31 October 2008

Hospital world... (part one)

...or living life to the on the edge, because you're never sure if a nurse will answer your call button and you always want to be nice to the nurses because who knows it may be your turn for an enema. Believe it or not that pretty well sums up the guidelines of my visit or for that matter pretty much any one's visit to hospital. Okay maybe I'm exaggerating just a little but it's always better to be safe than sorry especially where enemas are concerned.

So let me tell you all about my latest trip into the world of all things medical and surgical.
My journey began with a flight up to Sydney on Sunday the 28th of September. The first thing I did was make an appointment to see the neurosurgeon who performed the first two operations on my back. I saw him on Tuesday the 30th September. The surgeon seemed a bit perplexed with the whole thing. He kept saying "I've never seen this happen so quickly". He wouldn't tell me what he thought had happened with my back and that he wouldn't make any decisions until he saw the results of another MRI which he sent me down to schedule ASAP. I went down to schedule the MRI and the girl at the front desk told me that it would be at least a week or more before I could have the MRI. I explained that I had flown up from Hobart and that it was really important to have the scan done quickly in light of the recent surgery and the complication that arose from it and now it looked like it was possibly happening again. The receptionist went to the back of the office and had a secret meeting with the scan people. Upon her return it seemed that they magically had a space for me on the Thursday coming up. I said great I'll take it. After booking the appointment I walked next door to the offices at the public hospital and stopped into make an appointment to see my neurologist. I was lucky as he was just coming back from a conference overseas and his secretary said I could see him on the Wednesday before the MRI. It just seemed as if luck was on my side. I said it seemed.

Now all of these different appointments were all very convenient if I lived near the hospital or in my case if I was staying near the hospital but alas I was not. I was staying at hubby's mum and dad's house on the Northern beaches near Manly on the other side of Sydney Harbour and to be honest it was a bloody pain in the ass. The only way for me to get to the appointments was to either pay for a cab ($65.00 each way) or alternatively if lucky I would be able to hitch a ride with hubby's brother as he went into work. I would then only need to catch a cab down to the quay on my way back so I could catch the ferry back across to the northern beaches where hubby's dad would then pick me up. All in all it was a logistical nightmare and the way the week panned out I had to go back and forth to the other side every day to see either a doctor or to have a test done. It was surgeon on Tuesday, neurologist on Wednesday, MRI and surgeon on Thursday, and back to the neurologist on Friday. At least I got to take a pleasant ferry ride across Sydney Harbour at the end of each day so no matter how bad the news got I could chill out watching the waves pass and contemplate rather or not it would be easier to just jump. Alas all I did was contemplate the jumping part with nary a toe or a leg making it over the railing. Believe me once Thursday came along and the surgeon gave me the results of the MRI in which he told me we would have to do the surgery again now for the third time I have to admit that water was starting to look real tempting. I would never do it because I'm a big baby and besides if I jumped I would then have to tread water until someone came and plucked me out of the water and with all the things that swim in the ocean that would just as well eat me as swim with me I just couldn't do it

So, I saw the neurologist on the Friday after I got the news about having another surgery and we discussed what the next move would be as to when I might be admitted into hospital etc. I was going to have this surgery done in the public hospital as we could not afford to have another surgery done in the private hospital like the first two times. I don't have private health insurance and because we needed to have the surgery done the first two times in a hurry we had to pay for everything out of pocket and all up we were out roughly $24,000. We just could not afford another trip to the private hospital. I wouldn't have to pay for anything in the public system but I would have to wait a few days or maybe more to be admitted into hospital even after the surgeon even put "URGENT" on the surgery request. The only other way around the system would be for me to present at the Emergency Department and then I would get a bed and be booked into surgery faster. We decided to let the system work a bit and then if it got all to much I would do the "Emergency" way. We waited for a week and by Monday of the next week I was about to go the "Emergency" route when I got a call and was told everything was arranged and that I needed to show up at the admissions desk on Tuesday 14th October at noon and we would go from there.

I'm going to break this story up in parts as it would otherwise be a huge post so I'll end it here and the next post I'll talk about my first four days and possibly maybe even a bit further, venturing into my first days of recovery after the surgery on that Friday (17th October) following admission but let's wait and see how things play out. We'll let things come as they may and you'll understand as the words flow, why I need to break this up because there is just so much to tell. Really there is, I promise. Until the next post take care....

In the mean time...

...and while you're waiting. I thought I'd wish my friends and family a very Happy Halloween. As I've mentioned in the past, Halloween is not celebrated here in Australia, but in recent times there has been a push to begin celebrating the holiday. Some of the stores have Halloween displays and there are even a few Halloween parties being held, mostly by adults. I don't care one way or the other if Halloween becomes a holiday that is celebrated here but if and when it does I hope someone gives me enough notice so I can have some candy on hand for those kids that are about to experience the best reason to go door to door in the neighbourhood and beg for food and by food I mean candy, which to a kid is the same thing. Anyway, to those of you celebrating Halloween I hope you have a fun time.

As for the hospital story, I'm getting to it but remember it will be a very long post so don't blame me when your eyes start to bleed half way through reading the post. It will be the next post you will see from me. Until then...

28 October 2008

What to do?????

