Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Your life in their hands

Just now there is an unusual number of my friends all going through medical procedures, some minor, some major. And that will include me soon.

Just a couple of months ago a friend of mine was admitted for a fairly straight forward operation to correct something odd about his water works. Unfortunately complications occurred due to the discovery of other things and he ended up staying in hospital not for 3 days but for a whole month! He's fine now and praises the medical team no end for the care and attention they gave him.

Then a month ago another friend was admitted for corrective surgery for a problem on his knee. All went well but as he's a very busy guy the restricted activity that he had to adhere too did not sit well. So much so just a few days after his operation he took off on holiday to the Canary Islands!  I saw him today and you would never know just 4 weeks ago he was under the surgeons knife.

As I write this blog a friend of mine is in the operating theatre for major surgery due to crohns disease. He has been an inspiration in his approach to this day and has even taken the bold step of sharing it all with an online blog. It's fascinating reading, a real insight to the disease and his own situation, both medically and emotionally. As procedures go this is a big one. He praises his medical team and offers great advice for communicating with consultants and surgeons, to gather as much information as possible, which he says is key to understanding your condition and quashing any fear.

My aunt will, in the next 2 months, be admitted to hospital for a replacement hip. She has been surprised just how run-of-the-mill the operation seems to be now due to the advances in the procedure.

Tomorrow I see my own consultant to go on to a waiting list for an operation on one of  my big toes. For a few years now it has been gradually degenerating due to a past injury, and it as the stage now where it's starting to limit my activity both practically and psychologically. As operation go it's not that major but it was the influence of my friend with crohns that made up my mind to go for it. I've been putting up with the pain for too long and I've had enough.

We are very lucky in this country to be able to make decisions like this based on our level of tolerance for the pain and judging if we want to go through with it or not, and not having to consider any cost, covered as it is by our National Health Service. We whinge about the NHS all the time, but in my experience and those of my friends above, I cannot fault it. Yes there are waiting lists but overall the fact that we have access to highly skilled surgeons and care staff, some of the best in the world, makes us very lucky indeed.

So, quite a number of connected people putting their lives in the hands of surgeons, all with total confidence in their teams and the amazing advances in the possibilities of modern medicine, that we tend to take for granted. I doubt anyone I've mentioned here would say that.

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