The WHAT'S NEW! page contains the latest medical updates. If you're wondering how I'm going as far as health is concerned, this is the place to start. Latest: Wed 27 Nov 2013. 7.20AM

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.


  1. Hard times require a sensible, intelligent decision. You and Tracey have just made it. Facing the dragon is always easier, I find, than imagining it. May the hospital dragon be very kind to you, my friend, and enormously respectful That is what you deserve. xxR

  2. As Ros said.
    And needing help should never be a reason to feel ashamed, what makes some people so outstanding is the ability to ask for it when the time comes.
    I hope your stay in the hospital is as smooth as possible!

  3. Hello!! I'm from Chile and i found your're blog in facebook, thanks to share you're experiences with us, it's very good way to look life in its differents colors and steps...about hospital, i'm agree with you about woman are habituate but i think this doesn't mean that we don't feel unconfortable or afraid, no so far, i'm feel scare even about needles, but anyway i think in hospital you can observe a very new world, with a lot of differents details, for example, I always heard about people can't sleep in hospitals becouse everybody start very early checking thinks; it's true that in all planet the food taste badly? (i'm in southamerica) Are nurses more friendly between them or with doctors?, are they drinking a lot of coffe to stay awake? how many people care about you in a day? where there put all the implements? why they love to help people?...don't be worry about to need help, may be you can think in their help how a way to help them back, people that work in health always need to feel them useful...i send you a virtual huge from far far away

  4. Hoping hoping hoping this is just a brief stay, & you're back at home in a jiffy. Ever the optimist, I.

    I hope everything goes well there & your discomfort (in all senses) is fleeting. Sending good thoughts, prayers, & virtual hugs to you & Tracey. XXXXXOOOOO Pegs. :)

    No need to reply, I know it's difficult for you.

  5. Hang in there buddy, when the embarrassment sets in just think that they have seen it all before. And wi- fi - wow, just relax and go with the flow.

  6. Good to see you have settled into your holiday suite. Thamara is right, the folk working around you do their work because they like to help others. I did the caring for strangers bit for a few years, nether regions and all. In fact that's a very important part of caring because it does feel 'awkward' for patients at first, but with your sense of humour, Denis, I can't you see you having any problem!

  7. P.S. I've also been at the other end of the caring - thought this little excerpt from when I had almost fatal malaria and was on my second blood transfusion in a bush hospital in the West Sepik of PNG:
    "The transfusion would take seven hours, but in the middle of it, one of the student nurses came in. “Sori tru, doctor i likim urine sample. Mi helpim yu.” She gripped the rusty stand with the blood bag and loops of tubing in one hand, and held onto me with the other as we tottered to the toilet cubicle, where, not surprisingly, I was unable to perform. She stood beside me, changing hands when her arm grew tired holding the weight of the stand above her head, giggling while repeating: “Traim tasol, yu mas pispis...traim moa pispis.” I was soon giggling as much as she was and eventually, our mission accomplished, we swayed and teetered back to the small side ward."
    Just pispis when you're told, Denis and they won't give you too hard a time :)

  8. Agree with the above wishes, and hoping this provides some well-earned respite for both you and Tracey. Again, inadequate words, offered sincerely to both of you.


  9. Very best wishes. My recent vicarious experience of hospitals convinced me of their excellence (excepting ease of car parking which will be poor Tracey's problem).I hope you find the staff as excellent and caring as I saw and experienced them. Anne P.

  10. Hola
    Soy de Colombia, y como cosas de Dios vi tu blog.. Sabes estoy en una etapa del camino que aunque estoy completamente sana exteriormente, estoy sufriendo mucho en mi interior. Pero ver como tu estas tan fuerte y tan esperanzado me sa mucha luz.. Sigue así sabes todos podemos cambiar el mundo y es increible como desde el otro extremo del planeta yo te pueda escribir y tu lo puedas ver. Sigue cambiando el mundo y mucha fuerza.. Desde acá orare por tí....

  11. I hate hospitals so am totally in sympathy with you. Though it's illogical of me I know, because where would we be without them - and those prepared to work in them. Yet still I have to psyche myself up to visit those unfortunate enough to be there. Having said that, I actually think it's easier to have one's most private functions and intimate body parts dealt with by strangers than those close to us. After all, those strangers are people you will never see again and, to them, you are just another patient and as someone else said on this posting...they've seen it all before! And it's their chosen profession, too, which is worth bearing in mind. And what Tracey said anyway. Not much consolation I know, dear Denis,but all I can offer! If they can bring the seizures under some sort of management that might bring you at least a degree of relief. For Tracey, too, not just because of the sheer round-the-clock care she gives but because dealing with something as unpredictable as seizures must be nerve-wracking as well as exhausting. Knowing you, you'll still manage to turn this hospital business into something to educate and even amuse the rest of us! (By the way, I liked the New Guinea "epistle" from Trish - let's face it, the only time you ever get praise for peeing and pooing is when you're in hospital so make the most of it!)


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