Well last week was, I think, one of the most innovating in my life. As the title says, never a dull moment.

Monday I was having coffee and cake with the Mayor for my Dutch naturalization, Tuesday doing filming for the local TV news and Wednesday having an operation in Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven.

Don’t think you can have much more variation all in the space of one week do you?

Monday was a special day and a lovely moment. Quite moving I thought and it was extra nice being there with my daughter and granddaughter, so we have some lovely photos for her book for later. Of course she was oblivious to everything going on at only 7 weeks old. But stealing the show of course as she is too cute!

Had such fun on Tuesday too, doing the filming for the News and also a radio interview. With all the talk about Brexit, it is a trending topic of course. I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever done this sort of work before, but the humour is in the repetition. Often because they are filming and you are all wired up with a microphone, you sometimes for no apparent reason, mispronounce words and then have to do a Take 2, Take 3, Take 4 and so on. The problems happen when you have to remember were your legs crossed, how were you holding you cup of tea? Not to mention the moments when you get the giggles, all about nothing. A just a simple glance to one another, sets you off again.

For those of you who have seen the film on my Facebook page, the most hilarious bit was with the flag. That was my gift from the Council, a Dutch flag, which I personally thought was a really good idea. Raising the flag, in quite windy conditions, without it blowing into your face or sliding down the pole again, is a recipe for laughter. But the end was the funny bit, trying to look serious whilst tears or laughter are in your eyes, look sensible and thinking about this being a special moment. Several takes later, we finally made it. When I look back at it, it still makes me smile. 

And a huge response from everyone who suddenly saw me on the News or heard me talking on the radio.

Wednesday was a bit of a drama day. Another operation. Not only was this a very tricky operation as neither I, nor the orthopaedic surgeon knew beforehand, if it would be successful. But the idea was to try to remove a surgical pen, which had been placed way back in 2003 when I broke my lower leg in 4 places. It has been there for 16 years! Enough said and sorry for those of you who are squeamish.

Having had several operations now, I can keep myself really calm and cool and the epidural is fine. You know there are just some people who are absolutely brilliant at this. However, there was a small miscommunication with the Pre-Operative Screening and they had not written down that I wanted to have complete sedation. In other words ‘knock out’, I don’t want to know or hear anything once they start. Happy to chat on until the last moment, but I did not want to hear any drilling, sawing or hammering. You would not believe the table of instruments, before they begin , you start to wonder if you are taking part in one of those DIY programmes on TV.

Also you feel movement, half of your body feels like a senseless breached whale, but you feel it if they move you about. It all took two hours, double the time they thought but when I heard that they were finishing off and clearing up, my orthopaedic surgeon, suddenly produced the ‘offending pin’ above the screen and said ‘surprise’! To be honest, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. This piece of surgical steel has been imbedded in my leg for 16 years and now its out. My God! And you would not believe how heavy it is either!

Huge compliment to Remco van Wensen and his team, because it was truly ‘mission accomplished’ and when all this has healed, he can place a new knee joint. Can’t think about all that just yet.

Back in my room, the pain was really intense and no matter how many painkillers they gave me, the three wounds bled profusely, completely soaking the plaster and in the end, back down to theatre again when I had more morphine and ketamine through my IV drip, and eventually the best thing ever: a what they call – block sedation into the major nerve in my leg and hallelujah I didn’t either feel the prick of a very large needle, but the pain disappeared like snow before the sun. Bliss.

I slept restlessly that night, awake every 15 minutes or so, having the weirdest of dreams and about people standing by my bed. Probably on some sort of ‘high’ from everything they had given me during the afternoon and early evening. The other patients in the room said I was chatting on all night! Sorry.

The next morning, they replaced the plaster cast, which is a temporary one for the next two weeks, then another one for another 4. 6 weeks in plaster in total. I am incredibly restricted in my movement, have a special bed in my lounge, a wheelchair, a walking frame, crutches, a stool for in the shower, a bed pan and enough tablets to start my own pharmacy. The theory behind the phenomena pain when it concerns bones and nerves, is that you have to keep the level up and not wait until you are in pain. Sounds logical and I have to keep a record of the times and what I have taken every day. Believe me the list is really long!

In some or other way, every day is different. I was home on Thursday evening fairly late, Friday washed out, but Saturday noticed that I could suddenly lift the plastered leg back on to the bed. Today (Sunday) is not a good day, so giving my attention to writing this blog, and the simple rule of thumb for the next 6 weeks is REST. 

My hospital like bed is strategically placed, so that when the weather gets better and they are promising lovely spring weather and temperatures up around 20oC that I can move in one straight line, bed and all, into the garden. Or what I really mean is that someone can wheel me outside!

You know life is sometimes a bit like the weather, some days are darker, cloudy and a threat of rain, but literally behind each and every cloud, there is sunshine and a ray of light and hope.

That is what I am focussing on, the hope that in a few days time, I will be getting stronger and better. Like Frank Spencer used to say in the TV series: ‘Some Mothers do have Them’ – every day and in every way I get better and better.


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Jill Kramer

Hi! I'm Jill and I'm a passionate author of books, short stories, columns and blogs.

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