A puck and a prayer

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In which Our Heroine meets a Kindly Religious Granny and consumes a piece of sporting equipment

This is my last morning here, I am a couple of hours away from waving a not-fond farewell to Tallulah and packing my bags, then waiting around for several more hours impatiently surrounded by luggage like I’m at a train station, until all the discharges are sorted, as per usual.

So just a quick farewell blog to the glories of hospital cuisine, until next time in 7-9 months’ time.

No excitement yesterday: unless you count the delightful elderly relative of my neighbor, who, in the nature of the average Kindly Religious Granny that is common the world over *, popped in to say hello then patted me on the head and chest and said a very, very enthusiastic prayer for my good health, complete with eager gesturing towards the heavens.

Being of English stock and therefore automatically embarrassed by anything involving public religious observance, emotion, or especially emotional public religious observance, all I could do was blush furiously and mutter ‘Thank you, thank you, you are so terribly kind’ like a twit.

However I did think it was extremely sweet, and in fact I did have a very good night, so I am choosing to believe that her thoughtfulness was answered.

Right! Onto the nosh.

Yesterday one dear friend, a great epicurean, commented that the great accuracy of my mobile phone snaps was causing her some discomfort – so for her sake today I am taking steps to alleviate some of her pain.

Luncheon

Salade de boeuf aux étranges choses d’orange

Now as I believe I have observed before, I have much of the choosiness and intestinal fortitude of an ibis; but when I saw what awaited me for lunch even I recoiled.

It appeared to be a pile of shredded mystery DNA atop some random cubed electric-orange things with occasional embarrassed bits of green poking out.

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Oh, god

For a wild few moments, the thought of Soylent Patients, planted by a commenter, came flooding into my mind, and my blood ran cold.

But then my Inner Ibis shrugged and picked up my fork anyway, and I’m glad it did, because it actually turned out pretty well. It was, in fact, shredded deli-style roast beef ** with pumpkin and carrot on burghul, with a bit of coral lettuce, and it was quite fresh and tasty and very filling.

Well, who knew?

Dinner

‘Rondelle de hockey’ de thon avec des légumes en saison

This appeared to be a small dry puck of instant mashed potato containing a very, very small quantity of tuna, breaded and deep-fried about three days ago and served a la tiède.

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What it lacked in flavour it made up for in determined texture, involving much sawing-at with my knife. But it was quite fortifying in its way: I had it at 5pm yesterday and as of 9:30am today I am still not the slightest bit hungry.

It was served with slightly watery zucchinis and tomato, which were actually both nice enough, and more of the ersatz mash, which wasn’t.

Well that about wraps it up for this time. I imagine that my immediate future holds a lot less reconstituted mash and far more fresh fish; at least I hope so!

Later XX

 

* You probably know one or two yourself. They exist throughout the world and in every known religion, but they all have the same three things in common: black clothes, very generous natures, and absolutely no boundaries when it comes to praying loudly in public.

** I hope.

The Full Velociraptor

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In which Our Heroine considers a brief career change

On the downhill slope today as they slowly decrease the Special K and I get my brain back – home tomorrow.

The ol’ brain seems to have coped much better this time. No delightfully twee hallucinations this time, or numb tongues. I think Brain has figured out what this is all about. I hope it bodes well for future.

Life in hospital is never dull. Yesterday there was An Hilarious Mishap as the meals for half the ward went AWOL. The nurses came and sheepishly let me know that my dinner was ‘probably somewhere’ and I would ‘definitely get fed’ but I might have to wait. It seemed that the meals may or may not have been actually made, and nobody knew what was going on.

I didn’t mind in the slightest – 5:30pm is at least two hours too early in my opinion, plus I have a drawer full of snacks – but it was a lot of fun lying back and listening to the sounds of general panic breaking out among the poor catering staff: people running around and desperate phone calls and occasional shouting from various directions.

