Sunday, 22 January 2017

On the mend

I don't like being operated on! I always forget what comes with them - apart from the pain. I suddenly realise after the third or fourth day that you become constipated and that what ever they give you nothing much happens! Last Tuesday my young friend drove me to The Circle Hospital in Reading. Although the hospital car parking is extremely difficult, she managed it eventually and we were shown to my room. Functional, but all mod cons, with a nice big bathroom. At about 2pm I was wheeled away to the operating theatre for a two hour total knee replacement. Mr Sean O'Leary was the surgeon.
This is an indication of the procedure.

My knee is pretty horrible to look at now but I expect it to start healing soon when the staples are removed in just over a week. Everyone who's had a similar type of operation has told me I must do all the exercises diligently. They are extremely hard to do and very painful. I can only walk on crutches - which the hospital sold me. I also had to buy an ice machine to apply three times a day. (£85 - nothing is cheap at the Circle - and private medicine insurance won't cover these items). MYF is marvellous- I don't know what I'd do without her. One problem is sleeping - I seem to have hallucinations every night. Probably to do with the many pills I have to take every day.
But my stay in hospital was good. I spent three nights there. And because it was too difficult to go to the bathroom at night they supplied me with a bottle. In the silence of the nights it felt like a Gregorian Chant was approaching me. But last Thursday night things took a novel turn - A hand reached out and picked a full bottle up from my table and the peace of the night was broken by my yell. She had accidentally knocked it on the side of the table pouring the entire contents all over me and the bed! "That's the first time in my 14 years of nursing that I've ever done a thing like that" she said. I didn't mention the incident but later in the day the other nurses obviously knew about the incident. These things happen, but as I'm going through my own version of La La Land it doesn't surprise me.

Just received my post - including the award for the watercolour prize from the MASF exhibition in Florida of my miniature of Alan the Boatman. I'll give him the very nice certificate to Alan when he next calls in.

I'm not able to paint at all at the moment unfortunately, which is highly frustrating as I need to paint.

As I said before the reason for my knee problem was brought about in 1962 when I crashed my car in Singapore. They said then that I'd suffer from osteoarthritis in later life. Well, it's now later life. Here are two pictures - taken on crutches - 60 years apart.

So now it's just a matter of time before I get back to normality. Next Monday my GP will arrange for the staples to be removed and later in the week I'll start a new regime of Physio and see how it goes. And the bruising should start to subside soon.

Horrible isn't it?

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Crocodile Zoo

In 1962 I was in my Sprite driving in the practice circuit for the Singapore Grand Prix when I crashed at about 80 on the first chicane. Result - a very badly broken leg as I was thrown out of the car. (No seat belts in those days). They said at the time I would suffer when I got older. Well I'm older now and in a lot of knee pain. It's got to the stage where all they can do is perform a total knee replacement. So, as I think I may have mentioned before, the surgery is scheduled for next Tuesday (the 17th) morning at the Circle Hospital in a Reading. I don't normally look forward to operations but this time I do. The pain is constant but, with difficulty, I managed to visit England's only Crocodile Zoo yesterday. My young friend helped me walk up and down the very steep walkways but it was a fascinating place. Here some of the smaller crocs were being fed with fish dangled above them by a keeper with an implement that road cleaners use to pick up litter.

Apart from the crocodiles (and they have a great variety of different types) we saw some beautiful little creatures. Here is a lovely blue-green lizard.

Just look at the colours on this bobbly faced animal. And the prehistoric look of my favourite little chap.

We found as we walked around the complex a few other animals and birds. This meerkat was perched high on a little hill.

And the kookaburra seemed to be very well fed.

In between Christmas and the New Year I went to Suffolk to stay for a few days with myf's parents. It was her mother's birthday on the 29th so we all, including her brother and his family, went to Felixstowe for lunch at the Alex restaurant on the seafront. And then a walk along the promenade where the gardens have just been landscaped.

I celebrated the new year quietly but I always love seeing the fireworks from London on TV.

On New Year's Day myf and I went for a walk by the river at Marlow. It was one of those crisp and sunny mornings. This is the view towards Marlow Bridge. (Incidentally this bridge is a small scale version of the Chain Bridge in Budapest which crosses the Danube).

The river was full of swans. This one swam through the refection of the sunlight.

We went to the Regal the other day to see Martin Scorsese's epic film "Silence". What an incredible film it was. Slow to start but as it builds in tempo the depiction of Christian missionaries in 17th century Japan was amazing.

It's a long film - two and a half hours - and the scenes of cruelty and violence are graphic. But the story and acting are stupendous. I highly recommend it - even though it could have ended half an hour before it did.