Thursday, 7 December 2017

Young Love

The surgeon told me that the wound in my ribs would be painful for three months. He wasn’t wrong. It’s ten weeks since my surgery. The pain has diminished but it is still stubbornly there. I feel it most often at night. I haven’t found a position to lie in that doesn’t put some pressure on my ribs. I have to get up straight away after waking, as standing up eases the soreness of the night. The pain in the daytime mainly comes from simple movements such as twisting and stretching, or when I use my arms to do something without thinking. Despite having a nap most days, I find that by the evening I’m rather tired. After tea I pretty much conk out. Recently I’ve been invited to all sorts of evening events, many of them in Belfast thirty miles away. It is of course the season to be jolly. But I’ve had to decline them all.

I’ve now graduated to the lowest dose of morphine, 5mg time-release over 12 hours. I take this at night. During the day I take co-codamol to the same value. I have prescription strength tablets, each of which have 15mg of codeine. I was told by the pharmacist that this is equivalent to 1mg of morphine. The co-codamol tablets you can buy over the counter in a pharmacy are half of this strength. So I have come down from 50mg a day of morphine when I left hospital, to 10mg a day now. I hope that I can be off opioids entirely by the New Year. I’m very much looking forward to the time when I don’t have to take three sachets of laxatives a day in order to keep regular.

The surgeon also told me that walking was the key to recovery. I go walking twice a day, most days, usually with Rex. He is happy going up and down the lane, taking excursions into the fields to follow animal trails. But I’m afraid I have to report that his affair with Glen, the blacksmith’s dog, has taken a turn for the worse. For a long time they were very much in love. They would greet each other affectionately, with licks and nips to the face and neck. Then Rex would mount Glen and pump away at his backside whilst growling enthusiastically. Then Glen would mount Rex. This sexual turn-taking could go on for a while. Indeed, when I eventually walked off and called Rex he would very reluctantly join me, but would soon return to Glen after hearing his plaintive cries.

The last time they met all seemed to be going as normal, until their rumpy-pumpy suddenly turned into a full-scale fight. I don’t know why. Both dogs leapt at each other, snarling and biting. It was a ferocious melee of twisting bodies, each trying to pin the other down and bite them. The fight spun across the lane as I looked on startled and helpless. Then, suddenly, it was over. Glen ran away and Rex stood in the lane shaking and panting through foam-flecked lips. As we all know, the path of young love does not run smooth.

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