I’ve just returned from a brief visit to Christchurch, to the Pain Management Unit at Burwood Hospital where I receive treatment every few months. This time, one of the regular patients was missing. Let’s call her Anne. She and I used to chat, stuck next to each for 3 hours or so. We have quite a lot in common and were interested in each other’s progress. Our conversations were a highlight for me and I’ll miss them.
Anne rang me last week to warn me of her no-show, with an explanation. After several painful years on the waiting list she had at last been fitted with a spinal chord stimulator. The operation had taken place just a few days earlier. What’s a spinal chord stimulator? See my earlier post. (If you don’t want to follow those links: it’s an electronic device a bit like a pacemaker which stops pain signals from reaching the brain.)
After my treatment, I called on her for a cup of coffee, on my way back to the airport. She was already looking great! It seems to have been a very successful application of this technology. While she is still feeling the effects of what was a fairly major operation, the results have been dramatic and her drug intake is already well down. It’s quite possible Anne will manage without any pills from now on. Amazing, because she was on some heavy-duty stuff! The infusions at Burwood which were a vital part of her treatment are a thing of the past.
I wanted to give her a great big bear hug. Not exactly appropriate, so soon after surgery, but I was so happy for her and her husband! Instead she got the gentlest hug I could manage.
Anne was happy for me too. I have just started a new anti-arthritis drug which looks as if it might transform my life. I haven’t yet made another appointment at Burwood and the nurses got Rosy Glow chocolates brought all the way from Golden Bay, just in case that was my last visit. But that’s another story.
I have to say, that ranks right up there as one of the best afternoon teas I’ve had!