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Transplant Diary: 13th October

Visited my Parents for the weekend with my Wife Tina. We got out and about, did some good exercise. Ate a lovely Sunday lunch. I have my first pint, all goes well this morning at the hospital but later in the day, news comes in from the hospital, as one of the Consultants leaves a message on my answerphone…

The Weekend

I woke up this morning feeling totally refreshed after such a great weekend down in Dorset with the folks.

I must say I am mighty pleased with how my Dad is getting on, he is looking fit and well. I hear he has been taking regular walks around where they live in Wimborne, up and down hills, after all its far from a flat county. He is certainly making great progress after such a major operation for my benefit – I am eternally grateful to him, he is a definite hero in my mind.

Bournemouth amble

[image title=”Bournemouth Beach, train shed!” size=”thumbnail” id=”912″ align=”left” linkto=”viewer” ]We took a trip down to Bournemouth in the afternoon after we had some lunch. We made our way down to the Boscombe end of town, parked at the top of the cliff and walked down the zig-zag path that leads down to the beach and promenade that runs behind it. The weather was fantastic, very warm indeed albeit a little hazy out over the sea. I was a little worried about having to walk back up the zig-zag later but put that thought to the back of my mind.

Our aim was to walk about a mile along the beach to Boscombe Pier. So off we set, walking along the beach on the fine sand for which Bournemouth Beach is famous. Dad and I were walking ahead of Tina and Mum, chatting away about the experiences we had encountered over the past near-month since our operation took place. We talked about the last time we had walked along a beach (that time it had been Wittering in Sussex). We joked about the phrase we had made up that day, “Walking out to Sea” which nearly happened, as we were so engrossed in our conversation we had lost track of where we had been at the time, so much so we had nearly ran out of beach and came close to getting our feet wet. We then realised that we were motoring along, Tina and Mum were quite far behind us! The Pier was drawing closer and we were negotiating several breakwaters. One of which was about as tall as me (I am only 5′ 10″) and I decided against trying to vault over it, not good for stitches and all that. So I had to wal back towards the back of the beach and limb over a lower bit, making sure there wasn’t a 9 foot drop the other side. I always check after a nasty experience as a child when I got wet doing so and learnt to swim quite quickly.

[image title=”Fishing on Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth” size=”thumbnail” id=”915″ align=”left” linkto=”viewer” ]Before we knew it we were walking through the entrance to the pier and walking along towards the end. Mum and Tina had vanished from view and my phone rang with a number I didn’t recognise. Cold caller? Wrong number? No idea, I let it ring out. We then reached the end of the pier and Dad started talking to the fisherman who were casting their lines over the edge. Dad told me about the new reef that was being constructed off the shore and the reasons behind it. We watched a group of surfers down below. I busied myself taking some snaps on my camera-phone (more on this in another post later in the week).

Was I in any pain? No not really, still sore in one spot but this eases off the more I walk and the harder I pace myself. I am still not overdoing it, I know when I am flowing ok and when its time to take a breather and find a bench to sit on. Mum and Tina caught up with us and learn that my mystery caller was in fact Mum! I didn’t know her mobile number! Whoops! They had been worried thinking I had fallen off the pier into the sea, eaten by a cod, had fallen over a breakwater and drowned in a small puddle or that one of my doctors had been looking for me and carted me back to St Helier for another biopsy or some strange event like that. Actually they were really worried about me and I realised that I had stomped ahead perhaps a little too much for my own good but I felt fine, I could handle it.

[image title=”Boscombe Pier has recently been refurbished” size=”thumbnail” id=”922″ align=”left” linkto=”viewer” ]I will re-visit the pier at some point to shoot it properly, as its a great location with some potential for evening or twilight photography when the lights come on. It has recently been refurbished and it will look really great when its totally finished.

[image title=”Silver Surfers perhaps? Bournemouth Beach” size=”thumbnail” id=”925″ align=”left” linkto=”viewer” ]Our walk back included an ice cream and a gentle stroll back along the beach. We bumped into a bunch of young guys who I assumed were possibly students who were asking people what sand castle they preferred. One was a traditional sand castle and the other was quite an impressive boat. I plumped for the boat, as did Dad. Tina and Mum voted for the other but I think that is because they gave the game away, the girls had built the traditional one and the boys the boat! We let gender identity decide for us. I advised them to not reveal the creators first!!!

