January 2015 Update

Garry McGivern’s January 2015 monthly update. Well, the new year started off the same way the last one ended with that horrible flu virus. But luckily, after staying in for nearly a week, it seemed a lot better. And I actually felt up to going out.

Knowing that I had my operation coming up on the 20th of the month and that I wouldn’t be able to ride my bike for at least 6 weeks. I was desperate to try and get away for a short tour. But it just seemed as if everything was against me! Initially, I had that flu/cold virus, so really didn’t feel like cycling at all. Then, when I finally felt up to cycling it was the weather that was against me. It was either very strong winds or heavy rain or, most of the time, both together! The only consolation is that I do have a couple of shortish tours worked out that I can do when I’m finally back on the bike! I did, however, manage to do just over 250 miles in odd rides in the week leading up to the operation.


Over the Christmas period, I really managed to knacker my website up. It was still up and running; I just couldn’t log in to the administration page, so couldn’t do anything with it. I got in contact with the company that hosts the website, and they told me to try several things. None of which worked. Or rather, they probably would have worked if I’d understood what they were telling me! Eventually, I had to pay somebody to fix it for me. The website is now back up and running properly. Alex, the very kind and knowledgeable man who fixed it for me, also gave me some training and added some things to the website that should stop me from messing it up in the future. So, hopefully, it won’t happen again!

Stop Fiddling

Apologies for all the emails of pictures that people would have received. They were backed up in the system. But once it was all fixed, they went out. Must remember to leave things well alone and not play with things I don’t understand when I’m bored!!

Hospital Selfie
Hospital Selfie

My back operation was on the 20th of the month, which unfortunately didn’t seem to go as well as planned. There was a tear somewhere in my spine, which caused fluid to leak out, which in turn meant I had to remain in bed for the first 48 hours to allow time for the tear to heal. I had to eat, drink and go to the toilet, all lying down. Not the easiest of things to do as I also had to keep my back dead straight! Whereas on my last operation, as soon I had woken up, they had me up and walking about! Apparently, the tear happened during the operation when the surgeon was trying to get around to the other side of the spine, and it’s not an uncommon thing. It shouldn’t make any difference to the outcome.

In Hospital

The first night in the hospital, I had a bit of trouble sleeping. I seemed to have things attached to me all over and couldn’t move. And when I did move, it hurt! On my legs, I had a machine called a Flowtron, which basically had inflatable pads attached to a pump on the bottom of the bed. These were on my lower legs. They would inflate and deflate intermittently to stimulate the flow of blood to stop me from getting DVT (deep vein thrombosis). The machine had an alarm on it which every time I moved went off!

I also had oxygen on, which, again, I kept getting tangled up in! The other problem I had was that because I hadn’t passed any water since the operation, they were threatening to put a catheter in me! So I spent the earlier part of the evening drinking copious amounts of water in an attempt to break the seal! Luckily I did but now I couldn’t stop going. You know what they say once you break the seal or once you pop!

After lying down for 48 hours, it was time to get up; that came as a bit of a surprise. First of all, they got me to just sit up, which was fine. After a minute or two of sitting, they got me to stand with the help of two nurses. My legs felt very weak, and I came over all dizzy and had to lay down again; after an hour had passed, they came back to try and get me to stand again, sitting first before standing. This time I did manage to stand up for a few minutes before becoming dizzy and once again had to lay down. On the third attempt, I felt fine and was able to walk the two paces to the window and back!

I continued doing this for a couple of hours. Getting up, walking to the window then laying back down until I felt a bit steadier on my feet. Then, I was able to go for a bit of a longer walk along the corridor with the help of the physiotherapist. I would never have thought that my legs would have become so weak in such a short time, although it was possibly down to the operation in part.

Stocking up
Stocking up
Essential Supplies
Essential Supplies
Time To Go Home

On the morning of my discharge from the hospital. I went to sit down, not that I’m allowed to, but there is one place I am allowed! As I went to get up, I felt a really sharp pain in the bottom of my back and then a shooting pain down my leg. Instantly, I recognised this pain as the same pain I experienced before my cycle ride around the world and the same one I got on the way to Athens. Sciatica, another slipped disc. Only this time I actually felt it go! Brilliant, I thought after three years, one injection and two operations later, I’m right back where I started! I was now in a lot of pain and hardly able to walk.

I told my surgeon what happened. His advice was that once at home, I should stay in bed for the first two weeks with very short walks. i.e., around the house and garden. Then, after two weeks, try walking a little more and gradually increase the distance. He would then see me in three week’s time. I am now beginning to wonder if I will ever be able to walk properly again! Luckily I’d got plenty of supplies in before going into hospital!

Meal Time
Meal Time
It’s Frustrating

It’s been rather boring and frustrating being at home since my discharge. Spending most of my time in bed. Even at meal times, I’m only meant to perch rather than sit. So we’ve put my granddaughter’s toy box on the table so it’s at a more manageable height. I’ve also put the laptop so I can use that. The only trouble is it hurts too much to perch, and I just end up standing, which, again, I can only do for a short time before I’m in too much pain and my leg gets too numb! My only hope is that this time, because I am in so much pain, the operation might have worked. Whereas last time when I had the operation I wasn’t in any pain afterwards but it didn’t work!

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