Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Slowly Recovering

For the last few days I haven't really felt up to much, so I've been taking it easy. I'm back to sleeping 10/11 hours a night which I put down to the morphine that I'm taking. Things are slowly getting easier as the days go by.

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my GP nurse to have the stitches taken out that held the 2 drains in position, I'll also get the nurse to check the wound for me. The wound itself has dissolvable stitches which go after a couple of weeks. It's interesting that you come out of surgery with a 12" wound across your back, and there is no dressing. You are encouraged to start showering the day after surgery, this starts the stitches to commence dissolving.

This time round the opertion has taken a lot more out of me, and as I have a fair bit of bruising I'm assuming that my ribs were pulled around a lot more, and thats why it's taking longer to recover.

Thursday I have an MRI scan on my stump, at Stanmore hospital. The result of this will be discussed at Mr Skinner's usual Friday meeting, and I should get the results the following week.

Saturday, 22 September 2012


After my initial recovery which I reported in the last posting I was discharged from hospital on Thursday evening. My days in the Brompton were pretty good, I felt tired during the day but made up for that by sleeping between meals. My pain was under control, so I thought I was ready to go home. As before, Jane drove my car to Brentwood where Tom took over to drive through London and collect me. All went well and we arrived home about 10.00 in the evening. Straight to bed for me as I was pretty tired.

When I woke up yesterday morning at about 9.30 I was in acute pain across my chest every time I tried to move. I couldn't even move my head from side to side without being in pain. After some quick thinking I Got Jane to bring me up 20mls of Oramorph which is quick acting morphine that kicks in after about 10 mins.

Whilst I was laying there waiting for the Oramorph to work my mobile rang, fortunately I had it to hand, and was someone enquiring about the Mondeo which I had put on Autotrader. It was a guy from Norwich and he seemed genuinely interested, unlike some of the jokers that have called me recently. I gave him a genuine run down on the car and he arranged to come and look at it around 13.30.

By the time the call had finished the Oramorph had worked, and I was ready to get out of bed, albeit with a helping hand from Jane. After a quick wash and brush up I made it downstairs to the lounge where I spent the remainder of the day just resting. The guy from Norwich duly turned up with his wife, and went throu the paperwork and service history. Happy with that Jane then took them out to inspect the car and give them a test drive. On their return they were happy with the car and it was just left to agree a price. The car needed 4 new tyres so I was happy to accept the £400 less than my asking price. Everything agreed Jane took them to our local Barclays where they did a direct transfer to our account. That was really easy !!

So now I could spend the rest of the day relaxing, and I guess I'll be doing that for a few more days until the pain starts to subside. I'll let you know how things pan out.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Easier than last time !!

I can't believe that I'm sitting here on my bed typing a post for my blog just 24 hours after a fairly major lung operation. Although I didn't feel to good through the nite, I'll explain.

My journey the theater started at 3.30, and on arrival went through the usual procedure with the anaesthetist, which is basically having 2 cannula's put into  put into the back of your hand, and another up on your arm. Then it's lights out until you come round. The next thing I knew was waking up in the recovery room, and I asked the nurse the time, it was 10.00 in the evening. From then on through the night I was constantly waking up and not feeling to good. There was pain in my back where the surgeon had gone in and the ribs had been pulled apart in order to get the lung out. The night seemed to go on for ever, I was constantly wakeing, then sleeping, then waking .......

After what seemed an eternity the lights went on and I found out it was 6.30. In the recovery room there is one nurse to each patient. My nurse was a New Zealand guy about 30ish called Paul, and I have say he was absolutely brilliant. Bearing in mind I'm already restricted  with the amputation, and on top of that I had just come out of surgery, he washed me, changed my gown, and changed the bedding without any problem, a real professional

The recovery room was pretty empty, I think there was only 4 of us in there. I laid there watching what was going on until breakfast arrived. I was starting to feel better so I had a orange juice, a bowl of porridge, and a coffee. By this time it was around 9ish and I asked one of the nurses why it was so quiet. Simple, today there are no operations. Apparently all the surgeons are doing a course or something.

So I started chatting to four of the young nurses. The more I chatted, the better I felt. At 11.00 I was taken up to the High Dependency Unit, and there I gradually started to feel very tired to the point where I was drifting in and out of sleep, and time started to go slow just like the night before. As the day went on I slowly improved and by the time the evening meal came I felt reasonably good.

