Day 11

So weak. Much excitement in the ward G6 bags of goodies arrive for the nurses. The staff from F8 wandered in here last night, and it was like new contestants arriving in the big brother house. Filtered water, amazing new fittings; they were all agog. But constant rabbit from over excited nurses? My stoma is working, they are still drawing fluid from me. I need to sleep. But will I? Three moves yesterday, the last at midnight. 😡😡😡

Thats it folks shattered.

Take care Malcolm xxxx

Trust you are all surviving the madness .

Update from the madness centre of the world.

The operation was a long nine hours. I am very tired; so I love all your messages but to keep replying to them is very tiring. Keep ‘em coming by all means but please don’t expect an answer.

The operation according to that nice Mr. Nizar was completely successful; and in fact I thought he looked a little smug as he told me. But I will blog all about it hopefully from home, I just need to concentrate on getting my bowel working. My bottom is now on the side of my body, the nice stoma nurse is very chuffed with it visually. I keep throwing up and now have a tube in that they drag the stuff out of every four hours, where does it keep coming from, because I haven’t eaten since Tuesday just before seven, today is Saturday.

Highlight has been the nurse dragging the tube inserted in my willie along the side of the bed because it got wrapped round her leg. Tears to the eyes, was an understatement. Anyway, I’m alive which is absolutely all that matters.

Thank-you all for your concern; the really bad news and you heard it here first was that Mr. Nizar said he wanted me out and home ASAP, because he thought it was going to be worse than Italy.

Take care everyone, with my best wishes that the Orwellian craziness ends very, very soon. Be lucky Malcolm 🎧🤞🎶🎵🎶🎵

I’m OK

42717AC3-47EE-4E46-A6BB-618785CB990FNine hours in surgery. He must have had a game of snooker and taken in a b movie. A colostomy is for life, but hey I’m alive!

Cant quite see the sea!

Thanks for all your messages. Malcolm 🎧

💤💤💤💤💤💤💤💤

 

 

Here we go, this is the week!

So it’s Monday and normally I would have been at my post at Slimming World. After a text conversation with the lovely consultant Angie, it was decided that I shouldn’t expose myself to the group this morning. Stop it, I have warned you before. So a lie in with a cup of tea and the morning paper. Only one problem was, that there was no morning paper. Has the paperboy self isolated? Who next, the milkman? And then what if the water people stop going to the water works? Do you turn the tap on and now’t comes out? My isolation brain was working overtime but at least taking my mind off the week ahead. And then Roy Hudd died, a lifetime favourite; I once appeared on the same bill as him at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon but that’s another story.

A shot of the mugs in the officers mess in Sandhurst; a mug shot? And another one from that amazing cemetery in Paris, just for Sarah Hillman’s other half, although I think the dude has lost his sword.

Away then to Frimley Park Hospital, with more Coronavirus madness in the news. All Irish pubs to be shut on St. Patricks day, this surely is the end of the world as we know it? I’m beginning to find it hard, even to justify to myself, to find my predicament more important than the mad, mad, world at the moment. Or indeed mean anything at all above and beyond what the whole globe is going through; blimey Treen’s got bowel cancer, so bloody what!

First stop the stoma nurse, a lovely lady (aren’t they all? Perhaps it’s an age thing!) called Rachel. The one yesterday was called Coleen! She explained all about an ileostomy, the temporary fix, and colostomy the permanent job. These are bags attached to your body for collecting poo. Sorry, you have eaten, haven’t you? So depending on whether or not my chum Graham Austin’s length of garden hose is needed will resolve the issue one way or the other; no unfortunately it will be one or the other. If I wake up from the operation, let me rephrase that, when I wake up, and the bag is on the right side of my body it’s an ileostomy, if it’s on the left side it’s a colostomy. So guess where little Malcolm’s fingers will go first when he wakes up? Stop it, you’re at it again. The ileostomy is temporary (ha! Possibly twelve weeks temporary!) but the colostomy, trust me is not just for Christmas. Mary is busily taking notes in case my brain is still malfunctioning. Rachel explains how they work, how to empty them and how to clean them and how to dispose of them. They will give me supplies to take home and make sure deliveries are made in the future. It’s a lot to take in and she tells me not to worry because they will look after me all the way through and explain everything again. Even if the doctor says you can go home, you go nowhere until we are happy that you are happy with what you are doing. Another amazingly dedicated, caring, concerned person who you know you can put your complete trust in. See you on Wednesday morning, and this may sound odd, but in a weird sort of way do you know I’m looking forward to it?

