Keith - today
NOOSA - It's been quite a week. But I'm at home in one piece, though it doesn't feel like that right now.
Seven days ago I lay on a hospital gurney, flat on a decrepit back, trying to take in anaesthetist Jack Huang's mandatory briefing about the risks I faced at his hands.
I was at ease with those risks. I'd built them into my decision to have this surgery, the fifth on my spine and third in three years.
Told by the previous surgeon he wouldn't undertake a further operation because "it could well leave you much worse off," this day was something of a last chance saloon.
For me, not being 'much worse off' meant declining mobility and increasing pain. This day's procedure was a bet against invalidity.
I'd done my research, took some months to consider a decision and found my man - Brisbane maestro Dr Gert Tollesson - to slice open the lower back like a fillet and find every bit of intrusive bone, displaced disc, problematic nerve ending and strand of scar tissue so as to forge a clear pathway for constrained and impeded nerves, giving them a clear run and doing the same for me.
Nearly four hours later, I emerged into morphine-addled stupor in intensive care, many tubes poking out of many orifices. The grand theatre of surgery was over and the ugly process of recovery had begun.
And so it continues but in a place we all yearn for at times of great stress - at home amongst family and friends.
And PNG Attitude, my companion over so many years, resumes. Thanks for sticking with me.
Now to get this old cart back on the road.