THREE years ago Sunshine Coast resident Kevin Beattie was living a normal life when his health took a dramatic dive.
His diet now includes "donkey pills" so big he has trouble swallowing them and he relies on regular blood tests, colonoscopies and blood infusions which he receives at Nambour General Hospital.
The 65-year-old will be one of the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital's first patients when it opens to outpatients on March 21.
He'll visit its Ambulatory Care Centre on March 23, for an appointment at the gastroenterology unit.
A Parrearra resident, he the new hospital was "just down the road" from his home.
"I'm glad because Nambour's been getting harder and harder for parking - absolutely," he said.
"There's a huge amount of parking down there (at SCHU) - we had a look a few weeks ago."
Mr Beattie said he remembered the day he realised he was seriously unwell.
"It started on a Thursday," Mr Beattie said. "I was going downhill - it was like a bad virus going through my system.
"It was just a shock...I had no energy. I was tired all the time. I didn't eat, and didn't drink.
"It was just as if I was fading away very slowly."
He felt ill for three days before seeing his doctor, who sent him to hospital immediately. His stay lasted two months.
It took two weeks for a diagnosis: Crohn's disease and ulterative colitis - a digestive illness that causes inflammation of the bowel.
Two months and three blood infusions later, Mr Beattie was able to go home and is now back at work, but he still needs to visit the hospital regularly as an outpatient.
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