Thursday, 8 May 2014

Nil By Mouth


For various reasons, I was categorized as a Nil By Mouth prisoner (NBM and, to us hardened old recidivist lags, a badge of honour) when I was taken down and transferred to the maximum security Ward T08 of that notorious gaol, the University College Hospital London, the bleak and sober sixteen floor exterior of which glowers forebodingly over Euston Station much as the old NKVD headquarters did over Lubyanka Square in Moscow.  Banged immediately into solitary confinement I was warned that I had been scheduled for re-educational medical experiments that could happen at any time of day or night, this uncertainty clearly forming part of the psychological process used to break inmates down mentally and physically before ‘treatment.’

I, however, am made of stern stuff so after three days, recognizing my sense of humour remained undimmed, the Commissar Registrar relented and at 6am I was told I could eat.  Being English, I naturally asked for a cup of tea (to affirm my political unreliability, I asked for it NATO standard). 
Time passed and still no tea.  For three days, unable to sleep as various trainee doctors and nurses under the guidance of their more senior colleagues poked, snipped and photographed my wound while collectively monitoring my progress, I could hear the tea trolley and the food trolleys being pushed along the corridor outside my spartan cell.  Deprived as I was of any means of telling the time (apart from the view of the sun rising over the Shard, the Eye and other noteworthy structures of central London through the full width picture window of my cell, and the clock on the wall), I knew it was important to maintain some measure of time to avoid going insane so I used the trolleys as my watch.  Tea trolley at six.  Breakfast trolley at eight.  Soup trolley at eleven.  Dinner trolley at 12.30 (it’s a lunch trolley but they are all solid working class socialists here).  Soup or snack trolley at five.  Beverage trolley soon after.  Supper trolley at 1800.  Beverages on demand after that.

My arm had been fitted with cannulas to facilitate the injections of truth serums, hallucinogens and mind control drugs, a cocktail designed to further disorientate and break down my will as well as litres of salt water.  Left alone I tried to disconnect the tubes, or at least (in case I was being observed covertly through the multi-channel TV and entertainment centre) roll over onto them to block the flow but the flow rate was monitored electronically so all my attempts to foil their dastardly chemical therapy failed when the alarm sounded. 

I noticed some Lomonosov flower vases on the comfortable looking armchair next to my multi-way electrically adjustable prison cot (with its softly sprung, crisp cotton sheet bedecked paillasse).  I knew they were Soviet era vases because they were a funny shape, would not stand up properly and appeared to be made of recycled cardboard not porcelain.  I resolved, therefore, to harness my years of healthy living and regular training along with the Zen like calm I am noted for to expel as much of this chemical brew as possible by secretly passing it under the bed clothes into these vases.  I quickly learned that the ‘trustees’ employed on menial tasks here are not as indoctrinated as the institute would probably like for, at presumably great personal risk if discovered, the trustees would quietly sneak out the filled pots and replace them with empty ones.  I tried engaging these unfortunate souls in conversation a few times in the hope I might use them as a conduit to get messages to no doubt anxious friends outside but none of them spoke any language I could recognize.  Clearly there was method to my captors’ sadism.

For three days the trolleys had not been stopping at my cell but, worryingly, they were not stopping now that I was no longer categorized NBM.  By ten I realized I had fallen for that most basic of ploy: promise the inmate what he really wants, then let him torture himself with unending anticipation.  My suspicion was confirmed when I was informed that they were, after all, going to take me to the theatre.  London is famous for its theatres and many long running shows but in this place, ‘the theatre’ is an unpleasant euphemism for a chamber of horrors so sophisticated, even the evil swine operating in it have to train intensively for a decade before they are deemed mentally stout enough to live with the emotional consequences of their traumatic trade. To maintain their anonymity in society, these ’Gentlemen Professionals’ are accorded no rank or title of respect but are merely referred to as ‘Mr.’

