The day after the operation I woke up, saw a doctor by my bed and immediately asked how I was doing after the strange dreams. He told me not to worry, that everything was good, and to stay positive. What a relief! I immediately felt great, and just wanted to get out of bed to go visit Pieter. Unfortunately with so much staff, and each person doing only one task, by the time my vitals were checked again it was mid-day.
Getting out of bed wasn't as bad as I thought, and my body and neck & shoulders were more sore from lying down for too long, than my wounds. I was helped into a chair beside my bed, where I sat for a few minutes to gather my strength, when Natasja helped me up to take the short walk down the corridor to my dear friend Pieter.
When Pieter and I saw each other, we couldn't help but smile with a huge sense of relief that it was finally over, and that it had gone so well.
We all sat there talking about this wonderful miracle that just happened with huge gratitude to everyone involved.
Unfortunately within minutes I was starting to feel quite ill. I said my goodbyes to everyone and returned to my bed. For the next three days I had a very bad reaction to the combination of anaesthesia, morphine and painkillers. I felt nauseous, weak and feverish. That coupled with all the hourly tests, being overloaded with saline and glucose through a drip, being forced to eat and drink at every meal, forced to get up and walk as much as possible, and forced to go to the toilet and release my bladder and bowels regularly, really took it's toll on me and I had never felt so poorly in all my life.
My aim was to go home on Thursday, but there was no way. I could barely speak. Thankfully Natasja, Lizelle and Marietjie took turns to be by my side, encouraging me to get better and stay positive. More friends of Pieter kept stopping by to wish me a speedy recovery.
By Friday I had a huge conversation with myself, and told myself that I had to beat this thing if I wanted to get out of there to the peace and comfort of my house, with only my amazing Natasja to take care of me. Then I remembered my mom always giving us ginger ale to drink for nausea, and I asked Natasja to bring me some. And what I difference that made! I was gradually beginning to feel better that day and started eating again, and by the evening everyone was saying I looked like the old John. What a relief! On Friday afternoon Lizelle brought me some South African Biltong (Beef Jerkey) and Fanta Grape soda. It's something I grew up with in South Africa, and brought back so many fond memories that it boosted my energy and made me feel so much better. So much in fact that I decided come hell or high water, I would go home on Saturday.
When Saturday finally came, I was up at 06:00 and felt so much better. I had a wash, walked over to Pieter, had a nice conversation with him, and when I bumped into my doctor told him I was going home, no questions asked. He was very happy to see my progress and ordered one final round of tests before I got the all-clear. I was so positive that I told Natasja to come to the hospital earlier to help me pack as I was coming home! With all the paperwork, medication and transport finally arranged by 13:00, I said my goodbyes again to Pieter and his family, and I was finally and literally on my way home to a speedier recovery!
For someone who is always healthy and fit to go through such a huge operation took a greater toll that I could've imagined, both physically and mentally. I am grateful to infinity for all the support I have received, and for my lovely Natasja who has been at my beck and call every second of the day, never getting tired or irritated, even on my toilet runs during the early hours!
Here's to seeing you healthy and happy well into your twilight years.