Day 6 After The Fall
Hoping to get to the hospital before they locked down the ward at 9:00, Scarlett and I jostled my three big suitcases into her tiny car and, for the last time, drove that busy strip of highway to Perugia. She dropped me at the front door so I could scoot up. Then she went to drop my luggage at La Collina, and would come up to see Jay briefly before having a day to herself at Casa Lauro.
I was anxious that somehow or other they would whip Jay into surgery, so wanted to be there ASAP. Jay was not in surgery, but seemed a bit cranky.
“See if you can find that nurse and ask what she has done with my orange juice,” he said.
“Orange juice?” I’d never seen them bring anything as palatable as orange juice.
“Yes,” he said, “I ordered two orange juices and I don’t know why they aren’t here.”
Hmmm… the nurses did not take orders either. “Ah, who did you order the juice from?”
“Well I was just going to get it myself, from the machine with the teddy bear button, you know? But when I got downstairs I realized I didn’t have any coins, so I asked the nurse and she said she’d bring them to me, but it’s been ages.”
“Jay,” I said. “I think the meds are making you a bit wonky.”
He glowered at me.
“The thing is, hon, you couldn’t really have gone anywhere, could you? You can’t even sit up.”
He looked puzzled. “But I was at the teddy bear button.”
“I don’t know what teddy bear button you mean, but you couldn’t have gone anywhere. Do you want me to get you some orange juice?”
Long pause. “No. That’s okay. When am I going to get out of here?”
I explained that it looked increasingly like he would have surgery in the next day or two, and that Panti did not want him to travel before the surgery.
“Has the insurance company approved the operation?” he asked.
“Not yet. They still want the reports. Panti promised to send them.”
“I’m getting fed up,” he muttered.
“Well the good thing is I don’t have to travel back and forth to Scarlett’s anymore. I’ve moved to this little pensione, five minutes’ walk from the hospital.”
“Good, that’s good. What’s it like?”
“Well I haven’t actually seen my room yet, but I‘ll go over after I talk to the doctors.”
At this moment the HN appeared and ordered me out so they could clean the room. I didn’t know what was up with her. Other visitors were allowed to stay. Maybe she was still mad at me about the trip to The Administrator. I dutifully departed, got Jay some water and orange juice and met Scarlett by the elevators. We snuck back onto the ward a few minutes later so she could say hi/bye to Jay and get back home.
I didn’t see Panti but did run into one of the other doctors/residents (not only could I not speak/understand Italian, I couldn’t read it either, so had no idea what the words on his name tag meant.) He informed me that Panti would very likely do the surgery on Friday. He also reassured me that the surgery was routine and Panti vastly experienced. It was not risky and would only take about an hour. I wondered how surgery to mend such a serious injury could be routine, but felt reassured nonetheless
I went to officially check in at La Collina. The woman at the desk was about my age. She spoke no English, nor did her husband.
However their son and daughter, both adults, spoke quite well. The daughter materialized and checked me in. The father lugged all our suitcases up a long flight of stairs. The door to my room was right at the top. The room was simple – a large, hard bed, small desk, mini-fridge, bathroom, cupboard and a little private balcony looking out on the skyline of old Perugia.The wireless worked! I could finally use my iPad! I got the air conditioning running and soon the room was very comfortable. I breathed a sigh of relief and checked my email.
Messages were pouring in from Canada, from friends and family, colleagues of Jay’s, people I barely knew from his past and present. Even a neighbour wrote, wishing us both strength. My email address had obviously been shared widely. Aaron had gone back to work, so was now having trouble managing the endless negotiations with the insurance company. I had suggested that now Mike was back in Stratford, maybe he should take over as my on-the-ground contact. Aaron and Mike agreed this will work best. Now the insurers needed to talk to Jay again to get his permission to speak with Mike. Honestly it all seemed to be about getting permission from someone for something!
I took my iPad back to the hospital so I could read Jay some of the messages, to cheer him up. He still didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. I’d brought him his kindle but he didn`t have the strength to hold it. Sometimes I read to him, but mostly he seemed to fall asleep as soon as I arrived. I’d sit for a while then slip out, get a coffee, or nip back to La Collina to cool down. The hospital room seemed ever more cramped, hot and uncomfortable. I sometimes thought I might scream if I had to sit in that airless space a minute longer.
My phone rang. Neil, the benefits officer, apologized profusely for taking so long to get back to me. He’d been away and hadn’t checked his official email. He was very concerned, anxious to help. I filled him in on the endless, unproductive shenanigans with the insurance company. Appalled at how slowly things were moving, he promised to contact the union administrator and see if she couldn’t get some results. I gave him Mike’s contact info and suggested they talk. He promised to call the next day, or as soon as he had any news. I felt better, knowing one more person would be hounding the insurers.