Friday 31 August 2018

TOE? I Slept Through It!

Plums coming ready and in need of making
into jam. I have started using the splits, wasp
damage and windfalls for the pigs.
I am hoping that this is the last mainly-medical post for a while, so normal small holder-y service should start to be delivered from the next post. Please bear with me (or just click on by). At least this one has some pictures in it as I finally managed to buy a lower capacity camera card and my camera is not struggling to find new pics among the 2000 images on the old one.

That sleep monitoring pack. It's job is to
spot snoring, sleep apnoea and any other
breathing problems while you sleep.
Two major medical procedures hanging over from the previous post then - the sleep monitoring and the Trans-Oesophageal Echo (TOE). Regular readers will know that I was not especially bothered about the former (I am well used to sleeping wearing all manner of wires, nostril pipes and packs strapped to me after my 2 weeks in Sligo Hospital) but I was scared to death at the latter. The TOE involves swallowing a rubber pipe containing an ultra-sound transducer and I was sure my very strong gag reflex would give the techies a problem or even be a show-stopper.

A miserable night wired to the telemetry. You can
only see the very top of the chest-pack and straps.
My (old) phone does not do 'selfies' so you have
to spark up the camera, point it at yourself and
guess where the 'trigger' is.
In the event, happily, things went completely the other way round, with the sleep pack having the issues and the TOE a breeze. We'd had an exhausting and full day on the Tuesday, involving probably way too much walking the long corridors of the hospital (7 hours), so my lungs were well stirred up and I was in for a bad night with the ticklish cough and having to keep sitting up to let the coughing fits subside.

The pigs are enjoying the windfalls.
None the less, with Nurse Elizabeth's help, we 'dressed' me in the equipment and off I went to sleep at about 10 pm. Cough....cough....cough....COUGH. I finally got to sleep at about 2 o'clock and slept till 6 o'clock, so when I stripped off the gear and packed it away in its carrying case I needed to leave the nurse/techie a 'love letter' saying she'd get nonsense results for the first 4 hours. Of course (wouldn't you know?), as soon as I'd taken off the gear, I slept like a babe round till 8 o'clock. Maybe we'll give that another try after the heart-op and when I am de-congested.

The TOE on Thursday morning was nothing like the problem I had predicted or spent all that time worrying about. We had an early start that day, with an 0530 alarm and an 0630 depart here, to make sure we arrived at "Endoscopy" by 0800. I was quickly into a world of half a dozen nurses looking after me and later, the calming presence of the main consultant (I had no idea he'd be getting hands-on on this one) and I was making sure they all knew (probably to an irritating degree!) about the gag-reflex issue and my need for sedatives.

Everyone was very calm about this (re-assuring) and told me it would not be an issue (they had ways and means etc). I was fitted with a drip line for the drugs. They would wire me up to the telemetry and then worry about sedatives. In good time I was wheeled in my bed into The Room and made to lie on my left side, with my back to the big machine. The main man leant over me to adjust my position and that was all I knew. I woke about 45 minutes later in the recovery room with Elizabeth chatting to the man. I have no idea what the medics did - presumably turned on the sedative tap at some quiet signal before I had a chance to see the pipe and the thing I'd need to swallow.

A good haul of prezzies for the Birthday
I was delighted to have gotten away with it all so easily. There was not even any discomfort in my throat. If somebody had said "Ah yes, sorry, we didn't actually do anything..." I'd have believed them! After a suitable time I was allowed to stand up and walk to another room where we were given tea, a scone and a glass of water. I was a bit 'drunk' but Elizabeth was there to drive me home (interesting double-vision on the motorway!).

'Lady sized' border fork and spade.
This is the age of the Internet, so today, eaten up with curiosity, I was asking the Surfer if the House what she'd seen and heard that I'd missed. Not much in fact - she'd been sitting in the waiting area knitting, but at least she'd met 'the man' and been able to ask him some questions. She 'Googled' the TOE procedure and we could sit and watch some videos of the thing being done to other people (or cartoon drawings). Curiosity satisfied, but I was glad I'd not been shown that enormous pipe and then asked to swallow it. Our way was much better. They are wise and experienced professionals.

Posh Gin
What else has been happening? That problem ewe had one more dose of the cream slapped onto her bald, itchy patch and was last seen recovered back to healthy pink skin, all dried out and starting to turn grey where the wool had started to grow back  The weather had also turned colder and wetter, so the flies were less of a problem. I covered Elizabeth's birthday in the last post and am now able to bring you some pictures.

Small batch gin.
Another lovely gift arrived from UK friends (Thank you!), being a rather posh (small batch) bottle of gin of a brand which 'we' had not tried. This was 'Bertha's Revenge' and is based in part from spirit made from 'whey'. Beautifully smooth, says The Lady of the House. 'We' have also found some elderflower flavoured 'Fever Tree' tonic to go with, so gin drinking bliss knows no bounds.

We had a lovely visit today from archery friends, Con and Niamh, being fresh from a fun event they organise each year up at their holding, Celtic Games. They all dress up in the Celtic/Druid gear and they invite people to try archery, spear throwing, axe throwing and a low-impact version of quarter-staff fights (two contestants meet balanced on a big log holding either end of a pole and trying to throw each other off balance. If you fall off it's only a couple of feet to the grass. Nobody gets whacked or hurt).

Gladioli - sorry for blurred pic.
We had a lovely chat and caught up on the medical situation / recovery, ranging onto bee keeping and products like honey and bees wax.

Ah well, surely enough for now and, as I said, the last medical based post till the keenly awaited 'Big One' - the heart operation itself.

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