The day they took my wife apart

Some while back, at some point after Samuel was born, Ellie started getting pains in her chest.  It wasn’t too much of a concern to begin with because it didn’t always last long and didn’t stop her doing things, but gradually it became more and more of an issue, and eventually led to an ambulance being called out because she was in so much pain.  She was whisked off to Yeovil hospital where, after a fairly lengthy stay, she was sent home and told not to eat anything with any fat in it.  She had gall stones, and needed her gall bladder removing.

So today, finally, she had her operation.  She had to be at the hospital at 7:30am, which is a silly time in the morning, even more so because that meant we had to get up at 5:30am to be ready in time to leave the house at 6:30.  The journey in was pretty straightforward, little traffic to speak of, and we didn’t talk about the operation at all.  It was only when we got there and waited in the drop-off car park that we spoke properly about the op, and prayed together that it would all go okay.

And that was it.  I dropped her off and came home.  I wasn’t able to sit with her, or wait for her, or comfort her, or be around when she came round from the anaesthetic.  I felt quite helpless.

Samuel managed to stay awake all the way home, but only just, and went straight off to sleep when we got home.  Which was brilliant, because it meant I had time to go through the shower and everything else I didn’t have time for first thing.  He woke up eventually and we went to Tesco, and when we got back I phoned the hospital to find out what the situation was.  I spoke to the lady who was in charge of bed allocation, so she didn’t know exactly where Ellie was, but she said she’d give me the phone number for the ward where she’d be put after the op.  I went to fetch a pen, started writing down the number, and then my mobile rang – it was the ward I’d just been given the number for, telling me that Ellie was out of theatre and was doing well.  Talk about good timing!

I gave her a quick ring on her mobile, because the ward nurse had told me I was allowed to.  Ellie was compus mentus, which was encouraging, but she was understandably groggy so I didn’t keep her long.  Apparently she’d be let out later in the afternoon and they’d give me a ring when she was ready.

So Samuel and I played some more, and went to the park, and came back again.  And then I put Disney’s Lion King on, because I don’t think Samuel’s seen it before.  Not that he’s got enough of an attention span to watch it all the way through, but he did spend the first 20 minutes or so laid on his tummy underneath the coffee table with his eyes glued to the TV!

Finally, as I was giving Samuel dinner, Ellie let me know that she was being discharged and that she’d like me to pick her up from the hospital.  And so I bundled a load of stuff into the car and made the journey to Yeovil again.  I managed to find Ellie eventually, in a little ward in the women’s wing (I was almost surprised to be let in, maybe I just misunderstood the name…).  Curiously, there weren’t many staff around at the time.  In fact, because Ellie had already discharged herself and was just waiting for collection, I didn’t have to check with anyone that we were leaving, we just left.  It almost felt like I was stealing her away, as if we were sneaking out without permission.  It also felt odd that I hadn’t seen or talked to any medical professional the whole day – Ellie could have been looked after by gerbils for all I know.

Thankfully Ellie was in pretty good shape, all things considered.  She’d had the operation fairly early in the morning, and it had been relatively straightforward (it had taken about an hour in theatre, plus several hours recovery), and she seemed a lot more ‘with it’ than I had expected.  I’d forgotten to bring her squash though, which she’d asked for, but I don’t think she had the energy at the time to tell me off.  We talked about her experience most of the journey back, and when we got home my Dad had arrived and was getting dinner ready.

So all’s well.  God has looked after us all, answered our prayers, and will undoubtedly continue to work his little miracles as Ellie’s body heals itself from the ordeal.  We’re also really thankful for all the various family members who are looking after Samuel for the next couple of weeks, which means Ellie doesn’t have to and I don’t have to take time off work.  It’s amazing how things pull together!

Feel free to send chocolate, she can eat that now.

Relinquishing responsibility

I’m home alone right now.  I say “alone”, technically Samuel is in the house too, but he’s blissfully drifting through slumberland right now so I’m not sure that counts.  My wife, on the other hand, is out.  With another man.  Thankfully this isn’t an affair I’ve suddenly unearthed, but it’s arguably worse.  She’s having driving lessons.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like the idea of Ellie driving – I’m sure she’ll be a fantastic driver, and I have no concerns about that whatsoever.  I’ve already taken her out a few times to try to teach her the basics, and she picked it up fairly quickly.  In the space of three lessons I had got Ellie to get the car moving, change gear (up to third at one point), stop without stalling, steer around parked cars, negotiate junctions, even do a few hill starts.  That, though, was a couple of years ago, and a lot has happened since then to get in the way of her doing any more driving.  Now it’s become more important, so we’ve got her some proper driving lessons with a proper instructor in a proper learner’s car.  And to be perfectly honest, I’m terrified.

I completely understand why Ellie wants to drive, and I don’t blame her for it at all.  It’s going to be incredibly useful for all of us if she can drive.  She can drive me to work and have the car during the day to go into town, do the shopping, take Samuel to various places, and pick me up in the evening.  We can share the driving on long journeys.  She can go out for a jaunt if she’s in the mood for it, without needing me to come too.  She’ll have the freedom to go where she wants, when she wants, without inconveniencing me or anyone else.  It’ll save us money on bus fares.  Ellie will be able to ferry me around if I break my leg or something.  Eventually we could even get a second car and we could both drive around at the same time.  It’ll be fantastic.

But, all that said, I’m still somewhat nervous about the whole thing.  

The Competition

I remember when I first started blogging.  My friend Phill was responsible for starting me off, back when we were at uni together.  He had a blog, and said that I should have one too.  So I registered a free domain name – – and pointed that at some free webspace that came with my Dad’s dial-up internet connection (with permission… I think), and wrote my first blog.  If memory serves, it said something along the lines of ‘hey, I’ve got a blog, not sure what to write here, but we’ll see how it goes’.  Once the bug had bitten, there was no stopping me.

That first blog was a straight HTML page.  I edited the HTML, probably in Notepad, put the latest post at the top of the page, and re-uploaded the file.  Simple but effective.  But over time it became a little unwieldy.  So Phill got me to beta-test his PHP-MySQL blogging system that he’d been tinkering with, and that opened up a lot more options.  Before long though I felt it necessary to migrate to something more substantial, made the move to WordPress (importing my old blog posts), and have been a blogging sensation ever since.  Well, maybe not the sensation bit.

But now, an ominous cloud hangs on the horizon.  A tiny ripple out at sea that has the potential to grow into a tidal wave that will rip through all that once was safe and secure.  My wife has a blog.