The golden rule of resisting torture is to hold out as best you can for at least 48 hours after which by all mean spill the beans, at least you will have given time for anyone you might incriminate to escape.  Let’s face it, you’re dead anyway.  For this reason, my brother (who had bravely stayed with me) and I decided that he should flee to the safety of Germany while he still had the chance.  He managed to clear out just thirty minutes before they came for me.  Our parting was sombre rather than emotional.  ‘Vive La France!’ he declared somewhat confusingly.  ‘Fuck the Pope!’ I rejoined, more for something to say than any bizarre conviction I held.

With a delightful irony, I was asked to sign a form attesting my desire to undergo the procedure they had planned for me and at 15.30 hours on Sunday the 4th of May, just four foodless and drug fuelled days since I had kissed my weeping wife and child goodbye and eight days before what would have been my fifty fifth birthday, they administered the first lethal injection.  ‘Zis vill make you feel varm und fuzzy,’ I heard the heartless Wagnerian nurse say.

‘There’s a hole in my sock!’ and indeed there was.  I realized it was me talking.  I was confused.  I did not recall having pulled socks on but not only was I wearing socks, very tight knee length socks, my toes were sticking out the ends.  I was embarrassed.  In addition, my lower legs were encased in thick plastic bags with tubes in them.  I realized I was back in my cell.  The clock on the wall said 8.30.  It was an analogue clock but since it was dark outside and both the Shard and the London Eye were lit up I knew it was evening.  My throat hurt and I realized something was clamped to my face.  I tried to pull it off but my arm was pulled up short by the tubes running into it.  ‘Breathe normally,’ said a soft voice, ‘it’s just oxygen. ‘  I looked down at my leg, for the first time in weeks completely free of pain.  A big chuck had gone from the upper thigh.  It was stuffed with something black and spongy out of which came a clear plastic tube which led to a machine next to me which gurgled and hissed.  ‘Can you feel it sucking?’ someone asked me.  ‘No,’ I said.  I could not feel anything.  I felt all warm and fuzzy.  I was floating in the most comfortable place I had ever experienced.  ‘I need a pee,’ I said.  A trustee passed me a Lomonosov cardboard vase and I eased springs into it.  I drifted off to sleep.

I woke up early the next morning feeling great, really fantastic.  During the night I had only been vaguely aware of comings and goings as medical staff checked my temperatures and pressures and reset the drip alarm after I had rolled onto the tube again.

 ‘You can eat now!’ said the night duty nurse, ‘breakfast is from about eight, can I get you a cup of tea in the meantime?’  If he’d have served it to me soaked in his underpants I would have drunk it.  He came back with my tea and a little cup with seven various capsules and tablets to take.  Various people came in and inspected the wound.  To all when asked the same question, I said I felt great, I was just very hungry.  I’d be able to eat soon, they all promised me. 

The night shift handed over to the day shift.  I could have sworn I heard the breakfast trolley.  A nurse came in towing the temperature and pressure machine.  As she hooked me up I told her I was really hungry.  ‘Can you eat?’ she asked me in a really thick Filipino accent.  ‘Like a Ravenous Bugblatterbeast,’ I told her.  ‘That’s nice,’ she said before repacking her kit and leaving, closing the door behind her.

A trustee came in to change the bags in the various bins around the room.  ‘Any chance of a cup of tea?’ I asked him.  ‘I don’t know,’ he said, ‘I’ll go and ask.’

By now I had concluded that all those responsible for the preparation and distribution of food in this otherwise magnificent medical establishment were born out of wedlock and were Fascists.

A ten, the doctors from the day before came in and had a chat. 

‘How do you feel?’ they asked. 

‘Hungry,’ I said.

‘Haven’t you eaten yet?’ They exclaimed.

‘I’ve had a cup of tea,’ I said.

‘Well, you’ve missed breakfast,’ they pointed out with a breath-taking disregard for how I might take such an appalling disclosure.

‘Can one of you do me a favour?’ I asked, suddenly suffused with a horrible thought, ‘could you look on the other side of my door and see if there isn’t a notice pinned to it saying perhaps ‘nil by mouth’?’

The doctor came back into the room clutching just such a card.

Duly summoned, a ward nurse hurried into the room. 

‘You must be starving, you poor dear, would you like some breakfast?’

‘Yes please,’ I said, my spirits soaring.

