Saturday, 22 March 2014

Day Three-Point-Five and Four - Ask And You Shall Receive

When I left you yesterday, I had been visited by the pacemaker technician and was still waiting to be brought down to Radiology for a second attempt at having a venogram. It had left my arm already looking kind of like a bruised pincushion after four sustained attempts over about an hour and a half, so I wasn't much looking forward to a repeat performance!

Lunch included jelly and ice cream, and I have to say that the ready availability of jelly and icecream is what makes hospital bearable. This one was lime, and didn't taste like fake lime! But, as I said to Kirsti, I'd have to add vodka and soda to it to be truly certain whether it tasted like natural lime ;)

I ate the jelly just in time, because the orderly showed up to wheel me down to Radiology. This time I made a special effort to stay warm - it's as cold as a morgue downstairs; and, quite frankly, had me wondering whether there were a bunch of ghosts wandering about the place putting a bit of chill in the air. It was a totally different team doing the procedure this time, which I was kind of relieved about - apparently they had booked more experienced staff in because they knew it was going to be tricky.

They capitulated to my request for a local anaesthetic to take away the pain of the bruising (hah, I'm so soft!) which was good of them, and one of the nurses did an excellent job of distracting me the entire time by talking to me. Except for the bit where I watched the X-ray up on the screen, which was so awesome it didn't allow me to focus on anything else. You could see the radioactive dye go into my vein, and light the whole vein up, and you could see the pacemaker and leads with perfect clarity. You should YouTube it. I'm sure it'll be there! 
In theory it shouldn't be much worse than being canulated, but I have crappy veins, and I think they must have used a different type of needle this time - a bigger one - because there is actually a small hole in my arm, kind of like the vampires at the Blood Bank leave. They went deep, and they were totally confident, and despite the fact that it is still really sore today it was a calm, smooth procedure. Just the way you want them to be! I'm annoyed that the below graphic that I so carefully annotated for you has inexplicably rotated and shrunk itself, so if you want to read what I wrote more easily then you'll have to zoom in and tilt your head...

Back on the ward, and I begin to grow bored. I stare out the window at the buidling where my friend Rachel works (the one who visited the other night), and I slowly become aware that all the men walking in and out of the building are really fit, quite good-looking guys. Now, there's three possibilities there - one, I'm incredibly bored, and any tiny stimulation is amplified. Two, I've been single for a while, and anything on two legs looks mighty tasty. Or three, these guys are actually pretty hot! So naturally, I hit up Rachel's Facebook wall to share this observation with her:

So Rachel responds:

Aaaand of course, because Rachel had tagged Matt in her response, seeing as how he's a workmate and a Facebook friend, he saw it!!! *squirms* 
(I've blocked out his pic because I figure I should respect his privacy a little bit (er, so hopefully telling you this doesn't, like, not do that...), so if anyone's stalking him on Facebook, being able to see his photo would make it easier for randoms to send annoying friend requests. Not sure if it makes a difference to him but I figured it was the right thing to do.)
So I thought, I can sit here and be a little bit embarassed about the fact that this pretty hot guy has actually become aware of the conversation and bought into it, or I can roll with it. After all, I've never met this guy, and probably never will, so it doesn't really matter what he thinks of me. So, being my usual, flippant self with pretty much no shame (well, not when there's nothing to lose, anyhow!), I posted the following:

Yes, I really sent that.
Nobody's surprised, are they ;) Like I said, I have no shame... and I wonder why I'm single!
So that kept me entertained for a little while.
And then my friends Sarah and Dave showed up in between Matt's message and my response, during which I moved rooms to a smaller one with just two beds in it. I'm sharing with a 39-year-old woman who has had a heart attack, and, watching her try to process all the fear, I really feel for her! Especially because she has four kids.
Anyway, Sarah is good to have around because she's a coronary care nurse and has been involved in a lot of surgeries like the one I'm going to have. She was actually my first nurse on the ward when I was medivaced from a hike a few years back, and after that, separately to me, she met my friend Dave. They eventually moved to Tassie for work while I was on a job down there, and so I got to know Sarah down there over many a glass o' cider and wine, which was awesome.
Anyway, talking to her helped cement a decision I had pretty much already made about my surgery, but it's nice to be reassured. I've had a doctor friend do the same for me (who I incidentally met in ICU in Peru when I was diagnosed), so I'm hoping that all the positive vibes and good medical mojo will get me through :)
After they left my dad showed up, and then my friend Sara from uni had chocolates and a windmill delivered, so now I have something to look at on the foot of my bed. That will come in handy when the surgery finally happens and I can't move. Cute!
It was all happening yesterday, it really was. I wrote my response to Matt's comment while my dad was there, and I was chuckling as I wrote it. I had to kind of explain Facebook to dad, but I think in the end he got it, and was amused by what I had said to Matt.
He was even more amused about half an hour later when Matt Witkowski, runner-up Cleo Batchelor of the Year 2013 showed up!!! (And I saw the guy that won, and WTF!!! NO idea why Matt didn't win) He actually, really and truly showed up! Dad made himself scarce pretty quickly, which was nice of him :D
Matt wandered in quite confidently and flashed me this big, friendly grin, pretty much exactly like this but less posed (this is his profile photo, stolen from the Cleo Batchelor of the Year page. I think I can get away with stealing it because it's clearly for educational purposes...):

