Tag Archives: Australia

Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part Nine

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Part Nine

 

I must, at this point, say something about the surgery. Yes, it does still hurt and continues to spew out this horrible looking Yuk, but that’s what happens when you have an 8” wound held together by twenty staples.

Surgery was only three days ago, yet I had hoped that the other aches and pains along my leg related to ‘radiating’ pain from the hip. However I believe this is not the case, and the more I think on it I am now convinced that the left knee arthroscopy was either a total balls up during surgery or my stupidity by not giving the procedure time to heal properly before I started shifting heavy boxes [I shan’t go into any details regarding this incident insofar to say that my life was to change dramatically because of it – but that’s another story for another time. Perhaps I’ll explain it when I get around to writing my memoirs – which I have sort of started and named “Secrets, Lies and Stupidity” – in more ways than one].

Moving on… The left knee arthroscopy was carried out a Hornsby Hospital as a public patient in October 2015. Prior to which I had to see the orthopaedic surgeon in his rooms at the Sydney Adventist Hospital [SAN] Medical Clinic. The SAN is a modern private hospital located in Wahroonga NSW, Australia. Dr Jun Nagamori is an Orthopaedic Surgeon with a sub-specialty interest in Sports Knee Surgery. The annoying thing about surgery through the public system in Australia is that although you pay through the nose for consultation fees to the specialist, he doesn’t perform the actual operation. That privilege is left to his registrar, who although a qualified practitioner isn’t the guy who said would perform the surgery – he just supervises [if that].

Unlike Australia in France when the specialist says he will carry out the procedure on a patient in the public health system he actually does, and what’s more there are no consultation fees. Knowing that my hip operation was to carried out by the Orthopaedic Department Chief of Staff himself and not by some minor assistant whose name doesn’t appear even on the back of a Cornflakes packet made me confident that the operation would be a success.

In 2010 however I had my right knee arthroscopy carried out at the SAN as a private patient. The procedure was carried out by Dr Roderick Brooks, a most proficient Orthopaedic Surgeon and I would have loved it had he been able to carry out the surgery on my left knee. Unfortunately Dr Brooks only handles private patients and although I had health insurance with HCF I was still about $3,000 out-of-pocket. Luckily in 2010 I was in a better financial position than I was in 2015.

It just goes to prove though that when the specialist carries out the procedure, apart from initial pain from surgery, there is no lasting discomfort. Since 2010 I have had no problems with my right knee. The left hip [as I type this blog 6 weeks after the procedure] is as good as new and I am now able to walk a fair distance without the need of crutches. The left knee however still gives me a lot of pain.

*

It’s 4.10pm and Mum and Lesley have been and gone. They had gone for lunch at the Casino and Lesley, who loves playing the poker machines, said she lost – does anyone ever win??

I got up to walk with them along the corridor when they departed and found that the bed sheets were once again covered in blood. I’m hoping this doesn’t mean that the doctor will choose to keep me in a bit longer. I know I said earlier that I would feel safer staying here, but in all honesty this room is so hot I can’t wait to go somewhere there’s air conditioning that works.

Besides, as much as this room is nice it’s a bit lonely on my own. As my medical insurance only covers me to stay in a twin room, that’s where I’ll be staying when I get to the rehab centre. It will be nice to have someone to chat to.

Mum phoned to tell me that my cousin, Rita who lives in Malta phoned asking after me, and my ‘new’ friend, David Glenn will visit when I’m transferred to the Montsinéry rehab centre which is now known as Pôle Antibes Saint-Jean. I say ‘new’ friend because ever since I arrived in France last year, Lesley’s friends have made me feel really welcome amongst them. They’re all nice people the majority of which are British.

7.45pm – Hopefully this may be my last entry in this journal from the hospital. I checked my text messages. There was one from one of my younger sister’s friends from London, Anita Ferrari who wished me a speedy recovery. Nice of her. I responded and then switched off the mobile.

Amazing how there’s always a problem – I went to the loo earlier and the flush is broken. I used the washing bowl to do the job, but I thought I should mention it to the staff. I told Jerome but he just shrugged his shoulders and said he’ll mention it to the maintenance people in the morning.

Dinner was okay. Soup: their vegetable potage is really nice. I have had it a few times over the last few days already. Mains: Quiche Lorraine served with runner beans in parsley and garlic – should get me going if I needed more encouragement. Dessert was a bread roll and crème fraiche which I declined in favour of an apple which was also on offer.

Once again it’s been a long day. It doesn’t help when you’re in and out of sleep all day and the hours seem to blur.

As I said earlier, when I got out of bed to walk with Mum and Lesley to the end of the corridor and found blood on the sheets. On my return to the room I buzzed the nurse who came in and slapped a couple of new bandages on the existing one before changing the sheets.

I made her laugh when I told her I had hoped she’d forgotten to administer the Lovenox – she smiled and promptly stuck me with an injection of the stuff. Once again I was assured I would be on the Pradaxa as of tomorrow – suits me.

