It's eighty four hours since I nervously arrived in the Ormskirk District General Hospital Orthopedic ward and I've been given my discharge. Matron Jenny hands me my discharge goody bag containing all my painkillers, a packet of dressings for the district nurse to apply in a few days and an outpatients' appointment card. I complete a quick survey and, before I know it, physio Charlie is wheeling me away leaving little time for thanks and farewells. As I pass all the faces who have cared for me so well, my mind turns inexplicably to bankers' bonuses and I imagine that one such bonus would exceed the annual income of every single one of these carers for several years. That can't be right as I certainly know which are contributing most to society. It saddens me. The hospital corridors are much cooler than the ward and I realise just how cold it has been recently. Marion and Charlie manhandle me into the car and we're off home.
Home now resembles a hotel disabled suite. Everywhere I look there are frames around toilets, special chairs set at just the right level for washing and watching TV. I've got a grabber to help me if I drop anything on the floor and a device to help me put my socks on. I've contributed £10 to all this lot. I know that it has to go back when I am better but this is a simply outstanding level of care. The NHS may have its detractors and its knockers but I have not one single word of criticism from my experience.
From now on it's up to me and Marion to set up a routine to enable a speedy recovery. Marion has become a regular Florence Nightingale and is at my beck and call constantly. I split my time between reading (after four novels in hospital I now read The Longer Long Tail - a fascinating book about economics), playing with the new 3D TV that arrived whilst in hospital and was my retirement gift to myself, finishing Professor Layton on the Ninetendo DS, sleeping and repeating the exercise at regular intervals. I'm five days into this routine now and I'm getting more flexible, the "problem" has disappeared, my right leg is now only 50% bigger than the left and I am moving on the crutches like a gazelle (OK slight exaggeration there). So that's my experience of having a hip replacement on the NHS to date. I don't plan to bore readers with many further details although I will write if anything of note arises or I reach a particular milestone. Anyone who has read these last few blogs will know that mine has been an extremely positive experience. Perhaps I was lucky but my hospital was not high in any league tables and I think that maybe it's all about the people. My ward was staffed by a team of carers who worked together efficiently and treated patients with dignity. From business experience, if you look after your staff and your customers well, you are half way down the road to success.
It's just starting to hit home to me that I am not going to be making any Orange Wednesday cinema visits in the near future which is a pity as there are few films out that we would like to see. We decided to see what Sky was offering last night and watched Wolfman on Sky Anytime. This film was launched in 2010 and seems to have passed me by as I don't recall reading much about it but, with a strong cast including Anthony Hopkins and Benecio Del Toro, we thought we'd give it a try. It was like stepping back into a time machine and finding ourselves in the cinema in 1969 watching the latest hammy Hammer horror. Complete with empty moors, swirling mists and a village tavern full of yokels "you aren't from these parts", I couldn't decide whether the film was intended to be viewed with tongue firmly in cheek or if we were meant to take it seriously. It didn't win on either level with too few laughs to be comedy and no scares at all to be horror. It did get me back into watching something for a couple of hours which can't be a bad thing.
Time to catch up with YouTube which I haven't had chance to look at recently. I know that there's been some controversy about this new album of Michael Jackson recordings but even if this is a cynical attempt to cash in on his death, it's quite a catchy song.