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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Narrowboat running costs -some end of year facts and figures.

 Here in the south of the country we have woken to a beautiful fresh sunny day. Ice has on several days of late, settled against the lock and to one end of the marina. If the canal does freeze over it will stop navigation so perhaps Mother Nature is sending out hints of what she has in store so keep those tanks topped up and get some extra coal now. The tanks that need to be kept empty are those connected to your toilet; those of us with composting toilets can ignore this last sentence says I with a grin on my face.

Being in a marina our choice of coal is limited and our normal choice from Jules' fuel boat has been Pureheat at £10.75($16.34) per 25 kilo(55lbs.) As this brand is not available in the marina it has resulted in our trying Pureglow at £10.50 and I must say they are almost identical in performance.

We have of course plenty of wood on the roof that is under cover and keeping dry. Our normal way when out on the towpath is to burn wood during the day, using coal in the evening and overnight. Being in the marina and near to other occupied boats we have to ease up on the wood burning so as not to let the extra smoke annoy others.

The next part of this blog post is only possible because my lovely Jaq keeps records of our boat costs and locations. I don`t need to check records to know our location a year ago because it was just about 500 yards away out on the towpath. Last October I had the Bowel cancer surgery and by December I had recovered enough to leave the boat for a pre op check for surgery on my Uretha and I   missed Alistair --a regular blog reader. Alistair while out and about snapped the sign on the left and sent it to me. The guys give the location away, it is St. Omer barracks. Alistair said it reminded him of me with my stomer after the bowel surgery. He decided not to eat there.

That was eight weeks after the bowel surgery; today it`s been six weeks since the Liver surgery and although I feel pretty good I am not going to be as fit in two weeks time as I was a year ago, as this time the surgery has been more invasive.

Again referring to Jaq`s records over the past 12 months we have used;

1037 litres of diesel. That`s 228 UK gallons at a total cost of £801.34($1218) approx. 77p per litre for UK readers.

Five 13kg (28.6 lbs) bottles of propane total cost £118.65($180) that`s about £23.50($35.72) per bottle. I bet house owners here in the UK wished they had a gas/propane bill as low as that.

23 bags of coal at a cost of £245.75($373.54). At £10.50($16) per bag that`s about the same as the current price. The bags are standard 25 kilo(55lbs).


Of course we have our Canal and River Trust license that expires the end of this month and cost £833($1266).

Insurance covering the boat itself plus we have our contents insured totals £320($486).

An added insurance we have as perhaps many boaters also have is breakdown cover. We use RCR which as well as attendance by an engineer includes replacements parts cover with just a £50 excess to pay. This at a cost of £133($202) is £2.55($4) per week.

Last year we had a drive plate -think clutch- fail, the plate costs around £140($212). The whole job including fitting cost us £50($76). if you price up some of the parts covered in the above link you will see it`s a good deal. Our gearbox would cost £700($1064) if not covered by our insurance. Remember the labour is included as is the engineers traveling time.

So we have six fixed costs over the year adding up to a total of £2450($3724) that works out at £47($71) per week.

Of course there maybe some figures that need tweaking but this gives a good guide for any reader interested. Take the coal, consumption is reduced by the wood we gather so perhaps the cost of chainsaw and it`s consumables should be included but as I say this just gives readers a guide.

Now getting to the end I realise my engine servicing has been omitted. Doing my own means just parts to price which is approx - figures in my head- about £38 each for four services per year.

Please feel free to comment especially if my figures  are wrong, I am winning the Mr. C battle so think I can take what you less troublesome folk throw my way.

The $ figures for all our friends and family across the pond are based on  £1 being equal to a $1.52cents and some figures have been rounded up/down.




Friday, December 12, 2014

To close for comfort

As my health improves each day I can finally turn my energy, what little there is, to writing a blog post. The need of pain killers is almost non existent and my appetite is back to normal, just need to heal inside and build up my energy but from past experiences this I know will take time.

In the meantime we think under the circumstances we are in the best place for now. Of course because of planning laws a great many marinas all over the canal system are classed as non residential but.........

As you can see in the picture space is not in great supply but believe me people are living like this permanently. Just scroll to the top of the blog and look at what our moorings are usually like. Open to both sides and often with views over rolling countryside and often not even another boat anywhere near.
To the right we have a jetty and the distance window to window is 41 inches!  To the left it gets worse as there is no jetty and the boats are actually a thin fender apart and the window distance reduces to 17 inches! The jetty stretches down just three quarters of the boat making it impossible to tie the boat firmly which is noticed when the wind causes the boats to bump noisily together or against the jetty.
I wonder if there are fire regulations covering space between boats, i`m sure there are for caravans.
We are fortunate that the boats either side are unoccupied and are just someones summer pleasure moored for the winter.

