Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Hysterectomy

Here I am feeling very sad and sorry for myself and I am quite a bit of pain. It is always much worse for blokes than lasses, just read how Fen bangs on about her surgery. But boy she did have it tough.

My whole stomach was falling apart, with muscles separating left right and centre. With such fine abbs as I have, I am not sure how this has happened, ahem. I now have an inverted 'T' of shiny staples above my navel up to my ribcage. See Fen's photo for what staples look like. Fen says she was bloated when the photo was taken. Ok, I believe her. I am bloated too.

It only hurts when I breath, move, cough or laugh. I haven't laughed.

Was I worried ahead of surgery? I certainly was. I checked very carefully on the net as to whether the surgery was really necessary. I had no pain and I could not see a reason for surgery, but searching indicated the problem will get worse and the repair will be more difficult the longer it was left.

What caused it? A couple of weeks after returning from Japan I had a minor cold. But it caused a lot of dry coughing and it would seem this is what caused the problem. I woke one night and noticed a bulge in my stomach. I concluded it wasn't a very fast growing cancerous mass and the doctor and specialist confirmed my thoughts.

I was up early on Wednesday as I had to fast from 6.30am. I forced down cereal and toast and two cups of coffee. I am not used to eating so early. I had done everything I could in advance that required lifting or straining, such as replacing the barbecue gas bottle, cleaning my shower, vacuuming etc. I was at the hospital by 12.30 and paper work and sitting around and constant confirmation of details took a couple of hours. By 3.30 I was under and I guess the op took two hours. I awoke in terrible pain like I have never known, worse than leg cramp, but gradually the chems kicked in and I was transferred to my room.

At my worst, how I loved the nurses that gave me constant care and attention. I recently read a criticism of how nurses and other medical staff talk down to older patients and are inclined to use baby speak. But that was exactly what I needed, mother care and comfort.

R visited not long after I was in my room and settled. I don't think I was making much sense and I kept dropping off to sleep. He had a formidable task to do at home and so I suggested he went home and let people know I had survived. I told him not to call Mother, but he did and she kept him on the phone for an hour. By about 9.30pm he was very stressed by messages, phone calls, texts and emails flying around. I wish I had sorted these things out better for him in advance.

Flowers arrived from our friend in Japan, lovely gerberas. That night I tried to watch tv, tried to read, tried to send texts, but as Fen said, you just keep fading in and out. Not that I was really asleep, but every hour my stats were checked. The next morning the IV drip was removed and that was the end of the good drugs. I had pressed the pain relief button nearly 300 times, although that was all in the first few hours. Of course it will only work at set intervals and so I did not get that much extra relief. I was still attached to a drain from the site of the operation to a blood drain collection container, meaning I had to carry that around if I moved. I got up a few times, but it was a terrible strain. By midday the good pain relief had worn off and I was only getting oral paracetamol. I could only have it every four hours but it wore off after three hours. They gave me something else in between that was supposed to be stronger, but it appeared to have no effect at all.

Two more friends called in as the day progressed, but when the latter arrived I was only just holding it together. R had visited straight from work at 4pm. Mother rang at 7pm and was very comforting. I received some nice text messages.

I watched tv that night and then slept, only being disturbed every couple of hours but I think I was left alone from midnight until 5am when I had the soundest sleep. I went soundly back to sleep and was again woken at 7 by staff with a fresh water jug.

The specialist made a brief visit, as they do, and said I could go home if there was someone to look after me. R had taken the day off work and collected me. The blood drainage was disconnected and the waterproof wrap removed, replaced by easy to remove tape over the staples.

Of course once home, I moved around too much and struggled to just get up and down until I worked out ways of doing things without straining my stomach. I am getting adept at hooking things off the floor with my feet, switching on or off power points with my toes and I worked out what I need to be high so that I don't have to bend down. Naturally having R around to wait on me hand and foot helps.

Like Fen, I am wearing white knee high hose to prevent clots and must do so for a couple of weeks and a kind of a girdle thing to keep everything tight. It is not attractive and nor is it comfortable, but I must learn to like it as it will be with me for a month.

As I have top private health insurance and the hospital I was in has an agreement with my health fund, I am surprised how much this is costing. Surgeon an extra $500, assistant surgeon, $150, anaesthetist, $150, hospital services surcharge $25. Plus initial surgeon visit, maybe $80, plus health fund excess, $250, girdle $80. All totalling over $1000. I don't know what the waiting list for public hospital is and of course I would not have gotten the same 'ring the bell, the nurse appears immediately' attention, but my experiences in public hospitals have been good. I would think twice about going private next time. The extra cost, even though you have insurance, rather defeats the purpose of private cover.

