Disregard the title for a moment……the most important update is that Jonno is fighting fit and delighted, as am I, that the stubborn kidney stone wedged somewhere not very safe has been removed.
Loving the NHS
Even though we had a bit of last minute panic when the couriered pre-op COVID testing kit sent by the hospital for immediate return went astray. We still have absolutely no idea where that ended up but after a last minute dash from Hertfordshire to Kent it was carried out at the hospital within the allotted length of time. It did mean that our youngest son, Ryan, was yet again put in the frame for chief chauffeur and bed space provision but he has been an absolute tower of strength. To be honest, we are not sure how we would have coped with the logistics without him.
The NHS care was organised, professional and basically wonderful and Jonno is blockage, pain and constant toilet trip free. He feels so lucky to have got to the top of the emergency list when there are so many people waiting but both the “Stone Nurse” (love that name) and I keep telling him that the ops are prioritised on need and it was his turn. He feels like a new man and hopefully if he keeps up his fluid intake and I stop feeding him spinach (oops) he won’t have a reoccurrence anytime soon. Yay!!
One of the strangest things about Jon having all these appointments has been getting to know and explore a town on my own. Usually at the first opportunity we are off together to find the local shops, places to walk and just generally get our bearings. Doing this solo felt very strange but it helped to fill the time.
Welwyn has plenty of open spaces, woods, nature reserves and footpaths to explore. Considering we only picked here because it was affordable and within relatively easy reach by public transport to Kent for Jon it has worked out so well.
After Jon being away for 5 nights, the best present I had for my birthday was him returning with Ryan. Little did I know that while he was away he had been sending on our temporary address to more or less everyone in our address book. This led to a stream of cards and parcels.
After five years of cards only from immediate family if they knew where to send them or saving them for a meet up, I found it all very overwhelming. Messages, video calls, flowers, fruit, cheese, jewellery, chocolates, gin, experience gift voucher, book mark, cake, schnapps, prosecco and then there were the balloons.
A giant box arrived during the afternoon, with 6 normal sized helium balloons and a giant pineapple balloon. Immediately our little apartment felt too small! I am not sure who suggested it, probably me, after a glass or two of prosecco but I ended up in the box with the balloons. Of course I did!!
A Family Picnic
Once I had escaped from the box we took a walk to the local Nature Reserve at Digswell. Sunny spells made it a pleasant walk through the reserve which sits under the Digswell Viaduct. It is a massive structure that has over 40 arches. I love the fact that it was opened by Queen Victoria but she was too scared to go over it. So whenever she travelled north by train she got off the train before the viaduct and crossed the valley by carriage and then rejoined the train.
Our walk took about 30 minutes and Ryan was stalked the whole way by a Robin who was singing his heart away. I decided the little bird was singing a birthday message from Jon’s Mum who passed away in February (Losing Mum). Although realistically it was probably stalking us for biscuits.
Another walk was planned for late afternoon in Panshanger Park. This park is between Hertford and Welwyn Garden City. We started our leisurely stroll only to be disturbed by shouting from the path behind us. Surprise surprise it was Shaun and Katie, our son and daughter-in-law! They were armed with picnic blankets, cake, birthday gifts and even the Christmas presents that had not yet been exchanged.
Katie did a heroic run back to the car for a knife so that we could cut the cake without just shovelling handfuls into our mouths by hand. The candles refused to light in the light wind but they are probably not very COVID friendly anyway so it was for the best.
After filling our tummies with cake and opening gifts (including more alcohol – I must have a bit of a reputation) we took a walk around the park. Originally it was a large estate but it is now owned by Tarmac who quarry part of the land. The large house that stood within the park fell into disrepair and was pulled down in the 1950s. The remains of the orangery is still standing and there is a Great Oak allegedly planted by Queen Elizabeth I. It is fenced off for protection but it is huge.
After a video call with Sam and Tabitha, our middle son and daughter-in-law, so that we could all be “together“. We made a dash for the cars which we suddenly realised could have been locked in the car park as dusk had been and gone. With relief we found the gates still open and we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. I still cannot get used to not giving everyone a hug but maybe next time…..
Returning to our little apartment which is filled to the brim with good wishes from so many people, I had a warm all over feeling of how lucky I am to have such caring family and friends. It may not have been a stereotypical birthday involving a meal out, party or physically seeing many people but after the last few weeks I am happy to spend what is left of the day sitting peering around a giant pineapple balloon to admire my cards and greetings with Jonno by my side. (That is a sentence I never thought I would type!)
08/04 – 29/04/2020