‘What would you like?’

‘Full English?’ I said mentally already half way through it and slavering like a Nile crocodile.

‘Kitchen’s closed, I can do you cornflakes?’

But, I was back on the food supply map of the University College Hospital London and the flood gates opened.  No sooner had I finished the cornflakes and another cup of tea and a friendly face stuck itself round my door asking me if I wanted a bowl of soup.  It was leek and potato and was rich, creamy, full of flavour.  It was divine!  Lunch was served, filets of chicken breast served with pasta tossed in a creamy mushroom sauce with broccoli and for dessert, a tasty fruit salad with a hint of vanilla. Heavenly.  The vegetable soup in the afternoon was thick, colourful and delightful on the palate.  Supper was a salmon filet gently poached in a herb cream sauce over a bed of some exotic and crispy brassica, unfamiliar to me but all the more pleasing because of it.  This time dessert was a decadently thick chocolate mousse with a tangy orange reduction.  Each meal came with fresh fruit juice, mineral water, a yoghurt and a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. 

 
The following morning I had porridge, toast and marmalade for breakfast washed down with tea, coffee and hot chocolate.

‘The food here is fantastic,’ I told John, ex Royal Navy, now NHS, one of the regular nurses looking after me during the day.

‘Yeah,’ he laughed as he went about setting up the temperature and pressure machine, ‘they all say that!’

Then he looked at me closely, lying there in bed all chipper.

‘You’re serious, aren’t you?’ He asked in wonder, as if I was some new and interesting example of alien life form.

‘It’s brilliant,’ I told him.  ‘This hospital is fantastic.  The staff are all friendly and helpful and very kind, the doctors are really nice and professional, they talk to you as if you are an intelligent human being and make you feel part of the process.  Everyone goes out of their way to keep me informed and make sure I am comfortable.  I am in what amounts to a luxury en suite hotel room in the centre of the best city in the world with a million dollar view, most of the nurses and female doctors are drop dead gorgeous and the food is ACE!  What’s not to like?’

‘Blimey,’ he said, ‘honestly, no one has ever put it like that before.’

‘You know you are a bit of a star?’ he went on. ‘Well you were a bit of a star anyway, everyone heard about this bloke who came walking in off the street from Africa with an exotic infection, that made you  star straight away but now that you are on a ward they all talk about the man in bed 35 who always has a joke for everyone and never complains.’

‘Ah,’ I said, ‘but they’ve never seen the inside of an Angolan hospital, have they?  They wouldn’t think I was so special then’

There are a lot of things that reinforce the Great in Great Britain.  The NHS is one of them.

Having said that, I was nil by mouth again from last night until three this afternoon when my next op was cancelled because the plastic specialists from the Royal Free could not get over so, after another good feeding frenzy this afternoon, I am now nil by mouth again in anticipation of going into theatre sometime tomorrow.  The surgeon was with me just now and told me the op has now been classed as an emergency so will go ahead whether the plastics people are there or not as they do need to get in there, do a bit more debriding and confirm the progress of the infection has been halted.  It was a very deep infection she said. The thing that irritates them, and me, is that so far they have not identified what’s causing it so they will be cutting out a few more samples to test.  Either way, as the registrar said, this will not be a quick fix so, looking at the bright side, it looks as if I will have time to give up smoking after all…

Oh, there was a hilarious moment when the surgeon came to see me this evening.  They are all brisk and efficient and with me do not waste time mincing words.  ‘Sorry you missed out on the op today,’ she said, ‘but your op has now ben classed as an emergency so I will at least change the dressing.’  I was appalled and for the next few moments stopped listening to what she was saying.  This morning as they prepped me to go down to theatre they dressed me in a gown and laid upon the bed the new vacuum dressing and a few bits and pieces telling me these had to go with me down to theatre.  They were still lying on the bed.