 As you can see in these shots through the front doors we have a large hedge blocking any view there might have been. Good access not only for nurses but also Mr Tesco makes life easier while I heal but luckily it`s not forever and although we are very thankful to be here temporarily neither Jaq or I could live like this permanently.
Boaters are such a great community, Robert having popped in from his mooring has just returned from the chandlery with some coal for the fire. If that hedge wasn`t there all we would see are the trains passing by. Luckily they are far enough to not be a nuisance in this generally quiet peaceful location.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Mountain High, Valley Deep: Healing Continues

"The human body experiences a powerful gravitational pull in the direction of hope. That is why the patient's hopes are the physician's secret weapon. They are the hidden ingredients in any prescription."

~Norman Cousins, American political journalist, author of 'Anatomy of an Illness', world peace advocate

   First and foremost I wish to offer our sincerest and most heartfelt thanks to friends and family who held us in heart and mind; for the prayers, positive thoughts, ritual, and mindful healing meditation; for the phone calls, emails and direct offers of assistance; for the rides to appointments and the store.  It felt like you all had my back when things have been tough. A special thank you to Angela, Mike G. and Robert for rides and moral boosting visits and to Marilyn, Kev, and Cousin Kind Heart for...everything else.
   On the recommendation of a friend I tried the services of an Osteopath for the first time ever. After one hour of gentle, compassionate and knowledgeable care in the hands of Jane Ducklin D.O. I walked out of her office a new woman. For the first time since I injured my left foot in December of 2011 getting off the boat--it didn't hurt! My S-I joint has been out and in and out for a period of seven years and as time passed my four layers of muscles along with the tendons and ligaments around my knees, ankles and lower back have been torqued out of place and twisted indefinitely, causing collateral pain throughout my limbs. Dr. Ducklin's expertise began the process of releasing those soft tissues and helping them to return to proper alignment.
   By Saturday morning I felt like a million bucks--I had no problems climbing in and out of the boat, filling the coal bucket, bringing in wood, going for a walk or sliding our miserable heavy back hatch open and closed. In fact, I felt younger than 57--I felt like myself at 40!!
   Compare this to the week Les was in hospital and the week he came out--when I took 50 mg. of Tramadol every four hours just to stand upright, get myself down to London to check on Les and come back to take care of the boat and fix his meals for the next day. My knees felt like splintering wood every time I took a step and I could not trust myself to maintain my balance. I wasn't sleeping properly because I could not get comfortable with my S-I joints popping in and out. It was all agony...
   I've been back again for a follow up treatment and I am pleased to say Osteopathy really works! And here I thought I was destined to suffer due to being overweight, having arthritic joints, and just getting old--I've led a fairly stressful life and the past year certainly qualifies under that term--and stress accelerates aging. I was feeling closer to 80 than 57. I'm not easily impressed but I have to say this treatment worked amazingly well for me.
   Les was sent home from hospital on November 11th in the early evening after 24 hours of broad spectrum antibiotic and the removal earlier the day of his release, of 12 staples which allowed a pint of pus, dead blood cells and other septic liquid to drain out of his wound. It was left open and dressed. I had his clothes and shoes as I had planned to wash them and return the next day with clean things for him, not realizing he would be released so soon. 
   Our dear friend Angela picked Les up at 4:30 and brought him to the boat, moored up between the Dudswell locks, which is where we agreed to moor before Les went in hospital. Dear Sir jumped out of the car and came flapping down the muddy towpath in the dark, pouring rain, pajamas flapping in the cold wet, nothing but slippers on his feet. Angela and I had our hands full of his belongings and before I could get ahead of him to the boat, Les had dived over the side, hurting himself trying to get in the door. 
   He was loaded to the gills on analgesics and the remnants of anesthesia and making no sense whatsoever. He wouldn't settle down to eat, preferring instead an attempt to sort the mountain of boxes filled with drugs sent along with him.  He would scoop them towards his chest like a dragon's hoard, then suddenly stop, stand up, and walk to the back cabin, hovering uncertainly in the dark. 
   "Baby what are you doing?" I called out. 
   "I don't know, I needed to get something but I don't remember what..."
   "Come back and eat please. Your food is getting cold."
