There is one week to go and the race is on. We have entered the sprint section of proceedings.
Over the last two days, I’ve had blood tests, a chest x-ray, an ECG (electrocardiogram), another MRI, another OPG (orthopantomogram), a general checkup, and my pre-admission clinic appointment.
The point of the blood tests, chest x-ray, ECG and physical checkup is to ensure I’m ready for them to slice and dice me for 10 hours or so. Good respiratory function, good cardiac function and, they hope, no nasty surprises.
To that end, I also had a general checkup with my consultant physician, Dr L. She will be responsible for my recovery. In particular, she’ll be there to catch any infection early and treat it. She listened to my heart and felt the lymph nodes under my arms and on my neck. She’ll check on me each day, either early or late, she said.
Blaster also had a checkup, courtesy of the MRI and OPG. They will show if she’s grown, wreaked further destruction, or been otherwise nasty. For tumours, the MRI has the advantage over an x-ray (like the OPG) of showing good contrast between the soft tissues. Of course, this is thanks to the contrast dye with which they inject their victim. Not my favourite part, but I behaved myself today. Not a single tear. A little victory.
And, of course, no week is complete without paperwork. At the pre-admission clinic, one of the clinical nurse consultants checked through my admission paperwork and gave us the opportunity to ask more questions.
They will probably call me on Friday afternoon, she said, to advise when I’m to be admitted this Sunday. I’ll be on the ward that night, then in intensive care from the Monday night for about a week. Unlike in public hospitals, I’ll have my own room in intensive care. The walls are glass so they can keep a close eye on me, but I shouldn’t be disturbed by other patients. The visiting rules for intensive care are family only but, she said, they should be flexible with visiting hours for Darren if he explains about Alannah. (She won’t be visiting at least until I’ve had the tracheostomy and nasogastric tube removed and I’m up on the ward and, even then, we’re going to play it by ear.)
A few of you have asked about visiting in hospital. As I said, the hospital’s visiting rules for intensive care are family only, but you’re very welcome to visit when I’m up on the ward. Please remember I’ll be drooling and won’t be able to talk much, so have low expectations! Visiting hours are 11am to 8pm. The phone number for Macquarie University Hospital is 9812 3000.
Here are some photos of the ward rooms, courtesy of the hospital website. There’s a small wardrobe and fridge over in the right of the photo and the ensuite is off to the left. The computer “cockpit” is very cool: television, movies, radio, internet, telephone, as well as meal ordering and medical records. No meal ordering for me of course. Just slush and mush on the orders of my dietitian and speech pathologist.
I’m getting together my belongings for my little jaunt. I’m going to load up the iPad with some podcasts and music. I’m contemplating some audio books. I have a pile of books to take too and some others I’ve ordered on their way. Any genius suggestions welcome.