St Vincent's Lismore private hospital in Lismore.
St Vincent's Lismore private hospital in Lismore. Marc Stapelberg

Not even the back-opening gowns bothered me

HOSPITALS are marvellous places. I hadn't been an inpatient for years and years (tonsillectomy in childhood) and so spent a great deal of time thinking about what I would need and what I would wear once I was admitted.

I needn't have worried.

Of course I did have a moment in the dreaded back opening gowns but I was unconscious for most of that so it didn't bother me.

The rest of the time I was in my jimjams along with everyone else.

Patients would politely greet each other and staff, while making pyjama-clad and tentative post op circuits of the ward on a walker. This is no place for vanity. I didn't see anyone taking selfies.

There are several things that happen when you go to hospital. I will list them for you

The moment you enter the system you surrender to a large degree, your privacy and dignity. For example, people will help you wash, dress and go to the toilet.

I was getting ready to shower, and the nurse came to help secure the plastic protector over the operated on knee.

I was quite naked at the time, so I said to her "If we meet in Woolworths, no eye contact eh?” we laughed as she said smiled and said kindly, "Don't worry luvvie, I've seen it all'”

This is accompanied by a subtle shift in perception about you, principally, that if you are on a walker or in some way disabled, you are also deaf. "HAVE YOU OPENED YOUR BOWELS?” I was asked, cheerfully, loudly and regularly.

The nurses and support staff including orderlies, cleaners, catering staff are competent, caring and it is no wonder people fall in love with their care team. The days of the terrifying ward matron appear to be gone.

Bedtea is a marvellous thing. I was very happy to receive cups of tea in bed. I found I could manage that aspect of being in hospital very easily.

I loved the hospital food. It was generous and uncomplicated. No activated almonds here, just lots of good, regular food.

Tenderness and comfort are as vital to healing as clean bandages and meds.

As I lay in my clean and comfortable hospital; bed and contemplated the notion that I might have a future without a limp, I was profoundly grateful I lived in the First World and that this service was available to me. My recovery from my knee operation was painful but I was supported all the way.

I thought that for a pain free future I could put up with regular conversations with just met people about my bowels.

I began to plot about how to maintain this level of care when I went home. I would everyone to keep up with the practice of bed tea, for starters.

That is a perfect way to start the day.

Thank you everyone at Ward Three, St Vincent's Hospital.

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