Spain update Dec 2021 - Mon06Dec
Monday the 6th of December 2021, Saint Nicolas….
Before resuming the report on the past events, I would like to thank you all for the “get well soon” wishes received via our GINB FB, many thanks, your wishes made me very happy. As I mentioned at the end of my last update it was indeed wishful thinking to return to Spain with a private jet after my operation and all the tribulations involved. Of course, it turned out differently, more realistic in fact… On Sunday the 7th of November after a painful goodbye to our dogs Dirk and I left with the first Iberia flight to Belgium where the day after on Monday I had an appointment with the dentist, on Tuesday with the hairdresser (if I was going to die, I could as well be nicely hair-dressed I joked to Dirk who could not laugh)… As mentioned on Wednesday, the day of my admission in the hospital, I had an appointment with the cardiologist at 15:00h for which we had to go to a new ward in Maria Middelares in Aalter. Much to my frustration we got as a reward an hour waiting time because the doctor had to treat a small “urgency”. This was bad for my nerves as I was expected at 19:00h in above-mentioned hospital a fact that I always had put off my mind but at this moment I wish it was already behind me. At 17:00h the examination was finished and at 19:30h I said goodbye to Dirk in the hospital room that would be my residence in the coming days. He would still call me to test my telephone…
After he left the nurse checked once more if my name and birthdate were correct and gave me a sleeping pill and told me that the next day at 8:00h I would leave to the operating room. After her best wishes I decided to undress and was still in my underwear when the neurosurgeon who silently entered my room was behind me and I was shocked when he said my name. He pretended not to see my embarrassment, he asked if I was ready and assured me that he would do his utmost, to add bone from the bone bank, he would use new and bigger screws etc… and finished with the message that anyhow I must realize it would be the operation of the last chance. I had a restless night, with waking up suddenly, worrying and turning around in the bed. I was not worrying about myself which was a waste of energy, but I worried more about Spain and the hunting season and the mass of galgos that would enter Las Nieves and about our dogs who would be alone for at least 2 weeks etc... At 6:00h I chatted with the night nurse who remembered me from previous operations and at 7:00h I got dressed. Thereafter I waited for what was coming and I fell asleep again.
Hardly half an hour later I was taken along in my bed to the pre-operation waiting room where I was the first one to look at the treetops on the light tiles of the ceiling. The second patient who arrived was an older gentleman who told me that he had prostate cancer, the second gentleman told me that he must get three bypasses and the third patient was a Dutch gentleman who needed a general examination, I forgot for which reason. Anyway, I did not feel like telling them for what operation I was there and to start telling about galgos and their problems would have been very inappropriate I thought while my eyes were closing. All three gentlemen were gone when they took me along and to my surprise, they rolled me into the operating room with my bed and parked me next to the half meter higher, small, and cold operation table. When I asked the young nurse if I must climb on it as usual, she replied, “it is bad for your back” and she added “we will lay you on the table when you are anaesthetized”. Meanwhile the anesthetist was slapping on my hands and arms to look for veins and I mentioned for the umpteenth time that it was difficult to poke my arms because according to the doctor I have thin veins. This information was usually neglected. For once the doctor replied that he saw it and said that hoping for the best he would put the needle in a painful and nasty place in my wrist because the rest was not suitable….
While in the background Billie Eilish was singing “no time to die” on the radio in the operation room the doctor held my wrist tight and after some searching, he put slowly a sharp needle in my molested thin vein. A few seconds later he said triumphantly “so, it is in it”!!! Before the nurse put the oxygen mask, I thanked the doctor and told him I was in love with him… The nurse smiled and said, “did you hear that doctor, she is in love with you”!! When I was breathing deeply the gas Billie Eilish was still singing “no time to die” and I dozed off while somewhere in the distance galgos were barking telling me that they were waiting for me. For the last time I looked at the nurse who was weighing half of me on the scales and was going to put me on the operation table. I hoped she would have help and I closed my eyes… Hours later I woke up in intensive care with a brightly colored left arm, a painful left jaw joint and a back that felt as if it had been under a flat roller… Anyway, despite my doubts if I would survive, I was awake and back among the living. When I tried to speak one of the passing nurses saw that I was awake and asked if I was unwell, if not I got a fruit lolly, the white fairy said!! I had been in intensive care many times before, but it was the first time that they offered me a fruit lolly. I thought I was dreaming, not so, I actually got one! When I tried to open my mouth, my cheek blocked, and I hardly could push the lolly inside. In my still misty thoughts, I saw myself fall off the operation table while the nurse, the anesthetist and the surgeon were watching scared. Late in the afternoon I could return to my room and the agony started. I must urinate every hour and ask for the bedpan and if there is something that I hate it is that, and to be washed in bed. But that is for the next day I told Dirk with a thick tongue when he visited me.
