It’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks since Gordon posted about me getting through the procedure fine. Although I was discharged from hospital on the Thursday just before Easter, and had a couple of pleasant days with Gordon and my sister Andrea sampling the cafés and shops of inner Sydney, my leg , where the doctors accessed the arterial system through the femoral artery, was painful, and the bruising kept getting bigger rather than smaller. Gordon flew home on the Sunday as we’d arranged, to collect the dogs from the kennel and get back to the demands of his job, but I’d planned to stay on in Sydney for a few more days, and then have a few days in Canberra.
The best laid plans, as Mr Burns says, are apt to go awry. On the Monday, with my leg still painful, I figured I’d better go to the Emergency department at the hospital, a short walk away, just to have it checked and be sure that the femoral artery wasn’t leaking. After the usual hours of waiting in ED, I was admitted to hospital, but by this time the doctors and I were reasonable confident that the femoral artery was okay, and hoped this would be confirmed by a CT scan the next day. Yes, the scan confirmed that the artery was fine – but it found a blood clot in the vein right next to the spot in the artery where they’d accessed the artery, possibly a result of all the poking and prodding and pressing during the procedure. (Yes, I believe I muttered a rude word or three under my breath!)
So, I spent a week in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, on a heparin drip and easing on to warfarin for its anti-clotting properties, having frequent blood tests to check clotting levels, but otherwise feeling quite fine. It was a bit hard and lonely being in hospital with Gordon and the rest of my family so far away, but since I wasn’t really ill, it wasn’t worth all the expense of Gordon flying back to Sydney (plus accommodation, plus kennel fees, etc…) My friends in Sydney were wonderful and came and visited several times, and my sister came up from Canberra twice, so I wasn’t short on visitors or neglected! The staff – medical and nursing – were fantastic; caring, dedicated, sympathetic and friendly. I can’t speak highly enough of them. Anyone cynical about human nature should spend some time with neuro-surgery nurses and doctors!
Last Sunday, when it looked like I’d be in hospital for quite some more days until the medication levels were right, I asked one of the doctors whether it would be possible to be transferred back to Armidale, to the hospital here. I didn’t hold out a lot of hope – but on Monday morning, the neuro team swung into action, and by lunch-time they’d found a physician to take over my care at Armidale Hospital (not real easy in a small town), booked a bed, and booked the patient air transport. At 2pm, the patient transport team (registered nurse and driver) arrived, and I was wheeled out of RPA. At Bankstown airport, we pulled up right beside the small plane, and I met the pilot, and transferred to the plane – opting to sit up rather than use the stretcher, so I could enjoy the view.
For a writer, of course, the flight was a great opportunity for some research, and Mike, the RN, was happy to answer my questions. The patient transport service wasn’t a full air-ambulance; while there’s an RN accompanying the patient, they don’t do emergency cases – emergency air ambulance services are contracted separately to other organisations. But it was interesting, nonetheless – and a quick and easy way to get back to my home town! By 4.30pm, I was in Armidale Hospital, in a single room, blissfully quiet, enjoying the view of trees and country town landscape without any skyscrapers, and looking forward to seeing Gordon when he finished work.
I had two nights there, but yesterday was discharged, and oh, how lovely it was to drive out of town and come home! The dogs barked and licked and snuggled up and covered me in fur, and I enjoyed a mug of proper tea, made from tea leaves, and then had an afternoon nap, during which no-one woke me for observations or medications 🙂 And wonderful, too, to have a proper internet connection again… while the iPhone let me check emails and do some web things while I was away, the small screen and the difficulty in typing quickly meant I only did the essentials. The dogs and I did a gentle afternoon walk as the sun was setting, and I breathed in fresh autumn air, and enjoyed the twittering of the birds and insects and the peace and beauty of the bush around me.
Now that I’m home, and my laptop and I are reunited, I need to get more serious work on book 3, First Light. Hospital is not conducive to writing, or even much thinking about writing, but I have had a few ideas which I’m looking forward to working into the manuscript. So, after I see my doctor, have today’s blood test, and do some grocery shopping, it will be back home to the laptop and, I hope, some productive writing. Oh, and gentle dog-walking in the late afternoon light!