I looked at my thigh, at the hardened sponge of the old vacuum dressing pushed into and stapled to the hole in my thigh and tried to imagine her removing that, swabbing the wound out and stuffing and stapling a new dressing in.  Here, in this room.  Don’t forget, on the day of my arrival, they had been so alarmed, a surgeon had come down to A&E and there and then, after I refused the offer of morphine, proceeded, scalpel and tweezers in hand, to cut away all the dead flesh with me wide awake watching and feeling his every move.  Her replacing the dressing in a similar manner was not, to my suddenly fevered mind, beyond the realms of possibility.  I must have looked awfully scared and sick when I stared wildly back at her and said, ‘What?  Now?’ because she burst out laughing and said, ‘Now?  Christ no!  You’d be in agony and you’ll bleed like a pig!  No, we’ll do this under general anaesthetic tomorrow!’

She may have thought that was a weird and unusual thing for me to say but I’ll bet she has never seen what goes on inside an Angolan hospital either.
 
As an aside, (apparently I am not nil by mouth for another hour so I have asked the very kind gentleman who has just changed the bag on my thigh vacuum cleaner for another cup of tea because I have learnt to stay awake when I can eat and drink, and sleep as much as I can when I am NBM), I will share with you this observation, the purpose of which is to demonstrate how politicians can always get what they want by asking questions in such a way, they already know they will get the answers they want before asking the question.
If I asked you whether HS2 would be of economic benefit, a considered (rather than emotional) response would likely be, yes.  Don't forget, I did not ask you if the economic benefit was worth the investment, I merely asked if the project would be of economic benefit and yes, of course, it would have to be, if only to the companies and their employees building it.  Having received the answer he wanted, the politician would then spin that 'yes' to proof the majority want HS2.
If, on the other hand, I said:
HS2 is going to cost 70 billion pounds.  Would you rather that money was spent on a faster rail link or the NHS? 
What do you think the overwhelming response would be?
I have a packet of Jaffa Cakes calling to me and a vase that needs filling.  Ta Ta fer now.

102 comments:

  1. The opposite happened with my mother after her stroke...despite the NPO (latin version used here in Canada) sign above her bed, she was brought a dinner tray because there was another patient with the same name. Despite having failed a swallow test the day before, she manged to eat a plate of meatballs and a bowl of pineapple with one hand before I found her covered head to waist with pasta sauce.

    Glad you are on the mend. Despite your detailed story (very amusing by the way) I am wondering what caused the infection. Is it the snake bite? If not have they looked at your foot.

    Enjoy the breakfast service. It sounds like you will be back running the ranch shortly.

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    1. Sounds like your mother has about the same respect for 'rules' as I do!

      No cause of infection identified yet.

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  2. every post of yours leaves me with a thousand possible comments and then i have to figure out which is the least inane!

    i'm glad to see you posting, thanks for the update and entertainment

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    1. Pick and post the two extremes in future!

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  3. That NBM order is possibly the worst hospital torture available, possibly excepting CLO--Clear liquids only. This one is meted out for small sins like internal bleeding. The tray contains one of every liquid known to mankind, but having inhaled a line of clear broths, apple juice and gelatins, one's stomach still knows the throat has been cut. That said, Carry On and Get Home Soon.

    PS--damned hard way to get off nicotine.

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    1. Well, I did not plan to kick the fags this way but I might as well seize the opportunity!

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  4. It is very good to hear that you are still alive, and at least kicking with the one good leg. Either the drugs are very, very good, or the food really is better than what they serve here. Of course starving the patient first does bring the ratings up. Thanks for keeping us abreast of things.

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    1. I suppose the combination of drugs and starvation does help but truly, the food is not bad at all.

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  5. Tom, you are still with us!!!! That is a convoluted scheme you made up just to quit smoking. We have all missed you and are pleased to see your humor remains in better shape than your leg. That's a nasty infection you caught there. Hope they can sort it all out and make you well again. You just can't go about shedding body parts like that and not expect it crimp your style. In all seriousness, we all wish you the best. Get well soon so you can be back with your family.

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    1. Shan't be reading any of your food posts for a while, I am afraid! I am still nil by mouth and they say I might be until this evening.

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  6. so glad to see your post tom! will marcia arrive soon? what a crazy adventure. i wonder if they will be able to figure out what is causing this? hang in there and getting the nicotine monkey off your back is a plus!!!

