Friday, July 8, 2016

Its not unusual!

Neglect! My blog is suffering but all in a good cause - a casualty of my current circumstances. Since I returned from Singapore  - it has been work work and more work (thank goodness that I had those two weeks off) and now its hospital hospital and hospital! Vernon ended up coming to Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital for his stem cell treatment so he has a long stay here and now life revolves around that. Thankfully he has a daughter and family here so they have been a great support but are now en route to a warm island for a break - and we have had somewhere to stay when not in hospital. I am two weeks into this stint with V being in high care for five of those days and has now been in an isolation unit for a further 5 days. The few days that he has been out of hospital have been a blessing - he cant be in crowds or near children who are known walking germ tanks!

We have had lovely drives though. and being in confinement makes one so much more appreciative of wide blue skies touched by staggering mountains - distant horizons brushed by the ocean and a wintry landscape that holds its own beauty. Grateful. Being surrounded by people who are either very ill or nursing and healing the sick makes you grateful for even your challenging circumstances. I am staying in a lovely home fairly near to the hospital and drive in a warm car there each day. I don't have small children to worry about and I have a job that is flexible. My heart goes out to the young parents that I encounter and the plight of women trudging up the hill to visit - some accompanied by 3 or more kids. I have also seen parents whose children are so sick wearing brave smiles as they walk or push their 'patient' children around the hospital to get a change of scenery.

My google maps has become my best friend - one wrong turn returning from the hospital in the dark took me to a bus station in a dodgy area and I have ended up at the Muslim cemetery more than once as I overshot my turn! I have become thankful for athletics which taught me better judgment when being asked to turn in 100 metres, 150 and 250 metres - I have learned to mentally put myself at the start line of those long ago races so I don't misjudge the distance!  I just wish there was a GPS for inside the hospital - Its huge and the first few days I contemplated tying a ball of wool to my car and leaving a trail as I turned right and left and then right and up a floor, and over a walkway and that was just the way to the lift! This morning though I was happily directing people - one poor young woman almost in tears as she couldn't find the stairs she had come up! I am used to getting in the lift with pyjama clad people wheeling their drips around while looking for the paper - yesterday was very lively as we debated Oscars sentence and this evening I took my chance with a Rastafarian sporting a toothless grin and a regal looking African lady with her navy blue Sunday hat on and a furry leopard skin coat - 3 sizes too big. We found common ground with the bitter cold weather and I silently coveted that coat and that chunky knitted. red, green and yellow hat! Some of the characters look so interesting that I am tempted to take my camera but I am afraid I may end up in casualty.
As much as I love Cape Town, I have to say that many of the pale folk here are so snobbish - I am used to PEs cheerful smiles in the supermarket queue and not being given the once over down a long pointed nose! REALLY! I could understand it if it were Fortnum and Masons but this is Pick and Pay for heavens sake. Conversations are peppered with Absolutely and Pherfect and Exactly and Awesome - this must be the superlative capital of the world.
So today was a successful transplant of Vs own treated stem cells which all went. As with his treatment in PE the medical profession have been brilliant and he has managed most of it well, but this time he has lost his hair and he has been warned that the next few days will be challenging. Grateful. That word again! So grateful for the great care and respect that he has been shown by the medical staff who handle him so gently - almost reverently. He has struck up a great friendship with Eric - one of his nurses and who hails from Alice in the Eastern Cape. If you know where Alice is you will appreciate that its a small rural dorp, and yet Eric has the manners of a refined old Etonian and more intelligence! Being in isolation is not easy and the mind plays a bigger role than anything in his recovery so its lots of 'living in the now' and a lot of bandwidth too as being able to access the outside world through the internet is a real sanity saver!

Back to the lift! I got in the lift this morning and there was a cheerful soul using his drip stand as a mike and singing "What's new Pusseycat", When a nurse got int he life on D floor he started singing "Shes a lady!" and on E floor the doors opened and he burst into a rendition of  "The Green Green Grass of Home". A doctor in the lift with us commented that he should get himself checked out as it sounded like he had Tomjones disease." "My goodness whats that - Is it rare?" I foolishly asked. They both looked at one another and started singing,"Its not unusual".......AGHHH!

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