During July 2008, I thought I was going progressively deaf in my left ear. After I started getting a constant ringing in it I decided I'd better see my doctor. He prescribed some antibiotics and suggested we buy an over the counter ear syringe and irrigation fluid. The fluid didn't seem to help much and neither did the hydrogen peroxide we tried. In the end Patty and I thought we'd flood my ear with warm water through the 3oz ear syringe. The stuff that came out of my ear was unbelievable.
Ear wax from my left ear - July 26, 2008
It reminded me of the "The Passion of St. Tibulus" episode from "Father Ted" where Father Jack Hackett is described as a "one man candle factory".
Father Jack and his ear wax candle
About 8pm on 22nd May, 2012, I was cleaning out the swimming pool and realized realized the vacuum line was kinked. Turning round I started walking along the edge of the pool and stepped off the concrete edging. I ended up with my left leg in the pool and but with my right still up on the edge of it. It hurt. About 10:30pm I decided to get Patty to take me to Regional hospital so they could look at it. The x-rays showed nothing was broken but the put my foot in a half cast, gave me a prescription for Tramadol and sent me home.
On 28th May, I still couldn't walk on the foot and was still getting around on crutches. A friend had given us a foot "boot" the day before and we took the hospital cast off. Here's some images of my sprained foot - still very bruised and swollen...
In October my ankle is still causing me a few problems. It still ached occasionally and I could not walk more than a mile or so without pain. It all eventually cleared up though.
Yet another dumb accident. for some reason when I've been drinking now and then I do something stupid. On September 28th, 2012 I was at Andy's having a few beers and got it into my head I could ride a mini-motorbike. I can't. The first attempt I drove it into the wall of his garage, I should have stopped there but I didn't. The second time I made it as far as the driveway then fell off tearing up the palms of my hands in the process. The pictures make it look worse than it is, but they were more or less completely healed a couple of weeks later.
My hands, September 28, 2012
A friend of mine has a Magnum Research BFR 450 Marlin with a 10" barrel. On June 13, 2014, which happened to be a Friday, I went over to his place to fire a few rounds. It's a beast of a gun to fire but I thought I was fine with it.
Magnum Research BFR 450 Marlin, June 13, 2014
A day or two later my index finger started to bruise and was very painful.
In June 2014, I developed a sore throat and low-grade fever that would not go away. Patty eventually persuaded me to go and see the doctor. The doctor suspected a thyroid infection and gave me antibiotics and also asked that I should get a chest x-ray. A couple of days later I got a phone call at work saying the x-ray showed a lump in my lung and I should get a CT scan done. The scan confirmed that there was a nodule on my right lung and the doctor sent me to a lung specialist. He had me have a full body PET scan and sent me to a surgeon.
I think the technology is great. A PET scan is one of the tests for cancer. Very simply, what happens is that they inject you with slightly radioactive glucose. The scanner shows where that glucose goes and apparently cancer cells metabolize the glucose quickly, concentrating it so it shows on the scan.
Neil the Nodule, CAT Scan, July 7, 2014. Neil is around 1.3cm in diameter
The PET scan was inconclusive, so I had a choice. Do nothing for 2 years and see what happened to the nodule or have it removed. I chose to have it removed and the surgeon explained what was going to happen. He'd open me up, take a look inside and remove Neil the Nodule. They'd biopsy it while I was still unconscious and if it turned out to be malignant they'd then remove the entire lobe of the lung. On July 20, 2014, I had the operation, a thoracoscopy. It only lasted about half an hour and Patty knew what had happened before I did. After removing the nodule, they did a biopsy on it. Luckily, it turned out to be a self-contained nodule consisting of liquid and fungus, so they just sewed me back up.
Before then, I didin't realize the lungs are split into lobes. The left lung has a superior and inferior lobe, while the right lung has superior, middle, and inferior lobes. Thin walls of tissue called fissures separate the different lobes. Isn't science wonderful?
The operating rooms are cold. Then they told me to hold out my arm. Injected me with something that they said would feel a bit warm. Then I woke up back in the room with tubes seemingly everywhere. An oxygen one up my nose, a couple in my wrists for saline, blood thinners, and pain medication. A catheter in my bladder, a drain tube in my lung for blood and other liquids, and another catheter in my back for an ON-Q PainBuster anesthetic dispenser.
When I woke up, I told the nurse I really needed to go to the bathroom for a pee. She said I didn't but I insisted I did. Then she told me to take a look under the sheets. Sensible really, without the catheter I couldn't really imagine dragging myself, and half the room of tubing, jars, containers, drips and whetever else I was attached to into the bathroom.
I recovered pretty quickly and was sent home on July 22 with a bottle of vicodin tablets and an incentive spirometer. What happened was that during the operation they collapsed my lung. The spirometer is to help with breathing exercises to make sure the lung is see properly inflated and to exercise it.
