Friday morning dawns – well technically not dawn yet as it’s still pitch black outside but its 4.45 am and I’m awake. That’s not so bad, call that a pretty good night’s sleep. So, let’s have a walk around the floor and see if there’s any life out there.
I take my walk, do my standard exercises whilst my tea is brewing and then jump into bed and watch the early news whilst I drink my tea. Today is the day I go to rehab – excited to be changing locations and to get back to some normal activity. After showering etc I decide to empty the fridge of emergency rations and pack up as much stuff as I can so that when I have my morning visitors, I am not distracted and already packed. Lexi is early this morning having been to an earlier training session and needing to be at work a little earlier. We chat about her back work out and she shows me a couple of videos – wish I had been there…….. really makes me feel that it’s been ages since I was in the gym but it really is only a week to the day since I was there. I’m feeling brain dead – Lexi and I have this weird conversation where I say that I have noticed the bottles of water they are supplying are out of date. The date is 12/03/20. Lexi says yeah well 20 is not out of date, and I say but it’s gone 12 March – yes she patiently replies but 20 isn’t out of date. It’s gone 12 March I repeat and we’re in 2020 – stunned look from Lexi as she says uh no, it’s 2018 – OMG my brain is definitely woollie!
When Lexi leaves for work, breakfast arrives, I am soooo hungry. I try to save the toast for when David arrives with my coffee. The nurse arrives to do the usual BP checks and advises me that the transport to Waratah Private should be around 9.50 am. However, there is no guarantee as there was a lady who should have been moved yesterday and she is still waiting. I said I would make my own way there and perhaps she and I could share an Uber so that we weren’t travelling alone as the hospital does not like to discharge you to travel there alone. Nurse says, let’s wait and see what happens.
I’m all packed and ready to eat my toast with my coffee and David comes in – I’m so happy to see him I jump up and give him a hug and knock the extra large black coffee out of his hand and it tumbles to the floor. SPLOSH – no coffee. He’s looking pretty hacked off and simply turns tail to go back downstairs to get another one. It was an accident but he doesn’t look impressed.
So, having tried to resist the toast for so long, with my stomach still growling, I eat one piece whilst waiting for him. He returns, coffee in hand. I am sitting down and have vowed not to move until the coffee is on the table – yum, coffee and toast.
The nurse returns with the announcement that the transport is delayed until 11.30 am. Uh oh, I tell her I will take an Uber with the other lady. She says she doesn’t think that’s a good idea as the other lady is in her late 80s and of mediterannean descent and doesn’t speak English. David queries what ‘travelling alone’ actually means and we discover that if he travels behind on Scootie, that’s OK. I duly order a car and off we go. Unfortunately David gets a little wet and soggy on the way as it rains and he has no jacket!
Arriving at Waratah, I go to admissions on the ground floor. The young lady behind the desk asks my name, am I here for residential rehab? Yes, I reply to which she says are you going to the fourth floor? I have no idea I tell her, you tell me where I have to go – strange? With the flick of a few keys and the assistance of what looks like her supervisor, we are directed to L4. Waiting at the lifts, we encounter this lovely young lady who has just taken a patient home – she says come with me, I’ll show you to your room. We drop paperwork at reception and are directed to the room. I probably have the best room in the hospital. It is a corner room with dual aspect and an amazing view southwards with nothing in the way – it’s bright and huge. It’s like checking into a hotel – we are kind of left to our own devices. So, I unpack and check out the amenities – hmm no fridge in the room – disappointing. The nurse arrives and shows me a small communal lounge where there is an under counter fridge and tea and coffee making facilities but no microwave – I’ll have to eat the hospital food as I don’t believe there’s anywhere to heat anything up – I can explore more later, maybe in the evening there’s a microwave in the staff room I can use.
The nurse arrives. He does the usual check in tests, swabs, blood pressure etc etc. For once, I don’t appear to be thinking about food but David asks what happens about lunch, will I get anything as I am just checking in? The nurse assures me he will call the kitchen and sort something out and then leaves. David and I are left alone again. It’s decided that David should probably go home rather than just hang around and then he can come back later. I walk him to the lift which is something I love to do now that I can.
Back in the room, I realise I need a blanket, a pillow and some towels. I make a mental note to ask at reception next time I wander out there. A gentleman knocks on my door and wanders in – introduces himself as Phil, he’s wearing ID so obviously some type of official. He asks how I am and says that I seem a very upbeat healthy patient for somebody who has recently had surgery. I explain about my obsession with the gym and he starts talking about advice on some exercising etc as he has sciatic pain. I ask him what his role is a the hospital and he tells me he’s the Pastor.
Lunch is delivered and Phil leaves me to it. This lunch is something they have put together for me as I hadn’t been here to order for myself. There’s chicken, pumpkin and broad beans, a side salad, a banana, some ice cream, water and tea and coffee. Chicken and veggies was very nice I must say.
John the physio comes in to introduce himself and say that he will show me around. He takes me down to see the gym, the hydro pool and the café. The gym and pool are out of bounds unless you are accompanied by a physio which means I probably won’t get there today, so my first session in the pool will probably be Monday afternoon but I will apparently start in the gym tomorrow at 9 am – yay. The café is one that is at the entrance of the hospital and is open from 7 am to 4 pm and apparently serves good coffee.
