"I shall not forget the kindness and generosity shown to me"

About: Ninewells Hospital / General Surgery

(as the patient),

I recently had major surgery to remove cancer from my tongue and jaw at Ninewells Hospital, Dundee.

Some days before, the consultants explained in detail what they expected to do, the risks involved and many other facets of the surgery and aftercare.They were all very pleasant and focused. I was neither afraid nor worried.

I was anesthetized at perhaps 9am and have little memory of the next 4 days. I was only aware of great pain and terror much alleviated by diazepan and as much morphine as I wanted.

The surgery had apparently gone well and I had been taken to ICU when a lung collapsed for no obvious reason. One of the consultant surgeons arrived quickly and prompt action was taken, but I cannot say now what that was but involved x-rays and some kind of pump. A nurse was by me 24 hours a day.  The nurses gave great support to my wife who spent many hours at my side, keeping things light and occasionally humorous. Some days (4 I think) later, I was well enough to be wheeled off to Ward 26.

The all the staff who dealt with me in Ward 26 were great. Beyond any praise I can give. Always positive, pleasant, willing, polite and supportive. They made an unpleasant situation very tolerable and I think I laughed more than I cried.

It would be invidious and now impossible to single out any individual for exceptional praise.

There was one moment when I reached an emotional rock bottom when a busy doctor spent maybe an hour with me just talking and listening. It was enough to make a big difference.

Small things helped. The first bath I took with assistance was an enormous pleasure. Iced water injected down a feeding tube was another. Internet access was a great reliever of boredom and allowed me to keep in touch with friends and family as the days wore on.

One of the surgeon consultants attending to a small detail took a great weight from my wife's mind.

I am now home after making rapid progress but there is still a long way to go and much still to be done; many clinics to attend and new ways of dealing with new circumstances created by this major life event.

I shall not quickly forget the kindness and generosity of heart shown me at Ninewells.

My life has been saved but as an unexpected benison, the value of that life has been shown to me.

Thank you.

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