Archive for the ‘Surgery’ Category

Medical matters

October 14, 2018

We made our way down to Auckland as far as Whakapirau where we were staying with Jacky & Chris for the night. It’s a 5hr drive from Rarawa to Whakapirau, including a couple of comfort stops, and then a further 2 hrs to get to Auckland so it’s a good break point for us.

Roy was due at Ascot at midday ready for surgery at around 2pm. Antony came in to take me out to lunch whilst Roy was under the knife laser. Roy was having some remedial surgery of the prostate as some tissue had atrophied as a result of the hormone and radiation treatments and was causing a bit of an issue. Meanwhile Antony and I went out for a nice lunch and a bit of retail therapy returning to the hospital just as the surgeon rang to say all had gone well and he would be in his room within the next hour.

I was happy to wait for him in his room enjoying the view.

the view from his room overlooking Ellerslie Race course.

He was back pretty soon, wide awake and feeling ok after having an epidural and a sedative rather than a full anaesthetic, so good in fact that he was keen to have something to eat. I left him in the good care of the staff at Ascot in the early evening to retire to Antony’s place for the night.

The following day Roy had not had the best night, so the surgeon was checking in on him a couple of times and sorting out his pain relief before he would allow him out later in the day. Meanwhile Antony and I headed over to Southern Cross Hospital on the North Shore where I was to have an MRI done on my hip replacement due to an anomaly showing up on previous X-rays.

MRI’s are not my favourite thing, they can be very claustrophobic, especially as they tighten a special cage device over the hip area to make sure you stay still and also tie my feet together and onto the bed so nothing moves….eeeek……but I told myself it was just for an hour so just suck it up and deal with it. It was completed in around 45minutes, but then they said I had to have more done but this time with a dye injected. Breathe in…….and out……..relax, think of your happy place Bernice, all these thoughts were racing through my mind as I went back into the scanner. But it was soon over with, next came the wait to see the surgeon in a few hours time.

Again, Antony & I went out for a bite to eat and to do a few chores. I must say it was great to have him with me and we had a good chat about everything and anything. We were back at the surgeons office 45minutes early, fortunately he could see me early. And the upshot?

At the top of the trochanter (femur) has some stress fractures that appear to be healing, no wonder it’s been a bit sore! and there maybe very small bone fragments that have come away and irritating matters. As well it looks like there is a pocket of fluid which he was unsure what it was exactly.

What’s next? They want to do a biopsy on the fluid via a needle inserted into the hip area….eeeek! this is to be done under a general anaesthetic and what about having it done next week? Oh and we will also check for infection with some blood tests as well. After a bit of discussion, we agreed that I would have the blood tests straight away and see what they say and put off the needle biopsy and do it next month when I am having my knee replaced negating the need for two anaesthetics in a short period of time. That is presuming everything comes back clear with the blood tests, fingers crossed.

I did ask if I was being a wuss with regards to the pain I have but I was assured that I am not, so with new prescription in hand we were soon on our way.

Meanwhile Roy was being discharged so we could pick him up on the way home and head to Antony’s for the night. We were both feeling pretty good so we thought we would head back north, just as far as Whakapirau initially, just to be close enough to Auckland if we had to return for any reason. After a restful nights sleep, we were ready to head back home.

We were back at the van the following day, ready to take things easy for a bit as Roy is on strict light duties, and I am to rest as much as practicable. That being said, we are both feeling pretty good so hope to get back to some good fishing stories soon.

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Never a dull moment

October 1, 2018

The fishing was going great guns, every time the blokes went out they came home with lots of fish so we were eating it, giving it away and freezing some. Just as well as both couples were heading away for a couple of days, us a quick trip to Auckland for medical appointments and Keith & Debbie were off to Tauranga the day after we left for a family matter.

But not before a last minute fish off Tokerau Beach.

Keith with control in hand ready to send the drone out with the baits and longline.

We have lift off.

Wait for 45 minutes then press the button on the reel to bring in the line….

Enough fish to share around with family and friends.

We were very fortunate as we were going to break our journey to Auckland by staying with Jacky & Chris at Whakapirau as it is a non stop 5 1/2 hour drive from Tokerau to Auckland, and who does that sort of distance without a couple of stops at least? It’s 3 1/2 hrs to Whakapirau, but add another hour on to that for stops, road works and the like so it’s still a decent drive.

