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NAME:James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 27 September 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: pupil 1956-63

Whilst in hospital recently for 9 days in connection with my right hip replacement, with no radio or TV about, I managed to do a lot of reading. One book I read I would recommend to others. It is an autobiographical work, My Animals and Other Family by Clare Balding. Interspersed with stories of her early life are descriptions of dogs and horses that came along at her home. I believe it is well written and most entertaining. Of course there was the book My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell, now no longer with us. That too is very enjoyable and I gave a copy of that book to my daughter Grace, who also loved it very much. I myself have had both dogs and a cat as pets and they have added much pleasure to my life in the past. Alas I do not have any pets currently, though some of my children do have them to enjoy.


NAME: Stephen Giles  Stephen Giles

DATE: 29 September 2014

CONNECTION WITH QE: inmate 1957-64

Aha the dreaded hip replacement, I hope you have recovered well. My sister who has had both hips done, tells me that the pain is beyond description! We are currently in the Wellington Hospital next to Lords Cricket Ground, where my wife had a knee replacement on Wednesday. She can just about manage a dozen steps to the loo so far, but has surprisingly little pain - I am just an unpaid fetch and carry boy! It has certainly renewed my aquaintance with cross-London travel by public transport - tram/train/tube, longest journey time so far has been 2 hours and 20 minutes!


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 01 October 2014


I for my part, Stephen, wish a good recovery to your wife re her knee replacement. Talking with others I believe it may be more tricky an operation than the hip one. I hope also your sister has really benefited from her hip replacements and is able to do so much more than before the operations. It has been quite an experience for me and I hope I will not have any other such operations. The bruises from the staff manhandling my body have gone but I have still pain from the wound in my side, though the surface skin is good. That is enough of that. I do not want to be one of those guys who constantly grumble or even just chat to others much about their operations. I mustn't grumble, as the title of one of Terry Wogan's books says. After just over 4 weeks I am able to proceed fairly smartly with my two crutches (sometimes reduced to 1) to my local library and council office to use their computers. I do my exercises and refrain from crossing my legs and picking up items.

I do appreciate the extent of time-consuming travel, Stephen. It is not just in the London area that this occurs. In fact in some ways it is perhaps not as bad there as in the regions. To get to Winchester Hospital for my hospital check ups takes 2.75 hours by bus from Ludgershall going via Andover and Stockbridge and even more via Salisbury. Fortunately so far I have had hospital transport provided by a Red Cross ambulance via Arriva Travel, the controlling body. In employment assignments before retiring I experienced similar time journeys such as to Windsor via bus and train (2.75 hours each way) when my car was not available. So much for wanting to encourage using public transport and no wonder there are so many cars travelling despite the immense cost of petrol /diesel /maintenance / road tax/ insurance etc. for our vehicles! Yet I do still love travel by car, bus, train or whatever.

Well we have done it again, Stephen, deviating in the common Stapylton Field way from the original themes of books enjoyed and animals loved with the subjects of shared hospital operations and lengthy journeys experienced. I hope that there won't be any rebukes from anyone and even better some replies on my main original themes as well.

3rd Black Bob REPLY

NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 22 October 2014


I have really enjoyed the recent TV programmes on the hidden life of cats [see original message] as recorded by techniques such as tracking devices and cameras. Have others also enjoyed and learnt from them? There was of course an equally fascinating series of programmes on how dogs carried on when their owners were out. I found it fascinating for one how in a house of many cats they all managed their own little territories within and are not just existing as one sharing happy family except in the case of female kittens brought up together since birth. My daughter Grace and son-in-law Richard had 2 male cats, Sparky and Tigger but Sparky has died and it has been interesting to see Tigger enjoying his enlarged territory. My wife Ayleen also enjoyed his sitting on her lap to be stroked. She felt most honoured. Maybe it was because she was in Richard's normal seat. It took me back to my youth and our cat Blackie, who sat on my lap purring away and making it a job to get on.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 22 October 2014


Having recently experienced a hip operation [original message reply 1] I was amused by Steve Carell's account of his hip operation on the recent Jonathon Ross's show, the first of the current series. Though he asked to be knocked out for the whole procedure he was apparently awake at the start and looked with horror at what seemed a medieval torture chamber with a nurse standing over him with a big helmet on. Apparently there are in the UK a fair number of cases of insufficient anaesthesia. I am glad that I did not suffer quite as badly, though I did not opt for the more durable hip that squeaks. I am of course older than Steve so durability is not so prominent an issue.


NAME: Ian Sadler  Ian Sadler

DATE: 24 October 2014


Since this has deveoped into a sort of 'limb parts repacement' thread I thought I would add my two-pennyworth! I hope you are doing well, Jas, and feeling the benefit. I had both replaced (4 months apart, not at the same time) early in 2007 (epidural but sedated!) and all went very well both times. I was driving the car within 5 weeks of the operation and back on the motorbike a week after the car. The surgeon said I would exhange one set of aches for another set to start with as some muscles had been doing the wrong things to compensate. But these periods would come and go and get shorter and further apart as time went by and would have vanished within the year. He was right and they had gone within 9 months. A month after the second replacement a physiotherapist friend asked me who my surgeon was. When I told her she replied "Ah yes - he is very good at getting both legs the same length". It had not occurred to me that might be a problem! Anyway keep the exercises going - it's well worth it.


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 30 October 2014


Thank you for your best wishes for me with the new hip, Ian. I am now down to one crutch rather than two for my walking to Ludgershall library and certainly feel the benefit whilst continuing with my exercises. It will be good when both crutches go and I can play badminton and table tennis again. Alas I believe skiing is now out. I have now got back to driving my campervan and went to both Kent and Herts in the last two weeks. I was warned not to start until at least six weeks had passed. Six weeks is currently the key time limit now with Winchester Hospital and also applies to crossing legs, leaning down etc. I am now on a par with Martin moving around with his cane in Frasier and also another OE at the recent OE 40 Club lunch (TORJ Herbert) who travelled down by train from the North (Many train miles and a very early start to get down.)


NAME: James (Jas) Cowen  James & Ayleen Cowen James Cowen galleryThen & Now

DATE: 13 April 2015


I am glad to say that I have had my 6 month check up after my hip operation, albeit after 7 months. I am now discharged with no more appointments to go to. The medics are off the case. I would urge any reluctant to go ahead with such operations to take the plunge and go ahead. I am now back to playing badminton and table tennis 3 days a week and have started a gym membership at Tidworth. I was in Waitrose in Andover yesterday and a man with a stick saw my badminton racket (Is that spelling OK?) and said "It's a pity we can't play such games now." I had to inform him but not smugly that I had just played 2 hours of badminton at the Leisure Centre. I hope that gentleman is able to find enough exercise in his life to keep going and remain fit and able. (Mens sana in corpore sano).

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