A small pause and a drink of water and away for my lung test. There is no music in the waiting area and Radio Frimley Park paid a lot of money to put our output in there because they asked for it and wanted it, when they became jealous of the music in the ED department. My brain hurts.

A very nice nurse takes me to see a doctor but no hand shake. Once more we go through the questions of have you had this or that and then paperwork completed there is some confusion with turning the computer read out on or off and my boosted confidence starts to wane. I cough and am immediately attacked by hand sanitizer spray, which are becoming like gold dust I am told. Once more, shirt off and many leads connected to my body and breath into this tube. “Oh, that’s better than predicted,” exclaims the doctor as the graph on the computer registers my efforts. “No shit, Sherlock!” I want to say but keep my countenance. “Based on?” I question. “Your weight and height,” I add, “and age?” “Ah, yes,” he agrees. Then I’m asked to sit on the bike and pedal. A mask is attached and I’m asked to no longer talk but just nod if I’m asked anything, and away we go. Just keep as close as you can to 60 on the readout in front of you and try to keep the little light green, it will become harder eventually. Then another discussion about what should be on the screen and why wasn’t was my blood pressure registering. Am I the first person they have seen since they both got back from a holiday? They wander about and the nurse almost looks like, as we are in for the long haul, she is very much regretting not having brought her knitting in to occupy her, while I pedal away. “It should change after six minutes, automatically shouldn’t it?” They gaze at one another with furrowed eyebrows. “It’s going to get harder now, try and keep it at thirty. Ah, yes look, it’s kicked in.”

“Slow down slowly and just ease the pedals off and carefully get yourself off the bike.” Even I’m impressed that nothing hurts, aches or irritates. “I’ll get you a drink.” “Large gin and tonic would be lovely.” She stoically passes me a cup of water. The doctor goes back to his notes, “Right. Any chest pains?” “No.” “Any dizziness?” “No.” “Well I think you should be fine for Wednesday. It will be a Mr. Shergar, looking after you.” I presume this is the anesthetist and I’m so, so tempted to say that I bet no one has seen him for a while but again I keep my countenance and thanking them both for a wonderful afternoon, I depart.

On my way out I engage the receptionist in a bit of conversation about the lack of music. We turn the volume control up to 10, it’s highest level and you can just about hear something. “It would be lovely to have some music,” and I explain they should have and tell them I will let our lovely engineer Mike know and he will sort it. “Oh thank you, that would be nice.” Odd they never said anything to us when they could no longer hear any music but I’m afraid people do no longer surprise me.

I meet Mary in main reception and once more there is an almighty stationary queue to get out of the car park. I call security, “No, we do know. We’ve raised the barrier so they can just drive out, so nothing else we can do.” When we finally arrive at the exit, of which there are two, sure enough the barriers are up. However, two main problems are standing in the way of a quick egress; the first is, people don’t look and are still assuming you have to put your ticket in, not realising the barrier is vertical. The second is that one of the exits, that presumably was giving trouble, even though the barrier is up, still has two large traffic cones in front of it completely preventing its use. Surely a man, arm waving people through, would have helped and taking the bloody cones away would have been another good idea. Is it me?

So that’s it folks, it is now Tuesday morning and the Picolax has kicked in already. I had breakfast before seven o’clock and now it’s just liquids all the way to F8, tomorrow morning at seven. Mary read a sign outside the stoma nurses emporium about diet and it seems jelly babies and marshmallows are the order of the day and white bread. This is not going to sit comfortably with my Slimming World regime, is it? But hopefully this is a temporary diet, purely for medicinal purposes and I can return to my beloved whole meal bread quite quickly. But the thought of jelly babies and marshmallows because the doctor said so, at the moment is something I’m quite looking forward to, purely from a medical point of view, of course. 😉😉😉 And thanks to SW and Angie, I’m in a much fitter, healthier place to face this than I would have been  before I lost my three stone. In fact one of the questions before the bike ride was, “Do you get breathless going up hill?” My answer, “No not any more and I can whistle,” brought a puzzled look to his face but both Mary and Angie would understand.

