We made it! After spending almost 5 days in Italy, 4 of them in hospital, I came to the sensible decision not to continue said “holiday” but instead flying in a helping hand from Mallorca. It was my sister in law Bitte that kindly offered to fly out to help! I don’t know if maybe Bitte first thought she might be able to relax in Riva del Garda as the visiting hours in the hospital were so few and far in-between? I really don’t expect her to have signed up for the real killing me softly saga…
Dan and Bitte had been talking on the phone, discussing different options, every different possibility of me staying in hospital in Italy or going further with Dan and the girls. Bitte had booked a flight that would get her to Lasize (the new hotel where the girls and Dan now stayed at) for about 4pm on Saturday afternoon. The doctors had already cleared me to fly on the Sunday, they just didn’t know where I would be flying.
In my head I had already researched hospitals close to where we were going to stay, for me it was more important I would continue the journey, as I was bedridden and not allowed to do anything I thought I might just do that close to my family. It wasn’t until Dan on the Friday night visit at the hospital in Arco pointed out that we didn’t know where we were going, had no idea about closeness to bathroom and comfort of beds… all true. It’s just my “get on and do it” persona that takes over and silences all the other voices in my head.
That was Friday evening, the doctors had said I would be free to leave Saturday by 4pm. That coincided with Bitte’s arrival at the hotel so Dan was planning to pick me up a little before 6pm just to get the whole day to run smoothly. The doctors also had said the plastic tube would be removed from my stomach… they had also promised me a “fit to fly” certificate. I had by now started to realize what an upmost numpty I was sounding like when I tried to make excuses for continuing this holiday of hell and pain. We had starting researching new flights home, back to Mallorca, and as I knew then already and even more now, things often go really skewed quickly after one is released from hospital. There were not so many options but there was a morning flight that would get us back to Palma for 11:15. The only drawback was a 5am transfer from the hotel to the airport.
Come Saturday morning the doctors came to check my drainage tube. I had before then not really thought about the drainage or how liquid was being drained from my stomach. I shall tell you now. A big clear plastic tube has been inserted through a slice of my stomach skin, then attached in place through 3 to 5 black stitches… I don’t know how far in she goes (the tube, clearly feminine) but she is sticking out a good 3cm on the front… and I guess her girth is well maybe 2cm… what on earth are they trying to drain from my stomach??? The doctor removed layers of bloody compresses, the heavy sighs made me understand that tube would not come out that day. We had already purchased the return tickets to Mallorca, but by now I said “no problem I can stay here until you safely can remove the drain”, then the doctor said “no no no, no problem”, as long as I made my first stop at a hospital I’m Mallorca when I landed they could take the drainage out.
Fit to fly handwritten consent paper in Italian- check! Tube still sticking out of tummy but covered in great layers of compresses-check!
My last night in Italy was spent at a lovely new hotel with magical view over Lake Garda, we managed to get there just for the most spectacular sun set. I was in my wheelchair enjoying my gluten free and lactose free 7 plates tasting menu… most dishes had to be changed and some disappeared leaving me with a gluten-free bread followed by 3 strange but still nice tasting dishes… as I couldn’t enjoy the local wines by taste I allowed myself to sniff the wines that Dan and Bitte were trying! As one of them actually was better on the nose than in the mouth I was basically the evenings winner… (At least let me think that)
Bitte and I left for the airport at 5am, Dan helped us to roll me down to reception and into waiting transfer. The best thing of traveling so early and also on a Sunday is the lack of traffic. The strange speed limits in Italy that no one seems to follow always make excuses for extravagant accidents. We arrived full on time for Bitte to stroll into terminal and finding the Special assistance crew of Milan! This time we got the 2-for-1-deal! We got the trainee assistance guy with his blonde manager assistance gal, him with a kind and nerdy voice and her with the brightest bluest eyes of any Italian I have ever seen. Bitte got to be part of the whole assistance experience deal, she got to play the very valid part in my minus-valid game. She got to walk through with us through security, walked passed any shopping possibilities and then left at a canteen/coffee shop. We were told not to go anywhere but as they removed my wheelchair when they left I wouldn’t be able to get very far. Bitte then got the behind the scene experience of elevator-bus going back and behind of any gate queueing and ending up at the front of the plane, on the other side, at the door that normally is always shut. Very special! We bid our goodbyes to our special assistances. The young nerd clearly heading towards special assistance guru-dom!
We arrived on time! Not a cloud in the sky. Lovely house sitter picking me up and driving me immediately to Juaneda hospital. It was Sunday, I had called the day before and asked, they had told me, just get in to a&e when you get here and we shall see you straight away!
We got to A&E we were seen but then I was questioned on why I had come in on a Sunday? Why had I flown that morning? Why had I flown to Italy? What was I thinking about bringing them a drain that had been put in me in a different country? Couldn’t I go back there and have it removed? Why had they left it in there? Why why why? Then after the 100 questions they decided to remove the bandage that to me didn’t look too bad today, they then decided to bandage me back up again and send me on my way. Go home take it easy come back tomorrow and see a doctor. Easy words of advice to live by. House sitter (and by now also Emelie-sitter) drove me to pharmacy to get the drugs I needed and then home. Bed be there, pup be there, stay cool.