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    1. Marcia will arrive as fast as she can get the visas I suppose but I think she is beginning to realise there is no rush, I won't be going anywhere soon!

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  7. So glad to hear you are on the mend Tom. What a terrible thing to endure, but if you're a good patient, it'll be over soon. Take care of yourself in spite of yourself.

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  8. Calling Tom-a-gown! So relieved to hear that you sound as though you're in good hands, and I hope they stitch you up (in the real sense) good and proper, so that you can still trip the light fandango in the not very distant future.

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    1. It will give me the opportunity to loaf around the continent a bit while recuperating to catch up on friends.

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  9. Somewhere, at the back of a cutlery drawer, I have a knife, fork, and spoon set stamped UCH. In the 60's I knew a very sexy little Welsh nurse who worked there, and she equipped our flat.

    So, you're on the mend. Did they tell you what it was? Best wishes, Cro.

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    1. Still no idea what it is. There is a Professor of Infectious Diseases on the case and this morning he told me they were having to think outside the box on this one!

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  10. Good to hear from you, Tom, and glad you are being looked after properly. I do hope they can figure out where the infection has come from so they can know what they need to do to eradicate it completely.

    Helluva way to refrain from nicotine.

    x

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    1. Some good has to come out of it!

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  11. Get well soon Hippo. (Saw the photos on IG's site yesterday - I think you may end up with a scar.) Be good and perhaps they will let you out early for good behaviour. If they let you loose for a wander don't forget the gowns don't cover your butt!

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    1. I do not think I could get away with wearing Speedos anymore!

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  12. Sounds like the drugs they're giving you are working their magic!

    Glad to hear you're comfortable and on the mend. Take care and keep us updated!

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  13. So glad to hear what's going on. I can imagine that you are a real star! You'll be in the papers there soon - INTREPID AFRICAN DEVELLOPER SURVIVES SEVERE TROPICAL INFECTION. Hope you continue to make good progress. Keep in touch.... And where's the gory photos ?

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    1. The photos are over on the Idiot Gardener's blog!

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    4. Tell me this is on. Different leg to the snake bite please. I hope there is no link between the two

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  14. Good to hear from you mister....you are obviously made of stern stuff....onwards and upwards and all that stuff eh? x

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    1. Doubt I could get anything up just now!

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  15. Great to get news of your treatment from the inside of the NHS. You are one lucky bloke. Maybe they will be naming the infection after you. Hope Marcia and the boys are doing well in your absence? Take care.

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    1. The family is fine, just missing me as I miss them.

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    2. Just read IGs post. Nice to get visitors. And it will be good for you when Marcia arrives.

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  16. I was delighted to find a new post from you, and to find that you are being well looked after…apart from the episodes of starvation that is! Also ,your sense of humour is still intact even if your thigh isn't! Hope the op tomorrow goes OK. Will that be the last one? No sun over the shard today……it's raining here 20 miles to the north . Hope to hear from you again soon. X

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    1. Be nice if the op was today! They have warned me they have a lot of trauma cases so I might be off NBM at 2100 and back on again at 0200!

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  17. Glad to hear you are on the mend and are being well looked after, Hippo. I know there are horror stories about the NHS but I have nothing but praise for them in our neck of the woods. I just can't believe you loved the food!! Then I suppose if you were starving for days you could have eaten a scabby horse. Keep making good progress. Best wishes from Carol

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    1. I think it will be a while before I can look at anything scabby, much less eat it!

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  18. And to think - you almost abandoned the plan to fly to London - fooling yourself into thinking the antibiotics were starting to kick in. Thank heavens for our wonderful NHS. They are saving your life.

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    1. NHS isn't bad at all. Must send Kate Burley a note pointing that out.

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  19. Good to know your news! You are now in safe hands and everything will be taken care.
    I hope you continue to get better and better

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    1. Safe and, to my good fortune, invariably pretty hands!

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  20. I'm awful at commenting on blogs - I can lurk for years reading every post someone writes and never giving any indication that their posts are so appreciated - but I am so glad you're in the hands of competent medical and nursing staff and hopefully on the mend :-)

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    1. For a lurker, that was a very nice comment, thank you!