All I can say is that everyone here has been so caring. I will have to mention it to Dr Bohic when I next see him – I’m sure his team will be grateful for the compliment.

 

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

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Watch Out for the Curveballs – Part One

Watch Out for the Curveballs

 

Copyright © Robert L J Borg 2017

Author, Robert L J Borg’s 4 week experience with the French Medical System including his personal thoughts and ramblings during that time

[May offend some people; not for the faint-hearted or weak stomached – if this is you please don’t read]

Part One

 

A friend asked why I chose such a title as not many people would understand the term used in North American game of baseball. Quite frankly as both he and I knew the meaning despite not being fans of the sport, it is quite likely that others will know that it means something that comes at you unexpectedly. For some unknown reason the reference to it made sense for the four-week experience I encountered between 19th July and 18th August 2017 with the French medical system.

To some background for you first; I was diagnosed with osteoporosis many years ago. As a result my hip joints have been eaten away slowly to the point where after putting up with the pain for almost 17 years I said enough was enough.

Secondly, and probably more important so you don’t get confused, I am actually typing this 5-6 weeks after the op and one week after I got back home. The original was hand written and the notes were being put to paper after the event, in some cases, because I kept on dropping off to sleep, the writing is erratic.

The journey for the hip replacement began on 2nd June with my visit to the Hospital de la Fontone in Antibes located on the Cote d’Azur in southern France to see the Doctor Jean-Yves BOHIC who is the head of Orthopaedic Surgery. I had taken some x-rays dating the previous month for him to look at. As soon as he glimpsed them he turned to me and said “when do you want to come in?” I expected to go onto a list like one does in the UK or Australia and wait, but this is France and surgery is when there is a slot available in the surgeon’s busy schedule.

I asked him which hip should be done first. His answer stunned me. He said: “You choose, they’re both as bad as each other.”

Blimey!! Well since it was the left hip that had begun the pains sometime in 1999 I chose that one. I had hoped they could have done both at once, but for reasons of safety during my recovery process they only do one at a time. It makes sense, but no sooner that I had committed myself in having the left hip done, the right one was screaming at me.

Dr Bohic led me back out to his secretary, Michelle who checked his diary and booked me in for surgery on 20th July at 8.30am. And just like that I was off on a journey of uncertainty.

I was told I would need to come in the day before surgery, but several tests would need to be carried out first at my expense. Thanks to the French equivalent to Medicare, the l’Assurance Maladie which has a reciprocal agreement with the National Health Service in Britain, I was covered. Although becoming an Australian citizen in July 1991, I have always, since birth, been a British subject and hold dual nationality.  Having completed my first 17 years of my working life in the UK it meant that when I attained retirement age I qualified for l’Assurance Maladie. To pick up any gaps I have also taken out a health insurance policy [known as l’Assurance Mutuelle] with the French insurer AXA. Unlike Australia where you will always be out-of-pocket for something, in France you never will be unless it is so small it hardly matters.

There were four things I had to do:

  • Get a detailed scan of my left hip.
  • Obtain clearance certificates from a cardiologist and a dentist.
  • Answer a heap of questions regarding my medical history, before visiting the anaesthetist who would knock me out.

Having gone through all the motions required I fronted up at the hospital with my mum and sister, Lesley for moral support, as instructed at 4pm on Wednesday 19th July and were ushered into a single room, number 2312 which was to be my home for the next five days. The view is pleasant and reminds me of the junction of Lane Cove Road and Lady Game Drive in West Lindfield, Sydney be it on a much smaller scale. Unlike the Australian location when I look to my left there’s no Bush, however the skyline is dominated by the Fort Carré d’Antibes, which is a 16th-century star-shaped fort of four arrow-head shaped bastions, that stands on the outskirts of Antibes, and beyond which is the vast expanse of the Mediterranean Sea.

I was checked in by two delightful nurses who took my blood pressure, blood sample, checked off my list of the numerous medications I have to take daily, and then left me a small container to fill a.s.a.p. No need to ask with what!!

When Mum and Lesley left one of the nurses told me that before going to bed I would need to shower with a special antiseptic liquid from head to toe. The process to be repeated after being shaved [not my face] the following morning.

I was given a light meal of something fishy, broccoli, a small bread roll with cheese and an apple. That would be it until lunchtime the following day.

By 10pm the pain in both my hips was so bad I requested pain killers.

To Be Continued…

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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A Sad Day Indeed

A sad day… the first real publication offer received for “Out of the Darkness” and I refused it. Although the publisher said: the manuscript is a wonderful tale, well written, with a great plot and subplots‘, they wanted me to change the time frame. As this would mean losing the story’s originality, and affecting the two subsequent stories I have planned for this series, I decided to reject their offer.

It’s bad enough that we Australian writers always have to ‘bend’ to the demands of the American market, by writing our stories in American English, using Americanized expressions such as ‘parking lot’ instead of ‘car park’, ‘sheriff’s office’ instead of ‘police station’, etc… etc… but for the sake of a 23 year time frame when mobile phones were just starting to make an appearance and not everyone owned one, the publisher insists to bring the time line forward so that my characters have mobiles in their possession so as not to have to use a pay phone then it is time to hold one’s ground, and say ‘NO’.