I gather from the chaos that the punters are considered just a single missing meal away from going the Full Velociraptor and breaking away from their beds and hunting down orderlies in packs to devour them in spooky stairwells and up on gantries.*

Luckily for the cleaning staff, the missing meals were found in very short order and delivered, still relatively warm, and all the exciting shouting and running around ended.

I missed it afterwards. Maybe I’ll watch Jurassic Park II today.

So this was yesterday’s culinary delight.

Luncheon

Primo: salt and pepper calamari
Secondo: risotto primavera con ‘WTF olives

Yes, I know, what the heck was I doing ordering seafood in hospital? But a) I love fish and felt like a change, b) I was insatiably curious, and c) I thought it might be funny to blog about.

But – aside from the moment when I lifted the lid and the characteristic fragrance of squid floated out and I thought: this is it, I’ve gone too far, everyone on flood 6 is going to have me lynched for certain this time – it was disappointingly benign. The smell rapidly dissipated and I was left with a limp, cooling version of bog-standard cafeteria S&P calamari on wilted iceberg.

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Ocean Fresh (TM)

Oh well then, I supposed my entertainment would have to come from elsewhere.

Then I tasted this:

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And it was pleasant enough, salty, but with a faint hint of something a bit … kind of like …

Yep. Those are slices of rubber-ring black olives, like they put on cheap pizzas.

Why? Why? I love olives as much as the next martini fiend – more, probably, I feel that olives are among mankind’s greatest gift from the gods (along with science, gin and puppies), but why these particular versions and why in a vegetable risotto?

The risotto would have been fine without them, so I don’t get the need to purchase and then use those slightly rancid rings of rubber tyres. I can’t imagine they use them for much else, so why go to all that actual effort when they could just have used tinned vegetables and it would have been both cheaper to produce and perfectly acceptable?

I will never understand. It is just one of those things that separates Elves from humanity.

Dinner

Lemon myrtle chicken
‘Buttered’ noodles
Vegetables a la we-opened-a-packet

This was the mysterious runaway meal, and I fear it might have been okay to just stick with ny drawer full of miso soup and rice crackers.

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The chicken was actually fine. I mean, yes, pallid and mournful-looking, but it was basically a piece of cooked chicken with some lemon myrtle sprinkled on it, which was nice enough.

The ‘buttered noodles’ made me feel a bit sad. There was no hint of butteriness or anything much, not even a tiny bit of saltiness. Just drying noodles that tasted of nothing. It seemed like a pity, that’s all: even 2-minute noodles have some flavour but this was just a pile of functional carbs.

The vegies were exactly what they looked like, no better and no worse, so that was all right.

Oh, and pudding was ‘stewed apples’ which were dry and crunchy, which also made me a bit sad. It was all a bit insipid after the excitements from before.

Perhaps a terrified orderly might have been nicer after all, but my bedtime cup of miso soup soothed me.

* I recently watched ‘Jurassic Park’ **

** I did consider the whole velociraptor thing but it seemed like so much effort and I didn’t fancy red meat.

A Mediterranean Diet

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In which Our Heroine entertains a new roommate in many fragrant ways

Am skulking in the patients’ lounge early in the morning to have my lovely coffee. I got a new roommate yesterday afternoon – a ‘post-op’ meaning we are both on ‘good drugs’ and snoring happily together and not bothering each other in the slightest. She is adorable.

But she clearly has a great passion for coffee, and alas, is ‘nil-by-mouth’. The scent of my coffee made the poor thing actually whimper so I crept out. She clearly has quite enough on her plate.

She also comes with an unexpectedly huge, warm, smiley family, so I went from a completely silent room to one full of cheerful strangers. It’s actually quite the improvement.

I am now at that part of my treatment where I was hoping for a sudden ‘hurrah’ cessation of pain, but alas it has not happened yet. And it may not. The Special K has been much easier on my system this time: I wonder if it’s an indication that my brain is learning to recognise it? I don’t know if that is good or bad, but I’m shooting for the former.