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  21. So sorry that you have been so sick but that's a cracker of post. You are a real writer. Are you sure you aren't related to my brother-in-law? It's either that or the NHS and Australian Medicare administer the same drugs. They must be jolly good drugs. Tell me again how you got that infection?

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    1. I have no idea how I picked up the infection or what caused it. Who is your BiL?

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    2. My BiL got kicked out of intensive care after a quadruple bypass when he was caught smoking in the toilets.

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  22. Glad they haven't accidentally removed your satirical sense of humor in the theatre ;) .....that food sounds fresh and delicious compared to US hospital fare! New ammunition for my national health care rant!

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    1. How a country like the US cannot take proper care of its own citizens beggars belief.

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  23. I am so glad you didn't end up in an Angolan hospital! Here's hoping they discover the source of the infection soon and you have a speedy recovery.

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    1. YOU are glad I did not end up in an Angolan hospital!

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  24. Glad to hear you are surviving in Stalag UCHL and have not broken down. At least thy are feeding you some gruel, even if intermittently. Hope they get to the botom of what's causing it and that your leg recovers soon. Are you at least able to stay in contact with Marcia? She must be so worried about you. The NHS is marvellous and it so annoys me when people bash it. It'll be even better next year when Kay qualifies! Get well soon.

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    1. Just think, if you had not given me that all important shove to give up drinking, I'd be having an awful time of it now!

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    2. True. Every cloud has a silver lining, even if your leg has been invaded by a trillion bacteria. In all seriousness, you are in the best place. Enjoy the view of the Shard, have your fill of hospital cuisine and try not to chase the nurses (although I'll bet the trillion bacteria will probably impede you there somewhat!). You'll be right in no time!

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  25. Whoa ... just looked at IG's photos ... so wish I hadn't!!! Respect to you ... you're a brave guy!

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  26. Great to hear you are on the mend Hippo, And maybe some leisure time on the continent. What a trip! Take care.

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    1. About time I took a bit of time off anyway!

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  27. Perhaps I should have told you to have gone to st Mary's

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    1. This place is great, no complaints whatsoever so thank you very much for sending me here.

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  28. So glad to hear you are in good hands, and are on the mend!

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    1. Every day in every way I am getting better and better!

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  29. Hippo! You're still with us! Am just dumbstruck by your antics and enjoying them a lot. You did tell the doctors about your infamous snakebite, did you? Maybe a tiny bit from your toe travelled upwards?
    Anyway, hang in there, can I send you something from Amsterdam? (no, not the obvious....!) Let me know,
    Els

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    1. A pair of clogs?

      They were quite impressed with the snake bite but it had nothing to do with this.

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  30. Glad to know you still have retained your sense of humour. I do hope they diagnose the causative organism. Best wishes to you and your doctors too !

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    1. When I stop joking you'll know it is serious!

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  31. I scrolled before I read, with my fingers in front of my face. Hospital food is not quite as horrific as an infected leg (close though). Continued wishes for quick and full healing Hippo!

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    1. Thank you Carol! Please send medicinal Bundaberg to....

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  32. I'm with Helsie : Enjoy your stay at a weird 4-star hotel that seems to charge a literal 'pound of flesh'. And where ARE the gory photos? I'm took my anti-nausea meds before checking your post. Get better soon, Tom.

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    1. Okay, just found IG's blog. *ERP* I need more meds....! Good god, man. And you're SMILING! I don't know what they are giving you in those tubes, but make sure you get some to take home with! (P.S. thankfully the infection didn't get, uh, any further north...)

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    2. That's not a smile, that's a grimace!

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  33. So glad the NHS is treating you so well. I hope your recovery is swift!

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  34. As has been pointed out by many, it's good to see, and read about, that your sense of humour has not been dimmed. Just remember, the best cure will be an early night with a hot nurse. Sounds like you have plenty to chose from. AND you're younger than me nipper!! Take care.

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    1. So far all I can manage is the early night!