Roy had a checkup with the Urologist, the upshot being he is having some surgery to clean up the prostate on Monday 8th October. He will be in Ascot Hospital overnight or possibly two nights. Meanwhile I had my 3month checkup with my surgeon, and we made a date for knee surgery, 19th November it is scheduled for the first knee replacement, a great birthday present to myself!!

After another great stay with Jacky and Chris on our return journey home, we headed home Wednesday morning, calling in to the Jewellers in Whangarei to pick up my repaired rings and necklace.

my rings, all beautifully repaired and polished, and now all joined together so that they don’t rub against each other.

I also had my necklace repaired with a new chain put on,

This necklace is one that Roy gave to me for my 21st birthday, just a couple of years ago!

Back at the van on Thursday I received a call from my surgeon, on reviewing the latest X-ray of my hip, they’ve noticed an anomaly on the trochanter (top of the femur) which doesn’t look quite right and could I go back for an MRI scan to further investigate things? Oh no, what could it possibly be? Stress fractures possibly, but they will see once they do the scan. No wonder I still have pain!! I’ve scheduled the MRI and consult for the 9th October so we shall have to wait and see what eventuates. Bugger!

Never mind, we can hopefully get another week of fishing in, whip down to Auckland in the car for a couple of days and get everything over had done with and still be on track for knee surgery in November. Fingers crossed.

Another woohoo

August 1, 2018

Yes it’s another woohoo in the Vannini vanhold bushold rvhold household.

I had my checkup with my surgeon yesterday and everything is looking good. I still have some pain, just minor stuff which is just things taking their time to heal after bones being bashed and sawn, muscles & nerves being chopped – goodness me sounds more like butchery than surgery – however we are getting back into shape and we are getting there. I see the surgeon again in 8weeks time when we make the BIG decision on which knee to do first.

Funnily enough it has always been my left knee that has caused the most pain and grief but since having the left hip replaced it is the right knee that is now causing the most angst. Apparently that is to be expected as some of the knee pain was coming from the hip and of course relying on the other knee heavily whilst recovering from surgery has put added pressure on the right knee. Anyway, we shall see what happens in a couple of months time when we make the decision to go with the left or the right. And NOT having a ‘Lieutenant Dan’ (Forest Gump reference) as my delightful son suggested!!!

Meanwhile we are still at Uretiti…..there is a story behind that but more on that later!

Hip hip hooray

June 26, 2018

Firstly many thanx to family, friends and acquaintances from near and far who have rung, emailed, messaged or managed some other means of communication to wish me well and to see how I was going. I especially appreciated those of you who stayed away due to having cold bugs etc, and for not sharing them with me. And to those of you who sent messages telepathically, they may have got a little muddled in translation but I got the gist! It has all been very much appreciated, and Jacky’s visit on Friday was just the tonic I needed before leaving the hospital.

Now that the anaesthetic fog has lifted and the pain meds are reducing, I almost feel human like again. Every day things are a little easier but as I have said before I am definitely the tortoise in this race.

Antony and Roy are looking after me well, making sure I do exactly as I have been told, and it is nice to be here in front of the fire and out of the damn awful weather that we seem to be experiencing. Oh yeah, it’s winter, right. The boys are honing their cooking skills showing that some knowledge is passed on via osmosis. Long may it continue.

Oh, and I have received a letter from the Bone Bank thanking me for my donation of the old hip and that the bone has been accepted and already been used to help someone else. I wish them all the best.

Hip (h)op

June 21, 2018

The hip op is done. Monday morning we arrived at Ascot hospital bright and early ready for surgery, meeting up with both the surgeon and anesthetist very briefly before walking the long walk to the theatre. The spinal anaesthetic was quickly and painlessly administered, the sedative was adminis………and before I knew it I was waking up in recovery! Done and dusted.

Later that evening, they had me up and out of bed, walking to the loo. Next morning up and showering, which I have to admit was bliss. I won’t lie, it’s not all painfree, especially when I put weight on my leg. But after two days, I had a bit of a revelation….ask for extra pain relief! OMG why had I not thought of this before? I am on lots of slow release painkiller but didn’t think that it could be topped up before I take on some walking. Doh! My surgeon and anaesthetist both guessed that that was what my revelation was. All the staff kept asking me how was my pain, asking me to score it so I just presumed that all was under control. Well it was, sort of!

All the staff are brilliant, caring and helpful, and the food is pretty good too and it’s not often you can say that about hospital food.

morning tea one morning

lamb rack was my choice another evening

Slow and steady progress is what we are after. I get out of here on Saturday morning and will stay at Antony’s for a week or so until I feel comfortable enough to be back in the van.

