Added on Friday 22 May 2009

Photo: barry paton. Having got up early in the morning, suitably showered and cleaned according to the hospital requirements, I set of in a taxi for the hospital at the ungodly hour of 7 am. Hopefully this was for a one day operation and I would return later in the day. This in fact did happen and I returned a little weary and tired and so to my bed with the thought that all was now fixed as far as my leg was concerned. The next day I woke in incredible pain and the local doctor was called and morphine was prescribed for me, the following day the pain was much more intense and when the nurse came to change my dressings and as I was slipping into a form of delirium with a fever an ambulance was called and off I went to the hospital once again. I was taken into the operating theatre first thing the following morning for another operation and after a bit of recovery and discovering that I had a catheter inserted into my penis. All very disturbing (and painful I may add) but my fever was continuing so I was slightly disorientated and had lost my sense of time and place. The only thing that kept me reasonably sane was the fact that Fiona came into visit me every day and we had a glass of wine together.

By this time I was beginning to lose the place as far as my health and mind was concerned as ten days had gone by without me realising it and all this was compounded by the fact that I had an infection with my prostrate causing me immense pain and more catheters inserted. However I was taken for a scan to my kidneys and bladder which surprised me by having a clean bill of health, all the more so as some 11 years ago I was diagnosed with a growth in my left kidney which involved a lot of radio-activity at The Western Infirmary in Glasgow. Much to my surprise this had all disappeared by now. Beginning to come round to my senses by this time I was informed by the surgeon that another operation was going to be required to remove all the steel pins, screws and bits and pieces from my leg, as this was now becoming a leg problem not just an ankle one which it was 1 year ago when I went to the surgeon to start the ball rolling.

So once again I was headed for the operating theatre the following day. For the first time I was actually conscious when I went in and discovered that the inside was not at all like what I expected, it was a rather dark blue (not crisp and white that you would expect) and had a look of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. Or was I just hallucinating once again...who knows? The anaesthetist was beside me saying that I was going under while all the time I wasn't, or so I thought while being hoisted onto the operating table. The next thing that I knew was waking up in a bed but in a room that I did not recognise and not knowing wether it was real or not. By this time I was so full of drugs that I didn't know who or where I was and it was only the next day that I began to come down to earth. Three operations in less than three weeks seemed slightly excessive even then and now 6 days later when I am slowly getting back into living (albeit slowly) it does seem a lot! I am glad to say that I feel that at long last my saga with my ankle is over, the wounds are healing well, I have no pain as such and I am beginning to walk again and with a bit of luck once the stitches are out and a month or so passes I should be back to normal. Incidentally I meant to say that whatever else I think of the surgeon that he does nice, neat stitching!

Meanwhile back on the ranch.

Coming back home has been slightly tricky for me as although I look well I am still slightly shell shocked from all the previous shenanigans but the difference in the weather, the ability to breathe outside a hospital air-conditioned environment and just the fact that I am home makes a huge difference and I am really enjoying being in the sunshine and the warmth. I had forgotten what a difference a few weeks make at this time of year to the trees and greenery all about.

Needless to say that when I arrived back I found that we had a leak under the sink, another little bit of the kitchen ceiling had fallen down, but nothing too dramatic, so it now leaves me to do some more repairs around the house when I get back to normal...whatever that is!

Apart from all that I hope that it explains why I have been absent for some weeks, it is taking it's time to get back into the swing of things and I hope that the next time that I write it will be about Salignac and The Salignac Foundation and the glorious French life and not just about my woes and troubles. One of the nice things that has happened is that a very good friend of mine is also coming to live in France just an hour or so away, although he has bought a place that seems to need quite a lot of work done on it but it makes me feel happy that we will be able to meet up occasionally. Us scots must stick together after all!

Rural France? I love it.

Barry Paton (c) May 2009