Saturday, February 25, 2017



I am now home from hospital.

Thanks to those who sent “Get Well Soon” messages, also to those who told me to get up and start posting Bytes again.

By way of letting you know what occurred, below are reports from hospital that I sent by mobile phone text messages to family and a few others . . .

Monday, 20 February 2017

Report on what happened:
  • Saturday night started getting chills. Had to go to the bathroom and collapsed, couldn’t get up despite trying over and over. Was disoriented and passing out. Kate found me on my knees on Sunday morning in front of the armchair with my face buried in the cushion, passed out.
  • She and Elliot called the ambulance and they found blood pressure 70/30 and temp 40.3, pulse low 40’s. I don’t recall any of that.
  • I woke up in hospital and I was later told that I was lucky I was not taken there any later.
  • They have worked out that I have 2 conditions, an infection in my leg which went into septicaemia and a collapsed lung from the shallow breathing when lying face down on the cushion passed out.
  • Originally they thought the only problem was my lungs and that I had pneumonia, my leg not having any breaks in the skin or any obvious infection symptoms.
  • I am being pumped full of antibiotics and other stuff including potassium and magnesium but feeling okay, albeit it tired.
  • I didn’t even know I had an infection.
  • They will probably keep me here (RPA) to the end of the week. The staff are great.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Progress report:
  • I am in a ward of 4 people:
o An elderly guy who sleeps all day and night but occasionally stands up and doesn’t move, like a statue, or who goes wandering and has to be led back to bed.

o A guy who doesn’t speak English and moans for hours, usually at night, on each breath: uhhhh, uhhhhh, uhhhhhh.

o A chap who is Welsh and can barely ne understood but who keeps ranting, arguing, going crazy (tries to rip out his lines, tries to leave, is nasty to the nurses. They had to call Security on him last night and sit a nurse at the end of his bed for the night.
  • When I was on the phone to Kate yesterday and Ranter was ranting and Moaner was moaning, she could hear it all quite clearly. I said that I was thinking of getting my own shtick, to make chicken sounds. . . brrrrk, brk brk brrrrk.
  • Because a lot of this happens at night, I catch up on sleep in the day when things are quieter for some reason (why is that?) but last night the boys were quiet and I slept.
  • I am being pumped full of antibiotics intravenously. They now see the problem as leg infection rather than pneumonia.
  • They removed my catheter during the night. To paraphrase Martin Luther King, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty I’m free at last.”
  • Except that I’m not free yet, I don’t have to carry the catheter bag going to the toilet or to do my toiletries such as shaving but I now have to take my friend (my IV pole) with me.
Happy Trails campers.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Ranter’s friend is arguing with the doctor that Ranter wants to go home and he is taking him home, that Ranter is being treated awfully by the doctors and nurses. BS! The doctor is telling him that if Ranter leaves, he will die, so that if he persists they will call Security, not on Ranter but on the friend.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Situation defused by a very patient and kind female doctor. I was so tempted to call out “Wake up to yourself you mugs, show some appreciation for the people who are looking after you” but I figured they would tell me to butt out. I wouldn’t make a good social worker or magistrate. 😡😡😡😡😡

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

(Because I don’t know where my phone charger lead is I can’t download any pics, so will describe same when relevant).

Meet my friend . . .

(a pic of my IV pole with stuff hanging off it)

I have named my friend Charlene, the name that Gomer gives his rifle in Full Metal Jacket.

This is my drip pole. There are many like it but this one is mine. It is my life. Without me it is useless. Without my drip pole I am useless.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017
  • Definite now that the problem is my leg, not lung(s). The culture grown from the bacteria in my blood is consistent with the sepsis of my leg.
  • Sepsis: Sepsis is the result of a massive immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood. It often leads to organ failure or injury. Sepsis is a medical emergency that becomes fatal or life-changing for many of the individuals who develop this "blood poisoning." - Medical News Today
  • The Respiratory Unit have passed me over to the Infectious Diseases Unit. (Elliot says that he won’t visit any more).
  • I am on stronger, different antibiotics by iv drip.
  • I have been moved to a “quieter room”.
  • Tomorrow morning they are going to put a cannula on the inside of my upper arm with a line in the vein going to near my heart. It’s called a Pick Line (I have since learned it is a PICC Line) and they will use that to put in antibiotics, take blood etc.
  • Also, when I am discharged, whenever that will be, I will be subject to Hospital in the Home, where that PICC Line will will be used to connect to a 24 hour antibiotic pack worn around the waist in a bum bag. Then once a day a nurse comes to the house to change the pack or I go to RPA to get it done, at least a week or more from discharge.
  • They said to stay home but I argued that if I am sitting at home I might as well sit in the office. That raises issues of elevating my offending leg.
That’s it for now.

