Health Update: What Mel learned in hospital

Well I spent the better part of last week in Canberra with Miss A being ferried back and forth to Canberra Hospital for a cannula in the arm and regular DHE infusions.  I’ve not actually been a hospital patient since birth, so I learned many things during this:

  1. I hate cannulas – especially when they take over an hour and a number of attempts to actually get one successfully inserted. They also hurt when in the crook of your arm for four days straight.
  2. I hate bad supervisors and I will say something about it. The nurse attempting to insert my cannula tried long and hard, obviously trying every trick she knew how to get it into my difficult veins before asking her supervisor for advice or a more senior nurse to take over the case. The supervisor barely looked up from the PC said she hasn’t made the requisite number of jabs and to do it again. I raised my voice and from across the room and started listing all the ways a decent supervisor would have handled that query until he left the room. A senior nurse came over, gave her some great advice and eventually managed to insert the cannula.
  3. Short male doctors who walk in wearing motorcycle riding leathers do not have a sense of humour about suggesting they ride Vespa when they actually ride a Triumph Bonneville. Frankly he shouldn’t have asked us to guess ….
  4. I am highly allergic to codeine not just merely allergic. The premed, designed to reduce the nausea associated with the DHE, actually made me nauseous, hot, bothered and jittery.
  5. I am very lucky – I merely felt nauseous for an hour or so after each infusion and then the nausea went away on its own without any premed. Most patients apparently vomited while taking these infusions.
  6. We wont mention the diarrhea – but I doubt Miss A has ever had a cleaner bathroom. I even used a toothbrush to scrub parts of it I was so embarrassed by how bad an attack I had.
  7. I am not a good hospital patient – when the doctor turned my beeper off that  announce the end of my treatment then forgot to inform the nursing staff, I gave him five minutes and then asked what our dinner plans were. He looked confused and then informed a nurse I was ready to be unhooked and checked over. Miss A looked equal parts horrified and delighted at me so I figured I had overstepped bounds there.
  8. I do not deserve my friends. I was unnerved, uncomfortable, irritable and at times frightened by this experience and Miss A sat unperturbed through the whole thing, keeping me distracted by telling me horror stories of all the times she had been in hospital and all the gruesome procedures she had undergone – she certainly kept me distracted for the better part of the time!

The good news is that at the end of it I think something may have worked!  It hasn’t worked as advertised as I still have migraines, but it has certainly done something.  I don’t seem to get into the homicidal rages when the migraines are triggered.  My head still pounds abominably but the sharp overwhelming pain that drowns out all thought is gone. Its like the edge has been taken off the pain.

It’s not the way it was advertised but I think we may have broken the trigger cycle. The migraines are still there, they are still be being triggered, but somehow I can deal with them now.  So now we figure out how long this will last, if it improves over time, if it fades over time, how often I will need to go through that series of infusions (most patients have them regularly from monthly to six-monthly) so we will see how it settles over the next week or so.

I see the specialist again on 31 August for more news.  I’ve been experimenting with going out in public to see how these changes are working. I went out to lunch with a friend while having the infusions and that worked OK.  I was still quite ranty and not quite myself, but I could at least string sentences together.  So this weekend at the Craft Fair will be the next test – a public venue with a couple of friends. The head will pound, but hopefully mentally and emotionally I should be able to hold it together for a couple of hours.

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5 Responses to Health Update: What Mel learned in hospital

  1. Tempewytch says:

    Urk to naff hospitals and procedures, but it sounds as though the corner has been turned (well we hope so at any rate!), good luck with the craft fair (which hopefully won’t be too noisy for you)

  2. kay jones says:

    Just followed on here from last post. At least things do seem to be improving albeit very slowly. Hospitals seem to be nightmares these days. Whatever happened to good old fashioned nursing, consciencious and trustworthy staff?

    Good luck with the fair. Hope it was a success.

  3. Mel says:

    Oh I must say here the actual nursing staff were fantastic. The nurses were hard-working, efficient, always cheerful and ready to explain what they were doing. The nurses held that place together.

    It was the manager that was an asshole and the daily rotation of doctors didn’t help. That manager loved to play games like wait until four or five patients needed assistance at the same time and then he would call four of the five nursing staff over for a “chat” and there was nothing they could do about it. He would wait until one of them was off shift, had her coat and handbag and walking out the door and then he would call her over to discuss an issue that arose from the day. While getting my getting my infusions, I watched him watch his staff and then pick his moments the little prick.

    And yes it does feel like a corner has been turned in terms of recovery. I was told if these infusions were going to work, then it would be like taking an aspirin for a normal headache – I would know its working because the pain would stop. Well that hasn’t happened. But something has. So I’m definitely being cautiously optomistic.

  4. Julie Dollery says:

    I’ve been quite an absent friend of late. The new job is filling what little brain I have left. So sorry for that and will do better.
    I 100% agree with your comment on the nurses. It seems the nursing profession is THE one bright spot on the ailing hospital system in Australia. In spite of the lack of beds, the lack of caring from hospitals I (and those I know) have NEVER had a bad experience with the nursing staff.
    Love that there may be progress. I’m hoping that the partial success may give them some idea on a direction fwd to solve this once and for all

    • Mel says:

      “I’ve been quite an absent friend of late. The new job is filling what little brain I have left. So sorry for that and will do better.”

      Nonsense! Sorry events kinda overtook me for a while so I got sidetracked, but I did want to respond to this eventually 🙂

      Friendship, true friendship, is something that is always there. It knows that sometimes other areas of our life take precedence (like grief, or stress of a new job) and its patient.

      I have true friends Kim & Ian (friends of Brendan) who for some reason or other, I actually only get to really speak to once a year or so … and every time it feels like we only spoke a couple of days ago. To me, your friendship seemed naturally to fall into the same category. Its OK if life gets busy for a while, we’ll just pick up again when its gets less hectic.

      Sorry if that sounds creepy or weird to you, but that’s why I haven’t been pestering you to ask how the new job is, and how you’ve been – I’ve been figuring you’ll announce or just email when you’re ready or have something to share. Is that OK or is that being absent?

      Friendship and long distance communication is a funny old thing ….

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