Shut it, please


I usually opt for quietness when I’m in hospital. Clearly the opposite applies to my roommate. Hospital rules state that you cannot have more than 3 visitors at a time. See, I don’t mind the amount of visitors my roommate has every hour…we all have our preferences, she prefers people, lots of them. I just don’t.

My problem is that the noise is so loud, they are so inconsiderate about the fact that there is another person in the room with them. At any given point they form small groups amongst themselves, so there are 3 groups having different conversations. Would I be a bad person if I ask them to shut it for a short while or keep it on a low?

I really think they are all inconsiderate!

The nursing stuff is incompetent, they are just looking at the group and saying absolutely nothing! Despite the fact that this noise is filtering throughout the ward.

I just really want to sleep in peace, wake up tomorrow and go home…


Say Nuclear X-ray


Monday, 8 September 2014

I present myself at Sunninghill Hospital for my long anticipated admission, only this time I have no idea what’s in store for me.

The day goes by very slow, no action just sitting on a hospital bed tossing and turning. My mind is so preoccupied I cannot even focus on reading my book.

The language in this book I’m reading is heavy written by a Mexican author. It requires focus and you have to be in the zone to read and understand. So I put it away after a number of attempts. I decide to watch television…nothing exciting.

At about 7:34 my Specialist Urologist finally makes an appearance. A brief conversation occurs and from this, I have to do some extra texts the following day.

My doctor looks at me, and says “you look like you could use a good sleep tonight?” That was met with so much enthusiasm, I said “yes I would like some sleeping tablets”

I always find the 1st night of hospital I struggle to fall asleep. So after taking my meds with Stillnox, I had a glorious night.

Tuesday, 9 September

At 4am a representative from Lancet comes through for bloods. During morning I have a series of tests which I have done before…so I am almost rolling my eyes after every test.

The porter comes to fetch me at the ward at about 12:30 for some test, we get to that section and I realise that this will be the very first time I do this kind of test.

Nuclear X-ray, I have never even heard of it before, so I get there and a pleasant nuclear specialist or nuclear doctor makes me feel comfortable. So she explains the test and what it seeks to do. So I ask her a couple of questions and differences between the CT scan. So my lesson starts while the nice doctor prepares….

Nuclear Medicine
Nuclear medicine is a medical speciality that involves giving a patient a small amount of radioactive medication, called a radiopharmaceutical. This makes the body slightly radioactive for a short time. A special nuclear medicine camera detects the radiation, which is emitted (released) from the body, and takes images or pictures of how the inside of the body is working, in this case my kidney. She injected the radioactive medication into my blood stream through a vein.

Very interesting,

I made a pact to find out as much as I can about procedures performed on me, so I take care not to annoy the doctor. I ask her about the function of this machine that she is wheeling me into…she explains that it uses a gamma camera that is able to detect and make images from very small amounts of ionising radiation emitted from patients. So this machine she wheeled me into has a narrow table where I had to lie strapped on the sides. The camera has two heads, used to obtain the images. Each camera head has a flat surface that had to be very close to the me. Besides the fact that I could not feel any sensation, this exercise was very uncomfortable, for an hour I had to lie down with minimal movement.

I could feel my bladder was constrained. It was full and I needed to get off the table to empty it, but the nice doctor said “5 more minutes, and then you empty your bladder and come back for the last round”.

Five more minutes, the longest five minutes of my life, a full bladder is not the most comfortable feeling when you have a kidney that does not drain properly.

I remember that I have not asked doctor what is the difference between nuclear medicine from a normal X-ray and CT examinations?

During a normal X-ray or CT examination, an image is formed from the ‘shadow’ created by the body as it is positioned between the X-ray machine (source of the X-ray beam) and the X-ray detector. The body stops some, but not all, of the X-rays and the patient is not made radioactive by the X-rays.

In nuclear medicine studies, the radiopharmaceutical given to the patient makes them, and the organ system or body part being studied, radioactive for a short time. This ionising radiation (usually a gamma ray) is emitted or released from the body, and can be detected and measured using a nuclear medicine gamma camera. All living things contain some radioisotopes (such as carbon 14 and potassium 40); a nuclear medicine study will make them ‘more radioactive than normal’ for a short time – hours or days.