I think it is going to be a long slow process, and I will have to be patient.

Escape and a bank

June 10, 2018

The tunnels were secretly dug, which one should we take? Tom, Dick or Harry? the fake uniforms ready to go and the documents were forged. In the full light of day our escape from Auckland is set and we are off like a you know what! heading to Uretiti for a week of R&R before we return in a weeks time.

on our way, Whangarei here we come!

It seems we needed a couple of tunnels, the Waterview Tunnel and the Johnstones Hill Tunnel, however no uniforms or documents were required but we did have to pay tolls before our escape was complete. Phew!

We are both really enjoying being back at Uretiti, we had forgotten how much warmer it is here even though it’s only a couple of hours further north than Ardmore and I guess being by the sea is also a contributing factor. It’s also so nice being back parked on grass and having a bit more space around us without close neighbours.

Hopefully we will be able to get some fishing in as well this week, we just need the wind to blow the right way for us to launch the kite….that’s if we can remember how to set up our kite as it seems like such a long time since we have been kite fishing.

Back to the title of this blog, and no we didn’t rob a bank on our way out of town.

On Friday I had my pre op check with the surgeon, and all is well. I have filled in the copious number of forms and submitted them to the right people and places, and now just have a week to wait.

Interestingly, I received a phone call the other day from the Bone Bank (who knew that there was such a thing) asking me if I would be interested in donating my hip joint to be used in other surgeries where pieces of bone or crushed bone need to be used. Sure, I said, it’s no use to me and if it can help others then go for it.

People with a variety of conditions need donated bone for their treatment. It’s used to treat:

• children with scoliosis having spinal surgery

• adults having repeat hip replacement surgery or needing bone grafts for spinal and other orthopaedic surgery

• children with cancer who have bone fractures that won’t heal.

I’ve been a blood donor for many many years but I did not realise that they also collected bone. I wonder if they want a couple of crappy knees as well??!!! They are next on the agenda for replacement once the hip has recovered. Soon, I’ll have a decent leg to stand on!

Plan B

July 1, 2017

After all the dramas of the past few weeks, it was with some delight that we headed back to the van where we have enjoyed relaxing and listening to the waves crash onto the beach at Uretiti.  The weather has been fine and pleasantly warm for this time of the year and with little or no wind which has made sitting out in the sun rather a rather pleasant activity.

Walking down to the beach
Parked up in the sun 

Looking south (top) and north along the beach.
We are now onto Plan B, or is that C or even D now with Roy.  We had a good meeting with the cardiologist who is happy with the way he is progressing on medication to keep everything ticking over nicely (pun intended).  Then we had a very long session with the Urologist/Oncologist and have come up with a plan.  

Roy is now NOT having major surgery, apparently after playing around with the heart they prefer patients to have a 6 month stand down period before major surgery.  So instead there is plan B.  Now he has had his first hormone injection yesterday, with another one due in 3 months.  This will reduce the size of the prostate as well as the cancer then at the end of the second three month period, the surgeon will probably do a TURP (rebore) of the prostate as this surgery is less invasive and does not require a full anaesthetic.  Then he will have radiation treatment on the remaining cancer.  All in all much less invasive and with better outcomes in terms of possible nerve damage  of full surgical removal.  

This has tied in nicely with our plans to head overseas, the planets are all aligning beautifully.  The second injection is due just a couple of days before our planned departure at the end of September and we can be away as planned with the next procedure not due until after our return in mid January.  Finally things are looking up.

Meanwhile, we are expecting a visitor later this week.  We are very excited about her arrival, so much so, there is a ticker tape parade due along Auckland waterfront just as she arrives!!!  Can’t say that we don’t pull out all the stops……..

The next exciting installment

June 17, 2017

We were up at the crack of dawn, well, to be fair it was even before the crack of dawn. We had to travel across the city from Torbay to Ellerslie for Roy’s appointments as we had to be there by 6.45am and you just never know what the traffic is going to be like.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare.  

We were quickly escorted into the procedure room where two nurses were waiting to prep Roy ready for the Drs arrival, they do the usual checks; temperature, blood pressure, pulse, a cardiogram, you know the usual, and yes Roy’s blood pressure was very high (for him) as was his heart rate, which is to be expected I suppose.

