This morning I had my three month checkup after the hernia operation at the start of September. Cross fingers all is fine and I should be able to put this dire year – perforated stomach ulcer, intestinal blockage (occlusion) and hernia operation – behind me.
My lovely surgeon, Dr Glaise, is no longer at Ganges. She is away on maternity leave and then moves to the Clinique St Roch in Montpellier. Her replacement, Dr Essome, seems amiable, though it is too early to know about his professional competence.
I asked him about the muscular discomfort I get elsewhere in the abdomen, particularly just below the ribs. He explained that this discomfort is natural as the body adjusts to the alien object that has been inserted. The patch (which is lower – at what is left of tummy button) is attached to muscles which travel vertically, hence you feel elsewhere than the location of the operation, and as my patch was so large, more muscles have been affected.
He reassured me that this was not a sign that the hernia operation had not worked and I could now resume normal life (with prudence): discard the dreaded corset and, more crucial, end the limit on lifting anything heavier than two kilos. And he confirmed that my physio could go ahead and have sessions to strengthen my abdomen muscles.
The conversation then took an unexpected turn. Where did I come from? London, I said, and you? The Cameroons, he replied – and switched into English. He was born in francophone Cameroon, in Douala (which I visited way back in 1966), but grew up speaking both English and French as well as local languages. Then he trained as a doctor in Italy, so added Italian to his repertoire!
He now lives in Montpellier and commutes daily to work in Ganges, where he takes up his permanent post in January. I wished him good luck and said I hoped that, sadly, I would not be seeing him again@!