We finally fly home tomorrow. I have been away from home for over month and I'm just a little home sick. A hell I'm a lot home sick. Anyway what I need to know from all of you my loyal readers is do I:
1) Catch up on all of the blogs I normally read and find out what is happening in your world
2) Do I type a big long post about my big adventure into hospital land for the third and lets pray the final time.
Anyway, you tell me and by the time I get home tomorrow and all settled in I'll know which way I should go. Either way I'll still spend time catching up on your world and try to leave some comments albeit they may be a few days late, but I'm sure you'll understand. See you soon...

25 October 2008

Coming soon...

All you ever needed and or wanted to know about how I survived the latest surgery. As a teaser I'll tell you that there were two surgeries, one on a Friday and the second two days later on Sunday making it four all together. Stay tuned for more...

13 October 2008

I know, I know....

...it's been forever since my last post. I feel awful. Well okay maybe I don't but I do feel that I should at least do a quick update for the loyal readers, all two of you. Okay maybe all six of you. Anyway, believe it or not but your's truly is still sitting in Sydney awaiting the powers that be to decide on a date for my fixer upper surgery, or should it be called let's try this again surgery. Whatever you want to call it they still haven't decide when they are going to do it. I am however under the impression, based on a phone call I got a short while ago, that I will be entering the hopital tomorrow under my neurologist care becasue the lump that has formed "again" is causing me considerable nerve pain. I will at least be able to get adequate pain management while they take there sweet little time in deciding when they can find the time in their busy schedule to fix something that just could very well be their fault in the first place but let's not get ahead of my self.
All I want to say is I'm hanging in there and thanks everyone for all of your support. I'll try to post something from the hospital but in case I can't know that your thoughts mean a lot and I'll let you know what's going on as soon as I can. Until then take care one and all...

4 October 2008

The verdict is in...

Well as they say third time lucky and I hope for my sake that holds true. That's right boys and girls I have to have a third operation. The exact same complication as last time has occurred once again. It's not something I can say "Well let's just leave it and I'll learn to live with it" because like the last complication if I leave it to long I could and probably would lose the use of the lower half of my body and we all know that's not going to happen. Well at least I know it's not going to happen as I kind of like being able to walk.
As I said in the last post I am going to have to wait for a spot to open up in the public system but the surgeon thinks it will only be a week before they get me in. My neurologist is also on top of it and has told me that if there is a problem before they get me in all I have to do is present to the emergency room and tell them to call him and he will take care of everything. He is working with the surgeon to make this happen sooner rather than later.
So here I sit in Sydney waiting for another hospital stay. One good thing, actually it's a great thing, is that hubby is flying up tomorrow instead of next week. I'm glad he's coming up sooner because I sure do need a cuddle. Once again that's all I have for right now but I'll let you know as soon as things progress. Until then take care and I'll see you soon so to speak.

2 October 2008

Where's Tony???

Well unlike trying to find Waldo I'll tell you were I am. I'm in Sydney. I flew up on Sunday so I could see the surgeon a soon as I could, which ended up to be Tuesday. I also arranged an appointment with my neurologist and saw him on Wednesday. Today I'm back to the hospital for MRI #3. After that the two doctors will converse after which they will decide my fate. I still believe that they are going to do another surgery. Oh, and yes I'm the unlucky blogger from the previous post that is about to have his third surgery.
I told my neurologist that I had no intention of going back home until this thing was fixed. I also told him that they would have to arrange the surgery, if there is to be a surgery and I'm sure there will be another surgery, that they will have to make all of this happen at the public hospital as I can not afford another stint in the private hospital. The last two surgeries have cost hubby and I roughly $24,000. We simply can not afford for me to have another visit to the private hospital as much as I would prefer to have the surgery done in the private hospital. I know my health comes first but when the well runs dry it runs dry. Besides when it comes right down to it the only thing different between the public and the private are the rooms. The rooms at the private are nicer. Other than that the food is the same as it comes from the same kitchen, because the two hospitals share the one kitchen. The surgeon will be the same but because I'll be in the public system I won't have to pay him in fact I won't have to pay a cent. It's one nice thing about living here in the land down under. So when it comes right down to it there is a huge difference and the best way to go is through the public system.
I hear you say why didn't you go through the public system for the first two surgeries. The answer is, I could not wait to go into the public system as the surgery had to be done right away or I could have lost the use of my legs. The public system can sometimes be a bit difficult to access unless you know how to navigate the system. I won't have to wait this time as my neurologist has connections at the public. He is well known and quite respected at the public and if he wants somebody admitted it happens right away with no questions asked. I didn't have him involved last time and now looking back I realise I should have had him involved from the beginning as it would have saved me a lot of money.
So anyway that's what happening with me at the moment. Hubby is back at home holding down the fort. I wish he was here but someone who is not the patient, that would be me, has to take care of the house and the cat, etc. He will be here next Wednesday, which is when we were both originally supposed to fly up to attend a 40th birthday celebration for his brothers wife. So unless something bad happens, and I'm hoping it won't, I'll just have to wait to see him. Other than that I got nothin'. I'll let you know what the verdict is as soon as I know. Oh and thanks everyone for your comments and kind thoughts it means a lot to me. Cheers...