Day 7 After the Fall

view from my balcony

view from my balcony

I awoke in my cool room at La Collina, threw open the curtains and shutters and gazed out on the beautiful skyline of Perugia. Then I beetled down for breakfast. The choice of very sweet cakes or thick melba toast and jam did little to whet my appetite, but the freshly made cappuccino was welcome. I then raced across the parking lot to grab Jay water, fruit and coffee from the cafeteria and gain entrance to the ward before the HN barred the door. This became my daily routine while I stayed at La Collina.

Jay seemed more disoriented than usual.

He tried to smile. “I played tennis with Novak Djokovic last night. Didn’t win but gave him a good run for his money, I tell you.”

I laughed. At least he knew he’d been hallucinating. I gave him the coffee and fruit, but he seemed listless and disinterested. The sores on his mouth were much worse. I asked the nurses if they could give him anything, if it was something to worry about. They shrugged. I made a mental note to bring some cream from my room.

He had yet another new roommate. The man in the sweltering body cast had disappeared in the night, after a rather unfortunate incident yesterday when they seemed to be sawing the cast off in the room. Yikes! The new roommate, a woman about 40 years old, had her leg in a cast. She had a few visitors but mostly stared at the ceiling and made no effort to engage. We never learned why she was on this particular ward, although they did take her away, perhaps to surgery, and return her later. The next day she was gone.

I offered to read to Jay, but he shook his head and started muttering about nurses, then drifted off to sleep. I stepped out into the hall and phoned Becky, only to find her in a state because she’d just heard that her daughter, who lived in Paris, had inexplicable bruises all over her body. She feared the worst. A sense of unreality swept over me as I huddled in the hospital corridor, trying to hear her over the ongoing din, sympathising with her maternal anxiety and wondering if anyone would ever be okay again.

Then I had another telephone therapy session with my by-now-good-friend Sandy at the Embassy. She called just to check in. I told her that, the night before, I’d had word from Mike that the insurance company had approved the surgery, despite receiving no further info from the hospital. I also understood that if all went well Jay might soon be cleared to fly. I imagine a private air ambulance with white coated attendants. Sandy deflated that balloon.

“It’s unlikely they will fly him by air ambulance. That costs a fortune. Much more likely they’ll put him on a commercial flight. You might want to contact Air Canada and see what arrangements they can make.”

I couldn’t actually imagine calling Air Canada but made a note to ask one of the many people at home who’d offered to help to do this. But the very idea of Jay on a commercial flight, like, sitting up, was beyond me. I rang off feeling flattened.

At noon I went down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. Jay still had no appetite, but breakfast had done nothing for me – and I needed to get out of that room. The smell of freshly baked pizza, several varieties, wafted forth. I had the choice of many different salads, and roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, carrots and potatoes. I had a slice of pizza and a beer, then returned to the ward.

A non-Panti doctor spoke to me about the upcoming surgery. I was astonished – no one had made an effort to explain matters to me in the 6 days I’d been visiting! There had been some discussion of an enema, but Panti had decided they were to do no such thing until Jay was unconscious, as it would be too painful. Jay was most appreciative of this. He would be cut off food and water the next morning and they expected to perform the surgery around 4:00PM. It would only take an hour but he would not be back in his room for probably three hours.

In the afternoon I returned to La Collina for a brief rest and to catch up on emails now that Canada was awake. It felt like luxury, having this easy access to the internet after all those days of having to get back to Scarlett’s to communicate. Neil had emailed to say he’s spoken to the union administrator and she was putting pressure on the insurance company to approve the claim. Later that day flowers arrived at the hospital from Neil. I figured it must have been a Herculean labour to get the address and arrange delivery. Jay loves flowers, so he was pleased. The next day the nurses made me take them away; apparently some risk of post-surgery infection from flowers? They looked very nice in my room at La Collina.

In the late afternoon, Giorgio appeared in Jay’s room again! He had called the carabinieri office and after much run-around had gone there, only to discover that the police report was not actually at that office but in Citta di Castello – an hour’s drive from Perugia , quite close to Scarlett’s house. With Janet translating from Canada on the phone, I learned that Giorgio was determined to go to Citta di Castello. I felt terrible that he was running around the countryside on our behalf (I also felt no certainty whatsoever that there even WAS a police report…and whether I wanted it to surface, really, with possible evidence about alcohol consumption.) However, Giorgio was not to be deterred. Janet explained that in Italy it was much better to do business face-to-face, and Giorgio felt certain he could obtain the report if he actually went there. I poured gratitude over him, and we all grinned, nodded and made animated facial expressions at each other.

That evening, Scarlett and her English friend Margaret came to take me into Perugia for dinner. They visited briefly with Jay. He tried to rally but I could see he was flagging and dispirited.

We had a pleasant meal in the pedestrian square in Perugia, although the food was not quite as good as at La Collina! But as it was the last time I’d have a chance to go out to dine, I welcomed the change of venue. Over dinner, as the light and heat faded, they warned me about just how awful Jay would look coming out of surgery (both had been at the bedside of loved ones immediately post-surgery.)

“He’ll looks dreadful, pale and sweaty, and he’ll likely be throwing up green,” said Scarlett.

“And he might be really disoriented,” her friend added, “But it’s normal. He’ll be much better the next day.”

Apart from the green vomit, it didn’t sound like it would be that much of a change.


2 thoughts on “Anticipating…surgery

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