Monday, the last full day before going home, was a funny sort of day. I'd mastered dilating and douching. The food menu was back to normal, and in fact I'd switched to 'home' mode so far as eating was concerned - that is, nice things, but with restraint. It felt a bit like killing time.
Except for one thing, that made me a little anxious. Mr Thomas had been detained up in London, and hadn't managed to get back to personally remove the catheter, and of course have a good look at his handiwork at the same time. And while the catheter remained in place, it was a bind getting out of bed for some exercise (a snail-like 'jog' up the corridor). My personal nurse Carla fitted me up with a small version of the catheter that strapped to my right leg, which certainly made walking more straightforward, but it filled up faster, and the weight made it slip down the leg, quite apart from the problem of having to empty it more often.
And that was another thing. While the catheter was in, I didn't have to worry about having a pee. I could glug down as much fluid as I liked. But as soon as it was removed, I'd be needing to go to the loo frequently. That might ruin any hope of sleeping much. And what if the new urethra didn't work! So I was not a little apprehensive.
Then, earlier than expected, Mr Thomas arrived. He was very apologetic, very pleasant, seemed very happy with the look of things down there, chatted away to me as if we'd known each other for years, and ...oooh! what happened there?...he'd pulled out the catheter tube in one deft movement, and it was done and over in a second. I didn't really register any definite sensation. Mr Thomas carried on with his pleasant talk, explaining to me what should now happen with my urethra and the rest. Then he went away, with a smile on his face as he glanced back at me. (I think I could have been one of his more co-operative and amiable patients, but it may just have been two Welsh people saluting each other)
Now...could I pee? The chance soon came. Suffice it to say that on the second attempt I got the body position right and produced the golden stuff in proper quantity. A bit of blood in there, but that was expected and not a problem. Quel relief!
So with the last question mark removed, I could relax and set to with my day of dilations and dejeuners. Soon, immense energy burst forth. I felt in the mood to lay down some serious music, such as had never before been performed in the Nuffield. I broke open my air guitar and went off on a mean and super-seismic solo:
That's right, look 'em in the eye and make them fear the janglings of my axe. I'm gonna shoot the sherriff, but I won't shoot the deputy. I'm a Voodoo Chile who's standing next to the mountain and is gonna chop it down with the edge of my hand. I'm gonna pick up all the pieces and make an island, might even raise a bit of sand. Yeah.
Bloody hell. My air guitar solo got out of control and went extreme. That last chord must have pulverised all Sussex! Maybe it did. I went back home over the Downs, avoiding Brighton. So I don't know for sure yet that the place wasn't shattered, and will have to be entirely rebuilt. That really wouldn't surprise me.
Ah! So nice to be totally unplugged from catheters and other tubes, and on my feet!
Next morning, early. I'm almost completely packed and only have to dilate, douche, shower, get into 'normal' clothes, and be off. Liz Hills will have a word with me first, and I've got chocs for the nurses by way of thank you. Young Carla comes in super-early just to see me. I'll miss the Nuffield. Everyone was so nice, so helpful, and they all came to my assistance quickly on the few occasions I called. It made my stay far more than merely bearable. It made it a pleasure, and perhaps more importantly gave my recovery a flying start.
Er, what's happened to my figure? Sorry about the full-sized knickers, but on the authority of Bridget Jones, full knickers do have a certain je ne sais quoi - and mine are fringed with lace!
R--- and her car Sparky got me home by way of a smooth and pothole-free route. Well researched, R---, and thank you! This is a picture of Sparky in 2010, with his cool surfing driver. (Sparky's a 'he' by the way. Not all cars are girls like Fiona)
That was in sunny Guernsey, and that's a Guernsey plate which Sparky proudly sports over here on the UK mainland. R--- says the plate turns quite a few heads, and even if the plate isn't noticed, the car is an import not usually seen on UK roads, and so attracts plenty of attention on its own account.
Back to my homecoming. It was a sunny morning, but chilly, and once home I found that the central heating had stopped working - a boiler problem. Hey-ho. Out with the electric heaters! Thus the glow in my bedroom, as the afternoon dilation approached:
It was reasonably cosy. And three days later the boiler had a new part fitted and proper heating - and running hot water - were restored. My shower had its own electric heater, and I'd been able to keep clean in luxury all along. The shower was the warmest place in the house. Because of that I enjoyed my morning ablutions and the day's dilations very much indeed, as it meant using the shower!
Three final images:
The first evening home, reclined and fed, and it's thumbs up! Nice to be home. No place like it.
Another day. About to dilate. Just had a nice thought. Happy days!
A sunny day, feet up, this month's Top Gear magazine to browse through. Out of view, a steaming cuppa. What more could I want at this moment?