Right: yesterday’s culinary efforts. *

Wednesday was brought to you by the word TOMATO and the colour GARLIC.

No photo of my breakfast in deference to The Captain who is Not A Fan Of Baked Beans – but it is actually physically impossible to ruin beans (‘The Musical Fruit’), and say what you will, they are full of fibre, and resonance.

Luncheon

Tomato and ricotta tart alla scatola
Penne fradicio con spinaci morti

I hoofed in before I remembered to take photos, so excited was I by the idea of vaguely Mediterranean food, hence the fork action in the photos.

My overwhelming impression of both dishes was: tomato. Pretty much everything tasted of tomato: the tart, the ricotta, the pasta, the spinach, my pineapple juice, and the next three hours.

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Tomato

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Tomato. Fortunately I love tomato.

Dinner

Garlic lasagne with garlic vegetables in garlic sauce with garlic
Magical side salad

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Garlic. You cannot see it, but it’s there. Ask Floor 6. And Floor 5.

Aside from the grieving side vegetables, this was surprisingly strongly flavoured, for which I cannot apologise enough to my roommate.

The side salad was once again very excellent. It’s as though the Elves who assemble the dishes put their little elvish hearts and souls into every crisp ruffle of lettuce and freshly-sliced cucumber.

Thank you, Elves.

In other news, yesterday I finally got around to watching the movie ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ and then apparently it rained in the room, or something. I have to go now because the slow painful thaw of my icy, leaden heart is a little embarrassing, thank you, bye now.

 

* So I understand from a comment by a doctorly friend that the ‘staff meals’ are generally the same things that are offered to the patients, and I am praying that doesn’t mean ‘whatever the patients didn’t order’ but fearing perhaps it does. Meaning that after Curry Day we can expect a lot of uncomfortable, dyspeptic staff walking awkwardly and occasionally getting quite distracted and rushing out.

The power of elves, coffee and the SNMH

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In which Our Heroine has another conversation with an internal organ and shares a deep secret.

All hail to the Power of the Coffee. Because my lower intestine (you really wanted to know this, right, because you’re here reading it, I am absolved and claim no responsibility for any subsequent trauma) my lower intestine has sluggishly awoken and said to me ‘Ungh, wha-? Was that … lactose-free margarine? What has the world come to oh, oh lawks’ but at least it is talking to me again, yes?

Obviously it was my coffee. I mean yeah, loads of fruit and prunes and nuts and stuff to put in my juice and salad and stuff may have been involved somewhere, but I do believe in the warm cockles of my bowel that there was more purpose to bringing my own coffee and plunger than making the nurses sigh jealously. Poor poppets.

I am currently at Maximum Stonediness, which is not a state for which I would pay money on the mean streets. I am not euphoric, I do not have a pleasant floating feeling, I am not out of pain and I am not experiencing any talking cockroaches or faces coming out of the walls (more’s the pity). I am just vague, dizzy and finding it difficult to focus on anything much, and every time I move my head even slightly the sense of movement continues for a while longer, so I am amusingly overcompensating for every movement. I look like a mime artist.

This is where Tallulah comes in handy, as needing to drag her with me everywhere gives me a bit of ballast, so I don’t drift into walls and topple down stairs.

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Laura the Cassowary rides proudly upon her steed, Tallulah (oh lord what has my life become?)

So here are yesterday’s other menu items.

Luncheon
Caesar salad ‘trois jours‘ sans anchovies

Curried beef meurtre du colon with cous cous and vegetables de la maison

The salad was an unexpected treat as it contained plant matter with indigestible cell walls, which is good news for the lovely woman who cleans my bathroom. It did not contain anchovies, which normally bothers me for a Caesar salad, but in this case I suspect it may have been a mercy.

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Sans anchovies but con roughage 

I have already encountered Hospital Curry in the past. In fact, as I recall, I continued to encounter it for at least three days after it was served.

