Tag Archives: NHS

Sailing and the NHS

Quite a few months ago when I wrote my last post, I included this photograph:

I added the comment that some people when looking at it would think,




To which Claudette over at ceenoa added,

“Sea Sick”!

Something I hadn’t considered as I don’t suffer from it but Claudette does. (Take a wander over to her blog. She does stuff with stuff and makes wonderful stuff and her photographs are a joy. You will find it here)

Whereas when I look at that photograph I think,



“Women in wet tee shirts”

I must now add,


Yep, the day after we had gone sailing on ‘Jabberwocky’ while on holiday, I noticed a fairly large lump on the right side of my groin. I was fairly sure what it was but being a male of a certain age, I thought I’d get it checked out when we got home. I was going to go and see the Doc anyway as my right knee was giving me grief and was very painful.

So, on our return, I made an appointment for the following day and saw my GP. I explained, she asked me to straighten my leg and had a poke about and told me I had arthritis. She then looked at my groin, had another poke about and informed me I did indeed have a hernia. She printed off a form and told me to go to the walk-in x-ray clinic at the local hospital where they would x-ray my knee to confirm her diagnosis and in the meantime expect a letter for an appointment to have my hernia checked out. So, off I went, had my x-ray (how good is that? I was back home within 30 minutes of leaving the Docs). A week later, two letters arrived. One informed me that I did indeed have arthritis in my knee and to contact the hospital for an appointment for physio. The other letter was from the very Harry Potterish sounding ‘Department of Hernias, Lumps and Bumps asking me to attend for an examination.

I duly rocked up at the hospital for my examination. Now for some reason, I had got it into my head that my knee was going to be examined so I was somewhat surprised when I was asked to drop my shorts! That’s why I was wearing shorts, so I wouldn’t have to drop them, not that I’m shy.

I carried out a quick mental check:

Freshly showered? Yep

Clean underwear? Yep

Neat and tidy gentleman’s garden? Yep

Good to go.

My Mum would have been proud.

I dropped my shorts, lay down and was examined. It was an ultrasound examination as used on pregnant women. It would establish that I had a hernia for certain, exactly where it was and how big. The woman carrying out the examination explained what I had to do. I had to make like a puffer fish and inflate my cheeks and push down towards my groin.

While I did this she would use the ultra sound thingy to examine the area.

The examination commenced. The result of all this cheek inflation and pushing down and prodding with probes was that I farted.

It was not discreet!

“Oh”, I squeaked, feeling dreadfully embarrassed, “I am so sorry.”

“That’s ok Dick” said the woman. ” It happens all the time. Curry last night was it?”

“As it happens, yes it was” I replied blushing, while out of the corner of my eye I saw the other woman in the room switch on her desk fan!

“Thought so” said the first woman as she wander over to the window and opened it!

“I am still here y’know” I said feeling even more embarrassed and somewhat flustered.

“Yes Dick, we know” she said “and so is something else.”

I gave up then. There was no point arguing. Two women in a room with a man who had just dropped his guts! No contest really.

As I left and walked down the corridor after the examination was completed, all I could hear was gales of laughter coming from the room I had just left. Buggers!

The up shot of this was that at the beginning of January, I went to the K&C Hospital as a day patient, had key hole surgery on my hernia and was back home later that day feeling just fine but under strict instructions not to lift anything and not to drive for a week or two. I did as I was told and returned to work two weeks later. The NHS and the staff in particular is just bloody wonderful.

I am currently rethinking my plans to become a sailor. I really don’t want to go through that again and it is likely to happen if I start hoisting sails and stuff. Something gentler I think. Learning French is still on the cards but now perhaps I should take up photography again and maybe start a vlog. I will keep you informed.

Have a great day.

More Dick soon.


