Wednesday, February 21, 2024

The Cat

This was the view from the third floor patient reception area at the Whittington Hospital, where Dave went for his hernia surgery yesterday. It's interesting only because of the sculpture of Dick Whittington's famous cat, perched on the roof at left. Whittington was a real person, a medieval mayor of London, but somehow all this folklore sprung up about a cat that helped him become famous and successful. Now the cat is a celebrity in its own right, even though there's scant evidence that it actually existed.

Whittington is not "our" hospital -- we usually go to the Royal Free in Hampstead. Whittington is farther away and on the other side of Hampstead Heath -- which has few roads through it, so it's a bit awkward to get there -- but that's where the NHS sent us. Dave's appointment was at 7 a.m., so we were up at 5 a.m. and in a car at 6 a.m., which put us there in plenty of time. In fact there was virtually no one around and the reception desks were all shuttered.

When Dave finally checked in, the hospital staff seemed bewildered at his early arrival. One of them said something about his surgery being scheduled for 11 a.m.! But they took him back and I wasn't permitted to follow, so I walked home -- a good long walk around the north side of the Heath.

The road there is lined with campers, or caravans, some of them quite interesting. Many appear permanently parked. This one doesn't look like it ever goes anywhere.

Dave finally texted me about noon that he was going into surgery, which was supposed to be an hour-long procedure. After an hour I began walking back to the hospital, crossing the Heath this time. I figured by the time I got there he'd be close to being released, but no -- they said they'd be keeping him another four hours because he'd had general anesthesia.

So I went for lunch at this colorful little cafe not far from the hospital. I love their wavy mosaic tile doorstep. It's very Rio. I had a glass of rosé and a "California burrito," which was basically a rice & bean burrito with cheese. I sat and read my current book, "Picture," a contemporaneous account by New Yorker writer Lillian Ross of the making of John Huston's film "The Red Badge of Courage" back in 1950. It's a fascinating account of the mechanics of old-fashioned moviemaking.

Then I went back and sat in hospital reception, and waited, and read more, and waited more. I even dozed off for a bit. Dave ultimately wasn't released until about 5:30 p.m. We took a taxi home. He says it hurts to cough and sneeze, and he's moving a bit gingerly, but he has painkillers and seems to be doing OK. He was able to sleep and he's staying home from work for the next two weeks to recuperate.

Meanwhile, I got a full night's sleep last night! Woo hoo! The jet-lag from our California trip has been terrible, both on the way there and on the way home. I was getting desperate for more than three hours of sleep, and finally last night I slept seven.


Andrew said...

It is good that Dave's surgery went well. The hospital sounds like it needs a 'tidy up' with its scheduling of surgery. I've only experienced that in the private system. Our public hospitals seem to have it much more together. Depending on where the surgery was, it took me many weeks before I could return to work, much more than the two weeks told to me by the surgeon. For about four years the the wound remained both numb and sensitive to touch. And now it seems I have surgery again for another hernia.

Is it Camden Council? It is wonder it doesn't stop permanent parking there.

I love Dick's cat sculpture.

gz said...

Good news that the surgery went ok..and he is out already!!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

That was a long day with a lot of waiting. It's annoying that Dave was asked to report to the hospital far too early. Maybe it was a practical joke - but not a funny one.

Moving with Mitchell said...

My worst day was the first day home (I was kept overnight). After that I had to be reminded (constantly) to not overdo it. Hope Dave has the same quick recovery.

Tasker Dunham said...

Please to hear it went well. I have become rather an unwilling expert on hospitals, and can say that long waits are usual. I'm surprised you were not warned he wouldn't be out for some hours.
I don't like that cat.

Ed said...

The last time I had surgery for a bone spur on my forehead, thought I was growing a horn, they had us all come in early like that and were prepped in a long row of curtained off rooms in a ward, perhaps 50 in number. Then about once an hour, the nurses would come in wheeling the previous batch back into their rooms to recover and wheel off 10 more people to the operating rooms. It was highly organized. I think I was in the middle 10 batch of people. I had never seen anything quite like that.

Ms. Moon said...

They surely do not keep you here for four hours after general anesthesia. As soon as you're halfway coherent and can move about a little bit, they're getting you dressed and wheeling you out.
I hope Dave recovers quickly and well.

The Bug said...

I'm glad it went well for Dave. I've been in that waiting limbo before - it's hard to really concentrate on anything because you might be called back at any moment.

Pixie said...

I'm glad things went well for Dave. Olga will be happy to have someone home for two weeks.

Ellen D. said...

Glad the surgery went well and hope Dave is feeling better soon.

Sharon said...

Good to hear that Dave's procedure went well. Interesting that they told you to be there so early for a surgery around noon. I hope his recovery goes well and quickly.
That motorhome is quite a sight to see. It seems strange that all those campers could park there. I wonder how they get water or sewage hook-ups.

Red said...

So in the last two weeks you've got three biggies off your list. I hope dDve recuperates rapidly.

ellen abbott said...

glad to hear Dave is doing well but what a long day and two long walks. I wonder why they told him to be there so early when the surgery wasn't scheduled til afternoon.

it amazes me that London lets these 'mobile' homes permanently park along the streets. do they have to have some sort of permit? that would never be allowed here in the US.

Boud said...

