The actual day for my BIG birthday had finally arrived, although I got in early and I’ve already had a couple of celebrations. Although we specified “no gifts” at our family lunch last week, that didn’t stop the wrapped presents arriving. Mind you, I’ve been guilty of ignoring such a directive myself, as I’m sure we all have. My son Michael gave me a book about Tom Jones, that gorgeous Welsh singer with such a wonderful voice. (I’ll be taking Tom Jones to bed with me). We have been lucky to see him on two occasions over the years when he performed on concert tours out here to New Zealand. It goes without saying that I was completely smitten, watching him on stage. I’m sure he was singing just for me! My daughter Nicky gave me two vouchers for lunch out at a nice cafe, so that was a very welcome gift too. Then I received some lovely towels from my sister, plus a bunch of flowers, and a pretty satin jewellery roll from my Aunt Dawn.
The postman has been kept busy delivering cards and parcels all week, and although I opened the cards as they arrived, I patiently waited until the big day before opening the parcels. I had seen quite a bit about colouring books for adults lately on the internet, and received such a book and a set of colouring pencils from my oldest friend Merilyn. I imagine this would be quite a soothing and meditative thing to do. My pen friend Janet from Norfolk, UK, made me the pretty pink and blue purse, and I received a set of New Zealand designed coasters from my younger sister Karla. And Christmas came early from South Dakota, with a parcel from my pen friend Carol. She sent me two wonderful little Jim Shore snowmen figurines, wrapped in Christmas fabric. I’m getting the figures for my birthday, she said, as she knows I like to put my Christmas decorations out at the beginning of December. How kind, I love Jim Shore things, and Carol had previously sent me one of these lovely little snowmen a couple of years ago. So now I have a set of three – she told me they come in a set of four so I’m hoping the last one will wing its way to me for a future birthday.
Birthday celebrations were suspended on Wednesday with a trip to hospital. Not as bad as it sounds, no nasty accident, just a small operation in waiting. My name had finally reached the top of the list, and my presence was requested on Thursday, one day before my big birthday. The pre-op interview was conducted over the phone, and I was feeling quite pleased with myself as I answered “no” to all the questions. No, I don’t smoke, or drink, don’t have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, piercings, steel plates or screws, don’t take any medication, etc. etc. One question really made laugh, when I was asked if I take “street drugs”. No, again - wouldn’t really know how to find any.
Everyone arrived at the same time and we were settled down on lazy boy chairs in the pre-op room. I was given a hospital gown, long white socks, a blanket, and a bag for my clothes and sent down to the changing rooms, then to return to my seat and await further developments. I had seen some of the blokes walk back with those most unflattering hospital gowns gaping at the back and lots of bare skin showing, so I made sure that my blanket was securely wrapped around so I wasn’t giving a peep show to anyone.
The surgeon arrived with a marker pen and drew on my arm so that she would be sure which arm she was dealing with. It’s obviously a sign of getting older as this young lady seemed hardly to be out of college. There was no worry that the anaesthetist wasn’t old enough, he appeared even older than me, and he drolly related all the things which could go wrong while I was out cold. Soon after, I was wheeled into the operating room, and after three or four tries, the canella was finally inserted in my wrist. “You’ll be out to it in 15 seconds”, the elderly anaesthetist told me. And I must have been, because that’s all I remember.
Luckily I survived my time out cold, the offending lump was removed, and I woke up feeling a little groggy but otherwise well enough to have a cuppa and something to eat. The nurse arrived with a discharge form for me to sign, a few dressings, advice on what to do if I felt unwell, my bag of clothes, and I was free to go. And with dissolving stitches in place, I don’t even have a follow-up visit. My hospital adventure was over, we drove back home, and it was an early night for me. Blessedly pain free, as long as I didn’t lie on the arm with the stitches.