September 26, 2015 by Michael Madden

Me And My Carer. X

Well after a quiet week last week this one has started very differently. Of course, there’s always the mundane, and when Sally made a chicken, leek and mushroom pie for tea I pointed out a couple of flaws in the plan. Firstly, I don’t really do pies as part of my healthy living, and neither does Ole whose body has recently become a temple, albeit one with a tuck shop just inside the entrance. Secondly, Ole doesn’t like mushrooms. By the time I got home on Thursday the pie had had a chicken and leek stew extracted that was then smothered in mashed potato and gravy for Ole, the rest remains in the fridge. It should reach the bin later today.

Credit where its due, she did make a very nice Italian chicken.

Wednesday was apparently a very exciting day. Whilst I was staying in Bicester Sally and Zac gathered to watch the live episode of Coronation Street. Social Media was awash with praise for the flawless broadcast, though Zac was less than impressed. “They had to have a break to reapply the makeup,” he scoffed.

Friday morning was the big day. My self appointed carer, Sally, took me down to the Alexandra where I was having a knee arthroscopy. The receptionist took my details and handed me over to a porter who showed me to my room. I was then visited by a ward clerk, caterer, nurse, consultant and physiotherapist, each with an increasingly worse prognosis as to my recuperation time. There was concern that the anaesthetist was late, but he was travelling from the High Peak so was probably stuck in traffic. The thought of a last minute jab without a proper assessment and sitting through the operation half awake was worrying, but then he appeared and all was well. My clothes arrived, a standard theatre robe with matching dressing gown, and paper pants. Yes, paper pants. Dont think they were the edible ones, but Sally found them highly amusing and wanted a picture of me in them. You will be pleased to know I wouldn’t let her. My consultant drew a big purple arrow pointing upwards on my left shin, giving me the assurance that anyone dabbling in the operation would know exactly where to stick the knife. My carer decided to go off to nearby Handforth Dean for retail therapy and coffee with a friend, whilst I was taken down to theatre. Actually it was up, and I had to walk. Its all part of the Lean process, or thats what my carer said. Anyway, a chatty assistant kept me talking whilst the anaesthetist scrunched together my veins and injected the fluid that sent me to sleep for around 90 minutes. I awoke to water, coffee and a ploughmans lunch, but my blood pressure was worryingly low. Orange juice had some effect, and then my carer reappeared. Suddenly my blood pressure shot up, and I was free to go.

I lay down in the lounge as my carer provided a drink and a packet of peanuts, and Hell Dog arrived, but with the prospect of driving later on the familiar champagne corks failed to pop. This probably induced stress, and when our visitor left my carer went for a well deserved post shopping lie down as she got through her soaps, bake off, and the usual Friday night crap that passes for mainstream tv these days.

She did nip in with some flat bread pizza. Fortunately Zac appeared, and after asking what would happen if he stuck his fingers in the wound, he went into the kitchen to remind my overworked carer that I had asked for coffee an hour or so earlier. At this point the aneasthetic laced with anti inflammatories and general painkillers was still going strong, but I hobbled to the utility room to get some Dicloflex to maintain the pain free experience, not wanting to further disturb my horizontal carer.

Here’s a question, the Dicloflex is from 2010. Will anything have happened to it in five years? “It will be fine,” my carer called through from her prone position on the settee. As the night wore on I was confident enough to make myself a cup of tea, whilst my carer brought in a plate of meat before she retired for the night. Zac put the cats out and I continued to watch Rick Stein until he got on my tits, which generally doesn’t take long with Rick Stein.

My carer was sleeping soundly, and although I undressed as quietly as I could, manouvering shorts over a heavily bandaged leg in the dark, it was not quiet enough and my carer was disturbed. She awakened, complained, and then went instantly back to sleep as I tossed and turned trying to get comfortable.

At 5am I was wide awake. By 7am, so was she. “Did you sleep well?” she asked, diligently. “Not particularly. I’ve been up several times in the night and I’ve been awake since 5.” “I didn’t hear a thing,” she admitted, seemingly proud of the achievement, but as she went downstairs to make coffee I couldn’t begrudge her the 9 hours that is still one or two less than she normally gets, as she would have a full day of caring ahead. A thought struck her. “With that bandage on you won’t be able to have a bath for four days. Perhaps you should sleep in the spare room.” How thoughtful and caring!

After coffee I went downstairs to make breakfast, and set myself up with an extension lead, laptops, phone and painkillers. I wrote her a shopping list, and she came in to see how I was. Then she saw the extension lead. “What’s that doing here? That belongs in the garage.” “Would you like me to move to the garage?” “Yes,” she replied, and I’m not altogether sure she was joking.

Yesterday it seemed like I had had nothing done. No pain, I was hobbling about, just an inconvenient bandage and a yellow leg from the iodine that seems to have been splashed around liberally. Today, movement is pained, crunching, and I’m not sure the operation has been a complete success. The consultant came to see me after the op and said he was happy with it, but one of the first things that he did mention was the possibility of a high tibial osteotomy. These are a whole lot different to an arthroscopy, with a much longer recuperation period. I’m not sure my carer is up to it!

Amongst all of this the phone line is knackered. I dialed home yesterday morning and it said “You have dialed an incorrect number”. I tried it later, same message. Then Sally and Ole both tried, and it was the unchanged. We can make calls out, but no one can call here, which has its advantages. Anyway, I rang Sky and they could not find a fault. “Try ringing the number,” I suggested. “Can you do it?” they asked. “Well not really, as I am on the phone to you.” “Can you get someone else to ring?” So I got Sally’s phone – same result. “Why don’t you just ring and you will see the problem?” I suggested again. “Is your internet working?” “Yes” “Can you unplug everything from your main socket and just plug the phone back in?” “Right – I’ve done that. Now what?” “Is your internet working?” “No, you just told me to unplug it,” “Ok – just wanted to check. Can you try ringing the landline again?” “Same problem.” “Ok – can you get a screwdriver and undo your main socket so you can plug the phone and internet into the test socket?” “Can you just try to ring the landline and you will see the problem? I haven’t got a screwdriver handy.” “I have to follow the troubleshooting procedure.” “Well, we will have to continue this tomorrow.” “Ok – I will make a note that you rang.” “Can you also make a note where we got up to?” “Certainly.” “In fact, can you get them to call me in the morning – then they will see what the problem is.” “But they won’t be able to get through.” “Exactly!”

With no further progress I will probably have to call back today, but I am not sure my contract states “You will have to troubleshoot all problems yourself before Sky will get involved”

Briefly back to Madrid and the feedback has been very positive. So much so that next Year’s Trip is already in the planning stages. I fancy going to Baku. There’s a street there where I have always wanted to play saxophone.