Which is precisely what I have done. I told the publisher ‘Thank You’, but ‘No Thank You’.

Out of the Darkness” is my very first piece of serious writing which began its life in 1994 [the time frame of my story], but which I never considered it good enough at the time to submit it for publication. Instead I worked on it trying to improve its quality over several years and in the meanwhile wrote and self-published my non-fiction history book “Smithy’s War [that took 10 years to research and write], and my first historical romance novel “Beneath Southern Stars” using a pen name ‘Louise Roberts’.

Since then Louise has had published five historical romances by Luminosity Publishing UK. With their successes, I thought it was time for “Out of the Darkness” to have the same opportunity.

Despite submitting it unsuccessfully to several publishers over the last few years, this latest publisher’s initial email was the only one which expressed any encouragement, as did their email accepting my rejection, which stated:

‘Our readers did enjoy the story and had good things to say about it, including that they would love to see it contracted and revised so it could find an audience because they like your voice and your ability to keep the suspense going. So I hope you consider our point of view and perhaps update it over time – as I mentioned, that late 1900s time frame is a hard sell to readers, which could be why other publishers were hesitant to contract it. No matter how much we like a story, we still have to make a living’.

Personally as much as I appreciate their candor, I don’t see why a certain time frame should annoy readers. If the story has the right ingredients and is a good suspense thriller then why would the date in history be a disadvantage?

In the early 1990’s Australia saw at least 326 violent crimes including the murder of politician John Newman assassinated outside his home in 1994, and the back packer murders 1988-1992.

Despite this being a shameful statistic it is a speck in the ocean compared to the same period in America, where it is reported that in 1992 alone in excess of 2,000,000 murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, and robberies took place.

As for “Out of the Darkness” which is set in Australia and Malta in January 1994, I strongly believe this story deserves the best, and I had hoped that a third-party publisher could do it justice. However it now seems that the only way that I am going to get this story published without compromising the plot and time frame is to self-publish.

 

RLB – Tomewriter

 

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Glenelg – Travel Log 18

Having visited most of the sights worth seeing in and around Adelaide, it would have been a crying shame to have returned to Sydney without having had a peak in the direction of the Southern Ocean or at least the northern most reaches of it off the South Australian coast…

… And so we set off to Glenelg; perhaps the only town in Australia [who knows, perhaps even the World], which is spelt the same forwards or backwards. http://glenelgsa.com.au/

We visited Glenelg, which is located 10km from the centre of Adelaide, briefly as part of the Adelaide City Highlights Tour run by Sealink. However we wanted to spend some time there, we set off from our hotel at South Terrace early afternoon driving down the Anzac Highway [A5].

Established in 1836 it is the oldest European settlement in the South Australian mainland. On the 23rd July of that year the HMS Buffalo had sailed out of Portsmouth, England with one hundred and seventy-six colonists. Amongst them was Captain John Hindmarsh [1785 – 1860] who, following the proclamation made on 28th December 1836, was appointed as the first Governor of the new colony of South Australia.

Adelaide May 2013 152

The Kaurna Indigenous people knew the area as Pattawilya and the local river as Pattawilyangga which was renamed the Patawalonga River. Today a replica of the HMS Buffalo is moored at Glenelg and doubles up as a restaurant.

Today Glenelg is a beachside town with a population of around 3,500. The High Street comprises with an assortment of shops, boutiques, restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars. The Town Hall stands proudly close to the jetty where a memorial commemorates the arrival of the pioneer settlers and the establishment of the colony.

Adelaide May 2013 159  Adelaide May 2013 163

The jetty juts out to sea at distance of 215 metres (705 feet) less than two-thirds of the original jetty and offers an excellent view of the town and beach, both are impressive, particularly the vast array of new apartment blocks on either side of the pier.

Adelaide May 2013 155  Adelaide May 2013 156  Adelaide May 2013 157

Looking onshore to the left of the pier towards Glenelg North the Marina Pier apartments with their own private marina and the Pier Hotel dominate the skyline.

Adelaide May 2013 147

For us, we spent a pleasant afternoon wandering around the town discovering the sights the town had to offer. Had lunch overlooking the sea, enjoyed a coffee and cake by the Town Hall square, walked the entire length of the town window shopping and purchasing souvenirs.

Had we not had the car we could have travelled back into Adelaide by tram… perhaps next time.

RLB – Tomewriter

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To Tell Three Tales – Published

To Tell Three Tales has been published today. Once again I am grateful for the great work Judy Bullard has done with creating a fantastic cover for the book. When she sent it through to me earlier this week I blown away by its sheer beauty and excellent craftsmanship. She has captured the titles of the three stories perfectly with the three images portrayed that I feel the book has to be a success……….. Here’s hoping!

RLB – Tomewriter

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