Weeks 6 and 7 – Getting bored

Learning Points …

I never thought it would happen, but I’ve had four, yes FOUR, enquiries as to what has happened to the weekly #hospitweet blog post. So the less observant of you did not notice that I missed last week and am late this week! “Is that a good sign, or a bad?”, “Is he not feeling well?”, “Is he still there?”. The answer is far less exciting. Life has descended – in one dimension – to being a rather boring note of monotony and routine that is not one I recognise as being mine. As others have so kindly put it – “now you know what it’s like to be 87” (my mother), and “it’s good preparation for retirement” (from too many to mention) … to which my reply is “no, no, surely not!” So from that you can perhaps gather that motivation is the greatest challenge I face at the moment – but more about that later. For the moment let me catalogue what I have been up to, and perhaps try to emphasise the positives and not dwell too much on the negatives because in the other dimension I’m beginning to get quite active and spend my time productively, but with the side-effect of it tiring me rather.

First technology changes. The mobile phones and telephone/broadband switch to VirginMedia (see last post) have been sorted out. I’m going to do a separate post on that experience in another place … when I have the time (lol) … but suffice to say I’m quite please by what we’ve achieved and the general high-level of customer service from VirginMedia. I never would have been able to say that about NTL, so Richard Branson has made a difference (imho). I also ordered the PC, implemented the new network, and provided the advice referred to in the last post for neighbours, friends  and also relatives for their various Christmas purchases. So that was all good fun and now I eagerly await the arrival of Pegasus’ replacement. It’s been a good workhorse, was top of the range when it was acquired by @PGHarrison c.6 years ago, but has been more of a donkey the last year. [I feel another blog post coming on, so I’ll leave it there.]

So what else happened in those two weeks. Some highlights. First, Jenny took me down to the Park Plaza so that I could meet up and have dinner with work colleagues who were in Cardiff for the UK Federated Access Management Conference. It was really great to be again with people who I get so much energy from. A real boost to my mental state … if not my physical state. I did suffer a bit the next couple of days because fueled by new found enthusiasm, I did some energetic walking – which had the obvious consequences since I didn’t couple it with sensible relaxation and resting … when will I ever learn! I went into the city to have my hair-cut and walk around the new St David’s Centre and visit the new Apple Centre. I also went into work to deliver my sick-note. Both these trips involved my friends #bus28 and #bus85 (that one will be lost to anyone not following me on twitter … apologies) but again activities that signalled a return to normalcy and allowed me to chat with some of my colleagues and receive the comment that so many have been kind to observe – “you look so well” – “yes, but …” is my usual reply.

Then last week I had my visit back to UHW to have my follow-up cardiac-surgery appointment. Unfortunately, Mr K was not there. I spent about 30mins with a very pleasant Specialist Cardiac Surgery Registrar who hadn’t been part of the surgery team, didn’t like computers so hadn’t looked at any of the imagery, and who had spent c.10mins reading my file before he saw me. He was therefore relying on me to tell him how I felt, if anything was wrong, etc and couldn’t answer any of the questions I thought I might have asked about the procedure itself. I’m far too squeamish to go and watch a video of the operation, but there are a couple of questions that remain unanswered in my mind. Which of the obstructed arteries were not by-passed? What are the consequences of not “doing them”? How does the use of the mammary artery actually work? How did they actually get in to do the work with only one incision? Why didn’t my skin split horizontally as well as vertically? Which brings me the ghoulish issue of the scars. If anyone wants to see them (after 6 weeks, you can click here).

The remainder of the week involved house-sitting (whilst the chimney was swept and the new cable broadband connection was fitted), Australian parcel-packing (mostly done by Jenny), and preparing for and then enjoying the visit of two long-standing friends – C&L who wnated to make sure for themselves that both Jenny and I were as well as we sounded on the telephone. We had a good walk around the city on the Saturday whilst I attempted not to hear what ManU were doing to WHUFC (C being a ManU fan), and a lovely meal with them and @RuthHarrison and Ross in the Rhiwbina Juboraj in the evening.

So what have I actually learnt these last two weeks:

  1. You can read a lot about this procedure, but it doesn’t mean much until you’ve had it done. If you don’t wish to watch it being done on someone else it will leave you with unanswered questions. How you deal with that?
  2. I’ve learnt how to become less impatient, the answer is you become bored and boring. Next stage no doubt grumpy, although Jenny and the family would say I have many years of experience in that field.
  3. I have got to “get a life” that doesn’t rely quite so heavily upon technology. Although it’s been my salvation the past month or so, it’s not helping my physical recovery much; but here things are about to change I fear (see later).
  4. It’s not a good idea to keep a weekly log, if things are not significantly happening/changing. So this is the last of the posts in this format. From now on any posts will be on themes, issues and mileposts as I enter Phase III of my recovery.

Hopes and fears for Phase III – I’ve been “signed off” by the cardiac surgery team; I’m now about to start cardiac rehabilitation. It’s up to me now to get FIT. I mustn’t stretch myself, but I must push myself to the limits of my capability. I want to be fitter when I get through this thing than I was before it started. That depends upon getting fit in body and mind. It requires life-style changes and a degree of single-mindedness that I’m not that good at. I must do it for myself. There won’t be someone (Jenny for instance) looking over my shoulder to advise on where I’m letting myself down. I have to develop self-control for myself. This is not going to be easy.

Objectives – Cardiac Rehabilitation will be a new experience. I’m not a gym person. I never liked PE at school. I always preferred team games, or ones where you competed as an individual (squash, tennis, badminton). The idea of circuits etc. does not appeal to me; the possible alternative however (as C suggested to me) of water aerobics would be an absolute nightmare. Thankfully that’s not on offer at The Heath. I need to start thinking about getting some structure back into my life; some routine; some organisation. It’ll soon be Christmas and then after that New Year and a return to work. Must get my mind thinking in those terms. I must also think how I can support Jenny as she enters the next stage of her treatment plan. She’s been an essential part of my recovery story to date; I need to be able to return the complement and be there for her too.

2 Replies to “Weeks 6 and 7 – Getting bored”

  1. Now Boss, don’t laugh, but I think Tai Chi could be a very good option for developing mind, body and soul. It can be surprisingly demanding physically, all depends on how much effort you want to put into it – you can pretty much go at your own pace, anytime, anyplace. There are a number of courses in Cardiff – know there used to be one run in Llanishen (Church Hall) and also at the Heath Hospital. I’ve found it to be very calming and an excellent way to help focus one’s mind and improve self-disciplne – It’s helped me no end to cope with the stresses of work 😉

  2. Hello again

    I’m sorry you didn’t get to ask your questions at your review. I wish I could help answer them or point you in the direction of materials that would, but I’m not quite sure I understand them all. What do you mean about how the internal mammary gland works? I guess the simple answer is that it works the same way as the venous grafts. With regards to the incision it is a pretty big one. Your breastbone is split and there is enough elasticity in the skin to be able to pull everything back and get good access to all that needs to be seen.
    As a student I spent a summer studying in Amsterdam and spent a week in cardio-pulmonary surgery. It was amazing surgery to see.
    But, I can understand your squeamishness. If I was offered the opportunity to see the surgery to my wrist I’m not sure I would want to! It was also interesting to see how my colleagues, used to talking to patients about such things, suddenly felt quite speamish about my surgery, since they didn’t have ‘professional distance’ I guess.

    I’m sure you have seen info leaflets before but just in case here is one on bypass surgery.

    Thanks for sharing as always.

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