I wonder if the hospital tells everyone to check in that early so they're sure of all the patients, then attend them in their own good time.

I have memories of outpatient UK hospital care where fifty people were given the same early morning time and attended to over the course of the day. Not unusual for me to be there six or seven hours for a few minutes treatment. It was about the convenience of the hospital, not the patients.

I wonder what anaesthesia they used for Dave. There are instant recovery types used now, where they release you in minutes, once your escort arrives. Evidently he had something different, maybe the surgeon's preference.

Colette said...

So much waiting. It sounds like it all went well, though. That's good.

Kelly said...

That ended up being a bigger deal (time-wise) than expected and made for a long day for both of you! Glad it went well and is over with now. The cat sculpture is fun, but it's kind of an odd story.

John Going Gently said...

The cat is adorable

Susan said...

The surgery went well. Being home for 2 weeks to heal sounds ideal.

Margaret said...

That's a LONG day but it sounds like you made the best of it. Yay for a good night of sleep!

Catalyst said...

Glad to hear Dave came through his surgery OK. Hospitals ain't no fun.

Damselfly said...

Glad Dave's surgery went well and he's home. Wishing Dave an uneventful recovery! Also good to hear you had a good night's sleep!

jenny_o said...

Best wishes to Dave for a speedy and uneventful recovery. Hospitals all seem to be hurry up and wait :) The waiting is the part that makes me most anxious. Action of any kind is preferable. (I hope I haven't jinxed myself for the next visit, whenever it may happen.)

Jim Davis said...

Good news, other than the way too early report time. I do like the cat.

Linda Sue said...

Our town has had caravans/van/ six wheelers /trailers parked along the length of Cornwall street for years. Occasionally street cleaners gather the rubbish and tell the people living in the vehicles to keep it clean. Recently the city decided to make a bike lane there so the vehicles dispersed. There are also streets lined with vehicle inhabitants throughout the town. "It's better than make shift tents" some say.
Surgery is not fun ever! I hope that Dave heals well and quickly. Sending good wishes!
Nice walk you had in the sunshine!
Jet lag just about undid me - certainly made me think about future travel!

James and Brigitta said...

Good to hear Dave's surgery went well. Recovery can take some time. James had a painful couple of first days during which he literary crawled on all fours around the room, it hurt too much to stand up! It took weeks for the pain to recede some and months, actually over a year, before he was (mostly) pain free.
But than there are people who barely have any pain, I hope Dave is one of them!

Jaffabox said...

The caravans are on The Bishops Avenue I think. A once extremely expensive road to live on but now the enormous houses have largely been abandoned. Very strange - there was an article in a newspaper showing this van a couple of weeks ago.

Steve Reed said...

Andrew: I think it's actually Haringay Council on that part of the road. It IS very weird that they allow that parking there.

GZ: Yes, in and out in one day!

YP: I think it was actually a mistake. He was told to report at 7 a.m. but then they didn't have him scheduled until 11 a.m.

Mitchell: I hope so too! For the time being he's doing a lot of lying around.

Tasker: Someone told him he'd be out an hour after the procedure. But when I showed up the nurse was like, "Uh, no."

Ed: Like an assembly line!

Ms Moon: The NHS is better at keeping people in the hospital, I've found.

Bug: Yeah, you can't really get immersed in a good book, can you?

Pixie: She will love it, but she's confused about why she can't sit on Dave's lap!

Ellen D: Thank you!

Sharon: I don't think there are hookups of any sort. I don't want to think too much about it!

Red: Yeah, we've had a busy month!

Ellen: I'm not sure what kind of permission they need. I remember reading about it being a problem along that particular stretch of road, but I can't find the article now.

Boud: I think he had propofol, but I'm not sure. Yes, as you said, it's about the convenience of the hospital!

Colette: It wasn't so bad. At least I had a good book.

Kelly: It's a VERY odd story! And I can never remember all the details.

John: It's very whimsical for a hospital, isn't it?

Susan: It does sound pretty nice, except for the pain!

Margaret: I am SO HAPPY to be sleeping normally.

Catalyst: They are not. It's definitely my goal (and everyone's goal, I suppose) to stay out of them!

Damselfly: Thanks for the good wishes!

Jenny-O: There IS a lot of sitting around. I don't know why they can't schedule and treat people more systematically, but maybe there's too much flexibility in the timetable, depending on how much care any given individual needs. (Or how late for their appointment they are!)

Jim: It is ultimately good news!

Linda Sue: As Sharon pointed out, though, what do they do for utilities? Just go without? I'm surprised local government tolerates it, unless, as you said, it's simply seen as a better option than homelessness.

Brigitta: Wow! Dave is not crawling, fortunately, but he IS having some pain even with the meds.

Jaffabox: Yes, along Bishops and also along Hampstead Lane (which is where I took that photo). I saw that article (but forgot it included that particular camper!). Bishops is a good illustration of what happens when foreign absentee owners buy properties and then let them deteriorate. I wouldn't want to live there.

Jeanie said...

I'm glad the surgery went OK. Tell Dave if he has to cough, hold a pillow over his abdomen when he does. I doesn't make it not hurt at all but it helps. Here it seems like they make the person with the patient wait in the hospital during the surgery. That sounds awful -- I hope the recovery is soon. (But loved that little lunch spot! What a charming building.)