The hospital, the staff, the treatment were all first class though. Even the food was nice.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


Gee. Last hospital I would have thought would serve ham sandwiches for lunch.

I am alive!

How reassuring that life goes on and Fevola is in trouble again.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

My Surgeon

Oh, I have a surgeon. He is a Mister no less, not a Doctor. This is exciting. He wants to slice me open and operate. Well, that is what surgeons do hey. So I am mortal after all. I debated in my mind whether to drive to his surgery or catch the tram. I caught the tram and that was not stressful. Driving and parking might have been. I did not even think of the bus, but then I saw it and caught it home.

This is just so ain't gonna to be pretty but a few weeks off work will be.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Today is D day. See ya whenever. Comments now need approval but only temporarily....... I hope.

A Little Vane

Adorning the nearby Royce Hotel sits this rather nice little weather vane. Click on the picture to see it larger.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A fine place for a village

We have a friend who lives in Wangaratta. Although he is close to the Ovens River, he is high enough for his house to stay dry.

Now, Wangaratta sits at the confluence of the Ovens and King Rivers. Is it really a good location for a town? Not only do two major rivers meet, but

Fifteen Mile Creek,
Croppers Creek,
Middle Creek,
Boggy Creek,
Stony Creek,
Black Range Creek,
Rose River,
Dandongadale River,
Black Range Creek,
Meadow Creek,
Hurdle Creek and
Reedy Creek
all pour their waters into either of the large rivers. Then poor old Wang floods, yet again.

Photo from the Rural City of Wangaratta.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Tokyo Two Sentenced

The Greenpeace activists, the Tokyo Two have not been been imprisoned and for that we should be grateful. However they did receive suspended gaol terms. Sorry Japan, while I like you and your country, this case should have been thrown out of court. It is a bad mark against Japan in my mind.

Wunderkammer Window

Just giving you a taste of what you may find in Wunderkammer.

Melbourne Bicycle Scheme

There is no doubt that bicycle helmets save lives and heads from injuries. Like wearing seatbelts in motor cars, it is a no brainer.....oh, not an intentional pun, especially as I have a brother with an ABI, Acquired Brain Injury, and yes it was it bicycle he was riding when he rode straight across our Highway 1 without looking, possibly a suicide attempt. He can't recall. No, he was not wearing a helmet and the lack of could have caused more brain injury than he had been wearing one.

However, Melbourne's bicycle scheme is going to fail or at best being a large impost on City of Melbourne ratepayers, because the law says that cyclists must wear protective helmets. I would argue for an exemption for bicycle scheme hired bikes. The riders would generally be experienced and know the dangers, or be very occasional riders and be very cautious. The distances would be short. The is traffic generally slow and non aggressive, well better than some places. There are many paths for exclusive cycling where there is little interaction between cars and bicycles.

As per usual, I write this with some self interest. A rack with bicycles has appeared nearby to us, adjacent to the park on Kingsway we call the Little Sandy Desert.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunday Bits

Did twittering birds greeting the dawn waken you this morning? I was woken at 4am by the sound of what I think is a giant fire exhaust fan running somewhere nearby. It is still running. The noise has to be pretty loud to penetrate my bedroom, but it certainly did. I thought I'd gone to bed with the window open.

What terrible devastation in Christchurch. Many historic buildings have been damaged and the city sounds to be in a chaotic state. It is remarkable that more people weren't hurt. Not so remarkable was the looting that started soon after. There is a special place in hell reserved for those who take such advantage of people's misery. The least of many people's worries, but the trams and tram line are ok.

I am sure I'll get the football name wrong, so I will just say Storm is playing today with admittance for $1. Irresistible to Sister, so here comes Little Jo for the afternoon.

Antique scientific and medical instruments
Quality shells
Butterflies, insects and spiders
Mineral samples
Wildlife and botanical art
Storm glasses

And that is less than half of what you can find at Wunderkammer. It was my first visit to shop/museum in Lonsdale Street this week and what an extraordinary place.

Quoting myself in the midst of our recent severe drought, 'Don't worry kiddies, there will be floods again one day'. It has come to pass. Damn.

A friend has just bought a stunningly beautiful new town house in Caulfield. R saw it yesterday and is quite jealous. The friend bided his time and show no anxiousness to buy the place. A few months later as the construction neared completion, more than $100,000 came off the initial price.

Might go to South Melbourne Market this morning, once a certain person gets out of bed. I haven't had a dim sim for ages.