Since my return from Switzerland……

My worn-out boots © Ricky Yates

My worn-out boots © Ricky Yates

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.

My head following surgery! © Ricky Yates

My head following surgery! © Ricky Yates

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.

My grandson Finley and his proud parents © Ian Margieson

My grandson Finley and his proud parents © Ian Margieson

14 comments to Since my return from Switzerland……

  • Sean Mccann

    Hi Ricky,
    Congratulations granddad, and congratulations on the successful treatment of your BCC, I wish the little guy a long and happy life and yourself many, many years of good health to enjoy him growing up. Forgive my failure to comment on your recent (excellent as ever) posts on your walk in Switzerland with Sybille; broadband and internet connection problems in my area for almost three weeks past have caused great inconvenience and bad temper to many people but seem to have finally been sorted on Tuesday of this week. I’ve only just caught up with your last few posts and enjoyed them immensely. Go maire tú an céad – may you live to see the hundred! God bless, Sean.

    • Ricky

      Thank you, Sean! Sorry about your broadband problems but glad to hear they’ve now been sorted out. Very glad to know you’ve enjoyed my most recent posts. However, I have quite some way to go to live to be one hundred 🙂

  • Ricky: Congratulations on both the successful operation AND becoming a Grandpa!

  • Congratulations! What a blessing! Prayers for you for quick healing; glad they nipped that BCC right away. And I can’t believe the state of your hiking boots; you must have gotten very fit in two weeks!

    • Ricky

      Hi Em/Writergem! Thanks for the congratulations! The wound is now rapidly healing – check up with my dermatologist is booked for mid-October.

      As for being fit – the belt for my trousers does now do up two more holes, a situation I hope to maintain.

  • Congratulations on being a grandfather! And on the successful operation. Although I guess in both cases, the real merit lies elsewhere, I think they’re both occasions for celebration. 🙂
    Somehow, I missed out on reading your blog exactly for the time you wrote about your journey. I’ll go back and read it eventually, when it’s not nearly midnight…

    For the time being, it occurred to me that this was exactly the place to share my sister’s new blog where she writes about trips around the Czech Republic, and various aspects of living here, for the possible use of expats who would like to visit some less known places or learn things about this country and its people that no guide book will tell them. She is also very particular in the details like where you can find public toilets in the places she describes, etc., so I think it should come useful for someone. 🙂
    (Although she may change the long URL later, because we had some trouble with linking to the blog…)

    • Ricky

      Thank you for the congratulations, Hana! However, you are quite right in saying that ‘the real merit lies elsewhere’ – with my daughter & son-in-law & with my plastic surgeon.

      Please do read at your leisure, the posts about walking across part of Switzerland with my wife during two weeks of August. It would appear that many people have read them, judging by the number of hits that the blog has received each day, but they’ve drawn very few comments.

      Thanks for the link to your sister’s blog. I’ve already made a quick visit & it looks quite interesting.

  • What an eventful few weeks you’ve had since your return, Ricky. Though I’ve already seen your news about your op and the birth of your grandson on FB, I’m glad to hear that the surgeon got clear margins, which must be a real relief.

    • Ricky

      It has been an eventful few weeks, Perpetua, additionally with all the stress of preparing to host the 2014 Eastern Archdeaconry Synod meeting about which I’ve just written my latest blog post.

      I’m very pleased that the surgeon got clear margins. The wound is slowly healing & I now have a follow up appointment with my dermatologist on Wednesday 15th October. I do love the Czech Health Service!

      I’m off to see my new grandson at the end of this month, as well as to help celebrate Uncle Phillip’s 30th birthday, leaving Jack Noonan to lead Morning Prayer on Sunday 2nd November.

  • Congratulations on adding to the family and successful surgery 🙂