After a sweaty sleepless night in which my blood pressure rose to 17.8 and the worried nurse came asking every hour if I was in pain and during every check scratched my legs and pulled at my toes to make sure that I felt it. At 7:30h the surgeon visited me asking how I felt and to tell that he will take vacation till Monday and that I would further be followed up by his assistant whom I knew very well. When he was gone, I thought vacation?? Of course, I had forgotten that it was the 11th of November, but I immediately I saw opportunities that his absence would create to maybe reduce my hospital stay with a few days. After the passage of my doctor the “washing crew” arrived and they found out that I was lying in a pool of blood, obviously my wound was still bleeding abundantly which was probably the cause of my high blood pressure. After consultation with the head nurse the blood was squeezed out of the wound as much as possible. A very unpleasant and painful treatment which resulted in vomiting tendencies. Anyway, when they left, I was back in bed spic and span and to my frustration I was not allowed to get out of the bed until my blood pressure was normal again. I hoped it would be quickly, I would and should get out of my bed. In the afternoon I could convince a young intern to help me out of bed and go to the toilet. Finally!!
As everybody knows the days and nights in a hospital count double because they seem endless. The nights were difficult and the days even more difficult, but I already could get out of bed alone, I could manage myself and I felt very happy and relieved that I did not have to call the personnel anymore. The sermons of the physiotherapists and the doctor that I must be very careful I accepted voluntarily. Dirk visited daily and thanks to Vali’s movies from our dogs the waiting for the redemption or should I say liberation was less painful. Anyway, just before the weekend that Dirk must go to Glabbeek for 2 days for the “Respect the Galgo day” I said to the doctor that I planned to go home on Monday, and he agreed. With that in mind and the movies of the co-workers and visitors that Dirk sent me from his cell phone the weekend was bearable. On Monday my surgeon was back from vacation and was visiting me at 7:30h asking if I would be able to go home. I replied wholeheartedly and convinced, yes. I must stay till the afternoon for the necessary administration. Before he hurried to the operation room, he again told me in detail what happened and insisted that I must be careful and use my common sense. The appointment for the check-up would be sent to me, he asked if I would come over from Spain then? Of course.
Just before Dirk arrived, I was visited by an assistant who told me that she knew me and my history from previous hospital stays, and she came to inform me what was expected from me. Nothing, I absolutely could not do anything she said seriously and ignored my joke. She continued “ no exercising, no weightlifting, no bending over etc…”. In fact, nothing, you can only walk from your bed to the sofa and vice versa she said because your back must heal, and it can only work this way. I would recommend you follow strictly our advice and to think about the future. That was that… When she left, I was quiet and promised myself that this time I would listen to my body. When Dirk arrived an hour later to take me along, I was still impressed and informed him about the rules and the warning. Before I was well and truly outspoken, he said “and this time you will listen, your sofa is ready”. When I asked “what about the food” he replied “I will cook”…And so it happened. I taught him to make soup and we ate ready-made meals from the Okay that he “prepared” and served while I stayed in my sofa and from there I went to bed and vice versa. It could not have been in any other way because after my departure in the hospital I had stopped taking the many pain killers that they gave me and thus I had to endure the pain which one time went better than others…and then there was still the jaw joint and the blue arm that bothered me, sigh…
Anyway, 13 days after my operation on Saturday the 23rd of November at 18:00h Dirk and I were picked up by a shuttle from and to the airport and I left in my hated support corset like a mummy to the airport hotel to spend the night. It was a matter of spreading the efforts Dirk said and this way we already traveled part of the way. The next day I was picked up in the hotel with a wheelchair and an hour later I was brought on board by the Iberia flight attendants. During the flight my back was not happy, but I ignored the stabbing pain, and I could only think of the reunion with the dogs and the fact that I would be there for Anne and Fred who would arrive the next day to sterilize as many females as possible and to give them gleaming teeth. For the rest I did not worry, Fred was a doctor after all. Concerning the food, I did not have to worry either because Dirk would cook. After all he was an expert in preparing breakfast and the menus for supper were also planned. The first day spaghetti with “jar sauce” without meat, the second day French fries with vacuum packed roasted chicken and the third day pizza. For lunch we would eat fresh soup and for Anne lots of salad and tomatoes and peppinos, for Fred greasy toppings and French bread with a lot of real butter. Thereafter coffee and chocolate to give energy and later for Fred a few cigarettes.
