A lot of effort for such a small thing!

31 Dec

When I last saw the rheumatologist in Carcassonne, we discussed a nodule on the heel of my right foot which was causing me some discomfort. It rubbed against the back of my shoe when I walked. He suggested having it removed but first the surgeon would need to know whether the nodule was attached to the tendon or not.

So off I went for an echograph at the local clinic where the doctor carrying out the ultrasound scan pronounced the nodule to be free-standing. Next, I had a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, again at Carcassonne Hospital. The hospital is new, eco-hopital-carcassonnehaving opened just two years ago and is comprehensively equipped; there are even two MRI scanners here. He told me the operation would take him 10 minutes and proposed a date six weeks ahead. I left his clinic with the following:

  • Confirmation letter of the date of the operation
  • Letter from him to my GP
  • Prescriptions for crutches, bandages, painkillers, antic bacterial wash solution, and for a nurse to visit me every three days after the operation for two weeks.
  • An appointment with the anaesthetist
  • An appointment with the surgical nurse
  • A follow-up appointment with the surgeon at the end of January

During the appointment with the surgical nurse, their process and procedures were explained in some detail, backed up by printed documents. Very comprehensive. The day before the op, I was telephoned by a nurse and told to arrive at 9am.

Thursday 28 December saw Trish deliver me to the operating suite where I was duly received, given a private room, thoroughly checked as to who I was and what I was having operated. I put on a surgical gown and waited for about an hour until a porter took me to the theatre area on my bed. Here I was transferred to an operating bed and after a consultation with the anaesthetist (who advised me to have a spinal anaesthetic), I was good to go. I waited on the rather hard bed for about 45 minutes, then was wheeled into the operating theatre.

TheĀ anaesthetic was most strange; it’s not that comfortable losing all sensation below the waist! The operation was over 15 minutes later (I never saw the surgeon) and then I was wheeled into the recovery area and transferred back onto my original bed (and that explains why the bed had a name tag attached to it which was identical to the one I had on my wrist). I had a funny spell then; apparently, my blood pressure dropped through its boots but something was added to my drip and I was soon OK again. The anaesthetist kept an eye on me every 20 minutes. Then the surgeon dropped by to say the operation had gone well.

It then took about two hours for me to recover full use of all my muscles below the waist! After that, I was wheeled back to my bedroom. After a much-needed cup of coffee, a bread roll and a slice of cheese, I was ready to go home. Which is where I am writing this, three days after the op.

Richard "Hopalong"

Here I am just back from the operation, wearing my scarf which is a Christmas present from Trish!

The district nurse has just been to change the dressing. I am able to walk unaided around the flat but I use the crutches walking around the factory floor, as a precaution.

So there we have it! I forgot to mention that the hospital called the day after the op, to make sure everything was going well!

We were both impressed by the health system in France which is clearly well resourced, although we hear rumours that it is costing too much and economies may have to be made. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

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