I managed to get to the bathroom, then I started smelling rather than feeling a trickling of earthy iron smell, looking down on the floor around me there was blood everywhere. It was gushing from under my green PJ shorts that I had managed to wear incognito for the whole Italy to Spain re-coming home journey. It was flowing in ridges, thickly down my right leg. At the same time Mike and Maggie made their exciting discovery of my homecoming! I didn’t want them slipping in my blood or dare I say eat it, I was so shocked about the amount of blood that was flowing from under my compassed and bandaged belly, I could hardly stand up, I was crying trying to get the attention of someone. Bitte and the lovely house sitter came to my rescue. They managed to get me to my bed, cover it with towels and the hospital plastic cover that we had got with us from Italy.
Now begun The Bitte 2.0, the upgrade.
Bitte was born to do it! She was helping me removing soggy bloody bandages, wiping off whatever stuff that was being drained from me all over me. My head was spinning, I was starting to feel cold, we managed to clean me up quite alright. I thought if I only could lie down here for a white it might work out. The spinning of the head didn’t settle. Half conversations with my mum, my sister and Dan, I realized it was best to go back to hospital, but I couldn’t sit up. Time to call the ambulance…
As I was lying in the ambulance a strange thought went through me, think that I know what these look like from the inside pretty good! But I haven’t been inside an ambulance for quite a long time… it totally escaped me that I had had a full hour in an ambulance less than 3 days ago! There was no scent or trail of remembrance when I was there in the Mallorcan ambulance, my Italian crew fading away before my very eyes.
Again the questions. Beating down on me. The why? The how on earth? Followed by some more why’s and how’s? Finally I get it. I’m not special. I’m not gifted. I’m not here fighting for anything that means anything for anyone other than maybe for me? How can I be so immature, selfish and careless? Such an imbecile.
They took me back to where this story stared 2 weeks ago. A lifetime ago from today yet so close I can still hear every drop of water being pushed through the sprinkler system as the machinery started it’s nightly doings. Well not exactly where this nightmare begun but they took me back to the first hospital, Son Espases.
It was easier arriving in an ambulance and not trying to explain everything whilst you are in such high pain, not perfect grammatically, trying to talk through pain to explain the happenings of the faithful night. Fine I had had my third talking to of the day regarding the sanity of my lifestyle and life choices. As I was transferred over to a hospital bed from the ambulance stretcher I was rolled into a waiting bay, there was one other lady waiting in the medium size room. This was kind of like a half way house for people arriving to A&E with either police or ambulances. I got to see a doctor young enough to soon be dating one of my daughters! He seamed to be really switched on and as he was fluent in Italian it also helped with my Italian papers. He couldn’t for the life of him understand why the first drainage had been put in and he also couldn’t understand why the Italians also felt the need of draining my massive hematoma. I guess he saw the risks of intervening more than a solution for problems.
In my waiting bay more people arrived. A lady with acute Chrone’s disease, where her pain screams pulsated vividly through us. A man quietly waiting for his turn in a strange wheelchair, a lady that needed some bloods taken and Fransisco. Fransisco was on a first name basis with all the staff, well they all knew his name… he was totally up and over drunk. So inebriated he hardly could speak. I have no idea of other than drunk, what was wrong with him? He started shouting. Asking about his bed and where it was. I was hidden behind a small textile movable wall. Fransisco was doing something to the chair he was sitting in, trying to throw it over, I couldn’t see behind my cover but all of a sudden he jumped up! Fiercely fast for an old drunkard, not gracefully but he threw himself on to another person’s chair to claim it for himself.
As I was on the only bed in the room I started to get worried. I envisioned him trying to take over my bed and for us to have a struggle. In my mind I karate chopped his nasty arse straight back to whatever back street he had climbed out of, but in reality I could see him managing to get hold of my hospital bed and claiming it to be his. Luckily it never had to go that far. On 3 separate occasions he got up and loudly was either looking for a bed, someone to take him in a chair to his bed or, as a desperate half measure, looking for a loo.
I was taken away from the bay of misery just in time to hear him being told off from another set of nurses. I was taken to a mixed ward of endless illness. There doesn’t seem to be any right or reason to anyone that is here. I think we are all just considered as ill. I was rolled into a small umbilical cord like zone. In here there are 4 beds. I’m in one. The other 3 are occupied by male species.
I’m sorry. Gender equality has never talked to me. In a hospital environment even less so. I don’t believe in sharing loos. I don’t believe in telling your doctor your problems with the ease of everyone listening into. A shared problem is not a solved problem, it’s just a problem…
For example when it started leaking again. There was I on my bed not really thinking anything was going to happen as they had seemed a bit noncommittal to let me stay over night for the drain pipe. I was sitting in bed, only slightly half sitting as you do on hospital beds in general when eating the not so fully delicious hospital meals from Son Espases. I only went to lie down again when I noticed something. It was all tacky and a little wet. My entire bed, the drain had drained itself onto the bed, the sheets, my new hospital PJ, the color of the summer is pink but I Definitely prefer another color to work with. There are plenty of fluid leaving my body. I wish they wouldn’t! Now for my last treat of the day the doctor brought me a corset. It’s great to keep those leaking nasty tubes in check. Let’s hope for a dry night!
Small and big wishes. That’s what we all bring with us. If my getting bad last time coincided with my sisters birthday, that only made me more determined not to die, not on her day. That would be so selfish! I remarked that Shakespeare knew what he was doing all those years ago, he took his birthday also to coincide with his death day. I don’t think it was planned, more like a poetry in motion. To be or not to be? That is the question
For me it’s of course to be! Or normally to be more! This means excess of love and laughter. But as balance is poetic, in my life fully lived the excess of tears and pain will have its days too.
Keep smiling 🙂 Force of July