   Back Les came to take a bite or two and repeat the entire process until bedtime. The RFH staff failed to send home any paperwork detailing what drugs where given last and when--apparently we were just supposed to guess and hope I didn't overdose Les on the next round of meds.
   My Best Beloved was sent home with about a day and half worth of dressings. The Visiting Nurses (VN's) were extremely peeved as it takes three days minimum for such items to arrive at the chemists after the Nurses request a prescription from the doctor's surgery (office). The first nurse to visit and assess Les' condition felt he should not have been sent home just yet and was angry because they didn't have enough dressing to care for him properly. She took out her anger on us saying, "When the dressing arrives you will have to collect them from the surgery." Fortunately other nurses were kind enough to deliver them when they arrived. 
   Those first days were awful for us both as Les' improperly dressed wound oozed the remainder of the infection, leaking down over his stoma bag during the night loosening the adhesion. Les would wake every morning with the stoma bag hanging half off--feces everywhere, including in his open wound by day four. I wanted to grab Prof. Davidson's nursing assistant and shove her face in it. Two more days in hospital would have allowed them to be sure they had a handle on Les' wound care and given him 48 more hours to begin fighting the infection. I felt at that point that if my husband recovered it would be a miracle.    Les' condition improved slowly with many ups and downs. The Visiting Nurses are a haphazard crew. Half the time we get Health Care Assistants. Here is what the Royal College of Nursing says about HCA's:
   "As yet, there are no specific national requirements for becoming an HCA. Some employers require literacy and numeracy skills. You simply need to apply for a job as an HCA, and once you have been accepted, your employer will train you to be competent in the skills required for your job. You might want to think about getting work experience to find about what it’s like to work in health care first." (Health Care Assistant. Royal College of Nursing. ND. Web. Accessed on 26th Oct. 2014. http://www.rcn.org.uk/nursing/work_in_health_care/become_a_health_care_assistant)
  The above description is wide, and vague enough to drive a 767 airliner through. Needless to say the requirements for a Certified Nurse Assistant in the U.S. is far more rigorous, requiring a minimum of one year's schooling with a pass rate of 90% and a State licensing exam (in Washington state) with the same. It is not necessary to state "numeracy and literacy may be required"; these skills are nonnegotiable requirement in the States.  
  When the HCA's show up on the boat often they are on their own--not in the company of anyone with more skills and experience and frequently they improperly dress Les' wounds, trussing him up like a holiday Turkey, bandaging him from belly button to nipples.
  Sometimes an actual nurse or a duo of nurses arrives. It is potluck with them too. Emma is a brilliant nurse--calm, thoughtful, with experience and expertise--and she comes from barge folk so she is not overawed by the boat. She knows how to advocate for her patients with the local medical community and NHS bureaucracy. Dave is pragmatic--an experienced nurse who knows what he's doing. Denise is a competent ray of sunshine who makes us smile. We've also had nurses who spend more time gawking at the boat and attempting to interview me than tending to their patient. Some will listen to what Les says--others insist everything is done their way which means I will be redressing Les after they leave. 
   Les traveled down to the RFH for a post-op follow up. The doctor who removed his staples said the VN's had not been dressing his wound correctly. They were not packing it to keep it open and allow it to drain properly, so the doctor taught Les how to pack his own wound...and now a second small, round wound has opened where staples used to be and it is draining as well.
   Back home Les explained the doctor's orders and most of the nurses and HCA's complied although a couple were distinctly squeamish and unhappy about having to do it so sometimes Les packs his wounds and they dress them.
   To be honest I cannot blame an HCA for feeling that way. In my opinion they have no business providing wound care for patients recovering from organ surgery. Most of them recognize they are being asked to engage in skilled nursing far and away above their skill level and training.
   Needless to say Brits will understand my rage at listening to Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Burnham  MP, (Americans for an equivalent think minority Congressional member in charge of Health and Human Services committee) spouting off on Question Time about how hard he's worked to create better support for "community care" allowing people to be discharged out of hospital into trained professional care within their communities. You can bet your A** Mr. Burnham has never had to rely on the  "sterling community health care services provided by the NHS"--I imagine he goes private all the way.