1st April 2011

Now there’s a date that will be forever lodged in my memory. The kids and PIL were home as it was the Easter holidays and I was having a day off. As was often the case when I was at home, I would disappear upstairs to work out on the rowing machine. I would spend between 30 and 45 minutes pounding away each time working up a real sweat. At my age I shouldn’t really be working that hard but it’s the only way I know plus, of course, I think I’m 27, still have hair on my head, a six-pack and a big willy. So I thrashed away. I’ve never had that endorphin rush afterwards though. All I ever feel at the end is knackered. Anyway, I finished my session all sweaty and out of breathe and stood for a while waiting for my heart to slow down and my breathing to go back to normal. I exercise on a regular basis so I know what my recovery time is. Only this time my heart didn’t slow down, I was still breathing heavily and sweat was pouring off me. I thought this was a bit weird. Then I got dizzy and was sick! I didn’t have any pain in my chest but I knew enough to think “This is not good. Am I having a heart attack?” I concluded that perhaps I was and it’s always better to be safe than sorry. I remember not being overly concerned at the time. I staggered down stairs and announced to my lot, “I think I’m having a heart attack! Can you call for an ambulance please?” The response threw me a bit. “Haha Dad. April Fool to you too” and they went back to watching a Muppet Christmas Carol! At Easter! TV must be shit at Easter. I remember thinking “Jesus bloody Christ, I could be about to pop my clogs and everyone thinks it’s a prank! So my first bit of advise is: Don’t have a heart attack on April Fools day cos no one will believe you! Eventually they cottoned on to the fact that I was not messing about so Ed, my eldest boy called for an ambulance explaining what was up while I went and sat on the kitchen floor. After what seemed to be a bloody long time but in reality was only a few minutes, a paramedic turned up and started examining me and he confirmed that I was indeed having a heart attack although he called it something else. Then two more paramedics turned up in a pukka, full size ambulance. They put me into it and started trying to wire me up with all manner of sensors and devices but because I was still sweating like a pig they wouldn’t stick! “Christ,” I thought, “here we go. Has to be me these poxy things won’t stick to.” The medics got me sorted though. I was impressed. Here was technology being used as it should be. All the information was being transmitted to the hospital and they could confirm my condition. How impressive is that! The main paramedic was also on the phone to the cardiac unit at the hospital confirming symptoms and relaying what treatment he’d started. Then he said “he is not responding to my questions”. Strange. He’d only spoken to his mate since we’d got into the ambulance so I said to him. “Mate. You haven’t asked me any questions. What are you on about, not answering you?”. He replied, “Alexander, I’ve been talking to you and you’ve not responded.” Naturally I replied, “Who the fuck is Alexander? (I was a bit stressed) My name’s Dick. I thought you were talking to your mate!” “Really?” he said. “You’re Dick? Sorry bud.” Always me I thought. Perhaps I should change my name to Mario Balotelli. Up shot of all this was that once I was stabilised we whizzed off to the hospital with lots of blue lights and sirens. If it wasn’t for the fact I could die it would have been cool and exciting. As it was, it was a particularly stressful and worrying time. Once I had been admitted to the cardiac wards all kinds of tests were done, drugs administered, care given and reassurance offered. The staff were magnificient. The NHS has got to be the worlds most amazing organisation. It handles all kinds of medical treatment urgent and non urgent and generally despite all the stresses and strains it’s under, it gets it right. Words cannot adequately describe how fantastic all the staff are working away at caring for sick and damaged people. I can but praise the nurses, doctors and other staff who looked after me. I thanked them then and I thank them again now. They are just brilliant. After all the tests and stuff I was told that one of the arteries in my heart was blocked. A stent was going to be inserted and the artery reopened. Fantastic. Down I went for a little bit of fairly non invasive surgery whereby a stent was positioned and then the plan was for it to be inflated to reopen the artery. So bloody Mario strikes again and the blasted thing won’t expand. “O dear” said the surgeon “I’ve done thousands of these and that’s never happened before. I’ll come out, change it and go in again with a new one.” Except he couldn’t. He couldn’t remove the faulty stent. It was stuck somewhere in my arm. Always me! In the end he just dumped the stent and left it somewhere in my arm. Totally harmless and nothing to worry about except I’d have to wait a few days before they tried again. Fine. Except I was now getting a bit stir crazy. Some of the old blokes in the ward were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. One was constantly asking what all these people were doing in his kitchen. Another had an imaginary visitor every night. It was sad. Some of my mates offered to tunnel in and help me escape until I told them I was on the first floor. One came to visit with a load of sheets knotted together so I could escape out the window. Eventually, I was taken back down to theatre, an incision made in my groin and a new, working stent was inserted into my artery and it was reopened. Then, I wouldn’t stop bleeding! Bloody hell, will it never end? After a lot of pressure being applied on the incision the bleeding stopped and eleven days after my minor heart attack I was back home.The worst part of the whole episode though was that one of my buddies bought me an Easter egg while I was in hospital. I wasn’t allowed chocolate so PIL took it home with her to stop me being tempted. She was right to do so. I love chocolate (thats why I’m a chubby boy) and I would’ve hidden under the blankets that night and pigged out on the whole thing! When I got home it was nowhere to be seen. They’d scoffed it! Bastards!

There is no end of advise about how to avoid heart disease. Take it all on board because having a heart attack is not a pleasant experience. The only thing I’d add to all that advise is this: Don’t have one on 1st April and very definitely don’t let anyone remove your Easter egg from the ward!

Enough of the medical advise. I think its time to offer advise on another area I know absolutely nothing about. PIL reckons I am the only person who could walk into the Sahara desert with 50 quid in my pocket, walk out 3 days later with 38p left, have nothing to show for all the expenditure and not have a clue what I spent it on. Yep. I’m crap with money! So I thought I’d offer some financial advise.

So you want to be rich?

Don’t have kids then.

They cost a fortune!

My thanks to you again for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ve enjoyed writing them and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. Don’t forget to click on the “like” button if you did, click on the “follow” button so you automatically get new posts and leave a comment. I’d really like to know what you think.

More Dick soon!

Dick Dastardly