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  35. Another lurker lured out of hiding by oozing pus. Love the blog - where else can one get such witty, caustic, and irreverent entertainment? Glad you're getting medical care and wish you the quickest recovery possible.

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    1. Dave Allen was better than me but he's dead sadly.

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  36. You call yourself English, Tom? Let's make that 50/50 in fairness to your mother.

    When you ask an English person "How are you" they'll say "Fine, thank you". Even if on their death bed.

    Ask a German how they are and you'll get their medical history, in detail. In your case, with ample help from the Idiot Gardener, being taken to a whole new level including wound porn. Graphic. Thanks. Can't wait till the next time an ill befalls you.

    And thanks for asking: I nearly ended up as road kill ca 2135 hrs BST last night. Better your funeral than mine.

    U

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    1. You mean the guy missed you? Blimey, he's never failed before.

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  37. This is rather an extreme way of boosting your reader stats! More seriously - take care, get well soon.

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    1. Wait til my new series 'Black&Decker - Who needs Doctors?''.

      Episode one is 'B&D - DIY Liposuction'

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  38. And you were trying to convince me that you couldn't write without whisky. We knew better. Thanks for taking time to post, we've all been understandably worried.

    And as for refusing the morphine, never do that. Remember, just like angels getting their wings and god killing kittens, every time somebody turns down an opiate, an opium farmer's child goes to bed hungry.

    I'll go ask my e-friends for a reference to the best Moto Guzzi dealer in London.


    Norman aka normzone in San Diego

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    1. Having something big and throbbing between my thighs is not something I care to contemplate just yet!

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  39. Great to hear all this. I look forward to the next instalment. Good luck.x

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    1. I shall try to make the next instalment interesting.

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  40. I'm glad to hear that you may be on the mend. I looked up airline tickets to London, and they are a bit out of my range, so I am sorry I couldn't make it out there to visit.

    Good luck, Tom. We are thinking about you.

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    1. Never mind about the visit, your kind thoughts are enough!

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    2. Well, they don't feel sufficient, but my presence wouldn't do much but add another body to worry about in your room, anyway.

      Instead, I'll go fishing, first for American shad here on our local river (Alossa sappidissima), and then in a couple of weeks, off the coast of California for king salmon (chinook, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha).

      Hopefully, I'll have pictures to send you (if only as revenge for the pictures of dorado with which you have, in the past, haunted me).

      Delete
  41. yay a post! Fabulous to hear from you! The NHS is great. I am so pleased you are being well looked after. They seem to feed you more on the ward you are on. we had the normal 3 courses but if you really got a hankering they made you burnt toast

    Glad you are on the mend.

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    1. I guess I dropped lucky again but it was John Gray who recommended the hospital.

      Delete
  42. So very glad you're ok and getting good care!

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  43. What do you need smuggling into Lubyanka on Gower Street WC1. I'll dispatch some fine albeit portly agents as required

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How about letting CLP know I am here?

      Delete
  44. That must sting a bit. Get well soon Hippo. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually it is only really uncomfortable if I stick my fork in it and twist so I have stopped doing that.

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  45. hey you could take this time to pen your book. and whilst there publishers could visit you?

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    Replies
    1. That's a good idea! I'll start writing, you call the publisher!

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  46. Tom, while it was great to hear progress reports from John Grey and IG, it is wonderful to hear straight from the Hippo's mouth. I suppose nicotine withdrawal is the least of your worries. In your honor, I quit cold turkey almost 2 1/2 months ago.

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    1. Hey, well done! There is no way I'd have been able to go what, eleven days now without a puff if I hadn't been banged up in hospital but, and this is the point, I now know I can manage without the tabs so I must just be strong when I get out.

      Delete
  47. Glad you are on the mend. Just check that they haven't written any of the following in your medical notes:
    C.T.D: circling the drain.
    I.W.B: Intercourse with biscuits. I.e. fucking crackers.
    Interesting photo of your infection: I could hazard a guess: necrotising faciitis?! Anyway, best of luck and hope you are on the way to a full.recovery.

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    1. Bloody hilarious! I told the nurses and they agreed I should be annotated I W B!

      Delete

Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.