All Mary’s choirs have stopped and all concerts have been cancelled, such hard work, rehearsals all down the drain. My problem compared to the carnage being wrought all around the world, is really completely insignificant and in a way the madness at the moment has put it nicely into perspective.

Wish me luck! And thanks as always for reading. M & M 🏥🏥🚑🚑

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Those eyebrows need a damn good trim!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The journey has begun!

Gosh not one phone call but three! And hey, the weather is good, the sea is calmness personified, so the journey began today with a pre op and will continue next Monday, as advertised but with a stoma appreciation session now first, before the bicycle, let’s test your lungs session, culminating in the operation itself next Wednesday 18th of March at 0700. The calls just kept coming. “So the operation itself will be next Wednesday,” pause, “have I taken you by surprise?” My legs I can feel are shaking slightly, “Well yes. I am just amazed at the speed.”

So, how do I feel? You know the operation is coming because they have told you but when you do know the actual date for sure, (I guess there is always some flakey place in your mind that thinks a) it’s all been a horrible dream or b) they made a huge mistake in the first place,) there comes that smack between the eyes again. And suddenly we are off with a pre op date, and a very nice lady calls to add my stoma educational date to my lung testing day, to cut down on multiple visits to the hospital. The diary is filling up again but with dates that are certainly not uncertain and this time will be fulfilled.

This morning I arrive at the first floor of Frimley Park Hospital, not really sure what to expect, except Mary has told me it’s nothing invasive. They have asked somewhere in all the relevant paperwork that arrived through the letterbox yesterday, that I take along a urine sample in a clean bottle. Why I didn’t go to the surgery and get a sample bottle I have no idea; my brain certainly seems not to belong to me at the moment. So I find myself seeking out an almost empty after shave bottle and preparing that for use this morning.

A lovely warm smiling greeting, “Sit yourself down over there Mr. Treen and someone will be along to attend to you.” The television is on in the waiting area and the interminable Coronavirus story continues to dominate any conversation in the news. I will forever associate my treatment with this world wide Orwellian outbreak.

“Hello, Malcolm, come through.” Oh, how I wish I could remember names under tension. A lovely lady checks, as always, my date of birth and I lie on a couch while she attaches stickers and wires all over the place, mainly feet and chest and eventually she pushes a button. “All done, thank you. Sorry, it takes longer to wire you up than actually take the reading.” Back out to the waiting area, where the global apocalypse carry’s on, with Ireland now announcing its schools and colleges are to shut. Another lovely, lovely lady escorts me to a room and here we go with lots of questions. Again a bit like Tony Hancock, had any of these diseases, and the answers are no, no, no and certainly not that one, how dare you! Gazing at the screen, “Right, let’s take a look at your medical history.” Now there is a long pause; which is strange because there cannot be much to look at and indeed maybe she can’t quite believe what she isn’t looking at, if you see what I mean?  “2004, an endoscopy?” “Yes, I’m afraid that’s about as good as it probably gets. I couldn’t swallow and was admitted overnight and then had that endoscopy procedure eventually to make sure all was well. And it was; I was simply told to make sure I went away and masticated. Which my mum always told me would make me go blind!” She chuckled but had obviously heard this one before, indeed as she had with the hearing question, when I replied, “pardon?” “I sometimes fall for that one, if I’m not concentrating.” “Let’s take you blood pressure.” The machine kicks in, “Text book reading!” 

We parted real chums and she explained everything beautifully. I was given two sachets of the dreaded Picolax and her deepest sympathy and some nutricia preOp, to down in order to replace the fact I would be pretty dehydrated. She explained her love of being a nurse was just such a lucky calling because she got up every morning and actually wanted to go to work. Shades of me and LWT, because I always said I was so lucky to be in exactly that frame of mind most mornings myself. The thought of 9 to 5 in an office was just a non starter. Her husband, apparently, couldn’t understand her frame of mind but his problem she explained not mine. Once more someone’s dedication shone through and I explained how Mr. Nizar’s love of the bowel had really filled me full of confidence. “Funny, we never meet them,” she said. “You should, you really should,” I said, “Have a cup of coffee one morning with him in Café Glade, you’d love it.”

Back to the waiting area and finally escorted to take a blood sample. Even the nurse was old enough to quote Hancock back at me, “That’s nearly an arm full!” And I was allowed to drift down to the pharmacy to fill a prescription for some antibiotics to take the day before the operation. How they stay in place when the Picolax kicks in, I have no idea and I didn’t ask. They know what they are doing don’t they?

