Saturday, February 3, 2024

out of contact

This is my first post since last Sunday because I've been in the hospital for most of the intervening. Some of my vital functions went off the rails and needed repair. After the initial few hours of physical distress were over, it was mostly a matter of sitting around for several days as the functions were gently lifted back on their tracks, or, to vary the metaphor, waiting for the glue to set.

I could have occupied the time posting via wifi, but unfortunately I'm between tablets. My old one is losing function and I hit reset on it recently in vain hopes of restoring this, but it does mean I lost my logins. And the newer one that B. just got me (an ipad mini, refurbished, because they don't make that size any more - one nurse thought it was a weirdly large smartphone) isn't set up yet and requires a lot of data I only have at home.

In the meantime I could browse the web, the free sites anyway, and read such hard copy material as B. had to bring me.

I'm a person who likes frequently to get up from where I'm sitting, or lying, and wander around for a bit, but even ambulatory patients are not permitted to do that on their own in a hospital. For one thing you're connected to far too many tubes. The hospital bed was comfortable, but lying face up in it for hours on end is extremely irksome to me unless I'm actively falling asleep. I felt more at ease in the reclining chair next to it, and with blankets over my feet and behind my shoulders spent most of my time there, even entire nights with a little sleep.

The restriction not to move is enforced by alarms if the bed or chair senses a significant shift or loss of weight. It did not escape my attention that setting the alarm off got staff members to appear a lot faster than pressing the call button did, and I did take advantage of this when I thought it necessary. Not too often. For though the pace of service is a lot more relaxed in the hospital dorms than it is in the emergency treatment bays, where I spent a while because no hospital room was yet open, all the personnel were helpful and absolutely dedicated to their jobs. A hospital patient has to ask nurses and aides for a lot of trivial tasks that ordinarily one could do for oneself, but I never felt as if I were unnecessarily imposing.

No physical therapy program impinged on me, but the aides did take me for a couple of walks along the corridors with a walker. This was helpful what with not otherwise walking anywhere. When I got out I hobbled pretty badly for several hours, but I think I'm getting the hang of it back.

The highlight of your hospital day is meals. For my first breakfast, which I didn't have the chance to order, they brought a cheese omelet with spinach and mushroom. Not bad, and I had it again another day. Lunch was a little dull, with a choice of sandwiches of chicken, turkey, tuna, or egg salad. I suppose there were others if one really objected, and I'm sure there's a vegan option and so on. But I just sighed and ordered the turkey sandwich every day, being sure to load it down with the entire contents of a tiny packet of mustard that came with. Dinner had more variety in the offerings, but I was so happy with the fish I got the first night - cod, seasoned, with seasoned rice and steamed broccoli, my favorite, that I just re-ordered that, and I'd have it again right now if I could. The ordering clerk couldn't tell you what veggie or starch each option came with, and I felt I'd struck it so lucky with the broccoli that I'd better stick with it.

B. came by every day, and my brother phoned regularly. Despite lacking access to my files, I went through with a previously scheduled editorial phone meeting for Tolkien Studies, and we accomplished what we needed. My co-editors worried that it was imposing too much on me, but in fact it was a pleasant break in my day. I also, as soon as I could, contacted my SFCV editor and canceled out on reviewing the same concert yesterday that Herbert Blomstedt had already canceled out on conducting, knowing that even if I was out on Friday I'd be in no shape to go up to the City, especially as it turned out to be a very inclement day.

However ... oh, well, tomorrow's post.


  1. All the best from Jena, I am keeping fingers crossed for you.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this! I hope you continue to recover well.

    I was looking forward to your take on Saraste, here or in SFCV. Alas!