It is now 10 days since I went under the knife and my progress is continuing to go well. I still have some pain in my chest and have a lot of trouble sleeping – only managing about 4 hours a night – but overall, I can’t really complain.
Yesterday afternoon I took a slow walk down to the lake and then strolled alongside it for about 500 meters or so. All in all I was out for about 15 minutes without feeling too tired.
I have written several bits and bobs regarding my recent stay in hospital already, so I don’t wish to overdo the subject by recounting my experiences over and over again.
However, while I was there, I made some brief ’live’ notes of what was happening on my tablet, so my final words on this subject will be to post below my shorthand thoughts and experiences during the first six days I was in hospital, covering the period before and after my operation.
Some of it was written in a slight ‘tongue in cheek’ vein, so please don’t take any perceived criticisms too seriously, as Rajavithi is truly the finest hospital I have ever stayed in. I have nothing but praise for its doctors and staff.
Notes From a Caring Hospital
- Woke at the ungodly hour of 4.a.m for the trip to Bangkok.
- Quick chat with Security guard as we entered the hospital grounds and a parking space was suddenly ‘magicked-up’ for us right next to main building. (400 Baht slid into someone’s pocket)
- Having my blood tests at 7.15 am!! Do these staff never sleep?
- Noo procured a sandwich from somewhere, notwithstanding the fact I brought a stack of sandwiches with me for ‘emergencies’. I might end up living on sandwiches for next 2 weeks.
- Phew – it was touch and go for a while, as we waited patiently in the general ward for a bed, but someone checked out – or died – and I got my VIP room.
- The procession of nurses never stopped all afternoon – much form filling and signing Thai forms (God knows what I was signing – probably promising not to sue the surgeon if she kills me!)
- Had to provide my full medical history for about the 100th time, even though it is all there in my rapidly thickening file of medical records.
- Noo borrowed a forklift to collect all our junk form the car, including two tons of sandwiches, and my entire office.
- Wheel chair to ground floor, followed by a scintillating drive in an electric car to the X-ray room. Many ‘toot toots’ to make the great unwashed sick to scatter as Royal Mobi drives by. A lot of stares – not hostile – just curious – made me feel like I was in a zoo. Noo tells me that my ‘VIP’ PJ’s hold a lot of sway….Yeah…
- Couldn’t stand the bland rice soup they served up so sent Noo to KFC and we pigged out on The Colonel’s finest. If my dodgy valve doesn’t do me in, then the fried chicken surely will. (didn’t fancy the now stale sandwiches)
- About ten nurses came, one by one, to ask me about my daily insulin shots. I’m guessing that the first one went back to report ‘He has 4 shots a day’ and was greeted with disbelief, so they sent another nurse to make sure something hadn’t got lost in translation. The second one went back with the same report, and so on and so forth. Not sure if they’ve got it, even yet…
- House resident came by with a disinterested team of giggling interns, looked at my notes and said, in English, … ‘Now Mr… Mobi…. what seems to be the problem?’ He looked again and said – ‘Oh! it’s Ok – I know…’
- I’ve never known a group of people to be so obsessed with my toilet habits…..
- Woke me at 5 am to get washed, as the surgeon was coming to see me.
- 9 a.m : a spotless, sweet smelling Mobi still waiting for the Doc, left to contemplate what could be my last full day on earth.
- 10.30 a.m. Surgeon finally arrived and reminded me yet again of all the things that could go wrong!! Thanks a bunch Doc! To cheer me up, she told me she had been watching my Queen’s Jubilee on the telly. Didn’t have the heart, ( no pun intended) ,to tell her that I was a republican and hated the effing, privileged Queen and her bloody hangers on.
- Given a video to watch on my laptop. It was all about a handsome young Thai man who for some reason had a dodgy heart valve and needed it replaced. Could have been watching a Thai soap except it was a bit gorier, and no shrieking, hysterical women and no lady boys.. I noticed they had four versions of the video on the CD and each one was slightly different – no doubt as they honed their surgical procedures….
- Lovely nurse came by to shave my chest.
- The lady Physio came by to teach me post-op breathing exercises – well at least she thinks I will survive.
