This week has been a week of two halves, with my very good friend from home, Lottie landing in the desert to see in last weekend with a bang, followed by Rich getting crippling pain in his back and leg and spending several days in hospital, complete with two operations on his spine – what a trooper!
Still, we managed to pack quite a lot in before he got ill.
Lottie’s plane descended on Doha in the early hours of the morning. She had missed her connecting flight in Amsterdam due to bad weather and flight delays and she was shattered, but in true Lottie style, she was still up for a long old boozy brunch with a couple of my mates from work in Spice Market at the W Hotel.
It was great to listen to my friend Hayley singing with her band as we supped on our sparkling wine, and to catch up properly as we got our teeth in to some really tasty Asian food.
Show us your gnashers, boys!
We had a chilled morning chatting on the balcony with homemade Nutella Croissants – a longtime favourite of mine (you can find a really easy recipe courtesy of The Londoner here).
The rest of the day was packed with all of my favourite sights and sounds of Doha as Rich and I took Lottie on a whistle-stop tour.
The very photogenic Museum of Islamic Art
The MIA park for a picnic lunch, where there was a Brazilian cultural event going on
And Katara cultural village as the sun went down.
We finished our day with cocktails, sushi and panoramic views over the city from my favourite bar on the roof of La Cigale Hotel
Very clever idea, Sky View, you just can’t put these cocktails down!
While I was at work, Lottie chilled by the pool. At 5pm, I picked her up and we headed out to Souq Waqif for our final farewell.
We enjoyed some traditional hot and cold mezze at Terrace restaurant
While listening to the most brilliant band, made up of a cellist, harpsichordist, Oud player and a man playing the bongos and an electric drum kit. Eclectic.
We popped into the opulent Gold Souq for a peruse…and quickly left again when we looked at the price tags.
And then departed for the taxi rank and the airport.
It was a short but sweet time with one of my best friends in the world, and I loved sharing my little Doha life with her for a few days. Lottie, you are welcome back here any time you like!
Rich had had a painful back for a couple of weeks by this point, but by Monday he could barely move. I phoned him from work and insisted that he book a taxi and get himself to a hospital. And I was so glad that he did. By the time I arrived, he was next in line for an MRI scan. When he emerged, we looked on with baited breath as the doctor analysed his results…
And it wasn’t pretty. A herniated disc, which the doctor thought looked as though it had become sequestrated (look it up) – it was no wonder that he was in agony! They booked him in for an epidural injection under general anaesthetic first thing the next morning.
I had to work, but as soon as my day was over, I rushed to the hospital to see my brave man (sorry Rich, I’m trying very hard not to make this as cringeworthy as the ‘Mummy’s Little Traveller’ story!). He was in a lot of pain still and unfortunately it didn’t look as though the injection had done a lot.
That evening was all about trying to manage the pain. Luckily, the nurses at Al Ahli hospital were amazing.
We were supposed to be flying to the UK for Bruce’s funeral, but as Rich was still in hospital and couldn’t walk, we were forced to cancel our flights and call up our family to break the sad news. We were heartened a little by Grandma saying that Bruce wouldn’t have wanted us to be there; it is far more important that Rich gets himself better. I already had the time off from work to attend the funeral, so instead I spent the day by Rich’s side, blogging and chatting – and asking the ‘right’ questions of the doctors and nurses when they came in to see him!
Rich’s second operation day. This was a pretty major surgery to remove a part of his lower spine that was protruding into his back, but I was surprised that Rich was pretty chipper about the whole thing. When I asked why, he explained that it was because Andy Murray and John Terry have had the same procedure, so this obviously puts him in the ‘elite athlete’ category. Of course!!!
After the operation, he was groggy but in good spirits. Our friends Dave and Mayur came to visit in the evening, and as we left the hospital together, we joked about the hospital’s cheesy slogan. Dave snapped this picture of the lobby as you walk in…
And I prayed that after this week, that would be the last time we would be seeing that banner in a long, long time.
Thanks again to all of you that have sent such lovely messages to Rich this week. He’s really appreciated all of your support. I’ll keep you updated on how he’s getting on, but for now I’m just relieved he’s able to crack a few ‘jokes’ again.
I’m proud of my man this week.
Now, back to the hospital.