Finally we made our ascent up the zig-zag path which was steep. Dad stopped at one point to wait for Tina and Mum and I did too. We re-grouped and I strolled ahead, I could feel my lungs working away, my heart was pumping away but I wasn’t feeling strained, out of breath, tired, fatigued, ill or even dead at any point. I was taking every step in my stride and reached the top with some breath still spare in my chest. I was quite proud but realised I was sweating a little bit and it was showing through my shirt, damn it!

Berwick St John

[image title=”The Talbot Inn at Berwick St John. Food is great there – Go – Now!” size=”thumbnail” id=”944″ align=”left” linkto=”viewer” ]The following day we took a trip out for lunch and found ourselves in the delightful, bijou village of, Berwick St John and its only Pub, the Talbot Inn. Berwick comprises of just a few houses, mostly quite big and an old derelict chapel. We settled down at our table by the window, that was punctuated by a lovely dusty beam of sunlight, the kin that you only get in such places. It was lovely and warm, cosy even. We ordered two beef and two lamb Sunday roasts which came with a side bowl of lovely vegetables. I washed this down with my very first pint since the operation, a delicious Bass. I was as happy as a sand boy. It was delicious, both of them that is, we really enjoyed it and made a mental note of returning one day. Our desserts were Fruit Crumble x 2, Ice Cream x 2, Tina had chocolate, Mum had the curiously named, Georgian Ginger. Dad and I had the crumbles – Mine was coated in a lovely hot custard![image title=”The Author of this blog (me), enjoys a pint!” size=”thumbnail” id=”938″ align=”right” linkto=”viewer” ]


[image title=”Hospital Corridors are sinisteraren’t they?” size=”thumbnail” id=”945″ align=”left” linkto=”viewer” ]Back at the Hospital today of course and all went well. Blood pressure is still behaving itself, weight had surprisingly gone down to 75kilos from 78 on Friday. See who said puddings were bad for you, hey! On the other hand later found out that my Creatinine is up a little to 193, as the consultant left a message on my answer phone, which means dropping the Tacrolimus to 4mg twice a day, to educe the levels in my blood. Hmmmmm, hope this doesn’t bounce up on Wednesday, otherwise there could be problems again. On the other hand it may settles, so let’s hope it does just that!

As a transplant patient you cannot afford to be complacent and you mustn’t expect that good news one minute is good the next. There are ups and downs and its very frusrating at times, especially when you feel as if you are on a high.

Not too worried though, as I am feeling great right now and feel that it will turn out ok later in the week, as it tends to. The Consultant was happy with things though when I saw her earlier in the day. So back I go on Wednesday, my first free Tuesday since coming out of St Georges nearly a month ago.

Dealing with boredom

As you can imagine, I spent a great deal of time sat around in waiting rooms, not so much for the medical team but I am generally finished with by 11am. I have a two hour wait, if not a little more on some days for the transport people to collect us as at 1pm. This isn’t an issue, as that is simply the way it works there. Boredom can be a problem though and I decided today to combat that as best as I could….

I take a good book, a light read, with plenty of humour to wile away the hours. I am currently reading the excellent – “As you do” written by Richard “Hamster” Hammond of Top Gear fame. It’s bloody brilliant and I am currently splitting at the sides reading about his adventures in the Arctic and how he deals with his time on his own there before the rest of the BBC team arrived. Its very funny and beautifully written.

I also invested in a reporter’s notepad (I liked the title, made me feel all journalistic!) and a pen. I scribed some notes for this blog article over a coffee in the canteen and wondered if anybody noticed me doing so. “Hey, look isn’t that? Wots-his-name?”……or…… perhaps not. These thoughts do go through my head, to keep me amused and sane or perhaps otherwise as the case seems to be rapidly becoming these days.

Making up games is also another great way of passing time. One I invented today, is a game where f I don’t know somebody’s name, I make up one for them. Sadly I cannot recall any I invented….

I also was glad to see people today I do know, such as Paul and Lawrence who were both in at the same time as me at St Georges. Lawrence is a fellow live recipient and Paul a Cadaveric recipient. They are all doing well but like me, have had hiccups along the way. What I do notice though, is that no matter what we are all going through, we keep smiling and support one another. It is for that reason, the whole experience has generally been a pleasant one rather than the opposite. Granted it has been tough, at times tougher than I would have first envisaged.

So that is it from the Transplant Diary until Wednesday. Tomorrow I will write about something different, a little bit of photography.

All shots were taken on a Nokia N95 camera phone – I shall be writing more about this soon!

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