- The anaesthetist keeps asking me about my false teeth! I don’t have any, but he thinks I’m lying! (I don’t, I really don’t…)
- At last! A visit by a gorgeous diabetic specialist, in a sexy mini-skirt, who understands all about multiple insulin shots.
- It’s getting like Piccadilly Circus in here.
- Nurse gave me an enema up my back side – Never had one before. Agghhhhhhh!!!!! This has to have been the worst experience of my life so far. I was clinging to the toilet seat for an hour until the pain abated….If my valve doesn’t kill me, the enema will.
- Finally back to bed for blood tests and insulin shots. ‘Nil by Mouth’ now until I wake in the afterlife.
FRIDAY – (D-Day)
- Woken at 5 am (what’s new?) Feel terrible – have low blood sugars – that won’t do.
- 6 a.m. feel a bit better – blood sugars rising, phew!
- Have to put brown muck all over my body, before rinsing off and showering.
- 7.30 stretcher party arrives to take the criminal down to the execution chamber.
- All is professional and brisk as the operating team hook me up to a mass of tubes, drips and God knows what else.
- Wheeled into operating room and lifted onto the narrow table.When are they going to put me to sleep? More gadgets are attached to me and I’m being pinned down in strange positions. Please , please, put me to sleep! I don’t care if I never wake up – I just want to get out…
- A weird looking man appears with a mask and tells me to breathe into it. I breathe in; once, twice, three times… but nothing happens… I’m still awake!!!….
4 hours later
- I open my eyes, I can see things but I can’t move. I feel paralysed. I try to move, I try to speak, but nothing works…I can’t speak … what’s happening?
6 hours later
- Noo is staring at me in wonder. It is 6 p.m, I’m in ICU and I still have the respirator stuffed down my throat. She tells me all went well. Really?
- I’m attached to masses of machines and ‘thingy’s’
- A doc tells me that provided they can take me off the respirator, and everything is Ok overnight, then I can move back into my own room tomorrow. Thank God for that.
- I sleep
- They take out the respirator
- I sleep.
- Woke early in much pain
- Pain getting worse as morning progresses but they shoot me up on morphine, so everything becomes sort of nice and more tolerable.
- Noo arrives at Noon – not allowed any earlier. They have to pull the tubes out of my stomach and neck if I am to be moved out of ICU.
- Oh my God- I’ve just seen the bottles full of my blood on the floor – which have been draining out of my chest. I saw them changing them earlier but didn’t realise it was my blood! Morphine! Morphine!
- Nurse is telling me to breathe in and out deeply. Deeper… deeper…deeper.. then ‘One-two-three- and she gives a mighty unexpected tug on the two tubes in my chest – and out they come. Agghhhhhhhhh! Morphine! Morphine!
- They take an x-ray of my chest while I’m still in bed using a huge portable x-ray machine. Amazing!
- It’s a tearful farewell to all the cutie nurses in ICU and a smiling welcome from the nursing team up on the VIP floor.
- They make a real fuss of me, with nurses and docs coming from all directions as they settle me back into my own room.
- Still in great pain but the blessed morphine helps.
- They fill me full of meds and I try to sleep. God it’s good to be alive – or maybe it’s all a dream? Who knows? I’m too high to care any more.
- Had a terrible night – fitfull sleep and a lot of pain.
- They disconnect me from all the remaining intravenous drips, and I get up for the first time since my op on Friday. Just a few wobbly steps and back to bed.
- Noo and the Nurses are taking wonderful care of me; the pain subsides and my strength grows.
- The surgeon came to see me. She is Sooooo nice! She told me my valve was not only completely fucked, but it also had a congenital defect. No wonder I was so bad. It’s a miracle I lasted this long, (she seems to imply); but she is very pleased with my recovery progress. My mechanical valve is a ‘number 21’. This will be my lucky number from now on.
- Still adjusting my warfarin which I will have to take for the rest of my life. If they get it wrong, I could bleed to death or my brain might explode! She was telling Noo all this in Thai to spare my feelings, but I got the general gist.
- Noo and I did a very slow walk around the VIP floor – progress indeed!!
- No Euro footy on TV – thanks a bunch, Truevisons! Don’t really care. Followed England’s fortunes by text on my tablet.