So yesterday I treated it much like you would a ticking, unexploded bomb, which is entirely apt.

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It could blow any second 

On the other hand, Hospital Cous Cous is an unexpected pleasure; soft and buttery and sweet. Note: always choose the cous cous as a side.

It was certainly better than the other vegetables, which fell apart from embarrassment when I tentatively prodded at them with my knife.

Dinner
Bacon and egg pie with potato wedges and Chef’s Special vegetables
Secret Ninja Menu Hack

The other two items from which to select were curries, which made bacon and egg pie an easy choice. Tuesday must be Curry Day. Also, how hard is it to stuff up bacon and eggs?

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And indeed, it was just fine (you thought I was going to say they’d stuffed it up, didn’t you?) It tasted of bacon, eggs and pie.

The ‘potato wedges’ were in fact one huge soft, floury deconstructed wedge, and again it is hard to get that terribly wrong, apart from being entirely cold, which is hardly the fault of the caterers who have to serve five floors of bored, hungry punters before they get to the exalted few on level 6.

The vegies consisted of carrots which were hard and dry, and beans which were soft and wet. However, see above re: indigestible cell walls.

However my Secret Ninja Menu Hack showed up (the power!) and put all else to shame.

For those who haven’t eagerly read my stoned ramblings before *, last time I was here I was chatting to one of the Floor 6 Regulars (of which I am now one, I suppose) and she spake unto me of the SNMHs, which revolutionised my hospital menu ordering.

The deal is this (shhhh): you can in theory add extra items to the menu. Not too many, mark you: the number of SNMHs you can add shall number no more than three. You Must Not make light of the munificence of the Menu Elves. You Must Not mock their generosity by expecting more than your fair share. SNMHs are not to be taken lightly. They are favours, not rights, and only the Elves know who is deserving. Ask for too many items, or the wrong ones, and your house of cards will tumble. Tread too heavily here and you may founder and be lost forever: it is a long, long, sad and painful fall from a sumptuous ladleful of extra gravy on your roast chicken to half a plate of charred silverbeet. Don’t be that person.

However, there is an interesting range of things from which The Deserving can choose, and more being discovered every day by enterprising and brave Floor 6 Regulars.

These include such delights as: gravy, custard, chips, extra puddings, dressings and condiments. But the SNMH that made my eyes light up (and my lower intestine say ‘Hmmm?’) was the Side Salad.

I am not inclined to push the generosity of the Elves so I do not ask for more than this, and not more than twice per day.

But when I add the words ‘+ a side salad please’ ** the following magically appears on my tray.

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Now it may not look like much, but let me assure you, that little pot contains lettuce – not iceberg, mind you, but the good stuff, capsicum, tomato, cucumber and carrot. All fresh. All crisp and pure and glistening with the sweet simple dew of the morn, and also they threw in a little thingy of Italian dressing. It is utterly delicious. Pretty much exactly like the type of salad you would chuck together for yourself.

A great philosopher (or an actor or someone) once said ‘It’s the little things that count.’ This is one of those little things, and it counts a lot.

So, Know Ye of the SNMH and do not play silly buggers with this knowledge. Do not throw it about with gay abandon and ruin all the hard work put in by the Regulars. Ye have been warned, and I need my side salads.
* One of the benefits of not having children of my own is that I could write this sentence without the slightest bit of embarrassment.

** And a big ‘thank you’. And a little picture of a flower. Because do you reckon anybody actually gets up saying ‘Hurrah, now I shall go to work slaving in a hot kitchen scrambling kilos of curiously tasteless eggs for a bunch of sick, stoned, pained, bored people who will then complain on stupid blogs because their beef is overcooked and the curry burned a hole in their colon, I am so happy’?

Oh god is it that time again already?

