Wow, what an event for this medical-world first timer. Three full days across two hospitals, three departments, who knows how many exceptional staff and the unrelated-to-anaemia mystery fever wasn’t able to be identified. Byron emergency were baffled, Lismore triage were baffled and the Lismore ward doctor was baffled. I had no pain, no cough, no congestion, no urination issues and no bum hole infection. I simply had a rip roaring fever that knocked me for six.
So the mystery remained until Vic, a Byron bestie, arrived early Sunday arvo. Super sleuth Vic brought out her Midsomer Murders self and pieced the mystery together. Vic likes to know every minutiae detail at the best of times and even more so in my current squatter hosting situation and quickly learned that the symptoms I had experienced with my fever matched those of a severe infection she and her bloke Philly had experienced back in Nov/Dec. In my squatter consumed world I had completely overlooked that scenario, besides it was so long ago that I didn’t consider it to be ‘recent’, so when the docs asked if I’d been around an infection recently, I silently shook my head. Oops.
Back tracking to pre-solving the mystery fever, I was kept in bed 21 for the second day and night for monitoring purposes only. Every hour my temp and BP amongst other things, were recorded. My temperature slowly dropped from 39.1° to acceptable levels of 36-37.5 ° BP slowly rose to 90/63 and the best part – I was feeling less deathly. It was weird hanging in hospital when all they were doing was monitoring, I felt a bit fraud-like when everybody else was so sick. Still it gave me time to write the previous blog post and to get to know my fellow room buddies.
Snoring Joy turned out to be lively chatty Joy despite her recent op that required her to now feed herself through a tube direct to the stomach, she can no longer eat or drink through her mouth! Now that’s a hard one to turn into a positive but if anyone can Joy can. Before the curtain dividers were pulled back, I heard her talking to the nurses and she sounded like she was around 60 years of age but I soon discovered she was 82(!) and was blown away at how switched on and youthful and positive she was… such an inspiration.
Late night TV watching Bev, wasn’t actually a late night tv viewer, she had simply fallen asleep with the teev still on. Like Joy, she was also a lovely person who was also recovering from a major gastro operation that prevented her from keeping her food down. If she didn’t take medication 30 mins before eating, the poor love would throw her food up. Poorly Pauline remained incredibly poorly with Leukaemia and slept a lot so we didn’t get to interact much. Suffice to say, I was the youngest of the group and at this stage a complete novice with all things hospital.
Pauline, Bev and Joy have been living with cancer for a number of years and consequently were old hands when it came to all things hospital and gladly shared their hospital-workings knowledge. For example, how the menu worked… you must circle every item you want for that particular meal including the veggies. Of course this was after my cock up where I circled the delightfully described ‘chicken and gravy’ presuming it would come with vegetables, but no sir-ee, I got what I asked for; a chook breast covered in a poxy beef (I think) gravy. I was horrified. The only skerrick of a veggie to be seen was a neat round mound of hideous Deb-like mash that naturally tasted like the cardboard – I’m guessing – it came in.
M’darlink arrived in the afternoon to keep me company but we realised he didn’t need to because so much happens that there’s little time to get bored. I’m sure if I was there longer it’d be a completely different scenario but for my short stay, I barely got time to catch up on sleep. My bowel movements keep me busy at the best of times, let alone when I have the additional challenge of negotiating with my new buddy the sodium chloride drip. I nearly didn’t make it a number of times as I tried to untangle the line between me, the drip and the bedside unit, find my birkies, then navigate uncooperative drip wheels, whilst desperately trying to clench my butt cheeks. Talk about the butt cheek shuffle!
The bathrooms were a shock to the system; a cross between really bad club room showers and old dodgy camping ground amenity blocks. They were only a short shuffle from my bed which was great when I needed to do the above ’dash’ but horrendous when an incapacitated patient needed to ablute and the acoustics were put to work. Eeeewww.
Sunday couldn’t come around fast enough. All I wanted was my BP to be nearly normal and temp to be absolutely normal and to get that blood transfusion happening. I never thought I’d be hurrying to have a blood transfusion – my how my world has changed. Dr Stephen Moore, a gentle softly spoken man, who had been over seeing me since triage, came by on his rounds to discuss my status. He kindly thought out loud in laymen’s terms and whilst he wasn’t entirely happy about not nailing the cause of the fever he couldn’t see why I couldn’t press on with the transfusion. Yay, let’s get it happening, pronto.
My version of pronto and Stephens version of pronto unfortunately proved to be quite different. Stephen was a man in demand and clearly didn’t appreciate how desperate I was to get away from this prison cum camping ground and the thing they called food. I waited another hour before the blood was ordered and another 30 mins before the first bag was hooked up. I was to have two bags, each one taking nearly three hours!!! By my calculations I wouldn’t get out of there till at least 6.30 which, horror of all horrors, meant two more meal times – arrrrggghhhh.
Finally home, the transfusion has definitely given me more perkiness and colour, as well as a couple of days of major itching and a welty rash, but overall I’m feeling better. Now I’ve just gotta pray the blood count is 100 so we can proceed with radiation and chemo on Monday. Eeeek, it’s getting serious now.