Saturday, October 21, 2017

How I spent my summer vacation

June 30, the next day being July 1st, Canada Day, I took Tanya, Lina and Sveta to The Egoist Restaurant for supper. Trying to imitate the eating habits of Henry VIII, I over did it and was very uncomfortable, not for the first time in my life, sad to say.

At 1:30 am July 1st, severe abdominal pain hit and by 3:30 I was dry heaving and my belly was swollen like a poisoned pup. By 6:00 am I was in an ambulance headed for the hospital.  The ride was so rough, I had to get out and go in Andrei's car.  At the hospital in Zhovti Vody, a doctor examined me and concluded I had peritonitis and possibly pancreatitis and needed immediate surgery and should go to Dnipro as they could no longer do surgery in Zhovti Vody.  Andrei had to go to the Mayor's office to get him to instruct the hospital to send me as they were NOT going to send their good ambulance out of town. Pain killers made the ride bearable

By 6:00 pm I was in the best hospital in Dnipro, which was also crowded with wounded soldiers from the Donbas front. they wired me up with IV antibiotics and morphine and I don't know what else.  Several doctors poked and prodded causing me great pain and July 4 they finally operated on me. I am guessing they plugged the hole in my colon and the words "diverticulosis" and sepsis were mentioned.  I had a temporary iliostomy c/w bag and several drainage tubes in my abdomen. I was so weak, I could do nothing for myself, not even turn or feed myself, nothing. The doctors were worried I was not going to make it.  So was everyone else.  No one told me so I didn't know until late August why everyone was so scared for me.

July 7th, my three daughters arrived in Dnipro to help Tanya look after me.  Two stayed for three weeks until I was moved back to Zhovti Vody. The youngest stayed for a week as she could not get more time off work. My son was frantic to come also but the girls talked him out of it.  Given his health problems (Crohn's Disease) they did not want two Hingstons in hospital in Ukraine. My oldest daughter's description of their time and why it was critical they were there in Ukraine can be found below.

I spent a year in Ukraine one month: Part 1 
I spent a year in Ukraine one month: Part 2 
Lessons I learned in Ukraine 
Adventures in Ukraine: Part 3 -- Wherein we learned to ask for help
July 26th, Tanya rented a private ambulance to move me back to Zhovti Vody Hospital where I spent a further two weeks. Having developed a hernia along my incision, I needed to be bandaged up tight before I could get out of bed.  Walking the length of the room using a hump and clump walker I named Texas Ranger was hard work.  Gradually I got it up to 5 round trips, then 10, then out in the hallway where I could boogie.  

After a couple weeks, I was reluctantly moved to our house. It worked out far better than I imagined  It was easier on Tanya and with help from Lina and Sveta she managed quite well.  She would have to get up every 2-4 hours in the night to attend to me but she did it. And I had more places to walk.  Outside even.  Though the day I tried to climb the front three steps without notifying anyone and fell on my face did not endear me to anyone.

Basically, I would not be alive without Tanya.  She nursed me 24/7 from when I was first sick.  Argued with the doctors and nurses to make sure I was well looked after by them and that she knew what to do if they weren't around.  Cooked and fed me until I could feed myself, tended to my natural functions until I could myself, changed the ostomy bag several times a day, bathed me, did laundry, administered meds, encouraged me, bullied me when I needed it, was patient with my outbursts, and worried constantly.  She is an amazing wonderful woman and I love her so much.

My youngest came back for a week after I had moved home.  We managed only one game of crib so you can see how weak and tired I still was. She helped us get started packing to come back to Canada. I needed further operations once I was strong enough and was determined to have them in Canada. Getting to Regina was going to be one horrible ordeal.  First I had to get to Kyiv.  No way could I take the train so we hired the private ambulance again and drove. Andrei had all our bags and medical parafinalia (wheelchair, walker, monkey bar) in his car. 

My oldest flew to Kyiv to meet us at the airport and help Tanya deal with me on the trip home.  We were well looked after in the airports at Kyiv and Frankfurt.  Toronto is another story.  NEVER fly via Toronto Airport.  We were left on our own and missed our connection to Regina.  A later flight put us in at 12:30 am instead of 10:00 pm. For our adventures on the way home see my daughter's blog post: 

The day my father pooped my pants


My daughter had found a flat for us five minutes from the hospital, my doctor's office and two bus stops and furnished it in early Canadian attic with help from her friends, Dollarama, Varage Sale, and I don't know what else.  It lacked for nothing.  This was how she spent her August.  It is safe to say I would not be alive without her either.  While Tanya organized everything in Ukraine, she organized everything in Canada, taking a semester off her Masters in Social Work degree to do it. She also organized the Go Fund Me or whatever it is called that payed our bills.  I also owe my life to generous donors whose names I do not know as she looked after that detail too. As my daughter sais "It takes a village to raise an Allen". Thanks, Village.

We have been in Regina 6 weeks now.  More on that in the next blog post.

For those of you who are still following me, in spite of my long absence, greatly appreciate your loyalty.  And I will get back to my favourite blogs too. Never fear

17 comments:

  1. Glad to see that you’re “back on line” Allen!

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  2. Glad to see you are well enough to blog again. What an ordeal it has been for you! We are all glad that you are still alive and kicking, but I understand that fewer face-plants would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. But face plants is what I am good at, having much practice over the years. Dogs, horses, cows, and my own clumsy feet have all contributed. Son says they are buying me a helmet for Christmas

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  3. OMG, what an incredible ordeal, both for you and your family! So glad to hear that you are doing better now and that you're home in the Queen City safe in the hands of the Canadian medical system! Wishing you all the best in your further medical adventures!

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  4. thanks to facebook I was able to follow your progress and I am filled with admiration and love for your wife and daughter..give them my love
    so glad you are ok now..stay well..love you too

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  5. You're back - hooray! I missed you and was afraid something had gone seriously sideways - I guess now I know why you didn't respond to my email. (And then Feedly decided to drop your RSS feed, grr! So I'm finally catching up with your blog now.) I'm so sorry to hear about your ordeal, but glad it's behind you and you're back in Canada and on the mend. Thank goodness for Tanya and your kids!

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  6. I was unable to do anything for a month and got so far behind in emails, I just had them all deleted. Most were media posts but if yours was among them, I am sorry.

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    1. No need to apologize - I had only emailed to see if you were okay. I was wondering whether you'd poked the Russian bear one too many times and been 'disappeared'. Glad you're still with us, one way or the other. :-)

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  7. Well, I checked in from time to time to see if you had reappeared but you didn't, so I knew whatever it was was serious. Then my laptop died. But I'm happy that we are both recovering, you and the laptop. Great news that you are back in Canada getting some proper medical care, what an ordeal. Wonderful people have been looking after you, your family and your lovely Tanya. Stay strong and get better fast.

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    1. How is your laptop? Recovered fully?

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    2. Laptop seems fully recovered but I had to buy a new version of Word etc, but printer doesn't want to co-operate. Grrrrr I hate technology.

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    3. I would have stayed with XP and Office 2003 forever but progress, you know. I do like Windows 10 and office 2016, though, I must say.

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  8. Sympathies to you and glad to hear you are recovering in Canada.

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