First on the schedule was the  T.O.E. (transoesohageal echocardiogram) which is a scope (or should I say a very long, mean looking piece of pipe) shoved down carefully inserted down Roy’s  throat so that an internal scan of his heart can be performed to look for any clots particularly in the back of the heart.  If there are any clots, then they would not be able to do the next procedure.  And yes he would be sedated for the process, but not for the chest shaving that was part of the prep!!   When I left to go to the waiting room at 7.20 the anaethestist and specialist had arrived and introduced themselves.  Soon they were starting to put the needles in ready to administer  sedation drugs….time for me to exit! By this time Antony had arrived to keep me company.

 By 7.45 the anaesthetist was out saying it had all gone well and they had not found any clots so they could then go on to do the CV (shock to the heart) with that process being successful with the heart restored back to normal rhythm. The specialist who did the procedures then came out to say all was good and that the cardiologist would see us once Roy was up and about in an hour or two. Which is exactly what happened.   Roy came out an hour or so later to join us in the waiting room.   They served  him a light breakfast, to make sure he could swallow OK, and said to relax as he needed  time for everything to settle.  

We saw the cardiologist later in the morning, who went thru everything from the days tests, and then went on to explain the procedure scheduled for Monday.   This will be an angiogram which is used to check to see if the arteries are ok and if necessary they put in stents at that point. The cardiologist did say that Roy’s  heart valves and the heart itself appeared ok, so this just the final check to rule out the physical anomalies that can result in Atrial Fibrillation……. otherwise we put it down to the fact that it’s  just one of those things that happen. Hopefully this has fixed it, but apparently it can recur in some cases.  

 Once Mondays procedures are done with they will then reschedule the prostate surgery for 4 weeks time. The cardiologist and Urologist have been communicating, and as the cancer is minuscule and it is the size of the prostate that is the real problem, then another 4 weeks to wait is not an issue and we are still well on schedule for our trip.

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment.

Mum’s the word

January 30, 2017

When your son is 32 and about to have surgery for his ACL and MCL repairs on his knee then a Mum does what a Mum does best, she hops into the car and heads to the other side of the city to look after him.  Antony was scheduled for surgery on Friday afternoon and with it being Auckland Anniversary weekend I knew the roads would be busy so I headed off down to his place in Papakura on Thursday ready for an easy trip into the hospital in Epsom on Friday.  

Midday Friday and we arrived at the hospital in plenty of time however we both commented on our way in that the southbound traffic on the motorway was starting to build up which made us think that the better way for me to return to Papakura would be through Mt Eden and onto the southwest motorway.  It’s just as well I know my way around Auckland reasonably well and can try and circumnavigate any traffic issues.   First, we got Antony admitted into the hospital and ready for his surgery which would be happening in a couple of hours time.  There was the usual medical things to attend to but  also the menu to fill out for his evening meal and breakfast tomorrow.

This was his evening menu choice….


Not bad eh? Mind you, I’m not so sure that dinner is high priority in ones mind after surgery, but as he had not eaten or drunk anything since the previous night then I guess he may be a tad peckish.

I left him in the care of the medical staff as there was no point in me waiting around as I could not really do anything and the surgeon would call me once Ants was in recovery to let me know how he got on.  I headed back throuh Mt Eden and onto the the south west motorway.  It was a trouble free, traffic free, run all the way along the motorway until approaching Manukau where, luckily, the electronic motorway info board was telling me that the southern motorway was blocked from Manukau south and I could see the traffic queued ahead of me for the on ramp.  So quick decision time, get off and head to Papakura over the back road.  Just as well I took this option  as the following was the sight from the Manukau overbridge looking north.


Looking south was even worse but I didn’t have time to take a photo of that. I found out later that there was a car on fire further south and all lanes were blocked.

Even so, my return trip took just over an hour whereas it is usually a 30minute journey.  It didn’t seem as though I had been back very long before the surgeon rang to tell me all was well and everything had gone to plan with the surgery and I could pick him up the following morning.  

It wasn’t too long after that that Ants rang me to tell me he was ok just a little groggy.  Later on he sent me a pic of his dinner…

And it doesn’t look bad either.

I returned the following morning, following the same route, and after been given all the instructions for wound dressing and with prescriptions to fill on the way home, we were soon on our way.

He has been a very good patient, and I am very sure that my calling in life was definitely NOT as a nurse,  especially the wound dressing stuff!  But I steeled myself and did the brave thing and changed the dressingbefore and during

 I am much better at other things and I have kept myself busy with washing, cleaning and lots of cooking as well as running around making sure He has everything he needs.  His freezer is now full of meals for when he’s back on his own and I return to the van.  But then it will be Dad’s turn to have a few days playing nurse.