Damien on… A Cautionary Tale
Did you miss me?
The reason your humble scribe has posted nowt new for nearly TWO MONTHS is that he has been away. Doing what? Two months.
But seriously folks, the reality is no joke…
It all started about a year ago. Occasionally, when I turned over in bed, I noticed a TWINGE in the area of my appendix.
Now, associating – with some JUSTIFICATION, but that is another story – hospitals with major PAIN, I gave it a while. And said twinges STOPPED after a few months.
But then, about three months later, just as I was going to the fridge to get a nice cool glass of water – OOOOF! I doubled up in pain, which came from my appendical (?) area, then spread across my entire abdominal region.
After three days of SEVERE pain, my wife finally overrode my protests and sent for an ambulance (my surgeon says another five days and septicemia would have taken me OUT).
Long story short, it turned out my appendix had “ruptured” – (more like EXPLODED; see picture, below) – taking out half my internal organs (the kidneys, in particular) with it.
There then followed…
An operation that led to my abdomen resembling John Hurt’s, after HR Giger’s “Alien” had emerged from it.
Followed by hour after hour after HOUR of excruciating PAIN.
Accompanied by a week on Morphine (NASTY stuff – you do not really sleep – just slip into alternate realities. Junkies would LOVE it – but I found it tedious, confusing and occasionally SCARY) and twelve hours of WITHDRAWAL from same.
With SERIOUS post-op depression. I went to deeply DARK places and now understand what poor old Stephen Fry went through, before he signed up for The Programme. If I had had the means… well, you would not be reading this now.
And all told, enough antibiotics to bring Hitler back to life – but they give you high blood pressure and the TROTS (don’t even ask).
Then after WEEKS of daily outpatient visits (in an ambulance – I was in no condition to DRIVE) – where they removed puss-filled swabs from my innards and inserted fresh ones – a SECOND operation to close me up. But at least this one had a shorter recovery time.
Plus – having washed six-and-a-half weeks of CRAP off of Mitzi (my classic Mitsubishi Galant Ultima) – I am now DRIVING again.
However, at the time of typing (46 days after my initial collapse – but it feels like YEARS) my tummy is still held together by four large rubber bands (sort of) – and it will be at least another month before THEY come out (again, sort of; in fact the inner parts will remain inside me after they seal the eight little holes – finally dissolving after about another eighteen months).
It is difficult to find a BRIGHT SIDE of this experience – nevertheless, here goes: (1) I had a caring, loving wife who got me THROUGH the thing (2) now retired to Thailand, I was able to pay for treatment in a local COMMERCIAL hospital, which has set me back over five grand Sterling – eight, American – but I have received care that was FAR superior to that which I would have had to endure in a UK NHS (government) hospital – and which has cost a FRACTION of the sum a commercial hospital in the West would have charged. And (3) all of this aggro has happened during the Thai WINTER, with its low humidity and moderate temperatures (a blessing for me and anyone close by, since I have not been able to have a proper shower in WEEKS – and will not for several MORE to come).
Oh, and having a PVR, I have not had to miss a single program(me) in one of the best Fall (Autumn) TV Schedules EVER. As I type, a few hours ago in America, Carrie has HOPEFULLY finally evened up the score for the 0-11 drubbing her side has suffered in Season Four of “Homeland” – I will find out TONIGHT.
So there it is. After the darkest period of my LIFE, I am BACK (well, almost).
And what lesson can be learned from all the above? (I RARELY write about PERSONAL stuff in these pieces – I am a COLUMNIST, not a blogger). Well, the message is CLEAR. If I had gone to the Palace Of Pain when I first got those twinges, a simple appendectomy would have cost me around a FIFTH of the time, PAIN and money.
So, esteemed reader; do as I SAY – not as I have done. If YOUR body starts giving you warnings of problems ahead – for f**k’s sake HEED them and go and get yourself CHECKED OUT!