   As the bottom two inches of Les' wound healed up and it wasn't so much looking and smelling like a recently gutted road kill, I became more involved in his care. Often I undo the dressings that the well meaning VN's have slapped on. I also actually clean his skin with surgical spirit, removing days worth of tape adhesive with dirt stuck to it before laying on clean dressing--something the VN staff neglect completely. I fail to see what good it does to lay out a sterile field of dressings and materials, slap on some gloves and then layer on dressings over dirty skin, however that seems to fall in line with the doctor at the RFH who removed Les' staples saying it wasn't necessary to use a sterile probe each time he packed his wound as Les' body obviously isn't sterile 'nor is our home so why bother? Some things we are told are beyond believable if we weren't hearing and experiencing them for ourselves. 
  Les has had four difficult days and nights in which he articulated that he was "feeling rough" and "my gut hurts." We were up until nearly 2 a.m. Sunday the 16th of November as I tried in vain to figure out what was going on with Les, seeking more details on the kind of pain (sharp, burning, stinging, throbbing) and the intensity (on a scale of 1 to 10...). I broke down at 10 p.m. and called the After Hours number to be told they were very busy but would have a doctor call. At 11:30 the After Hours Care called back asking for details of Les' issue--never mind I had already provided it when I first called an hour and a half ago. I was assured then a doctor would attempt to visit but they could not guarantee when as they were very busy...
   Les could not get comfortable no matter what. After Hours Care called again at midnight to reassess the situation and assure me a doctor would be calling soon. Finally I insisted Les take a Tramadol and he drifted off to sleep sometime after 1:30 a.m. upon which I called After Hours Care and canceled the doctor's iminent house call. 
   In the morning Les seemed fine especially once his stoma bag filled up. He ate granola with milk and fresh strawberries for breakfast, and half a sandwich for lunch. By mid afternoon his pain was back again and it progressed apace as the evening carried on. Now the pains were moving up toward his right shoulder, just below the top of his surgical scar. A light went on in my head!
    As a veteran of eight surgeries I remember the awful, pressing pain of gas which is pumped into the body cavities to hold it open during surgery and afterward gets trapped in odd places as we convalesce. A patient is fortunate indeed if this gas is simply trapped in their gut. Fart and relief is instant! For those whose gas is trapped in the abdominal or chest cavity, it can move about like a will-o-the-wisp, settling in below one's shoulders, feeling like an elephant sitting on one's chest. 
   I spent the evening dosing Les with Lemonade (for Americans British Lemonade is carbonated water with lemon flavoring) to help him burp which relieved some of the pain. Again in the morning he was still uncomfortable until his intestines emptied. 
   Another light bulb flashed in my head...Les had finished a fourteen day course of broad spectrum anti-biotic a few days prior. Undoubtedly all the good digestive bacteria in his guts had been slaughtered by the power of the antibiotics. No wonder his gut ached! I suffered the same but instead of experiencing it after two weeks of treatment my gut shuts down in the first 24 hours of antibiotic use and digestion becomes impossible for me right away. It was unbearable for me and I felt instantly guilty for not anticipating this would occur to Les.  
   A quick trip to Tring for probiotics and a revised diet of homemade yogurt, whey and fruit smoothies, water, juice, and a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup with all the bits strained out resulting in a rich nourishing, flavorful broth, and we were into day two of "What in the World is ailing Les?" 
   Les called the Rothschild House Surgery where he is registered as a temporary patient and asked for a doctor to call him. Just before dinner time she did. Les explained what we thought was going on and how we were addressing the issues, asking if she thought we were on the right track. Dr. W. was mightily impressed with our common sense and said we were doing the right things. She made an appointment for Les on the following Friday because she wanted to meet him, get to know him, and examine Les to be sure all was well. 
   Les' general pain returned again that evening, just behind his L shaped incision and I dosed him with Tramadol every four hours. Pain eased, he slept well and woke feeling much better. The final light bulb went on in my head as I realized that Les being Les--he had stopped taking all pain meds the end of his first week home. He has a phobia of becoming addicted to drugs.
   Why?? I have no idea. Although Les was born in West London and was in his early twenties in the 1960's era of Drugs, Sex and Rock 'n' Roll--it was not his scene and he has never dropped anything trippier than an aspirin pharmaceutically speaking. He was thinking this time would be much like last year's surgical recovery when he came home two weeks after surgery and used no analgesics at all. 
