Yesterday was my one month check-up with my surgeon, Dr Glaise, after the hernias/éventrations op.
It is always a pleasure to see Dr Glaise – such a splendid combination of friendly empathy and at the same time a sense of competence and authority.
She listened to my prepared list of questions and concerns and then looked at my tummy. “Oh, that’s very good,” she said. “Yes, apparently I have a surgeon with an excellent reputation”, I replied. She laughed, and said she had not been fishing for compliments, but was simply pleased that the scar had healed well. (I no longer need dressings – just some protection to prevent rubbing by the dreaded corset.)
She said it was now OK to drive, bend down, put on my compression stockings myself – do most things, provided I am cautious. Only a few negatives: for the next six months I must carry on wearing the corset and, most important of all, I must simply not lift or carry anything weighing more than two kilos, including rucksacks, she said, looking accusingly at the lightweight rucksack I had brought containing my medical records and xrays.
More long term, unfortunately, I must continue taking the prescribed laxatives indefinitely. Dr Glaise said that the damage to my gut following the cancer and its treatment, and now the occlusion and hernias, was unfortunately permanent. Hmm. Without going into details I have to review my plans to return to India or, failing that, to take further trips out of Europe: the medical component of my luggage continues to grow.
At eight and a half weeks pregnant, Dr Glaise looks wonderful, but is approaching her last day in surgery. I asked her, apologising if it was indiscreet, whether she would be returning to Ganges after maternity leave. No, she said. She had been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity: to set up a gastroenterology unit at the Clinique St Roch in Montpellier. This is the clinic where my other female surgeon, Marion Bertrand, has performed three operations, a second left hip replacement , a right shoulder replacement and subsequent surgery to deal with tendon and adherence pain in this shoulder.. So, even if I don’t like the commercial-industrial feel of the building, this clinic is one of Montpellier’s best. It confirms my earlier gut (sorry) feeling that Dr Glaise is a high-class surgeon.
Since saying goodbye to her, I have reclaimed my car (now in pristine condition following the insurance job on the two bashes earlier this year), done my first supermarket shop (involving putting things one by one from the trolley into my car and at the other end, reversing this laborious process – pity we don’t have home deliveries in the country, and I have notified the nice nurses that I no longer need them to deal with my compression stockings. I think I will keep on the meals on wheels for another week, rather than rushing into shopping and cooking, though tomorrow Odile and I are going to do a joint shop/cook to fill my freezer with more soup for the evenings.