Day 20 – The Boring stuff!

Today I thought I’d outline the routine that has pretty much become my life in Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Midnight – This is blood collection time and observations (blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate and temperature).  Subject to a high temp (febrile) extra blood is collected to make up cultures for testing for viruses etc.  This includes taking blood directly from a vein in the old fashion way – more needles and a slower process compared with the Hickman where they simply plug in the tube and turn the tap to fill the tube with blood – no pain and nice and quick!

2-4.30am – This is generally sleep time but if carrying a high temperature it is almost impossible to get sleep as the body heads towards sweats and the mind moves into hallucinations. I might get another hour of broken sleep.  At 4.30am more observations are taken.

4.30 – 6.00am – Generally reasonable sleep for this period.

6.00 – Waking and thinking about Goals for the day. Dressed into the sport attire (singlet, light jumper plus some long johns) and head off for a few hot laps around the Ward or if really keen back on the treadmill for 20 mins.  Pre the IV nutrition I’d grab some food from the community fridge in the common room, but now the IV delivers all so pass on that one.

7.00 – 8.00am – Crank up the blog or perhaps listen to a podcast.  I might even read a little.

8.00am – Jan pops in having walked from Docklands (around 40 mins).  This has become a highlight of the day, even though we see so much of each other. Jan has been bringing in some home made raspberry cordial – yum!  Cleaner usually comes in to sweep then mop the floor. The water man changes the waterjug.  The top up man checks medical supplies.  The linen person takes away old towels and renews bed linen if requested. Oh yes another knock and it is the menu lady asking what I’d like for tomorrow?

9.30am (ish) – Visit by the medical team – usually 2 to 6 doctors.  This team meet 8-9.00am each day to discuss the program for their own patients and start their rounds.  This visit can take up to 45 minutes subject to the number of questions we have.  The doctors know to expect lots of questions from Jan and me.  At one stage the lead consultant made the mistake of asking me to challenge him on decisions and suggestions – exactly my cup of tea.

10.00am – Shower time!  Highlight of the day.  This can take almost half an hour by the time you wash, dry off and do the bits and pieces.

10.30am – time for another set of hot laps around the ward.  And then another top up of platelets or red  blood cells if required.  This is usually every second or third day, depending on fevers.

11.00 – 1.00pm – Quiet time for rest, sleep or reading.

1.00pm  Lachy might turn up with some lunch for Jan,  Chat for a while.  My lunch tray will turn up but usually with very little on it given I am on IV supplements.

2.00pm  – more rest and reading if possible although multiple visits from nurses and others wanting to provide information or get information from you.

4.00pm  More observations.  Sleep and or rest.

6.00pm Dinner arrives but given I am on IV nutrition I don’t need anything extra so it generally is wasted.

6-8pm Family time reading with Jan or chatting.  She will normally head home around 8 pm and I will watch an iView episode of The House.

8,30 – 11.30  Best period of the day for REM sleep for me.   Usually get 2-3 hrs.

11.30  Awake getting organised for blood tests and the midnight routine.

5 thoughts on “Day 20 – The Boring stuff!

  1. Questions from my patients are much easier. They tend to revolve around Bob the builder or Thomas! Not drugs platelets and chemotherapy.


  2. Hi Geoff
    Just heard about your shitty news as am away in Croatia after spending a week with Dick, Geoff and Madeleine and have caught up up on the last three weeks
    Cathy and I are thinking of you and hoping positive energy will help your fight, the blog helps us become informed as to what actually happens during traetment including the emotions and the mind set
    I agree with many of the previous comments regarding your strength and stubbornness and ability to fight and the combination of medical knowledge,family togetherness and life introspection you have written.
    I’m going to appreciate the rest of my holiday a little more as we all should appreciate the little things in life
    Love to you and Jan
    Cathy and Chris


  3. Hey Geoff .
    I think we can use you as an inspiration to other patients. Even though I know all the stuff you talk about ,you still put it in quite an amazing way. deep thoughts ,always good to keep the mind going. Hang in theremate.
    Adriaan venter


  4. Hi Geoff

    Thanks for your thoughts on happiness – have to say I’ve read the blog a few times as it is certainly thought provoking – I’m sure most of us just run one day to the next without really thinking about the philosophy of happiness – I guess we just think or feel happy or not – at the time.

    I suspect for many happiness also includes a routine – not that we want yours at the moment, thanks. But it’s all about care and a regime for beating the illness. Apart from the temperature and related medication side effects, the light and noise in the ward must also be hard to overcome to achieve good rest. Col Duff reckons he has the best ear plugs you can get – completely mitigated Smihy’s snoring in the tent at Birdsville. Will have to send some down.

    Today was beautiful in Wagga – lovely sunny warm Spring day with almost zero breeze – a great departure from the silly weather of the last couple of weeks. Ros and I joined Burmo for lunch at his Asian inspired complex on the farm – a Wollundry Meal Deal. Steam boat cuisine with seafood, meat and vegetables. Great conversation with other guests including Ken and Jacki Taylor, Christine and Bruce Dicker (Bruce sends his best) and a special visitor from Shanghai. More than a couple of bottles of red were consumed, of course.

    Have a restful night.


  5. Hi Geoff, just reading your blog and feeling amazed at your coherence. I tried to keep a journal during my treatmenrs but Michelle will tell you the writing was illegible and what could be read was gobbledegook.


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