It is now almost two weeks since my surgery ,and I have been home from the hospital since Monday. Although I was receiving excellent care from all of the nurses, I really began to struggle towards the end of my week in hospital. I am extremely impatient and I just wanted to be back in the apartment with my parents so that we could all relax a little bit and I could get some decent rest.
So Monday morning arrived and I was told that I would be allowed to go home. All of my drips and tubes had been removed one by one during the week, so all that was left was to figure out exactly how we would get home. Here is a picture of the nurses discussing the plan of acton for the day…
The hospital had agreed that we could borrow my hospital bed to have in the apartment for a couple of weeks as it makes sitting up and lying down much less of a strain on my back. They had proposed that I would go home in an ambulance, but seeing as I could see the apartment from my hospital window, and that the only way of getting into the back of an ambulance is about 10 people lifting the wheelchair up and into it, I opted to just be pushed home in a wheelchair. They weren’t that keen on the idea, but agreed it was probably the easiest way.
Getting back to the apartment was such a relief, and my bed arrived shortly after me, so finally I could relax at home. Both my parents have been great nurses/carers to me since the surgery so I knew that I would be in very capable hands. Being at home has meant that I can focus on the two most important things; resting and eating well.
Since I arrived in China I have pretty much become a vegetarian. I am a little bit suspicious of the meat over here, and I am happy to stick to mainly fruit and vegetables. There is a market nearby that is full of fresh produce; so many varieties of fruit and veg that I have never even seen before. And it is all extremely cheap compared to buying it in the UK.
In the hospital they do not provide food for patients, instead they have communal kitchens (which are very basic) for family members to prepare food in. So my mum did a fantastic job while I was in hospital of keeping me well fed under the circumstances. Back home she has provided me with all sorts of tasty and nutritious dishes. My surgeons and the nurses were obsessed with ensuring that I was eating well after my operation. After all, the fuel going into my body is what is helping to get me strong again. Dr Zhu, the main lady in charge of the whole rehab program and who has treated thousands of spinal patients, even brought in a special dish for me to eat after surgery; black fish with vegetables and soup. It was surprisingly tasty…
And the other vital part of my recovery, the resting, is going well too, although I am becoming quite restless now. The body and the brain do their healing work while you sleep, so I haven’t been stressing too much that I’m not getting much done. I was planning to spend much of this week learning more Mandarin, but I just can’t seem to concentrate properly and tend to zone out. Ali reminded me yesterday that I should give myself a bit of a break… after all I had some pretty crazy spinal surgery less than two weeks ago, so I guess I can continue to go easy on myself for a bit longer.
Whilst I have been at home I have had daily visits from the nurses and physios who are keeping me in good shape. They are so efficient and it is nice that I don’t have to leave the apartment… I don’t think in the UK the surgeons would make a house call to check on the stitches and change the dressing!
Tomorrow is quite a big day. I am having my stitches taken out, which hopefully means I can start some gentle exercise. I think it is going to be a pretty painful experience, but I will just have to be brave!
And finally, my dad went home this week 😦 He extended his stay by an extra week because of my surgery, but due to his visa only being valid for 30 days he had to leave. It was so nice to have him out here and I did shed a few tears after he left, but I still have my mum here for another 3 weeks, so I can’t dwell on his departure. It also means I can Skype him at home and see Izzy (the dog), so that’s a bonus, although it does make me miss her more. Here is a pic of dad with Emma (the translator hired for us by the hospital). You can see just how teeny tiny she is!!