As I posted last week, I wasn’t feeling well and so was having to take it easy on the writing front. That was something of an understatement, it turned out, because I ended up spending five days in hospital with appendicitis. I was feeling thoroughly awful when I went in, but after five days of antibiotics (and no operation, thankfully), I got out yesterday and feel more or less great.
Five days is a long time to spend in hospital, especially after the first couple of days when I was much better and more bored than anything else. Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have been aware of my slightly cheeky tweets about the comings and goings in my ward room, which certainly kept me from going too mad with boredom. There’s only so much conversation you can have with your fellow patients when they are asleep, drugged up or (on one occasion) drunk.
And the iPhone generally was an absolute godsend – I was able to keep up with emails, listen to music, follow the news (and the football on Saturday) and read all sorts of interesting bits and pieces. I found or was referred to numerous online articles including everything from 18th century insatiable eaters to the Navajo code talkers of World War 2, and from arty stuff to sciencey stuff. It’s amazing how interesting things can be when you’re pretty much quarantined, and amazing just how much fascinating things there are on the web. The other great thing about the iPhone is all the silly wee games you can download as well, often for free, helping the time to fly by.
Other things helped, of course. Not least all the people who came to visit me (thank you, if you’re reading this) and my wife Nicole who visited me at least once a day; plus various cards and goodies I was sent in the post (thank you again).
On top of that, I have none of the clichéd criticisms you might make about hospitals in this country. The care I received was absolutely terrific, and everyone who dealt with me – doctors, surgeons, nurses, students, auxilliaries and so on – were all brilliant, and the standard of professionalism even when things were very busy for them was inspiring. The food, even, was excellent – not quite restaurant fare, but certainly more than adequate and really quite enjoyable.
And the important thing to say about my treatment was that it was free. Yes, it didn’t cost me a penny thanks to the unique way that the NHS is funded by us, the taxpayer. I can’t imagine the extra stresses that hospitalisation might have caused if I’d had to check insurance policies or talk to medical staff about anything other than medical matters. We are very lucky in this country.
Anyway, on with reality. I do have a few writing deadlines that I have been able to push back or can still meet this week, so hopefully I’ll stay healthy and I can get it all done.