The queue to get out of the car park, almost took longer than waiting for the prescription. When that system works, a bit like Heathrow, it is fantastic. When it goes tits up, it’s a nightmare. In the queue, I have time to realise I still have that aftershave bottle of pee in my pocket, no one has asked for it. Now be careful dear boy, I know you no longer possess your brain, but do not to get confused and put that bottle back on the bathroom shelf! Splash that all over yourself in the morning and the dentist will not be very impressed. Oh god, the dentist, Friday 13th, what can possibly go wrong? 😱

Six days and counting and how do I feel? Sorry, I have no idea, I really haven’t. So please, don’t ask me but I may ask myself again soon.

Thank you for reading, dear friends.

M & M 🧪🎭💊 

 

How do you feel?

So, after the euphoria of Friday’s news that the cancer has not spread and then the gravity of the information given to us about the journey ahead, oh, yes and that word Picolax came up again but I bravely tried to look stoical; I then spend the weekend wondering how I am actually feeling. Not physically, I have had the cough from hell, which by the time Monday came around, after five continuous nights of coughing and disturbed sleep, had drained me a fair old bit; no I’m talking emotionally. Incidentally, I had coughed so frequently and with such vigor that I was convinced my bollocks had dropped so much that they were now in certain situations clanging against me knees. I had absolutely no idea how I was feeling. I still felt in limbo with every forward entry in my diary and appointment completely uncertain, until some sort of timetable of events gets presented to me. I had at least avoided googling descriptions of the operation and seeking out useful titles such as  ‘caring for your stoma,’ what was the point, when I knew a whole team was on standby to talk me through all this? But I still didn’t know how I felt. I had contemplated driving home and just falling into a bottle of Prosecco with Mary, but I could already hear here saying, “The alcohol will dry your throat so much, you’ll not just be coughing for England but the entire UK.” Back burner for that bright idea for a while then.

Laura returned from her usual weekend away in Switzerland with a nasty cold and feeling completely rubbish. She phoned in sick to work, only expecting to be absent for one day in order to shake the worst of it off, but what a surprise awaited her! Later that afternoon she was told to self isolate for two weeks and not come back in to Pinewood. This means she doesn’t get paid because like me, towards the end of my illustrious career, she is freelance. She is currently working for Disney, you know the one that’s all about caring and families and Mickey Mouse; Walt must be spinning in his fucking grave. The image of a long line of pipe smoking animators flashes into my mind; all looking smugly forward to their company pension upon their retirement. But maybe I’m wrong about this, perhaps he pulled them in for Snow White and the seven dwarfs  and then kicked them all out on the dole, until they were required on Fantasia. Discuss. The world is truly standing on its head at the moment; I suddenly contemplated this on a personal level, to try for just maybe a couple of hours, in order to get my balls back to where they belonged.

So the general mood in the whole Treen household itself became turgid but how was I? Contemplative for sure, in that it was a bit like entering the hundred acre wood, where the signposts were now clear but I still couldn’t quite see the light breaking through at the far end of path. Why? Always the fear, I suppose that you have to put to the back of your mind and not let it overwhelm you; exactly come on Treen, key hole surgery and a robot, what could possibly go wrong? A dear friend from Radio Frimley Park recognised my Lost in Space reference from last time and phoned to say he had a huge operation twenty years ago, and he does have a stoma. Please, if I wanted to talk or even gaze upon the equipment he is happy to share any information with me. A chum of Mary’s has offered exactly the same and that’s when you realise despite all the seeming madness in the world , there are still people out there who care and are not out there busy stock piling toilet rolls for their store cupboards.

By the way, as a precautionary tale of ‘be careful what you wish for,’ Laura and I were heading for Gatwick about two months before Christmas (very much pre covid – 19) on a pre planned excursion. I, as usual, was busy musing and bemoaning on the extraordinary amount of traffic on the roads these days; it has been sometime since I heard anyone say shall we go for a Sunday drive out tomorrow.  And Laura suddenly said, “Too many people.” Then pondered and then, “What we really could do with us another damn good plague, something to wipe a few thousand people away.” How long she will possess this new found ‘god’ like quality for, I have no idea. But I have cautioned her next time to by all means think something we are all thinking, but please just don’t say it out loud; motorways may no longer have hard shoulders but obviously they do still possess ears. And beware because your own thoughts can come back and bite you on the bum; who knew that she would technically self inflict her own self isolation.