   Les was underestimating his need for pain relief. His body was hitting a wall every afternoon when a day's worth of using those tender muscles in his chest
and abdomen to breathe and move all day took their toll. Our plan now requires Les to take one Tramadol starting at 3 p.m. every afternoon, as needed until he drops off to sleep in the late evening. 
   He actually walked the half mile round trip up to the bus stop in front of the BMW garage near Wharf Lane and back to the boat last weekend! Les is spending more time awake now and less time sleeping. We may have turned a corner....
  A definite bright spot for us was our meeting with Dr. W at the local Tring surgery. She agreed to take us both on as permanent patients and this means we can get out of Watford at last!! 
   Ten days have passed since Les began having issues which we've sorted. It was exactly a month ago today Les had liver surgery. We were told by the medical staff at the hospital--including Prof. D-- that it typically takes "several months" for a wound as deep as Les' to heal completely. I assume he did not use the term "a couple of months"which assumes two versus "several" which means more than a couple. 
   A nurse came in yesterday who hasn't been in to see Les for awhile on the rota. She was absolutely gobsmacked by how quickly he is healing. It has healed from the bottom up and no longer requires packing. A healthy scab has begun to form over part of the top. She commented, "You must be eating very good food." 
   Damn straight sister! It's the daily smoothies made with a banana, a cup of frozen blackberries, Pink Sun cross flow, micro-nutrient Whey Isolate Powder, an L-Glutamine pill ground with mortar and pestle into a powder and tipped in, a capsule of Solaray Mega B Stress Complex opened and added in, a scoop of Pecta Sol and orange juice to cover, designed to stop muscle wasting and provide an adequate amount of protein and cell energy for deep healing. It's the EmergenC sachet he takes daily providing him with 1000 mgs of vitamin C and all electrolytes in balance. It's the Ubiquinol gel caps, Woebynzyme tablets, and Milk Thistle capsules taken before bedtime; the probiotics and homemade yogurt. It's twenty four years of experience as a medicinal herbalist and nutritionist, a witch and wise woman. It's relentless love....
   Meanwhile I had an enlightening conversation with a gent here in the marina who told me about ten years ago he needed to have surgery on his right knee. He went to his GP for a referral to a surgeon, asking how long it would be until the surgery was scheduled. His GP replied, "Well we have to generate the referral letter and send it off to the surgeon whose office will respond at some point and get in touch with you in a couple of months to schedule an appointment. I reckon it will be three to five months minimum."  
  Once back home this bloke realized he had private insurance he had never used. He was self employed so he had taken out private health insurance but never needed it before. Calling his GP back He explained about the private insurance asking if it would make a difference. 
   "Oh absolutely," his GP replied. "I can generate a referral letter for you today. It will cost you £25.00 for it to be expedited by my office but you can pick it up this afternoon and hand deliver it to the specialist's office.
   Referral letter in hand, the bloke gave it the receptionist at the surgeon's office later the same day, who smiled happily at the news he had private insurance.  
   "We have an opening this afternoon at 4 p.m." Of course he took the appointment. The surgeon examined his knee and his x-rays carried in hand from his GP. 
   "You definitely need surgery. Your meniscus is deteriorating and surgery is the only answer." Turning to his desk calendar, the surgeon reviewed open times in his schedule for a couple of moments.
   "Today is Tuesday. I have an opening this Thursday. Will that work for you?" I walked back to our boat totally overwhelmed with despondency for the state of health care in Britain.
   The moral of this lesson? Brits who can afford private health insurance get quick and expert first world medical treatment right away--jumping the queues of NHS patients waiting, and waiting, and waiting for their care for which they paid dutifully out of every paycheck for years.
   Those who have paid into the State coffers of the NHS all their working lives and who cannot afford private Health insurance must rely on the over-burdened and increasingly ill--staffed second world health care system provided by the NHS and hope with fingers crossed they get their treatment in time and it is provided by someone who speaks something passing for English, and who is adequately trained and personally motivated to do their best rather than shrugging each case off as "just another day on the job."
    Perhaps if Les hadn't been forced to pay into the State coffers to fund the NHS he could have taken that money and paid for private insurance.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Update

