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.