Lyn Harvey: a view from level eight
We chatted to Lifehouse patient Lyn Harvey about her cancer journey and her experience testing out our inpatient facilities.
“On November 18, 2014, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. By the 25th of that month I was here at Lifehouse for day surgery to have a lump and five lymph nodes removed from my breast. I celebrated New Year’s Eve by starting my chemotherapy treatment. I was booked in for four sessions. My last one is coming up next Wednesday. After the chemo finishes I have a one month break and then start daily (Monday-Friday) radiation therapy for one month.
“No one loves having to come to hospital, but as far as hospitals go, I love this place. I’ve had a very good experience – the facilities, the staff, the volunteers – everything is excellent, you can’t fault it.
“I recently got to experience some of the inpatient facilities first-hand as part of the hospital’s preparation for inpatient services. I tested out the private rooms up on level eight and was shown around all the services that the inpatients will get to use – everything from the à la carte menu that the dietitian showed me through to the in-room entertainment system.
“I’m not normally very advanced when it comes to computers and things like that but I thought the entertainment system was wonderful – you’ve got the tablet to control everything and you can ask your care team questions using the TV in the room, the staff can view your chart and medication info and there’s internet and movies, even cartoons for the kids to watch when you have visitors. They’ve just thought of everything.
“While I was trying out the room I got to meet Prime Minister Abbott and Premier Baird and their wives who were visiting for the media launch event. They had much the same reaction to the facilities as I did – they couldn’t believe the standard.
“When we were chatting I commented that even though no one wants to go to hospital, if you have to, you might as well make it beautiful and open and welcoming like Lifehouse. In fact, it doesn’t feel like a hospital at all, more like a hotel. I’d like to book in for a weeklong stay (without a medical reason, of course). Even the food looks delicious, it’s nothing like ‘hospital food’ you might’ve experienced before and you just order it off the menu when you feel hungry, like room service.
“Dr O’Brien would be very proud looking down on everything to see what a beautiful hospital Lifehouse has become; an open, bright positive place with great people behind it. I think it takes a very special kind of person to work in cancer care.
“I’m nearly finished with the chemo and about to start my final treatments (a month of radiation therapy), so I’m looking forward to what’s coming next, after all the treatments. You’ve got to do that – to look forward, to stay positive and plan things. My husband and I love to travel, so once I get better we’re going to go off to Europe for six months, starting in Florence, and this period will just be in the past. I’m really looking forward to the trip, it’ll be good to get away, to relax and refresh. While you’re still young and healthy, you’ve just got to do it. As I always say, ‘we’re here for a fun time, not a long time’ – you’ve got to live and enjoy every moment while you can. My mum passed away from breast cancer a few weeks ago and she had the same attitude, she’d always say ‘there’s plenty worse off than us’.”