Steven Morgan checks in for his 100th hospital stay

Record-holder: Julianne Clift, Sheryl McCluskey, and Jenny Atwell, welcome back patient Steven Morgan, and wife Michelle. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Record-holder: Julianne Clift, Sheryl McCluskey, and Jenny Atwell, welcome back patient Steven Morgan, and wife Michelle. Picture: Rob Gunstone

STEVEN MORGAN says saying goodbye to pavlova on the hospital menu was one change he’d rather have missed.

It was replaced by other delectable desserts but after 19 years, the sweet-tooth still refers to it fondly.

That is just one of the changes the 65 year-old has seen during his visits as a patient at Warrnambool’s South West Healthcare, stays that on Monday reached a total of 100. 

Mr Morgan has gitelman syndrome, a rare kidney disorder that requires regular potassium and magnesium infusions to replace lost ions in the body.

When his levels get low the Koroit man returns to “the base” for an infusion that can take up to ten days at a time.

The visits occur every eight to ten weeks.

The retired fitter and turner said his visits to the hospital began in 1994 under the care of his first GP, Warrnambool’s Dr John Hounsell.

“It’s been an emotional roller-coaster over the years,” he said.

“People I’ve shared a room with have died, staff have come and gone and the place has changed a bit.

“But my favourite part is the nurses, the care I receive from the medical staff is second to none here.”

With 100 visits recorded, Mr Morgan said he can make observations of the building that even regular staff can miss.

“I know which rooms are colder than others and I know which doors slam and need to be repaired.

“I’m like an extra set of eyes in the place.”

Mr Morgan said his treatment has become a routine procedure.

“It runs like clockwork now,” he said.

“They treat me like a pot plant. They water me for a few days then they send me home.”

South West Healthcare’s director of nursing Julianne Clift said coordinating Mr Morgan’s infusions had improved over the years.

“We’ve become a lot cleverer in our systems and our care over the years,” she said.

“We’re a lot more streamlined now.

“We can get him in and started sooner so he generally only needs to stay six days at a time now.”

Mr Morgan’s wife Michelle said the regularity of the hospital visits meant the pair had learned to accept the visits as “normal”.

“We’ve had to have two separate lives,” she said.

“We don’t talk about the hospital when we’re at home until Steve goes back again.”

Monday’s centenary visit has been marked by Mr Morgan inspecting this year’s Christmas decorations – an inter-department competitive initiative he introduced during one of his festive season stays.