Hi everyone
Just a quick update because I am so fortunate to have so many people showing concern.
I really have been rough the last 4/5 days but think that has been resolved.
Today seems to be a turning point although I have absolutely no energy but it will get better.
Just using the phone for this and will try to do a blog later in week.
Les
Thanks to you all

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Un stapled but not un hinged

Well yesterday was an ordeal having to make the trip down to London and have the remaining 42 staples removed from the wound. Luckily the lovely Angela drove me down and back. Even the very small amount of effort it took for me to walk from the car up to the first floor completely whacked me out and by the time we got back I was wiped out completely and just slept till morning. This is for sure worst than the bowel cancer op.

The surgeon was not amused that the visiting nurses were not dressing the wound correctly. It seems the wound has to be kept open slightly by packing a small amount of gauze into the open wound to enable it to keep draining and not seal up yet. 
Anyway he showed me what to do so I could make sure the visiting nurses understood, all is now well with a nurse having visited today.
All the questions I asked the one I forgot was how does the wound heal if kept open to drain. I guess once it stops draining it can be left un packed. Any previous patients/medics out there any idea?

I will E mail the surgeons clinical assistant in the next few days for an answer but any thoughts from you would be interesting.

Another CT scan is to be done soon as a final check all is well within.

Anyway many many thanks to you all out there it is so appreciated be it just your thoughts via comments or your actions, a big thank you.
We are in Cow Roast marina and any body passing by is most welcome, just don`t ask me to dance....yet.......i`m working on it you can bet on that.

By the time this all comes to an end and we once again cruise the canals we will have had two years decent boating taken from us. Please remember none of us is immortal so if you never use the boat in winter or perhaps always fancied that particular canal do it now, who knows what is around the corner.
I will get fit and will continue doing what I love but I do realise it could have been so different. I have been lucky.

Happy boating everyone.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Moored up for the foreseeable future

We had the intention of getting back to the mooring outside Cow Roast marina that we occupied when I had the bowel cancer surgery last year. Jaq did walk up to check the mooring and perhaps find out if the boats would be vacating soon but had no luck finding any one on board.

The pound we were in had a leakage problem bad enough that CRT had banned the locks being used 4pm through till 8am the following day. It had no affect as a cruiser went through about 7pm and ended up with it`s bow fender stuck on the gate. This came to light when a woman banged on the boat some hour or so into the saga asking for a little bit of muscle to help shift the boat. Just lifting my top soon sent her away apologising. They did eventually get moving.

So Jaq was back and forth closing gates to the rear of us and letting water in ahead otherwise we were at a terrific angle as the boat settled on the bottom. As soon as a boat had passed us we knew within 30 minuets that they had left the gate open allowing the water to leak through the top gates coupled with the mysterious leak in the canal itself soon bottomed the boat.
So the decision was made to go into Cow Roast Marina for at the moment an undetermined period of time. We have all services needed, steady water level, good access for nurses to visit and Mr. Tesco can deliver to the back door of the boat.

We have had already several visitors from the great bunch we made friends with last year. Robert popped in, Angela is due tomorrow and Mike turned up this morning with the Sunday paper.

I have an appointment for Tuesday at the Royal Free hospital to have the remaining 42 staples out and to see what happens about the open wound that still has a small amount draining from it.

As for me, well I have felt better each day since coming out of hospital and have NO pain just overwhelming tiredness that is soon solved by closing my eyes on the world.

I have just read through all the comments again having only glanced via the phone over the last week or so.
My one answer to you all is Thank you all so much.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Back home

Ok "Sir" is back, a little lighter in the Liver dept but having to remove only 10% rather than the expected 30% is in itself a bonus. Hopefully now Mr. C has been finally sent on his way but best not to take anything for granted. All we can do is cut out some of the crap food millions of us put in our mouths and hope my immune system can be strengthened to help keep evil at bay. At least I still have one. The chap in the bed opposite had 40% of his liver removed and was put in a comatose state for 9 days in intensive care after his surgery because the chemo had wiped out his immune system.


The surgeon tells me the 50 metal clips along the wound have nothing to do with the Stars and Stripes.
Neat, clean and dry it all looked good. The pictures I took about 3 days post surgery when they were taking the drain out. Four days later I awoke to a high temperature and the wound near B red and hot. Just to make clear my belly button is just under the A.
My gripes are; Why did it take 3 days before a different doctor opened the curtain and from the bottom of the bed told me I had a wound infection. Secondly after putting me on anti biotics and opening the wound (8 clips removed) did they send me home the same day. They could at least have let me stay even only for the first dressing change and to check the effect the antibiotics were having.
Anyway the district nurse came by the boat and changed the dressing and repacked the open wound with alginate based on sea weed. I was pleased to observe that very little other than that absorbed by the dressing came out of what is a very deep incision. When the wound was opened to drain at the hospital I would seriously estimate the liquid sludge to be of about a half pint. No wonder it was Red and painful with the body working overtime to get it all out.
Although as I say I would rather  not be here today at least with the drain working and an adjustment here and there with the pain meds Jaq and I can between us muddle on. Jaq has bad knee joint problems and needs to take it easy but of course she is toddling around after me. I do love her for that.