So, how am I feeling? A phone call from the anesthesiologists office, has begun the journey, which will now start at  15-15 next Monday. It’s the bicycle, treadmill challenge to see how good my lungs are, and thank goodness far enough away from this nightly hacking, for me to hopefully be back on form. And this has probably put the mockers on another podcast recording for the Rheumatology department, who I am beginning to let down badly. But how am I feeling? It sounds like the ship is about to weigh anchor and set sail no matter what the weather holds; its one way now only to removal of the cancer and beyond but it’s that beyond bit, still shrouded in sea mist, that I really can’t see very clearly.

I need to go and stock up on some bird food now, so perhaps with your permission, I’ll return to this narrative later in the week. I found a small blue tit marooned on the ground last week, and thought he had injured himself. What he had managed to do was put both feet through an oak leaf, so it was acting as a kind of shackle and preventing him from moving his tiny feet or perching anywhere. I removed the leaf, with him manfully pecking at me but not hurting and I was amazed just how light he was. With the leaf successfully removed, he flew to a branch and perched there and I felt very humble and chuffed that maybe in someway I had saved his life. He hung around for a while and then took flight, such a tiny incident but it meant so much.

Thank you for reading, oh the phone is ringing again!

M & M

 

Mr. Nizar, will you marry me?

A bad night? Well, yes because of cough, cough, cough. I blame, probably completely incorrectly, the Royal Memorial Chapel Sandhurst, from Sunday just gone. It must have been minus five in there and I swear I could hear the penguins gathering excitedly by the front door, just waiting to come in to be fed. I’m actually amazed I didn’t catch pneumonia; maybe it is, but I haven’t dragged myself off to see a doctor having kinda peaked with the medical profession for the moment and fearful someone was going to say, in the present climate, “Self isolate, like Jon Snow from channel four news. Now get out for two weeks.” So, on Wednesday it started cough, cough, cough and shivering and didn’t improve a lot yesterday.

Anyway, in to Frimley I went this morning, to record my interview with Michele Monro. Not the best one I have ever done but she, bless her, can talk for England. Her new album was in Radio Frimley Parks letter box; there are 47 tracks on there and it’s wonderful “Matt Monro : Stranger in Paradise, the lost New York Sessions.” It has been a pet project of hers for a number of years and you can tell how proud she is to have done this for her dear Pa. I then tried to re record a little trailer for The Samaritans, to bring it up to date with new timings and a new phone number. I sounded so full of the bug and a tad depressed, that I thought I would be tempted to call them myself by the end of the forty seconds! Perhaps I should go for take two, once the lurgy has passed.

Mary joined me, after an unscheduled trip to Gatwick; Laura’s early morning train having been cancelled upon their arrival at Blackwater. We both go upstairs to the Endoscopy department, and only a little wait, for which Mr. Nizar quickly apologised; he was fresh from the operating room. You can’t have a go at a dedicated surgeon, now can you? Immediate relief as he tells me the cancer has not spread; MRI scan is clear, as is the CT scan and my bloods are all fine. There was a palpable lightening of the atmosphere in the room, did I see a winking angel? He then went into the details of what is to be done and explained one of the main problems is, will he be able to reconnect, after removing a chunk of the bowel, with what’s left; will it be long enough? My chum Graham Austin later offered me a length of garden hose, if it would help. I love my friends, I really do. It will be keyhole surgery with a robot; images of Lost in Space flash into my mind with an arm waiving piece of machinery shouting, “Danger Will Robinson, danger.”

He will operate this month come hell or Coronavirus, and it will take six to seven hours. A lot of pacing for Mary I’m thinking, so perhaps that carpet in the hallway can wait even longer for its renewal. Many other details were included with sympathy and such a caring attitude of a man so fascinated by the bowel and it’s inner workings, that you can only sit there in total admiration that such people exist. God bless the NHS and more importantly it’s wonderful, dedicated staff.

There we are folks; a lot to come but Mary and I will get through it and I’m sorry probably more blogs to come. But only if you want.

Thanks for reading. I’m both apprehensive but also so relieved and thanks to all of you for being there for me.

M & M 🤞🧪💉

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