John is a useful source of information. I talk about the time it takes before I am allowed to bend past 90 degrees, not being advisable to cross your legs, not twisting your hips and the reasons for this. He explains that if you move in any of these ways in the early stages of hip replacement there is a high risk of dislocation due to the neck of the implant coming into contact with the edge of the cap and being pushed out of place as it has not yet had a chance to embed into the tissue around it. We chat as we walk back to my room and it seems as though I may be able to go home on Sunday or Monday and become an outpatient visiting the hospital for physio a couple of times a week – sounds perfect to me.
Back in my room, I settle down to read and see what’s on Foxtel. The wifi here is pitiful and keeps dropping out – that little circle goes round and round and the picture just freezes, so frustrating especially when everything was so efficient at St Vincent’s. As I am standing by the side of the bed, there’s a knock on the door and a young man asks if I would like tea or coffee. I ask for a mug of strong tea which he duly makes, comes back in the room and hands it to me saying ‘what relationship are you to the patient (who he presumes is in the bathroom). I am the patient I reply to which he says how come you look so well, why are you here. I explain I have had a hip replacement almost a week ago and he looks at me incredulously – WOW how come you look so good he says. We chat about being fit before an operation and about me being young for a hip replacement.
The nurse comes in and wants to do an ECG. Another very young very pleasant Asian girl and for some reason we all gravitate toward conversations in regard to nutrition, meal plans and the gym. She tells me she has a Crunch membership and has been to the gym this week and is trying to lose weight. I ask her how many times a week she goes and apparently she made it once this week. Encouragement comes from me in the way of saying that’s a great start, once is better than none but also you need to build on this. So we chat and laugh about the reason she hasn’t made it any other day but Monday this week and low and behold it’s because she admits she is lazy. Her shift starts at 2 pm but she doesn’t get up early enough to get there beforehand!! We discuss the types of food she eats and she admits there’s lots of cake and rice involved and not a lot else. So embarrassed giggling over she says she had better get on and do the ECG and proceeds to stick sensors to various parts of my body. She conducts the ECG and disconnects all the leads saying that she will go and check the results and come back in 15 minutes. If the results are OK, she’ll remove the pads, but we may need to redo this and therefore I should leave the sensors on for now.
Lily is another of the nurses, she is full of life, friendly and upbeat and appears to do vital obs check. I ask her when meal times are (food focus as usual). She responds that breakfast is at 7.30 am, lunch at noon and dinner at 5 pm! What the hell – dinner at 5, that’s afternoon tea time not dinner. I enquire as to whether or not there is an option to have dinner later and / or somewhere to reheat my food if I choose to eat it later. She tells me there’s a staff microwave and if I let her know when I am ready, she will reheat dinner for me – how sweet.
So I sit down to write this and tell you guys all about my experiences. Just before 5 pm, here’s David – great to see him – it’s quite a trip on Scootie to here but he’s here on his trusty steed! It’s 5.15 and dinner arrives – ha ha ha. Being unsure of portion size I had ordered a soup and a main – hmm the main is more like an entrée so I’m not impressed. On the Google map I have noticed there’s a Coles express nearby so we decide to go in search of it and see if they have some pre prepared salad to go with it. As we exit the hospital entrance, we notice there’s a Korean restaurant almost next door so we just wander down there to see if there is a takeaway option. Hmm – it’s closed down. Walking towards Coles Express, I spot the lovely Lexi coming along the road on her Ninja. We attract her attention and explain that we are just off to Coles and won’t be long, we’ll see her back there. As we go around the corner, David sends Lexi a text and tells her to go up to the room and make herself comfortable. The Coles Express is attached to a petrol station and although there are signs for lots of shops around we can’t spot them and David is nervous that they may be too far away for me to walk. We turn tail and walk the other way along a street that has lots of takeaway food options however the menus aren’t in English – that could be a challenge. We go back to the hospital and Lexi is sitting in reception waiting – she thought we had just been telling her the room number. So up we all go to the room. David says his goodbyes and Lexi and I catch up on our days. I have decided to order Uber Eats – they’ll deliver to my door and so I order some Chicken San Choy Bao and some Chinese Broccoli – hmm, feeling hopeful now. Meal delivery is about 4 minutes away and so Lexi leaves and I settle to wait for the delivery. There’s a knock on the door and here it is. It doesn’t disappoint and there’s enough food there for two days. There’s no fridge in my room so I have to package it up and put in the shared fridge in the patient dining area.
I finally manage to chat with my friend Martha on the phone. She’s running around as usual with her hectic life – working, studying, taking exams, being sociable, going to the gym etc etc and I think she is one of the very few people I know with as much energy (if not more) than I do – Go Martha. I exchange text messages with the lovely Larissa who has gone out of Sydney for the weekend so we’ll catch up next week when I’m a bit more mobile.
Time to settle and watch some TV and read my book. I’m not sure how I feel about being here – my room is huge, the view is absolutely amazing, the staff are friendly and it’s all a bit casual but I feel as though there’s not really anyone who actually ‘knows’ that you are here if you know what I mean. I feel out on a limb. Oh well, there’ll be some activity tomorrow so we can see how we go.
Hippy Times … 🏋🏻♀️