Well, some of you know that already. Whether it’s the gym, falling off the good food wagon, getting hands on with my DIY at home or going into hospital for an operation, I skip the shallow end and dive bomb into the depths with gay abandon. Alas, with such gay abandon comes consequences. Perhaps ‘everything in moderation’ ought to become my new mantra? Can you really see that happening? No. Me neither… but I’ll try.
For those newer to my blog it’s worth giving you a little background to the story of what led to last Friday’s op/ops. Four years ago I bought the ugliest house in a nice street. All good property buffs will know this makes good financial sense. The location takes care of itself and the house can be worked on. Work on it, I did. I’ve had a couple of friends who are in the trade who would come and work with me to show me what to do and then I’d carry on, grafting away, until they could come again so we could work on it together.
In my time doing this I’ve smashed down walls, ripped up floors, pulled down ceilings, put in windows, dabbled in a little tiling and plastering (only a couple of spots that didn’t show), lagged pipes, built, insulated and plastered walls, designed and remodelled, dug up and laid a driveway, fixed cladding, you name it, I’ve tried my hand at it. OK, not the electrics. I’m crazy but not entirely stupid. I even went on a training course and received a certificate for rendering. I’ve learned bucket-loads!
Countless are the tools and machines I’ve armed myself with and learned to master. One thing I didn’t do was pay proper attention to health and safety. I’ve done angle grinding in a bikini, laid paving blocks in bare feet and even did some rendering in my PJs. Can’t stress this next sentence strongly enough PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! Seriously, do as I say and not as I did. Before using machines really research their usage times first. Always wear protective gear such as specs, masks, hats, earplugs and so on. Thoroughly do your own homework. If you’re not sure then ask a professional for advice on how to safeguard against injury and even worse.
So, we come on to injury… I had many little injuries along the way and just accepted it as a ‘no pain, no gain’ kind of thing that went with the territory of working for anything worthwhile. Really dumb! Don’t do this! Pain is a warning. Heed warnings.
I can actually clearly remember digging up very heavy clods of clay soil and lobbing them across the driveway-to-be with great gusto and feeling something snap or twang across my right shoulder. Yes, it was painful but I carried on going, thinking of the end goal. I should have listened but I didn’t. This was maybe around two years ago. I carried on and tried taking every kind of painkiller and nothing worked except a night time cold remedy which I couldn’t take for more than a certain amount of time. Finally I gave in and saw a doctor who referred me to a specialist. What a man. He was, quite obviously, a leader in his field. He took an X-ray and confirmed calcific tendinitis, calcium deposits which press on the nerves and cause quite severe pain. When he offered me a steroid injection I jumped at the chance and it really did help for several months.
Then it returned with a vengeance. Back to Mr Shoulder God who suspected there may be something underlying and offered me an MRI scan but, don’t laugh, as I had hair extensions which are fixed with metal rings I was unable to have it done so just tried to see if it would go away. No such luck. I was barely sleeping a whole night. I went to my GP, had another jab and it lasted about two weeks but wasn’t as effective as before, even strong painkillers didn’t touch it. In fact, it made me quite unwell. Referred back to the specialist who X-rayed again and confirmed it was time to go the surgical route. He said he’d be able to look around for any more damage whilst the surgery was being carried out.
I consider myself to be fairly fearless but one thing that makes me nervous is a general anaesthetic. Also, I used to be a dental nurse where we carried out surgical procedures on a regular basis so I’m not squeamish about blood and gore. I had been joking with my friends at work saying how I’d happily stay awake and watch the whole thing rather than have a GA.
Fast forward to the morning of my op and I receive the loveliest message from a dear old friend of mine, Morag. We worked together at a high street jewellers over 26 years ago but she now works in anaesthesia! She said she could see a Catherine Huntley on her list for that day and asked if it was me. Yes! She said she’d be looking after me with the anaesthetist. Oh my goodness! The relief I felt was off the scale! I told her I was nervous and she said she would look after me. Well, she told all the staff I was her friend and I was welcomed like royalty. Everyone was so kind and friendly.
I was still nervous regarding the general anaesthesia but felt far more comfortable now Angel Morag was on the scene. The anaesthetist came to see me. Fred with a French accent, ooh la la. More relaxed now. He asked how I was feeling and I admitted to the nerves. I told him I wasn’t afraid of the op itself or pain, just going under. “I’d happily watch the whole thing” I said. “Are you serious?” said Fred. Silence. “You mean… can I?”. He said he’d have to get the specialist surgeon’s approval but if it was OK with him then it was a yes and I could chat with Morag whilst it was being done! Now I was not only relieved but I was excited!!
I had to have sedation and then my neck was injected to block all the sensation in my right shoulder, arm and hand. Whilst this was taking effect I was wheeled back into recovery and nurse Karen came over to keep me company. I had been told about Karen’s love for QVC by the other staff who said she’d love to come say hi. We chatted for at least half an hour. What a lovely lady.
Finally, it was time. I was wheeled into the operating theatre. Everyone was so lovely. I felt lucky beyond my wildest dreams. I watched the screen as they made three points of entry in my shoulder for the instruments and camera. I then watched and listened as the surgeon told me what I was looking at. It was fascinating. The calcium deposits were taken care of and I was informed I had two other problems in there. One, a bony spur which had to be removed. I watched him shave down the bone and he took away a little more explaining that this allows my stem cells to be released and aid healing. Finally, turns out I had a frozen shoulder, too. I watched as he worked. Absolutely awesome. He told me I’d had three operations instead of one! Told you I don’t do things by halves!
How I’ve been pushing myself to the limits at the gym I just don’t know. I guess I can be a determined little whatsit when I want to be! The physiotherapist showed me, prior to the operation, how my left side had been over compensating for the restricted mobility on the right side and showed me how much the right shoulder muscles have wasted away a bit. Again, fascinating!
I have so many great friends to thank but can’t list them all. Suffice to say I was bombarded with lovely messages offering help, phone calls, visits, help to and from hospital and so on. My son has been amazing, cooking me vegan delights.
I’ve had cards, crystals, arnica and just a whole lotta love for which I’m truly grateful.
I’m following all post-op advice to the letter and feel like I’ll be good in no time. I can’t wait to be back with you again. I’m missing you and I’m missing the gym, too! I have to be careful, though. I keep thinking I’m all set and then I have a sudden crash of energy and feel like I can’t move further than the sofa for hours. I think the meds have a lot to do with that.
In any case, I’m doing great and want to thank you all for all of your kind words on social media and on here. Forgive me if I’m a little slow to respond but know that your comments always mean the world to me. You are a lovely lot, you know that?
As today is Mental Health Awareness Day I think it’s a perfect opportunity to remind everyone to be kind whenever possible as we never know what someone else is going through and that one small kindness could be the thing that could even save a life.
My daughter has launched her single today which she wrote for my son. She is hoping to raise not just awareness but, also, funds for the mental health charity, MIND. Her name is Chrissie Huntley if you fancy looking her up on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter but I’ll also be posting more about it next week as I’m dearly hoping to be well enough to go to her launch night in Bristol tonight. I can’t drive for a couple of weeks but her dad has offered to take me. Fingers crossed I feel well enough! If not, she’s already told me it’ll be professionally filmed.
Thanks so much for stopping by. I miss you and will see you soon!
Love Catherine x