An X-ray or CT image is formed from ionising radiation (X-rays) that passes through the body, but does not arise from the body; whereas a nuclear medicine image is formed from the ionising radiation (usually gamma rays) emitted from within the body. A gamma ray has similar properties to an X-ray, but it arises from the nucleus of an atom, whereas an X-ray arises from the electron shell of an atom.

Another way that nuclear medicine is different from X-ray and CT examinations is that an X-ray study shows what something looks like. This gives indirect information about how it is working: normally, abnormally, diseased, injured and so on. In nuclear medicine studies, the radiopharmaceutical usually only goes to the part of the body or organ system if it has some function and so shows how it is working. The images can also give information about what the body part or organ system looks like.

Nuclear medicine and X-ray tests are often complementary, providing different information that together make a diagnosis more certain.

So that’s my lesson for the day, now I wait for my urologist to explain where to from here, whilst remaining hopeful that there will be a solution, at least a long term one.


Getting to the bottom of ‘insomniac’ habits


So it’s after 12:35 am and I am up because this week I am having the most outrageous sleeping pattern. I would be in bed as early as 9pm sleep until after midnight and then I’m up until right about when I’m supposed to wake up for work.

So this morning I decided to make the best of this ‘insomniac’ habit, I needed to clear my mind and establish exactly what is it that was unsettling me out of my sleep. After a short list of what could potentially be the problem, I managed to identify the route course of my insomnia, especially last night.

This coming Monday the 8th of September, I am scheduled for admission at Sunninghill Hospital for some procedure which at this point I don’t know exactly what it is. Story for another day…. Last year I had to undergo some surgical procedure for endometriosis and some form of cancer, on top of all of this a stubborn kidney that refuses to drain properly. Anyway, all of the time I was going through this I had my family, friends and colleagues who were very supportive, sending messages of support, flowers, fruit baskets, cards….the works. I appreciate all of this so much.

There is this one person, did not bring flowers, fruit baskets just humor, warmth and a very special way of taking care of me…Even when I did not see them, the conversations brought them close to me, close enough to bring a broad smile on my face and my heart.

This person has seen the most outrageous photos from my surgery, has known when I was really down because I was ready to rip the catheter out! An individual who not only asks questions on the surface but goes out of his way and researches some of these medical phenomenon… I laughed the one time when my friend said “dude, I checked this thing out on Google, this shit is scary”…that made me laugh.

Only this person can say that and it does not offend me. Now that I am going back to Sunninghill again and they are far away, I am wondering if I will be able to still feel the warmth….and that is what I think is keeping me awake…


Organizing life from a hospital bed


When I found myself being admitted in hospital in July yet again, I was like “not again, can one year just go by without me being hospitalized?”

Anyway, I have learned over the years that the moment I am told that I will be spending a couple of days in hospital, the sooner I embrace it the better it is for me.

So, I immediately go into ‘organize life mode’, more so this time because it was during school holidays and the boys were at regional hockey camp. A friend who has been loafing around at home due to a change in employment conditions was of course available to help with the boys! That part was sorted. Someone to pick the boys up from hockey camp, buy them some perishables and drop them off at home, check!

Because this friend is my homie, lover, friend…a very special friend, I enjoyed a visit from the boys in hospital while on their way home and got to receive a couple of pictures from prize giving ceremony.

Now, I had to plan for the boys to get a hair cut, packing of bags for school, one final visit before they go to school and lastly for a lift to school.

A couple of friends are always around to help out now and then when I need them, especially when I’m in hospital. That’s the only time I need help really, so I’ve learned to ask for help.

After a couple of phone calls I had one friend taking the boys for a haircut, some replenishment of perishables and bringing them to hospital for yet another visit…

Packing of their school bags is an activity that requires supervision, so this was one area I was worried about! If I could I could go home for an hour or so pack or pick the clothes quickly and return to my hospital bed! Now that’ll be impossible even I know that. I ask my trusted sister to take care of this aspect, anyway she did not help and my helper ended up packing every piece of clothing for the boys to take to school! And I did not know this until I was back from hospital on a Sunday morning when we had to go to church and they had no decent clothes for church….urrrrg so this is one aspect that I could not control! Epic fail!

The day for them to get to school went very smooth, were picked up by another trusted friend, and everything went well with the drop off!

So I figure, if I had to stay in hospital longer than I have thus far, I would manage very well and that sort of makes it more acceptable to stay there….I even managed to take selfies with some nursing staff…next target is to convince my urologist to take a selfie with me…