- Good night’s sleep. Still feeling dizzy and ‘high’ even though they stopped the morphine. Maybe the draw with France put me in a relaxed mood.
- My recovery continued apace and on Thursday, the surgeon gave me the happy news that I was well enough to go home – just one week since my body was split asunder and they put a few rivets and a hinge in my ageing heart.
Absolutely amazing… and I will forever be in the debt of the wonderful doctors and staff at Rajavithi who took me safely through this amazing adventure.
Onwards and upwards, Mobi….
A Jubilee for the ‘People’ or the ‘Privileged’?
You will see in my ‘Notes from a Caring Hospital’ that I was quite amused when my estimable Thai surgeon told me that she had been following my Queen’s Jubilee celebrations on television and that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it wasn’t an event that filled this particular Brit full of patriotism and pride.
As my long term readers will be aware, I am no fan of the British monarchy. I won’t go so far as to say as I am a republican – simply because it would all be too hard to try and change the constitution as this stage of our Nation’s long history, and in any event, the cost of a British ‘President’ and his/her trappings, might cost equally as much – of not more – than the present Head of State costs us.
I do understand the ‘tourist’ angle and all the other arguments that convince me and most Brits that it is probably better to leave things as they are. To try and kick her or her heirs out would certainly open a right royal can of worms – one that we really don’t need right now. One day? Who knows?
But that doesn’t stop me railing against the preposterous privileges enjoyed by all the Royal ‘hangers-on’, and I firmly believe that all, save the immediate Royal family (King/Queen and their offspring) should be let loose into the world to pay their own way. I even believe that the costs of the monarchy should be cut way back and that their accommodation and style of life should be radically curtailed, more in keeping with the straightened times we all now live in.
Be that as it may, I was fascinated to discover the other day that The Queen has appointed Prince Charles a five-star rank in all three military services to acknowledge his support in her role as Commander-in-Chief.
He becomes a Field Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Marshal of the Royal Air Force in the promotion decided by the Queen.
Two members of the royal family currently hold five-star rank – the Duke of Edinburgh in all three services and the Duke of Kent, who is a Field Marshal.
The convention of promoting service chiefs, (i.e. professional serving military personnel), to five-star ranks was stopped after a report in 1995 suggested abolishing them as part of recommendations for financial savings in the armed forces’ budget.
They are now reserved for special circumstances, which apparently includes giving a Field Marshall’s gong to a dithering, adulterous, privileged idiot, who has never done a proper day’s work in his life – either inside or outside the armed services – and who talks to trees!
(Sounds like something out of the ‘Prisoner of Zenda’!!)
Bet he gets a load of gold braid for all that. He can play with it in his bath tub with his rubber ducks while Camilla gives his back a scrub and his valet puts the toothpaste onto his toothbrush.
You couldn’t make it up, if you tried, could you?
Poor old Lizzy has become quite popular of late, as the disastrous antics of her children and her late alcoholic, chain smoking sister start to fade into memory, and good on’yer Ma’am; I can’t really find it into my heart to rail against an 86 year old wizened little lady who has ‘tried to do her duty.’
Similarly, I have a sneaking regard for Phil the Greek, who at least was a proper serving officer with excellent prospects before he decided to donate his gene pool to the British Royals. (Thanks Phil!). He’s 91 for God’s sake and nobody had the good sense to strap him into an adult nappy when he was required to stand for umpteen hours in the rain and cold while the nation played with boats on the Thames. Poor old git!
Lizzy is only the second British monarch who has reigned for 60 years, the other being the revered Queen Vic, and like Lizzy, our Vicky went through long periods of deep unpopularity.
There were actually seven attempts on Queen Vic’s life. The first was in June 1840, a few months after she married German Albert, when a mentally ill man fired two pistol shots at their carriage. Further attempts came in 1842 (when she was shot at twice), 1849 (shot at with an unloaded pistol), 1850 (whacked over the head with a walking stick), 1872 (shot at again; her Highland servant John Brown wrestled the attacker to the ground), and 1882 (two schoolboys beat up the would-be assassin with their umbrellas!!).
Incredible, ain’t it?
BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!