Monday, 8 June 2009


Mags came bearing a bag of fudge and a suitably concerned expression. Sitting at the dining table, stuffing into his mouth a baguette as long as his wounded leg, Hubby, the patient with whom she’d come to express her concern for, was more than happy to regale his surgery story.
“So, after they carved my leg up Mags...”, he started and I rolled my eyes. ‘Carve’ suggests that his leg was cleaved open from femur to fibula, only to be sewn back up with stitches that Steve Austin, bionic man, could alone empathise with. I must point out at this juncture that his surgery was as unobtrusive as possible and performed via the key-hole method; two little Band-Aids cover the holes in which they went ‘in’. I said not a word and allowed him his heroic moment and even adjusted his cushion for him and asked if he needed another coffee.
“Cheers, Alice love”, he said, holding his empty mug aloft, “That’d be great. Any chance of a piece of cake while you’re at it?” There’s nothing wrong with his appetite that’s for sure.
I walked to the kitchen and had only got as far as switching on the kettle when the dulcet tones of “Ah-lice”, resonated from the dining room for the twentieth time that day. Sighing in resignation, I once again applied a fixed smile and returned to him.
“I think I’d prefer a cup of tea love and Mags here would like a decaff”. Would she? Would she indeed. Perhaps sensing my somewhat aggrieved air, Mags jumped up immediately.
“I’ll come and help you Alice”, she said, bundling me into the kitchen.
“It’s only been 24 hours Mags but I’m going to bloody kill him. Thank God it’s nothing terminal; I’d never have the patience. We’d be on a flight to Zurich before you could say ‘assisted suicide’”. “Ah-lice!”, he called again. Mags gave me a look.
“See what I mean?” I said.
“You go and see what he needs”, she suggested, “I’ll make the coffee”. Once more I walked into the dining room.
“Hiya. Be an angel and switch the radio to Radio 2 would you. There’s a love”. Without saying a word I tuned the radio to The Jeremy Vine Show, and, just in case he wasn’t interested in the day’s discussions, I handed him the remote control and, as an extra precaution, a newspaper, a pen and a thesaurus.
“There. Anything else?”
“Apart from the cake and cuppa you mean?”, he said, beaming up at me, guilelessly.
“On its way”, I trilled. I can now fully understand how some chefs are inclined to spit into the food of difficult customers, equally I get it when some nurses yank out drips from dripping patients. I don’t know whether nurses do actually do that and I wouldn’t want to besmirch any but ye Gads, I bet it would feel good.
I went back to Mags who was stirring a coffee.
“Don’t forget, he wants tea instead”, I said, pouring the coffee down the sink.
“Dare I ask when he is going back to work?”
“Please God, let it be very soon and let the recovery be swift and painless”. No sooner had I delivered him of his refreshments and withdrawn to the drawing room with Mags, than he called again.
“That’s it!”, I said, springing from the sofa, “I’m ‘aving ‘im”. Mags wrestled me back onto the sofa.
“I’ll go”, she said, “Finish your drink”.
She came back five minutes later, slowly, Hubby hanging onto her arm, his face the very picture of grave concern.
“You’re up on your feet then I see?”, I said.
“I have to be or I’ll be dead within hours. I’ve turned that bloody Vine bloke off; he’s scaring the living bejeezers out of me. I had no idea that deep vein thrombosis could be so deadly”.
I was confused.
“Do you have a DVT then?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. My leg is painful, swollen and red.”
“No dear, your actual leg is not painful, swollen and red but your knee is; which, to be perfectly honest, is perfectly natural. Given the procedure”.
“So, you’re an orthopaedic specialist now then are you? Besides it wasn’t a procedure, it was surgery. They don’t give you a ‘general’ for a procedure. Anyway, that’s not the point Alice. After surgery, a DVT can strike at any point and with little warning. Then you’re talking pulmonary embolism and, well, it's curtains.”
“So, you need to keep moving then, to reduce the risk as it were?”
“You’ve got it in one, hun. No more sitting around for me”.
“You’ll be back to work soon then?”, I asked, trying to avoid Mags’s eye as she valiantly attempted asphyxiation as she smothered her laughter behind a sofa cushion.
“Yup. As soon as I can negotiate myriad ladders and getting in and out of hatches I’ll be back in the saddle”.
“They’ll be missing you by now” added Mags, desperately trying to sound convincingly solemn.
“Ah they’re a good bunch of lads, they’ll be ok for another couple of days, besides it’s nice spending quality time at home here with Matron” and with that he patted me on the head and, picking up his bag of fudge, all thoughts of instant death were as dissipated as a blood clot on Warfarin.


DL said...

Hi AB,

As one of your respondents said two or three weeks back, this can't be for real! Please tell me you're exaggerating for artistic effect? My naval service was quite some years ago, but I can remember enough to know that, in order to climb the particular slippery pole that your hubby has, you needed to be quite robust.

As ever, a great read, though.

Best wishes,

Alice Band said...

That would be telling...