Expat Magazine

288. Back in the Saddle..

By Piperade
14th February. It's been a while since I last put stubby finger to keyboard.. but today seems like a good day to kick off again with some random reflections. 
First of all, here's another chance to enjoy Gautier Capuçon's virtuosity.. When we saw him last year in concert, I was amazed at the richness of the sound that he was able to produce from his 300 year old cello.. and this recording only begins to hint at its sonority and tone..  I may have mentioned that I was booked into hospital for a replacement knee 'op' on 6th January. It was my first ever prolonged stay in a hospital (apart from an 'overnighter' I had here about 13 years ago) and it came as something of a shock to me when I realised that whatever dignity I thought I possessed rapidly dwindled away to next to nothing in the first few minutes. For the first couple of days I only had one of those hospital gowns that are open at the back and after some initial shyness (well, maybe two days-worth!) I decided just to let the nurses get on with whatever they wanted to do. 288. Back in the saddle..I soon understood that I was now a "patient" occupying a bed space and as such I was available to have all my vital measurements recorded 24/7 by nurses and student nurses. I got used to having blood samples taken at daybreak, my temperature recorded at 1am and seemingly at random times thereafter, blood pressure and heart beat measured as the shifts changed, and soon I was dotted with plasters where I'd been stuck repeatedly with needles. I felt like a dart board.. A friend of mine had warned me that a favorite ploy of the nurses was to wake you in the dead of night and then ask you if you needed anything to help you sleep! I decided to go with the flow and adopted a "let them get on with it" approach.
A major challenge was the process of getting out of bed to answer a call of nature in the wee small hours. Even though I'd had 70+ years of practice, I soon found I was in danger of embarrassing myself. I had a stiff nylon sleeve velcro'd tightly around my right knee that effectively stopped me from bending it. I also had an on-demand pain relief system connected by a tube to a catheter at the top of my leg. 
So - picture this - I'd wake up in the dark feeling the need for relief only to find it almost impossible to extricate my right leg from a tangle of bed sheets. Finally, I found that with the aid of a crutch I could lift the bedding off my leg and then, with an increased sense of urgency, I could start heading towards the bathroom on two crutches - only to be brought up short by the tube connecting the pain relief machine (clipped to the side of my bed and about the size of a heavy duty paperback) to the catheter implanted in the top of my leg.. Aaarrgghh! I'd make a quick U-turn and then shuffle back to the bed to detach the pain relief box from its mounting before making a panicky whimpering dash for the bathroom again.. while trying to ignore the danger signals from below! 
Now, the question of the day is - how many times do you think I did that before I remembered I was connected to the pain relief machine? Answer A: Just the once; B: two or three times or C: four or more (no-one could be that stupid surely?). 
I did have the means of summoning a nurse in the middle of the night via a red call button - but that went against the grain with me. (I know, I know..) Those first couple of days and nights at the hospital seemed interminable. This was serious Man Pain!😁

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