The Day Continues…

We had avocado on sourdough toast for lunch. Julia had eggs on hers. Ugh!

Then we had a text. Julia’s sister has just been released from hospital after having her appendix out. In Monday, operated Tuesday, out Wednesday. Until she let us know she was coming out we didn’t know she was in.

Appendectomies were not common until 1902, but gained popularity after Edward VII had his appendix treated by a surgeon (though not, it seems, actually removed). This is why many cheap souvenir coronation medals bear the wrong date – it was scheduled for 26th June 1902 but had to be delayed until 9th August. Edward tried to ignore his worsening pain because he wanted the coronation to go ahead on schedule.

‘I must go to the Abbey’, he said, in a meeting about his health.

Sir Frederick Treves replied, ‘Then, Sire, you will go as a corpse.’

That’s the same Sir Frederick Treves who discovered the Elephant Man. Anthony Hopkins played Treves in the film, and actor Frederick Treves, great nephew of the surgeon, played another role.

This article tells a story close to the end (it’s a long article, I won’t blame you if you don’t read it). It seems that in 1993 a surgeon was operating on an elderly lady who had had her first surgery as a six-year-old in 1906 when she had her appendix out at home. Yes, at home. I’ll let you read the rest as it is quoted.

EMG will be 100 years old this month. She is both a friend and a former patient. I first met her as a friend in 1984, and in 1993 I found myself operating on her for gallstones. Laparoscopic surgery had arrived, and so I performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Preoperatively, she mentioned that she had had her appendix removed as a child, and as a routine I asked her the name of the surgeon. ‘Treves—Frederick Treves’, she said.

An interesting link to history.

That’s why I love blogging – the money isn’t good but the trivia is exceptional.

Julia’s sister is fine, so don’t worry about me drifting off to talk about Edward VII. She’s currently at home and will shortly be getting flowers through the post – assuming the Royal Mail can get their act together. I’m running out of patience with them after my last few experiences.

The cat picture is included because I like cats and can’t be bothered to take new photographs. Honestly…

Edit: That last sentence was meant to read – The cat picture is included because I like cats and not because I can’t be bothered to take new photographs. Honestly…

However, I have to admit that this was probably a case of subconsciously telling the truth, and the first version is more accurate.

8 thoughts on “The Day Continues…

  1. Helen

    I’m glad Julia’s sister is okay. And thanks for the info re Frederick Treves.

    By the way, I understood what you meant about liking cats without the correction 😊

  2. Lavinia Ross

    That is an interesting bit of appendectomy trivia! I wonder what a home appendectomy was like in the days before antibiotics. 🙂

    Wishing Julia’s sister a speedy recovery.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Thank you – she seems in good form when we spoke to her last night.

      With my interest in then Great War I am constantly surprised by what simple things killed people in the days before anti-biotics. I’m also amazed by what didn’t kill people. I read a memoir once where a Scottish officer was hit in the legs by shell splinters, patched up and sent to convalesce. A few weeks later he started getting pains in his legs – it was his body rejecting the bits of his tartan trews that had been carried into his wounds by the shell splinters.

      In the war we refer to as “The Civil War” it was always said that a sword cut would heal but a bullet wound, due to the debris and poor hygiene, was almost always fatal.


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