Following my letter in the Spalding Guardian on June 2, I would like to update you on my progress.
At 10am on Wednesday, I went down for my operation.
The next thing I remember is being surrounded by noise and a colossal amount of activity. Lights flashing and buzzers were going off.
“Mr Russell, Mr Russell, can you hear me? You are in ICU, you have had an operation,” I was told.
There was a massive amount to take in; so many wires and tubes.
There was a huge monitor displaying my vital statistics, in front of which sat a nurse for pretty much every second of the three-and-a-half days I stayed there.
I was living my life by each second, telling myself that the next second would be not so draining as the previous one. It took intensive care to a whole new level.
On the fourth day, I was taken back to the high dependency room in ward 5b, where I measured time by the medication round, then the tea lady, then blood pressure checks, then lunch, a further round of blood pressure checks and back around to the tea lady.
The day after arriving back on the ward, I was presented with the photos I had asked to be taken of what was removed from my stomach.
In one photo, my grossly oversized aorta bore an uncanny resemblance to a sea serpent. In another photo was a pile of something akin to dried out sludge.
Wow, I had been a dead man walking. Yet I had not had one single symptom.
Sixteen days from screening to discharge; it was one hell of a journey. I am now at home convalescing.
How do I thank so many people for coming together to save my life? Perhaps pick out one person who epitomised the incredible care that I was given at the Pilgrim Hospital.
Maybe Marie and her sister for their wit while pushing the tea trolley, or Mr Mohan, my surgeon, or Naomi, my nurse, or the ICU doctor.
The fact is that the entire team in ICU and 5B is one complete unit, all on the same page.
Every single member contributes 101 per cent all of the time. All of their individual personalities and traits enhance an already great team.
It is this collective team spirit that makes the Pilgrim Hospital a great place to be ill.
So thank you for saving my life and for making my dramatic journey through your hospital trauma free.