Friday, July 19, 2013
A little vacation
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but in my entire life, I've spent only three nights in hospital. All of these were just after the brain tumour was detected.
The first was the Friday night after I had the first seizure. That one was mainly to observe me, although a CAT scan was performed on my brain a few hours earlier. Armidale hospital had no facilities to do what was really needed – an MRI brain scan, which was far more accurate than the CAT scan I'd just had. I was supposed to stay in hospital for the weekend and be driven by ambulance to Tamworth on the Monday for the MRI.
We had other ideas. Well, certainly I did. I felt quite good after the Friday night in hospital, and we persuaded the doctors to discharge me the following morning. Tracey would drive me Tamworth on the Monday rather than waste the whole weekend twiddling my thumbs in a private ward in the public hospital. Tamworth was just a day trip.
So that was Night One. Nights Two and Three were spent in hospital at Newcastle, after the craniotomy a couple of weeks following the MRI, to remove what they could of the tumour and get a biopsy sample.
That was it. It's a bit of a bit of a blur really. I never went into a hospital again for an overnight stay. I had daylight consultations in Melbourne with specialists and for radiology, but no admission.
But today, Friday, 19 July 2013, I am going into hospital for several days. I'm not sure how long. This is for a variety of tests, the main ones to try to determine the best method of seizure control. If you've been following the medical section of the blog, you'll see the seizures have been pretty much out of control. In the hour since I started writing this, I've already had three minor ones.
This stay in hospital will have the added benefit of giving Tracey a little break from the incessant and increasing demands the rapid decline in my health have placed on her. We both are happy about that. It can be a time of options review.
But in other ways I face the period with some trepidation, because I hardly have a clue about what happens in a hospital ward as a patient. I'll have a private room but all sorts of questions come to mind. I'm not used to pressing a buzzer for help with the things I need to have done. I'm not used to strangers attending to what are for me very private functions.
I can't even do now what I did as described in the previous posting. The recent seizures have wrecked my ability to use the walker safely. I can't stand up for more than a minute or so, and only then with something to lean against or hold on to with my good hand. My knees buckle, both of them, because the left leg can't take the weight of my body after the right starts collapsing.
It's all terra incognita. I'll feel badly about calling for help with what were to me tasks I could carry out a week or two ago. I've never been showered by a stranger or attended to for basic toilet functions. But as Dave said, and Tracey reminded me, it's their job. It's what they do. They're the "slaves" I wrote about.
Women generally handle these things better than blokes. Many have had babies or procedures that involve people poking about in very private areas. Quite a lot of men don't until they're involved in a medical emergency, as I was at the age of 63.
Well, the men might have had a routine one or two that take just a few minutes with a doctor prodding around in odd places and experiencing strange and uncomfortable sensations. I speak for myself here!
So I might as well make a virtue of necessity by describing on the blog in not too much detail what I'm going to experience in coming days. This is dedicated mainly to the chaps who will probably go through at some stage what I'm about to. I hope it's enlightening for the rookies.
No doubt some of the women will sneak a look in as well. They can't resist, I'll bet. Maybe with just a little schadenfreude topped with – dare I say it? – frisson.
Fourth seizure for two hours happening here....
However strange this will be, it's definitely time to try to do something. I can't put up with constant seizures without making this effort.
Off for my little sojourn in a few minutes. Watch this space.