At our landing in Madrid, I could hardly stand on my legs, and I was freed from my chair by the crew. Then much to my dislike Dirk and I must go on a special bus with elevator that the pilot had ordered I hated this special treatment but there was no other way, I must accept. Both of us were relieved when after the covid checkup we finally sat in a taxi of which the driver was very compassionate and obviously he was from Casarrubios. Already immediately I explained why GINB was set up. He replied that he also liked dogs and that he had some and concluded that Casarrubios and Calypo and the surroundings were crowded with galgueros. When the conversation stopped, and I asked Dirk “do we come from home or do we go home?”, he replied “home is where the dogs are” I got tears in my eyes and I could not have said it better . On the Avenida de Madrid I could put my arms around the driver’s neck to get out of the car, meanwhile Dirk took our luggage, and our dogs were crying with joy. The walk from the gate to the fence was quite an event not to mention the chaos beyond the fence. How well Dirk and Vali tried, they could not be controlled, they howled like wolves and jumped in the air. Anyway, even though Dirk must save me two times from their enthusiasm and Leopold’s “back-attack” I arrived safely in the living room, took off my corset and collapsed. But I was happy, I made it. While I was installing myself in the sofa Dirk left with a long list to the shopping mall to run errands for the coming days…
Almost 24 hours after our arrival in Casa Belgica Dirk returned on Thursday the 25th of November with Anne and Fred from the airport. We had not seen or heard them since the dinner at Anne and Carole’s place who invited us together with Marianne, Philippe, Fred and Laurent about 2 years ago. The reunion was affectionate and warm and inevitably we talked over lunch about the decease of Philippe and Marianne’s sorrow. Everybody was quiet and as usual I was of course the only one who could not hold back my tears. We were still drinking coffee when Marie-Carmen arrived at 14:00h with the first females and Anne and Fred could start their marathon in the renovated clinic. They worked through the whole afternoon and while I must stay in my sofa Dirk went to take photos and make movies. Five hours later they came upstairs, and the first 10 females were made baby proof and had bright teeth, clean ears and a manicure and pedicure on top of it. While the ladies were dozing under warm lamps, we started our aperitif followed by the new version of my spaghetti that was widely praised (good jar sauce)… After the animated conversations Anne and Fred went checking their patients and then they went to bed, they are early birds. The first 10 sterilized females were a fact, and I was overjoyed…
Many more were still following, the day after they did 22 females and despite the rain and against Dirk’s will, I absolutely wanted to go look at the dogs. With my corset and outfit, I looked like a barrel on shaky legs, and it took me about 10 minutes to walk the 30-meter separating the clinic from the house but at Dirk’s hand I could face the world… I would and should visit the medical team and “my protégés”. That night 42 dogs including our dogs were sleeping in Casa Belgica… The next day Anne and Fred cared for another 22 amongst them several ones with rotten wombs one of which had a bleeding. The rain had stopped and after this news I wanted to return to the clinic. Dirk not even tried to change my mind. When I stumbled downstairs at his hand there was shooting in the fields. While in our clinic they were saving lives there was murder and torture further away. In the afternoon to everyone’s regret and guilt the first ten ladies returned to Las Nieves and to the quarantine. Nevertheless, there were still 54 galgos sleeping in Casa Belgica.
On Sunday the 28th of November Anne and Fred’s last half day, they got up at 6:30h and operated the last 10 females. In total Anne had made 64 galgo ladies baby proof and via Fred they got beautiful and clean teeth, a tattoo, and a beauty treatment. When they left after lunch with Dirk to the airport there was still a lot of shooting in the fields. Fortunately, the 54 residing in the clinic and outbuildings were forever safe. In the evening Anne called telling us that they arrived safe and sound with a plane full of Belgian hunters who went hunting in Spain for the weekend and proudly showed their photos which gave her bad thoughts, very bad thoughts….
After Anne and Fred left the dogs returned little by little to the shelter. At the end of last week another 12 and at this moment there are still 7 dogs who will travel to Belgium. Next week on Tuesday co-driver Dirk B will arrive. Normally Katrien would also come to accompany me to Belgium, but the date of my check-up has been postponed till the 17th of January and hence I will stay in Spain. I will come to Belgium in January and combine the new appointment with the beach walk, if of course it can take place. I do hope so because we all must celebrate something. Anyway, after the adoption day Dirk will return already on Sunday with Yolanda’s Luc d’Artagnan because he does not trust me at all….