So I thought I'd do a posting !!!  It may be a lot of Gibbering Rubbish, I don't know, but I'll do more tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Sunday at the Royal Brompton !!

Having made the decision to avoid driving through central London I decided to go around the M25 and down the A1 on to the A5 to Hyde Park Corner, and then on to the Fulham Road. Progress was good until we hit the Cricklewood and Kilburn area. We ground to a sluggish 5mph for the last 6-7 miles.

Anyway we got there around 2.30 so it didn't present any problem. Tom, our son had taken 2 athletes to run in the Portsmouth Victory 5 in the morning and had returned to meet up with us at the Brompton, which he duly did around 3.30. Both the male and female athletes had won, and both in course record times, so it was a good day for Tom and Run-Fast the Management Company.

We met up with Tom in the hospital foyer and went straight to the ward. As I had to start having various tests, Jane and Tom said their good byes and left to have a late lunch. Tom would then drive my car out of London to Brentwood, where Jane could then drive back to Tiptree and Tom could take the underground to the Barbican.

My assigned nurse, doing the tests and filling all the paperwork in, recognised me from my previous visit, which was nice. Her name is Stacy, and on my last visit she was on nights and delighted us all with her chirpy morning wake up call at around 5.45. She's like a little rottweiler, having said that she is a delight because she gets on with the job efficiently and always with a smile. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was like that !!

She informed me that I was No 4 on the theater list, and with No's 1 & 2 being shortish operations I would probably be going down around lunch time. That's not to bad, at least I won't have go to long without food and drink.

Hopefully I'll do a posting on Wednesday when I'm back from cyber space !!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Just Waiting !!

The week has been a week of wishing time away waiting for Sunday to arrive, and my admission to hospital. I will be driving with Jane to the Royal Brompton Hospital on Sunday afternoon to arrive around 2.30 - 3.00. Our son Tom has to be in Portsmouth on Sunday morning as one of the Run-Fast athletes is competing in the Victory 5. He's hoping to be back, and at the Brompton for about 3.30 to drive Jane to Newbury Park, where he can hand over the car to Jane and he can get the underground back to the Barbican. I have to say that during the past year with all the various London hospital visits Tom has been brilliant in meeting up with us and driving us in and out of London, so a big thanks Tom.

Operation day is Monday, and as it's no food from Sunday midnight and no liquids after 6.00am Monday morning I'm hoping that I will be in the first wave on the operating list, otherwise it's a long day waiting and watching others eating and drinking.

From the previous operation on the left lung I know that Monday and Tuesday in the High Dependancy Unit wont be a good days, so hopefully I can update progress in next Wednesdays blog.

Friday, 7 September 2012

A Challenging Night at the Paralympics !!

WOW what a an evening !! probably one of the best evenings athletics I've ever seen.
Mainly all Finals, lots of World records broken. Golds for David Weir (800m T54 Wheelchair) and Jonnie Peacock (100m T44) & Hannah Cockroft (200m T34) to name but a few. These athletes are amazing and inspirational.

Getting to the stadium was interesting. Firstly a train from Kelvedon to Stratford which was the easy bit. At Stratford we had to walk following the signs for the Olympic Park. On exiting the station we were directed in to a separate lane for persons in wheelchairs or with walking disabilities, this certainly made things much easier. After about 200 meters we stopped in order to phone our son, Tom, who was due to arrive by underground about 5 mins after us. Due to good planning Tom and a work colleague, Justina, arrived just about on time and we all walked off together at my slow pace towards the Park. The crowds were incredible, thousands and thousands of people all homing in on the entrances.

I found the walk fairly daunting as there were people moving in all directions, crossing in front of me and darting around me, I had to be very precise about the path I chose. Jane, Tom, and Justina were very good in shielding me from the worst of it. I recon I walked about 3/4 mile to the security entrances by which time I was starting to get tired.

Security was interesting as it was exactly the same as the airport security, bags through the x-ray, and AMD for us. Of course with my leg I set the AMD off and had a body search of sorts from an Army guy. Not a bad search, but he wouldn't have got a job at Stanstead !!

The walk to the stadium was another few hundred meters before an enormous no of steps up to level 58 and our seats. By the time I had reached our seats I was pretty knackered and flopped down for a serious rest.

