Posted by: cg00n | August 4, 2009

Online again

Yes, folks, I made it home (with lots of help from P) yesterday afternoon.   Moving myself around is unbelievably exhausting!  The groin incision is still leaking much the way my leg was some months ago but having been through that before we know how to cope with it this time.  I still get quite serious pain from some tendon or other in my groin when I move the wrong way or indeed sometimes when I just twitch the wrong way.  However, it is much less serious than it was a week or so ago.

Today’s big accomplishment (other than catching up on world news and personal email) was getting myself out of bed, down into the living room for a drink and dinner with P and back into bed without (well, almost) any help.  It took the better part of forever but tomorrow it will be easier and so on. Thanks to all of you who wrote, emailed and phoned during the last two weeks.  Be assured that it does make a difference to know you’re sending positive vibes my way.  Today’s time sitting on the bed was also greatly enlivened by a couple of friends who chatted to me via IM.  Those of you who know my email address are welcome to know my (several) IM identities as well:  just drop me a line.

It is wonderful to be home again!  I have a number of food allergies or intolerances so getting the hospital to produce food that I could eat without upsetting my delicate gut was quite tricky and resulted in an extremely bland diet.  For the first few days I ate almost nothing because I was feeling slightly nauseous.  In retrospect this may have been mild anxiety and I really should have popped a bit more clonazepam but I managed to struggle through.

The first time the physiotherapists tried to get me out of bed and standing with a walker was a disaster.  Since I still had a drainage tube into my groin I was not supposed to bend more than 30 degrees and moving my right leg was agonizing as well.  After a few suppressed screams and a good deal of adrenaline they managed to get me balanced on my good leg and the walker.  At this point I felt so faint I could barely hold myself up.  My perspiration was literally pooling around my foot and everything was going grey.  This was probably  due to lack of nourishment.  The next day I was able to make it as far as the wash basin (about 7 steps away) and back which was a major improvement.

That whole first week went by in a sort of surreal haze.  I barely remember my nurses, what the rooms looked like or anything.  For the first couple of days I was sharing a room with a couple of old ladies one of whom was clearly quite confused about where she was and what she was doing there.  It made the nights even more surreal than the days.  Then there were the odd visual hallucinations.  My brain spent a day or two in overdrive making patterns.  I was convinced that someone had written small sums all over the walls and ceiling and that someone had later tried to clean them off because they were now almost too faint to read.  Needless to say P had no idea what I was talking about.  It was not a pleasant experience.  Maybe I should have done more drugs when I was younger so it would be more familiar to me now.

The second week was much better in a more comfortable and quieter room.  I was eating fairly well again by this time, the hallucinations had gone and I was also sleeping quite well, which is not far short of a miracle in a hospital.  One very sad thing happened that week though:  my room mate received a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.  He is about my age and otherwise in quite good health.   Although I get the impression that the diagnosis was not entirely unexpected it brought back to me just how devastating the news can be.  His prospects are considerably worse than mine.  I tossed a few thoughts over the curtain, mostly to the effect that the anti-anxiety drugs are really effective and that he should not be shy about getting himself some.

It was interesting to note that the hospital staff (surgeon, charge nurse, social worker et. al.) were quite careful about how they broke the news.  Before the whole interview was finished he had the business card of the social worker in case he needed someone to talk to and an appointment with the surgeon for this week to discuss what they were going to do.  The surgeon also made it quite clear that the situation was not a write-off:  there were things that could be and would be done which had at least some chance of working.  My own experience was entirely different.  The plastic surgeon baldly recited the survival statistics to me without any context or any notion of what treatment options were available and then sent me on my way in the sure and certain knowledge that someone would be calling me with some more information sometime in the next few days.  P, A and I were really on our own in that respect.  Fortunately my “bad news” email brought lots of support and encouragement, friends rallied round and we managed to negotiate that particular sharp curve in our collective life.  The road has been rocky and winding ever since but we seem to be managing, even if the tires squeal occasionally.

Speaking of tires, I’m tired now.  Tomorrow I will try to contribute a little more to the collective wisdom of the InterNet.  Until then I wish you all a very good night.



  1. glad to hear that you are home– look forward to your writings on your progress!

  2. Great to have that treatment behind you, and to hear you are on the mend. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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