certain mental detachment.

But I’m home now and lurching about the place on two aluminium sticks – relatively successfully it must be said – so much so that I can manage flat bits on one crutch only ! Little victories ! And by the time I write the next blog, I will have discarded mobility aids, running up and downstairs two at a time and being annoyingly athletic.

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