A day in the life of a lucky man

AA day in the life of a lucky man

The Hospital :

Well here I am, laying on my back in a hospital bed, with my leg raised up by two pillows, surrounded by female patients and one male laying in the bed next to me. My thoughts were all about relief and my doctor, who fought hard to organise my surgery.
Planning for this day, has taken over twelve months to be exact, and the Reasons for delays, are varied but many. Human nature, tends to travel along the line of least resistance, until you are faced with the unexpected changes, affecting your life.

I was booked in on the ground floor, near the main entrance of the hospital, for an operation on my left ankle, this entailed having a pin (nail) inserted in the bottom of the heel, requiring a hole to be drilled through the heel and into the tibia of 30 cm, then inserting the pin with glue, to hold it in place. To stop any movement in the ankle, a piece of Bone from the Fibula is used to fuse the bones together, preventing bone on bone contact, and reducing further collapse of the foot. This operation may leave you with a slight limp of the left foot, but allows you to walk greater distances with out pain! A trade I am happy to make.

After the three hour operation I was returned to a ward called DOSA 47 and DOSA 23. This meant, “Day only Surgery”, I was in dosa 47. (Intending to have you out of hospital within 48 hrs)
Surgery took place on a Wednesday, Thursday morning all the blocks had worn off, along with removal of intravenous pain killers, checking for any hidden reaction to surgery. I had a meeting with my physiotherapist and occupational therapist about equipment for use at home. After receiving instructions, I was sent to the discharge ward at eleven thirty in the morning and asked to wait till three in the afternoon, for insttructions on how to give myself a needle for blood clots.
After waiting three hours my wife decided to follow up on the medication, only to be told that none had been ordered! I sensed things were amiss, being the only ones left in the discharge ward. The usual scramble for answers resulted in receiving medication one hour later, followed by the lesson in self medication. After a long day in the discharge ward, I was happy to go home and elevate my foot to aid circulation, and bring it back to life.

My first big surprise was the speed at which it all took place. Rightly or wrongly, the operation, took 14 months to book. and was over in a matter of three hours, inside three days. although too early for a success review, while my ankle is locked in plaster. I was impressed with the changes, and caught off guard to the theory of least resistance. One of the big positives and excellent care given to me over my short stay, came from Doctors and Nurses.

Only one change did not occur was the attitude to an alkaptonurian, on meeting with nurses, anaesthetist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist, who had not heard of AKU. Due to the small time frame, little knowledge could be imparted in explaining the condition of AKU and the affects on patients. However, I did explain to my anaesthesiest to take care of my neck, and not to twist it during my operation , as it would likely dislocate the neck. He was glad to comply with my request

I asked patients, how long they had to wait before surgery? All replied less than a month, The male patient, who arrived the night before by ambulance, who required key hole surgery on a dislocated shoulder, while playing with his children. Felt guilty in comparison with others, and joked about the situation as we made comparisons of our surgery, along with a good sense of humour!

On a more serious note, the patients with cancer, had a positive outlook for the future and were pleased with the treatment received by Doctor, surgeon and nurses. And were Looking forward to going home, to share more time with family and friends, at the same time adjusting their lives, to the circumstances of cancer.

For myself all went along with the pace of a steam train and was pleased to have been operated on, after such a long time waiting, to be called up for Surgery.
At this stage all is going well, sitting in bed with my feet up on a couple of pillows, with Scruffy, my Shitzu dog sitting on the end of the bed, patiently waiting for me to take him for a walk, so he can show off his hunting skills among the bottle brush in the back garden, then talk to his mate over the back yard fence In dog language, only they can understand!
To think, all this happens in the day of a lucky man!

Justin van kampen

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