Three hours of sitting with my leg on was also tiring as it digs in in various places when I'm seated. We decided to leave after the last event, but before the final medal presentations in order to avoid getting mixed up with the crowds. The walk back to Stratford Station was difficult, my socket is now getting loose and the crowds were making things difficult by rushing and pushing around me. At about halfway we were offered a lift in a disability bus back to the station. This was gladly accepted and on arrival Tom and Justina saw us back to platform 10a just in time to catch the 10.44 back to Kelvedon.

All in all a brilliant evening, but also a difficult one from my perspective. I needed to push myself in a crowded arena to see how I coped. I was generally pleased with how I performed bearing in mind this was an extreme environment.

For anyone interested Tom has now posted all the 3 day reports on his 22hr, 131mile run in the "Ring O Fire" race around the Coastal path on Anglesey last weekend.
Click this link (tompayn.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Not Much to Report

Fairly quiet week this week, just trying to do some of the ordinary things in life with my leg on. So today I vacuumed out the car after the weekends escapade to Anglesey, I then attempted to mow the back lawn which just about killed me. It's much harder doing even the simplest of jobs that we all take for granted, but I guess it will get easier as time goes on and I get more practised.

Another test coming up tomorrow as our son Tom has very kindly treated us to an evening at the Paralympics in the Athletics Stadium.

I will be wearing my leg for the rail journey to Stratford, walking around the Olympics Park, and for the evenings events on the track. I have to say that I'm really looking forward to seeing the Stadium having seen it grow over the past year when I was travelling to London for my radiotherapy treatment.

Tom and a work colleague will meet us on arrival at Stratford so I've got more than enough helping hands if required. This will be a real test of my confidence as the Park will be really busy with thousands of spectators milling around, and I will have to negotiate a whole host of obstacles, not to mention the many steps up to our seats on level 57 !!

I'll report on Friday on how I coped.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Busy Week Last Week
& Good News

The good news is that I have heard from the Royal Brompton Hospital and I'm going in for the operation on my right lung on Sunday 16th Sept with the operatiopn on Monday 17th. It will be good to get this over with and back on the road to recovery.

Last week was pretty busy, on Wednesday I had to make a visit to work at Stansted Airport to meet with the company doctor and also one of my managers. I was determined to go in with my leg on and dressed in long trousers, something I haven't worn since the amputation in May. So on Tuesday I did a dress rehearsal in my work trousers and shoes. It didn't go to well as the heal on my work shoes is slightly higher and this makes walking a little more difficult. I persevered and it slowly fell into place.

Wednesday came and I drove into work for the appointments. All went well with the doctor, and she was happy for me to return to work approx 6 weeks after my next lung operation. The meeting with my manager also went well and he is also happy for me to return when I'm fit.

It was interesting going in to work and bumping into familiar faces, I managed to walk OK without falling over and making an idiot of myself, so another milestone behind me.

Thursday I had promised my son Tom that I would drive him to Anglesey to the Ring Of Fire Ultra Marathon that he had entered. The purpose of me being there was to basically to meet up with him at the various control points and have drinks, food, clothing available if he needed them. One of Toms fellow workers, Shavaun, also came to help out. She was instrumental in getting Tom involved in this race so I think she felt she had to be there to give encouragement. As I'm somewhat incapacitated her help was invaluable in preparing drinks and getting things ready for Tom's arrival at each check point, not to mention having a companion in the car to keep me company.

The race is a 131 mile Ultra Marathon around the Anglesey Coastal path with a total vertical ascent of 13,695 feet over 3 days. Day one is 32 miles, day two 64 miles, and day three 35 miles. Day one, Friday started at 1.00pm, days 2 & 3 started really early at 6.00am with all of the the 100 runners sleeping in village halls at the end of each day. Without going into to much detail Tom won very convincingly completing the three stages in 21 hours 54 mins, and over 3 hours ahead of second place.

Tom at the finish with the race organisers.

Check Point stop on day2

This was Tom's first venture in to Ultra Marathon running and it looks like he might have found a new vocation !! I mentioned in previous postings that Tom was a little crazy in the things he attempts and perhaps this proves it. Who would want to run 131 miles, up and down 13,695 feet, through sea water up to your waist, mud 12" deep and through fields with bulls !!

Anyone interested in more details of the race can check out Toms Blog at tompayn.blogspot.com this should be updated fairly soon with a daily report and a few more pictures.

Having said all that we are extremley proud of him and his achievments.
Well done Tom.