A new thing for me

Almost everywhere I go fits into this description, so when I was to have an operation in a hospital, that was truly a new thing for me. A bad cough in Porto left me with a small hernia. It grew a little, after a doctor in Pamplona examined me, so I knew that an operation was looming.

Travel bloggers are always going to places for the first time. Like your initial trip to Paris or Aia Auzoa. It's new, you've never done that before. So we are kind of used to those experiences. Occasionally something happens and we end up in a hospital or doctors office to have it repaired. I've had minor incidents like that as well. But to be cut open, under general anesthetic, was a totally unknown factor.

"If you don't get this seen to, and soon, you could die!"
The doctor's words, in Pamplona, loomed over me like a vulture—waiting for it's chance to devour my flesh. Thoughts of the various possibilities which can happen with an Inguinal Hernia, raced through my mind. The strangulation of my leg's Aortic Artery knowing that a slow ambulance would mean amputation, flashed its evil presence in my direction. Extreme vomiting and pain added their threats of torture as well. I still had a few weeks before the flight back to London and cut my activities down to virtually zero.

The first thing I did when I arrived back home was contact my doctor. England's National Health Service is not all that good terrible. Nearly everything which has been done to me, over the decades, never quite worked right and/or caused more problems than were present before the treatment. Fortunately a new doctor in our local clinic, made an appointment for me in a nearby private hospital—what a difference! I ended up seeing people who actually knew what they were doing and did it well. No Community nurses (some aren't even nurses—just dangerous) who aren't fully trained or have very serious chips on their shoulders. No overworked harassed doctors, no receptionists who think they're physicians. No hanging around for months or years before the operation. It was almost a pleasure.

My initial appointment was great. The consultant surgeon was fantastic. He explained the whole procedure to me and all the options available. Shortly afterwards, I was on my way to the hospital to have the operation. Understand, I have never, in my life, undergone such an event. The last time I was even in one overnight—was 51 years ago, while in the Air Force (Alaska), after a fire door whacked into my right knee. I spent 3 days in the base hospital, having huge amounts of Burse fluid removed—I wouldn't even term that an operation. To tell the truth, I was even looking forward to being cut open—it felt like my first trip to Pamplona.

I was on the top floor back towards right. Nice view from the window. It's called Shirley Oaks Hospital

Onward and downwards
Upon arrival I was shown to the very nice room, complete with everything (Wifi, own bathroom, closet, TV and refreshments). A strange garment was put on which opens at the back (now that was weird) and after a while the Anesthetist came in, gave me the options and then I was on my way to Pre-op. Needles went into and out of my left hand, giving it a resemblance to a Porcupine, while the theatre nurse was preparing stuff on my right hand side. All I remember, is she put the Oxygen mask over my mouth. The next thing I knew, I was back in the room and two hours had passed. The surgeon had cut down into my abdomen, done the necessary stuff and that was it.

Afterwards I was told what had happened. The op only took about 40 minutes, then I was wheeled back to the room. Got up from the stretcher and climbed into bed—myself! For around an hour I talked and chuckled about it all, while people did various things to me. I don't remember any of that!

All I recall is "waking up", but I was already awake—just not compos mentis. The entire, round trip journey took about 7 hours (bit like the flight to Firenze) and I was on my way home in a taxi. Even felt a bit disappointed that I wouldn't be spending a night in the luxurious room being attended to by friendly, professional staff.

Now the upwards bit
I had been told to expect quite a lot of pain, but after a nights sleep I awoke feeling less uncomfortable than during the trip back. I hardly noticed the thing and haven't had to use the pain killers at all. Color me very pleased Big Grin

The following days were slow. Not a lot done, but I was up and about, back pounding the keyboard on my computer hacking out code to make the 'Follow this blog' work and writing some stuff up. Also checking out flight prices to Israel which, oddly enough, seem to going down not up. If anything I was getting a bit bored and felt frustrated that I couldn't get out and about. Even toying around as to whether or not finally engage with Social Media and go back on Twitter or something - boredom does strange things to one's mind.

Unwrapping it up
Bandages came off after few days, then some more and a few others. I had three layers on me. The hernia had been large, so I have a 3 1/2 inch incision that is healing up very nicely. Since day two I was out walking, increasing the distance a bit at a time. Felt a bit funny, sort of like I expected to feel some kind of pain but nothing happened.

We always relate our terrible stories of how much agony we went through with parasites, broken toes, various diseases and the like on our travel blogs—but I didn't have that and, well, feel as though I'm letting the side down. No worries though, the less pain the better.

As I write this, I'm still healing up and will see about a short trip to Jerusalem in November. Hopefully some decent prices and a hotel that doesn't cost the earth (might give hostels a miss on this one). Will get to use my new little canvas travel bag for it.
Oct 15, 2016

latest comment at top
Viveca Koh
This all sounds like a very positive experience Ted, and I was amazed to learn that you've never had an operation before! I had a procedure done as a 12-year-old and they anaesthetised me with Ketamine, better known as a horse tranquilliser - as a petite, fragile child I can remember seeing double when I came round and been horribly sick, not an experience I want to repeat (and I cannot understand why people today now take K for recreational purposes).

Anyway I'm very glad to learn that you are now on the mend, and I hope it is all onwards and up woods from here

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