I spent a couple of very uncomfortable days taking maybe 4 or 5 vicodin a day but after that it wasn't so bad. Then the bruising started to come out. This looks a lot worse than it felt. The first week after the surgery was horrible, but was feeling a lot better by the end of the second week. In fact I felt ready to go back to work on September 8, but then I got flu and had to spend another week in bed. I eventually went back to work on September 15.
On September 22, 2014 and my side was doing well. The only after effects I had was a lump just under my ribs. It sometimes felt like someone was pushing a pillow there. The other thing was I lost some feeling in my upper right arm. Both were caused by cutting through the tissue and nerves to get to my lung. It was several months before everything was back to normal. Other than that, I felt great.
In March 2021, most of the scars are tiny and healed up very well. Under each one is a small lump, scar tissue from the operation I suppose.
I made a short video from the 670 images taken during the CT scan and set it to the original Dr. Who theme tune from 1963...
This was another stupid accident. We used to have a pool table, but we rarely used it so in August 2016, we decided to give it to some friends. We took it apart, it was three slates on a steel frame with a woood surround. Getting the steel frame into my friends' house was a bit of a problem and I ended up getting my right arm caught between the edge of the steel frame and door frame. The cut wasn't deep, didn't bleed much and barely hurt but it left a scar across my forearm.
Patty usually cuts my hair and she usually makes a good job of it. She always says my hair grows thick and fast and we could stuff pillows out of all the hair she removes. Then on July 23, 2017, she was cutting my hair and the the clipper guard fell off and she took a huge chunk of hair off down to my scalp.
Poor Patty was horrified, especially as were were due to fly back the UK the next day for a holiday. I thought it was funny. If I can't see it, I don't worry about it too much. Besides, if anyone asked about it I could always say I had a terrible accident to my head and had to have brain surgery.
Early in 2019 I noticed a small lump was developing under the left side of my chin or throat. It didn't hurt so I ignored it. It started growing and Patty started telling me I really should go and see our doctor about it. Because of that and because by March it was making my face look lopsided I did. After talking to the doctor, I decided it should be removed, and on March 21, 2019 it was.
I've been wearing glasses since I was 6 years old (1964). My first optician I remember had a bit of stutter and I was prescribed the National Health glasses with the sprung wire frames. He once told me that as I got older my eyes would change and while people at my age would start to need glasses I would no longer need them. He was right but not in the way I imagined.
Over the years my eyesight had been dimming slightly. Driving at night was getting a bit mre difficult because of the lack of contrast and colour I was seeing. On February 14, 2020 I went for what I thought would be just a normal appointment with the optician. Dr. Watts examined my eyes and said the time had finally come for me to consider cataract surgery in both eyes and made me an appointment with eye surgeon Dr. Patel. They don't like doing surgeries on both eyes at once and we scheduled the surgery for my right eye on March 16, 2020, and on March 23, 2020 for my left.
Three days before the surgery and for a month after you use eye drops. I was using Ketorolac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID); Ofloxacin, a quinolone antibiotic; and Prednisolone, a steroid anti-inflamatory. No big deal. One of the Prednisolone drops rolled down my cheek and I can tell you it tastes horrible.
The operation is simple. He takes the natural lens out of the little envelope it sits in and inserts an artificial one. The surgery on March 16, 2020 went very well. You're awake during the operation but can't feel a thing and your vision becomes very blurred, so you can't see anything much either. I was so nervous, I thought I might have bent the bed frame as I was gripping it so hard.
It took about 3 days before all the bluriness went out of my right eye and it was amazing being able to see out of it without needing glasses. It went so well I was looking forward to getting the other one done the following week. That didin't happen because the day before the operation was due the hospital was closed to all non-urgent operations because of COVID. So, I was stuck. I couldn't see see properly with or without my glasses! In the end I pulled one of the lenses out of them and wore an eyepatch over the other. Now and then I'd swap them over - just for a change.
During one of the post-op clinic visits I was told the hospital scheduler cried for me after they cancelled the second appointment. Both operations should have been done in a week, but it could have been months before I got my second one. It was a bit discomforting having one good eye and one bad one. As Patty said, I was "practically blind in one eye and could barely see out of the other," an exaggeration, but no matter what I did, my eyesight just wasn't right. In the end I got the second operation on April 27, 2020.
A year later, in 2021, it's great not having to wear glasses all the time but I do need simple reading glasses for close-up seeing. The complete opposite to what I've been used to most of my life. My left eye isn't as good as my right. That's mostly because I have a small fold in the retina so I'm always going to have a small blurry spot in my vision from that eye. It took ages getting used to not waking up in the morning and not reaching out to put my glasses on. I've now got cheap 2+ diopter reading glasses. I keep a pair at home, at work and in my car. I've already broekn a pair as I took them off, put them down and then sat on them!