Thursday 23 February 2017

  • As I mentioned yesterday, I am in a different room, more of that shortly.
  • Before I left where I was, Ranter was x-rayed. Not by his going to the x-ray department but by having the x-ray machine come to him. A big machine that looked like Optimus Prime and unfolded the same way was positioned in front of him with the cross hairs on his chest and an x-ray plate behind his back. 
  • Apparently there is no radiation risk but Thomas and I were asked to wait outside as a precaution.
  • Amazing technology.
  • By way of comparison, here is a pic of the chair next to my bed, worthy of entry to the website “There, I fixed it . . .”   (Photograph shows the arm rests secured by numerous layers of duct tape, of different colours).
  • A comparison between the two wards:

The one I just left:
Nurses had to keep dealing firmly and loudly with Ranter.
Lights were kept on at night by the patients.
TV sets kept on.
Disturbed sleep, if any.

The one I am now in:
So quiet I could be in a convent of a silent order.
Patients don’t talk I introduced myself to the others and shook hands but they looked at me like a had 2 heads).
Curtains around beds are all drawn at night.
Nurses use torches at night.
Nurses whisper at night when they have to change drips, take obs etc
  • Strange but I kinda miss Bedlam in a way. Maybe Billy Joel is right, that it’s more fun to laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

Thursday 23 February 2017


Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”

Smith’s Law” “Murphy was an optimist.”

  • I was prepped to go down to the Cath Lab to have the PICC Line put in, which is treated as a surgical procedure. I had to wear a hospital gown and was taken down in my bed by a porter.
  • At the Cath Lab an Irish lady introduced herself as Kathleen (what else?) and said she needed to check that I had good veins for a PICC. She ran an ultrasound device along my upper inner arm and, in a thick Irish accent, said “Oh, what a beautiful vein, Otto. That big black hole on the screen is your vein, isn’t it beautiful?”
  • I was too nonplussed to reply but she wasn’t expecting an answer and just kept talking. She put antispectic on my arm , measured the length of the line needed, then checked the medical records that had come down with me. She said “It says her that you’re on epixiban” (?). This is a blood thinner that I am required to take because of past blood clotting. I said that I was and she asked when I had last had it. I said last night and this morning. She said that they are supposed to suspend it before a procedure. I told her that it was even worse than that, they had doubled the daily does in that they considered my daily dose too low.
  • Bottom (PICC) line: no procedure today, come back tomorrow and suspend the epixiban. Go and thin no more.
  • Parting comments from Kathleen: “I was so looking forward to putting that PICC in, you’ve got the best veins we’ve seen all day and we have to send you away.”
  • On the positive side, I may go home tomorrow.
  • On the negative side, they want me to stay home for a week.
  • On the further negative side, my cannula just worked its way out and they have to insert another.

Friday 24 February 2017
  • The lady from the Sleep Clinic, let’s call her Brunhilde, made me sleep with a machine that pumps oxygen into your body. It has a mask over your nose and mouth and is quite challenging to get used to. I had bought the machine years ago, tried it a couple of times and stopped using it. My records of that are at RPA and Brunhilde was not happy. I did one hour the previous night so she changed the setting slightly and told me she wanted 3 continuous hours this time. She is a very forceful person. I went to sleep at 10.15pm and awoke at 1.45 am. I mentally calculated that I had given Brunhilde her 3 hours so took off the mask and sat up. The night nurse went past, saw me sitting up and whispered in frightened tones “Have you slept for 3 hours?” Brunhilde had co-oped the night nurses as well!
  • The PICC line has been installed. During installation I was given a local anaesthetic and the PICC line is manoeuvred into position with an ultrasound. I later had an x-ray to check it is all correct.
  • I mentioned to Kathleen that my wife is a former nurse and that she had once told me that some of the chaps who are most queasy at receiving needles are big, burly footballers. Kathleen replied, in her brogue, “It’s true. We’ve had a lot of bikies here, with tattoos and everything, and a lot of them are needle shy. I found it amazing at the beginning, I really did.”
  • I am amazed at the amount of waste in hospitals. The procedure with me involved opening a large surgical pack that had everything needed: gowns, medical items, electronics, equipment etc. As each item was used and no longer needed, it was cast aside. At the end, it was all sorted, bundled up and binned. I was told that wastage was the price for sterility and that it was cheaper.
  • I am now home.
  • Thanks, RPA, you guys are all great.

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