Tuesday, October 28, 2014
the day before, "Serious was last week", and a quiet obstacle
So I am in the hospital now. The operation is tomorrow, and today is for preparation. And for me, for reflection. The really nice thing is: I have a room with a view. Right outside is a field with apple trees and with 4 horses. The horizon is a long scenic line. It could almost be like a room in a countryside hotel. Apart from the room itself, and the reason I am here.
Yesterday was filled with organizing and preparing my time away, workwise. With all the positive sides of working freelance for individual projects, that’s one of the moments that makes you wish that your job could easily be done by someone else. Then the packing, for a place and time and mood that I can only guess and roughly anticipate. What to wear? Which books to take? I brought some “old friends”: Hermann Hesse, “Kleine Freuden” (“Small Pleasures”). Pema Chodron, “The Wisdom of no Escape”. And some new ones, in digital form, one of it from the Booker Prize shortlist: Karen Joy Fowler’s “We are all Completely Beside Ourselves”. It starts with an introduction that ends with these words: “Skip the beginning. Start in the middle…”
Which might also be the direction of those blog posts. Not to go through the happenings chronologically, but pick the ones that stood out. Like that moment in the Nuklear medicine unit. I was there again today, they created a marker for the operation tomorrow. “Jetzt wird es ernst,” I said when meeting the doc, a German saying that translates to: “Now for the part that gets serious.” He smiled at me and said: “Ernst war es letzte Woche” – “Serious it was last week.” (and nice how German translates to Yoda speak literally, in this case.)
What he meant was: the examination last week was about the more difficult results. No one had said that directly, but from logic, I guessed that, too: If you have a cancerous knot in the breast and the lymph nodes connected to it are not cancerous, then this is a rather good sign that nothing has spread (as the lymph nodes would catch the cells first..). Yet, that domino logic only works when the knot is the initial cancer point… not if there are other spots in the body already. So that’s what they actually checked for last week. Now, one more night, then the operation. It’s roughly scheduled for 10am, but that might change depending on incoming emergencies.
What is also good: to have a room that is quiet. On the other end of the floor, there’s a patient who is slightly disoriented, and who cries for help and for attention every couple of minutes. Just being around there makes you nervous. I don’t know how the doctors and all the nurses do it, dealing with all kind of dramas each day, and still being friendly and helpful and warm-hearted. It is humbling.
And as if to enhance the quiet, the day came with a nice twist of technical obstacles. They have combined TV/telephone/radio sets here, all you need to activate them is buy a media card. So I did, but it turned out, the card doesn’t work. Or rather: the whole set doesn’t work. So I take that as a wink of the quiet.