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In which Our Heroine has another bloody ketamine infusion …

For some reason, the song ‘Hotel California’ is going through my mind. I am haunting the corridors of floor 6 like a ghost clad in sparkling slippers, dragging my evil sidekick like a set of chains: my IV unit, Tallulah.*

Same floor, same staff (‘Oh hi, you’re back!’), same spaced-out brain with a high, high ceiling. A different room and a different year but it starts to feel like just one very, very long single, shadowy ketamine infusion with a few bright splashes of ‘reality’ in between.

This time I don’t have a roommate yet – oh the relief! No offence to my previous roommates, but it is much easier knowing that I am apparently ‘snoring for England’ (according to the night nurse) without also being uncomfortably aware that the person in the next bed is plotting my gruesome death.

Also, it is brilliant to feel as though I can get on with my own business without having to be polite and make conversation, especially as ketamine makes both of these things twice as difficult as they should be.

To make my latest infusion easier still, I have brought as many home comforts as possible with me, including my own pillow and bolster, a sheepskin, a personal DVD player and a large selection of movies, a coffee plunger and tea maker, my own tea and coffee, a selection of snacks and the most glorious knitted lap rug and cushion, courtesy of my Mum.

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And the gaudiest, sparkliest slippers I could find, which I correctly guessed would delight the nurses, and also myself.

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But in spite of all this, it still feels like no real time has passed since the last two times, and I will be forced to drift around the corridors of floor 6 dragging my clanking companion for all eternity. You can check out any time you like …

I checked in yesterday afternoon, actually, with the help of my poor parents carrying my luggage like porters. As soon as they left I sat down and had a stern conversation with my gut.

‘See here,’ I said to it. ‘Nothing bad is going to happen to you, you know. There is no need to freeze like a startled rabbit from “Watership Down”.’

‘That’s what Fiver probably said,’ replied my gut, ‘And what happened to him? Anyway, have you SEEN the hospital food?’

I had to agree with my gut on this one. In spite of being armed with fruit, dried fruit, nuts, rice thingies, special fibre-adding stuff and even my own mega-spectacular never-fail coffee, there is some dreadful force in that combination of ketamine and hospital cuisine that is too powerful and must always overcome.

For the first couple of meals in hospital, of course, you don’t get to select from a menu and so the food just turns up, and you make of it the best you can. This doesn’t particularly help matters.

Here was my cuisine de la maison for the first evening and morning.

Dinner: du bouef incinération with mashed potatoes a la artificiel and vegetables de la maison

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I stabbed and stabbed with my steely knife …

Pretty standard fare: over-cooked beef, salty gravy, sidies. The curious thing about this was the fact that none of the side dishes had any flavour that could be detected. They had texture, and form, and temperature, but that’s about it.

When I loaded them with salt and pepper, however, they tasted of stuff with salt and pepper on, which was fine really.

Breakfast: full house ‘English’

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I have experienced hospital eggs before so I knew to be ready with the salt and pepper. Once again, they are an eerie mix of texture, temperature and mass with no detectable taste. And the mushrooms were slippery and did have a soupçon of cuit en aluminium to them. In all fairness, though, the tomato was a tomato and the bacon was bacon. And the toast was possibly three days old?

And then there was this:

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That’s … not how any of this works.

I just asked my bowels how they are feeling and wondered if they need a bit of assistance, but they seem to have fallen into a state of terrified paralysis, so I am going to go and see if I can revive them with another cup of So-Strong-I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Laxatives coffee.

 

* I was going to call her ‘Crystal’ but the Captain was all: oh, crystal meth? And I was all: oh. Maybe not.

Heading home (I hope)

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In the passeng … er, patient lounge as usual, watching sunrise over the hills from the vantage of Spaceship Hospital. My ketamine is currently at 12 WPH* and falling. Today is probably my last day: I’m due to go home this evening, assuming all goes well.

