Recovery update iii

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Last updated on June 24th, 2017 at 01:21 pm

Esquire general manager Glenn Fitzpatrick, diagnosed last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, on the curious way one adapts to failing health:

Everything weakens so gradually that you almost get used to it. If I had woken up one day feeling like I feel now, I’d be freaking out. But it’s played out over time. Now I think, Well, I almost didn’t make it up that step. I guess I won’t be able to walk soon. It almost seems like the natural order of things.

I went through something similar prior to my own (much less dire) diagnosis. Here’s the latest recovery update:

• Recent doctor visit delivered all good news. Everything is on schedule. Presently I’m mainly waiting for reassembled tissue to become sufficiently fleshlike and ductile; the improvement in exterior scars serves as a rough guide to the healing of more substantial interior reattachments.

• Sydney reader Barry G., whose cancer surgery makes mine look like a weekend homeopathy course, writes:

One thing I was surprised with was the care given to me by the nurses. Without exception it was much more than a job for all of them, even the one who was the shop steward for the union. The physio girl, a very cute blonde, would fit in at army boot camp. Saying “no, I don’t want to get out of bed” just wasn’t an option. The best I got was a 30 minute reprieve to max out the morphine from the give-me-drugs-now machine, but in reality I wouldn’t have recovered as quickly or as well without her stern insistence.

Absolutely agreed. The nurses at my hospital, Prince of Wales Private, were angelic – and tough. Special mentions to Gretchen, remover of the staples, whose pain predictions for various procedures (ranging from “this won’t hurt at all” to “you’re going to feel this” and “you might want to hold on to something”) were unerringly accurate, and Italian import Valentina, who brought an exotic Roman flavour to proceedings. One afternoon I woke to see Valentina glaring at me. “You sleep-a too much!” she announced, before striding away in a perfect Italian huff. Everyone adores Valentina. More from Barry:

I’m also seriously in awe of the work ethic of the doctors. The surgeon who did my liver op (which took some 8 hours) reorganised his Saturday to fit me in. I had one of his underlings come in at about 9pm one evening, still in theatre bandannas etc, apologising that the doc wouldn’t make it tonight as they had just finished (after a 7am start) and he had another emergency op to do at Eastwood hospital that night. Would you believe I saw him at 6:45 the next morning? These guys are worth every cent they are paid.

Absolutely agreed again.

• Post-op, when you’re feeling like a deformed and isolated cross between James Stewart’s character in Rear Window and the Phantom of the Opera himself, friends are important. Mine have insistently reintroduced me to normal life. Like this site’s readers, they are wimp intolerant.

UPDATE. “I’d like to put in a word for the wonderful staff at St Vinnies in Sydney,” writes Swimmer Schwimmer. “Where I was had a great collection of (predominantly) Irish and Fijian nurses who had all the qualities described above. And the surgeons have the most back-busting schedules ever. Only passionate devotion to their job could possibly keep their bones moving.”

Posted by Tim B. on 03/05/2008 at 11:43 AM
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