Saturday, 30 April 2016


Saturday 0519. My bedroom door opened. I woke to a voice saying "I'm on my way." Still in bed and barely awake I hugged my dear friend and tried in the few seconds available to convey the depth of my gratitude for his care, help and support over the last three weeks. Then he was gone: the house silent. I was alone. David and Molly The Dog are on their way back to their life in the diagonally opposite corner of Scotland. Thank you Deborah for the loan of your husband.

I lay contemplating life, the universe and everything and why the answer was, or is, 42.  I realised that, to all intents and purposes, I was likely to be on my own for the first time since January.

I rose and made a cup of hot water and lemon and marvelled at the sunrise:
I will miss the banter, the daily coffee and crossword at The Woodlands and the help: I haven't lifted a finger or even cooked a meal since I left the hospital nine sleeps ago. I will miss the fact that I've had a chauffeur on call. I will not be allowed to drive for over four weeks at the earliest.

Many equate being on one's own with being alone. That's not always the case and I'm always conscious of how fortunate I am that it isn't for me. I love company and my house is always open home to friends and visitors. However I don't think that I was actually designed (without meaning to start any deep philosophical discussion) to live with anyone. After all I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't want to live with me so why should I think that someone else might? In any case having lived on my own for 16 years I've grown far too set in my ways.

So as David, Molly and The Beast make their way out of Stornoway Harbour and sail into a beautiful morning and a Calmac breakfast I shall break out the yoghurt, eat some strawberries, make toast with Marmite and peanut butter, take my tablets with Red Bush Tea and count my blessings.

David and The Beast overlooking Bayble Bay

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A Week and A Day

Yesterday, one week after I returned from theatre, David took me back to the hospital. I wanted to walk onto the ward without any stick or aids to take a thank you to the staff and find out how one patient in particular was doing. He had gone to surgery a good few hours before I left the hospital but hadn't returned when I left. He'd had a rough time but was doing well.

I felt good being a walking beneficiary of all that is best in our National Health Service.

Today's been an easier day: coffee at The Woodlands and then rest and exercise. I cannot believe how much time getting back to full strength occupies. All the plans for doing this and that have still not materialised. No showers until the dressing comes off means washing takes up quite a lot more time as do exercises (absolutely essential) and rest (unfortunately also essential). And I don't even have to do anything else because David and Molly are looking after me.

This will probably be the final 'bulletin' post although the fact that I shall not be allowed to drive or put too much pressure on the knee for another five weeks at least will doubtless get a mention as my knee gains in strength and I want to do things.

After some glorious days (with lots of sun but cold winds) when David planted out my potatoes in sacks and tubs:

Yesterday, however, turned wintery with a blast from the Arctic and snow on the Mainland hills driven by near gale-force winds. This morning, for the first time, I saw the ferry MV Loch Seaforth venture past the house in the lee of the Island before executing a u-turn to run with the heavy northerly swell down and across the Minch to Ullapool. I may be sitting in the conservatory soaking up the heat from the sun but David and Molly are walking on the shore dressed up to the nines against the icy conditions.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Thankful Thursday: Home

I'm writing this coming up to midnight on Friday 22 April just over 100 hours since I had the new knee. It has been an amazing week and absolutely nothing has turned out as I expected. The operation was, apparently, textbook. I had an epidural and whilst I didn't actually see what was going on I was certainly aware of it. I didn't, of course, feel any pain at all at the time.  I was the first on last Monday so by the time the day had ended I had had a good chance to catch up with things and realise what was what. It wasn't the best of days. However I slept well and by Tuesday lunchtime the angels of mercy had the pain under control and I never looked back. 

I was up and about and on Wednesday the surgeon was so pleased he said I'd be out on Friday. However on Tursday morning he was so pleased with progress he said, if the physiotherapist was happy, I could go that afternoon. He was so I went!

Obviously it's not the end of the journey but the physical recovery so far has been remarkable. My only problem is nausea and a complete lack of desire to eat. I'm sure that will all be sorted soon.

The staff were so kind, caring and thoughtful and my thanks to, and praise of, everyone involved is fulsome and heartfelt. The four of us who were recovering together in the room were together for just a few days but the craic was brilliant as we all discovered the links we shared in the community and, in some cases, reminisced.

I had been convinced when I went in that I would have lots of time in Blogland and writing letters etc. I did virtually none of that. I slept and I exercised. I ate (the food was good) when I could and the rest of the time was taken up by visiting and the like. I was in hospital for 96 hours. Four of the fastest days and nights I've lived. Four days for which I am very thankful indeed.

Monday, 18 April 2016


It's 0500 and I've been woken out of a deep sleep to start my Operation Day. It will be the last occasion for a long time when I'll be able to sleep on my side or curled up. It's been a Good Night. I have to drink two pre-op drinks. Breakfast. 

The first time I spent time in hospital for major surgery was when I was 16. The ward had 30+ patients and was a fairly noisy place even in the middle of the night. This room, with 4 beds and only 3 patients (I assume we are still patients and not customers) has been as silent as the grave. One of us snores lightly and contentedly. Perhaps two do. Maybe I do as well but unless someone mentions it I may never know. I was told once that one of my (few) saving graces was that I didn't snore. Mind you it's hard not to snore if you are lying in your back. 

The English language is strange in many ways. One of the most curious is the singular 'S'. We all know that s is used for plurals. However at some time in the middle of the night when I got up for a comfort break it occurred to me that one person snores but two people snore. Strange. Or perhaps it was just because I was half asleep in the middle of the night. 

The surgeon came yesterday. He has a very good reputation but I'm glad this is his chosen profession because he'd make a lousy salesman. He certainly accentuated all the possible pitfalls of the op and didn't even mention the likely benefits. Mind you unlike my last two major operations it's not a question of "You will die if you don't have this."

And on that note, my drinks having been drunk (ablative absolute I think YP?) I shall see if I can have another few minutes sleep.