Last time I was ecstatic and relieved at the thought of going home, this time I’m merely very pleased. I won’t miss the place but it’s true that I don’t often get the opportunity to watch the sun rise and set spectacularly over hills every single day, nor mooch about in slouchy clothing wondering if I feel more like watching an episode of Dad’s Army, having a good old chat, zombie-walking the corridors in the hope of bumping into a fellow Professional Patient or a proud new parent with a tiny baby (both very strong likelihoods), or reading a magazine about vultures.**

On the other hand there is the Captain, home, my pets, my kitchen, dear friends and family, my bike and garden, and our excellent wireless network and Netflix awaiting, so …

I definitely won’t miss the bed, even though it’s much better with my own pillow and a delightful sheepskin, and I won’t miss being woken five, maybe six times overnight for observations, and I won’t miss the bathroom AT ALL.

And I won’t miss the food, even if it did improve dramatically part way through.***

Mainly, however, I won’t miss the ketamine, and to a lesser extent, my cannula.

I’ve said it before and will keep saying it: I cannot understand the attraction of ketamine to recreational drug users. This time the experience was much less difficult but it still included nausea and slurred speech and wacky eyes and blurred vision and unsteady gait and people firmly telling me to go lie down right now because I was going to injure myself or others with my flailing zombie walk.

And even though I boast about my prowess with an IV line, I still manage occasionally to snag and yank the line and jerk hard on the cannula and I bet every one of you who has had an IV knows what that’s like!

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The nurse gave me an MJ glove to hold it all together and remind me which hand it’s on (the side changed recently.)

So by the end of today I will be without either unpleasantness, and also off opiates. Result!

I will get a week to recover and get my sleep back. I’ve also been advised by my pain specialist to build up my gentle exercise again, concentrating on non-stressful movement like walking, stretching and water exercise. And my e-bike. Yay!

My system will take some time to adjust to the ketamine and also the lack of opiates. Now is the time to stack the odds in my own favour by settling into habits that support my overall health.

Science ***** tells us that some good ways to do that are to eat a variety of nutritious foods daily, get regular movement of the health-promoting variety (see above), get adequate restful sleep, practice mindfulness, and limit daily stress.

Pfffft. Easy then.

You might get some more grumpy kale-eating posts as a result.

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Coming soon: a less bleary version of this.

*wotsits per hour

**Don’t judge me! Vultures are fascinating.

***One day for lunch I ordered soup and salad and vegies and some stewed fruit, but what I got was a scalding-hot plate containing a few overcooked beans and some spinach that defies adequate description. And even though there could be an ibis somewhere in my ancestry, my legendary garbage guts were unable to face this so I went and had Vegemite toast and an apple in the lounge. However, a day or so afterwards I was getting fresh crispy salads and really quite tolerable**** soups and other dishes. Perhaps the cook had an off day?

**** Not a patch on my own excellent cooking however. Not. A. Patch.

***** Science! (High-fives you all.)

Don’t forget the kitchen sink (and your elephant)

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My (rapidly counts on fingers) fourth night here was a fairly good one. I’m finding this particular visit much easier and more pleasant than the last, being stoned off my bonce notwithstanding.

Although I’m at my maximum ketamine level and have been for quite a while now, I’m lucid most of the time and it’s only really when I get very tired that the nurses tell me laughingly that I look like I’m off my rocker (then they tell me firmly to go lie down and stop knocking into the walls).

I’ve slept as well as can be expected given the whole hospital getting-woken-up-constantly-and-random-strangers-yelling-at-1:30am thing.

And bizarrely, after a pretty appalling start, even the food seems to be improving. Yesterday I had two salads, one for lunch and one for dinner, and blow me if they weren’t both pretty fresh and crispy!

It seems that for me at least the first infusion was the worst. My body seems to be tolerating the Special K much better this time, which makes me hopeful that it might be more effective this time too.

I wonder if it is also easier because I’m not on strong opiates this time? Maybe that is why my energy is greater and my head is clearer.

