Towards the end of last year, shortly after discovering the joys of Twitter, I posted a couple of blogs on the subject of my impending heart valve surgery. I wish I could say that my subsequent silence on this topic could be explained by an uneventful period of convalescence, but alas this is not the case.
The first date I was given for the operation was erased well in advance, the second date was changed to a third because the surgeon decided I could be treated using keyhole surgery (which necessitates the assembly of a separate specialist team), but this too was cancelled.
The fourth date took me right up to the day of admission. After several phone calls with the hospital, and with their profound apologies, I was told there were no beds available. My condition is not urgent, and people keep having heart attacks so of course they take priority. By now it was almost Christmas, and I agreed with the surgeon that a fifth date should be deferred until early January. Unfortunately, I developed a nagging chest infection over the holiday, which meant a further postponement.
Today I go to see the surgeon with high hopes that we'll set a sixth date. During this time we've become quite friendly, and despite the frustration of the repeated delays I am acutely aware that it would make little sense to antagonise the man who's going to be reassembling my mitral valve.
My condition is not physically problematic, the most annoying consequence of the repeated delays is my diminished ability to concentrate on work. I am able to deal with short-term tasks, such as refereeing papers or grants and keeping up with the administrative demands of HR, but it's a real struggle to focus on larger mind-tasks such as writing grant applications and papers.
In the mean time, at least I continue to learn. Evidence here that I've managed (with much help from my 14 year old daughter) to improve my Photoshop skills.