Five weeks ago today, I returned to Prague after spending a wonderful two weeks accompanying Sybille on her pilgrimage from Prague to Santiago de Compostela, walking with her across Switzerland. Since returning, I have successfully written and posted seven blog posts about our journey together. A big ‘Thank you’ to the faithful few who have left kind and appreciative comments on these recent posts.
The evidence of how far we walked can be seen by state of the soles and heels of my much loved walking boots. In the last couple of days of walking, I did slip slightly in a few muddy places, because of the increasing lack of tread. I also discovered that the waterproof cover, integral to my rucksack, was unfortunately no longer waterproof . I have now invested in a new pair of walking boots, though I’ve yet to test them out over any serious distance. And I will buy a new, separate waterproof cover for my rucksack as, despite being twelve years old, it is otherwise still in good order.
Two other major things have happened since returning to Prague. On Tuesday 2nd September, I paid another visit to my dermatologist at Vojenské nemocnice, the Military Hospital. Unfortunately, one Basel Cell Carcinoma (BCC) on the right side of my forehead had, despite numerous treatments with liquid nitrogen, refused to disappear. So we mutually agreed that the only way forward was to have it cut out under local anaesthetic.
What then followed speaks volumes for the efficiency of the Czech Health Service. Armed with a brief report from my dermatologist, I went straight-away to the plastic surgery department in another nearby building. There, without an appointment, the surgeon quickly examined the BCC and promptly gave me an operation date of Wednesday 10th September – just eight days later.
The operation on Wednesday 10th September, despite being under local anaesthetic, was a bit more major than I was expecting. I was grateful that I’d accepted the kind offer of my friend Rev’d Dr Karen Moritz, to accompany me to the hospital. This is how I looked following the operation – Karen being responsible for taking the photograph! Fortunately, when I returned to the hospital the next day for a follow-up visit, the head bandage was replaced by a large sticky plaster which I was able to remove the next day.
The wound was pulled together by six stitches, the last two of which, were only removed on Monday of this week. But the good news is that the histology report, whilst confirming that what was removed was a BCC, also said that it was completely removed – it was clear around the edges. I now have a return visit to the dermatologist booked for the middle of October.
Then on Monday 22nd September, the day I had the last of my stitches removed, came the news that my daughter Christa, had gone into labour with her first child. Later in the evening came word from my son-in-law Ian, that I had become a grandfather for the first time, following the birth of my grandson Finley.
Because of breathing and other difficulties, Finley was immediately taken to the Special Care Baby Unit of the hospital in Northampton. But as this picture below, taken yesterday, shows, Christa and Ian were finally able to hold their newborn son for a short while. The latest news is that they hope to be able to take Finley home this weekend. I’m hoping to meet my grandson for the first time at the end of October when I’m visiting the UK for a few days.