There are several other important things that have made this stay pleasant as well:

A window seat. My roomie got into the room first and selected the bed closer to the door* which means that I have unimpeded access to sun and a lovely view. I can’t convey the difference that has made to my mood.

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Better than telly. (Actually SO much better than telly! Have you seen what’s on telly lately? I miss Netflix.)

Familiar environment. I know the Etiquette of the Visitor Lounge and am unlocking the Secret Menu Items (aw, yeah). I know where to go for a bit of solitude and where to get ice and biscuits and towels.

Familiar faces. I remember a lot of the staff and patients from last time and as they’re all lovely it’s like seeing friends again.

IV Owner’s Manual. I have the knack of how to wheel the ornery beggars about, how to wrangle the leads and what most of the various buzzers and alarms mean (and how to turn them off when it’s safe to do so). Also, I know where to tuck my iDevices on the unit when I’m zombie-walking, and where to balance empty water glasses and suchlike. And I know what sort of garments to bring that I can shrug on and off in spite of the line, which is crucial to maintain comfort.**

What to bring. This time I packed pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, and lugged it all in (well the poor Captain did most of the work) without shame. Apart from the basic necessities I have a comfy pillow, a bolster, a laptop that plays DVDs, some quality BBC comedies, sketchbook, grown-up colouring-in book, various art supplies, books, magazines, music, a (hem hem) ‘Poo Power’ kit (prunes and figs), earphones, earplugs for sleeping, saline nasal spray for the relentless aircon, much moisturiser, safe non-slip covered slippers, amusing tshirts and my Keta-lump.*** And every single one has helped to make life better. If you ever know you’re going into hospital, I earnestly urge you to bring absolutely anything that you think can make you more comfy and keep your spirits up. Don’t be the smug one-bag uber-traveller type. Nobody is a hero in a hospital! If you can squeeze your favourite sofa and fifteen stuffed cuddly toys in there, give it a shot.

The big one: the kindness of others. Last time I was in, I was a bit ashamed of people seeing me in a mind-altered state and I didn’t encourage visitors, even though the visitors I did have cheered me enormously. This time, encouraged by my yoga classes and our discussions on the topic of ‘kindness’, I decided to give in and let the dear people who I love into this tricky space. There is no shame in being a bit fragile, sick, grumpy or doolally in hospital, and there is no shame in depending on the kindness of people who care for you. I have had visitors every day who have turned what is frankly a rather unpleasant treatment into a peaceful sojourn away from the pressures of everyday life. I’ve been showered with lovely things: love, hugs, chats and bits of news. Also delicious food and treats, comforts (like this sheepskin rug that has turned a hard painful hospital bed and chair into a cosy snuggle, thanks Mum and Dad), flowers and books that lift spirits, and belly laughs which really keep body and mind together.

Today my ketamine levels will start to be decreased, which means that a) the end is in sight, b) I’ll get to find out how life sans opiates is going to work for me, and c) my posts might start to be a bit less saccharine than this one. (I know, phew, right?)

I might get some news on when I can get home too. While I’m very keen to be home at least this time I’m not utterly desperate!

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Symphony in pink on our windowsill

*I know, I was surprised too. But it was a wise choice. The air conditioning makes it much cooler by the window and as she is in her 80s and as delicate as a lovely flower, she is much warmer where she is piled with blankets while I happily sit in the breeze in my tshirt wishing they’d turn the heating down. We keep the blinds up to share the view and have arranged our flowers on the windowsill so we both have something pretty to look at.

**For the record, any short-sleeved open front garment works, and for more warmth, a soft slouchy cardigan made of any fibre that won’t snag the lead works too, especially if you can roll the sleeves up. Either way, pockets are essential.

***Keta-lump was a gift from my sister and family last infusion. He’s a funny little cuddly elephant with big, glittery, wild and frankly stoned-looking eyes. I’m not ashamed to admit that he is lovely to cuddle and he and I have had quite a few good chats too. He’s my lucky ketamine infusion charm now.