Thursday, June 02, 2011

My grandad was an extremely generous, humble and loving man. We had to say goodbye to him yesterday, and though it was very sad, it really was a celebration of a wonderful man who influenced many throughout his 95 years. The number of people there was particularly incredible for a man of his age, and showed, I think, how loved he was.

Grandad quite simply took pleasure in everything about life. He had by no means had the easiest of lives, one of the most difficult periods being when he was captured at war, and held in a prisoner of war camp for 3 years. In the reading given at the service yesterday, it said how incredible it was for someone to come through all of that and not have a shred of bitterness. I completely agree, but knowing my grandad, I am not surprised.

I loved listening to my grandad's stories. He would often talk about his life when he came home from the war, was reunited with my gran, and lived in a little caravan which he bought with all the money he had. He said those were some of the happiest years of his life, because he was reunited with my gran, and they were both safe and well, and able to start a family. Family meant more to grandad than anything else in the world.

My grandad never stopped being facinated in life, and all that it had to offer. He was still going to literature classes at the age of 90, and loved huge Everests of literature such as Pepy's Diaries and War and Peace. He was so knowledgeable; I remember phoning him when I was at university, and telling him about the book I was studying (Candide). He listened with great interest as I told him my thoughts on it all, before quoting the final line of the book, beautifully, and off by heart. He was so humble, that I never even knew till yesterday, that he had been awarded a BEM.

One of my favourite memories is sitting at a pub in Derbyshire with him and A, and he picked up the OAP menu saying "isn't that lovely that they give the old folk a special offer." He was about 87 at the time. One Christmas, we were at his house, arguing about who was number one at the time, and he interjected with "no it's actually the Spice Girls" which was, of course, correct.

The biggest thing that my grandad taught me is that you can be completely satisfied with your lot, and yet still push yourself to better yourself, to learn and achieve more, and to explore the world in greater detail. It seems like two very opposing points of view, but he managed to do them both. He wanted for nothing, except for his family to be happy and thrive, and I've lost count of the number of times I heard him say "I'm a lucky man". Truth be told, I think we were the lucky ones.

"I feel that I cannot vanish, since nothing vanishes in this world, but that I shall always exist and always have existed." - Leo Tolstoy
It's been a while...


And apparently I only blog on family birthdays now, as today my tiniest dot of a sister Abby turned 21 and is now a big grown-up. Sort of. Happy birthday boblet xx

So let's talk about me (well this is my blog after all...)

When last I wrote, I was still needing monthly bronchoscopies as that pesky lower lobe in my right lung was convinced that closing up in a sulk was the right answer. I had also been chasing my fundo op for some time. Quite a long time. Too long for my liking actually.

Anyway, the good news is I was fundoplicated (word? if not, it should be...) on 7th April (when they called to change the date I was ready to go a bit stabby, but luckily it was only to delay it by 24 hours) and it was ok. A and my mum came up with me on the day, and all seemed to be going fine, until the surgeon took a look at my stomach and noticed the scar from my MI op which I had at birth. Cue a slight panic as my scar is rather large, and they were immediately concerned that keyhole surgery would no longer be possible. I was told I'd probably need open surgery, an epidural, and a couple of nights in intensive care. You can imagine how well I took this and sulky my face became.

There was also a minor panic when they read my chart and realised I was a transplant patient going under a GA (random nurse reads "lung transplant" and sees "DANGER") but luckily I had a wonderful anesthetist who took one look at me and said "don't be daft, she's stronger and fitter than most of us!" Luckily for me, it all went very smoothly, the surgical team were excellent and I woke up relieved to discover that it had indeed been done via keyhole. Eating and drinking was very tricky at first - I could only really eat soup for the first week and even drinking liquids too quick caused a lot of pain - but I'm now pretty much back to a normal diet, except that I cannot eat quickly, and I cannot eat half as much as I used to be able to (neither of these are bad things).

The most exciting news of all is that my lung function has already improved. In fact, Harefield were so thrilled with my report that Dr C has taken me off the various nebulisers I'd had to go on to stablise things. Needless to say, I'm over the moon, and to anyone being "threatened" with this operation, yes it isn't very nice, yes it is a hassle, especially the lack of eating part afterwards, but I know many many people for whom it has worked wonders, and I appear to be one of them. Not nice in the short term, but worth it by far in the long term I hope.

So that's an update on me. I'm going to write another little blog now, which I think will autopost tomorrow. Bit like buses, my posts.