Yep, that's his real smile and does not appear to be photoshopped. *reaches for sunglasses*
I was dazzled by his smile for a moment, and then confused for a split second, until I realised who he was. I figured it out from the friendliness of the grin, not because I recognised him... although I did vote for him in the contest, because Rachel ran a really good campaign to drum up votes, so I probably should have remembered his face a little better!
He stayed and chatted until the surgeon showed up, which - sadly for me - was about ten minutes, and he was absolutely lovely. He has bucketloads of personality, he's really intelligent, and it was just so sweet of him to actually come and say hi. It nicely capped off what was shaping up to be a pretty good day (as far as hospital days go, although I think this might have raised the bar on even an average day!).
Of course, since I met him I've done a little bit of stalking Googling to find pictures for you (hah, I'm such a philanthropist!). In the process I have discovered that in addition to being sweet enough to visit me and alleviate my boredom, he is also a PhD candidate, is researching childhood cancers and was an ambassador for Light the Night last year (which is where I stole the below picture from). Sigh. And I imagine that if he's the kind of guy that shows up when a stranger in need jokes about it (albeit a friend of a friend), then he probably has a big heart and a cheeky sense of humour, too. Cute, smart, tall, sweet and apparently generous with his time. Don't ask me how he was single for long enough to win Bachelor of the Year! As I said, he's absolutely lovely, and my friend is lucky to know him. And I feel lucky to have had a visit from him, too.
Here's that other picture for good measure, before I finish gushing about him and stop making a total dick of myself!

You're welcome :)
So now that I've gotten that out of my system, I can tell you about the rest of my afternoon, and then my today. I know this is a long post, but I've realised that I should be posting at the end of the day, not half way through, because obviously a lot can happen in an afternoon! Plus, yaknow, most days are going to be borrrrrring. No hot randoms visiting, that's for sure!
So the surgeon came, confirmed that my subclavian vein was clear enough to do the lead extraction and replacement, asked if I still wanted to do it (being the riskier option), I said yes, and he said he'd try and get me in on Tuesday on the emergency surgery list. It has to be done at the hospital next door, you see, because he needs their equipment including lasers (I just wanted to say "lasers", Dr Evil style!) and also needs a cardiac surgeon on standby in case the needs assistance. Like I said, it's a riskier procedure so it's good to have backup there if it's needed. And if I get bumped from the emergency list then I'll be stuck here until the 4th of April waiting for the op!!!
My dad, who had kindly vacated the room when Matt arrived, came back while the surgeon was there and it was good for him to hear about the risks, and for him to back up my decision. Dad stayed a little while after the surgeon left and then left.
Later in the evening my friend Al visited and had a good ol' chat, and stayed until about half past nine. Which totally proves that hospital visiting hours are an absolute crock! I guess if I was sick, or my roomate was sicker, it might be a different story. But the nurses pretty much let me get away with whatever I want, because all they have to do for me is check my blood pressure maybe four times a day, hand out medication every twelve hours and change my sheets. Walk in the park!
So that was yesterday.
This morning passed quietly enough, although I did have a good chat with my roomie, so after my shower I put on my awesome dinosaur pyjamas and went for a quick stroll around the ward.
Okay, a long stroll.
Okay, four medium-sized strolls.
Wearing these.

I clocked up 80 laps in four goes, which is about 6km. Go me!
It's kind of funny doing it, because the first few times that staff and patients see you they give you a big smile like they think it's great, and then like it's funny... and then it gets a bit awkward, and everyone avoids eye contact. They probably think I'm crazy, and they'd be right - I'm going nuts here, and no wonder. Check out the awesome view on my walk!
(Okay, looks like the video isn't loading on my laptop, so hopefully it's loading on yours. It's a video of a lap of the ward, which takes approximately 57 seconds and involves grey carpet and white walls.)

I haven't breathed fresh air in four days. By the time I get out of here it will probably be closer to ten days, and I'm probably going to get a bit high when I get outside!
In between walks I had a couple of visitors - Deano, Kaye, and Ness (Dean's twin). Ness brought me some PJs that I needed (now that I know I'll be here for aaaaages!), and Dean brought Trauma Ted with him, who shows up every time a friend is in hospital, which is nice.

And now, looking at Trauma Ted has reminded me that it's bed time. All that walking has tired me out!

Hopefully tomorrow brings something good and equally exciting as the last day and a half. I'm not sure whether the good things would be green jelly, or a visit from another tall, good-looking, lovely, intelligent guy like Matt (and hey, if any of you fellas reading this fits the description of at least two of those four things, come on down!). Hopefully I get jelly AND hotties :)

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