Dear friends and readers,
It takes considerable stamina to be a patient in the USA. When the Admiral woke this morning he said: “You know what? I’m being deprived of my convalescence. I ought to be in some bed-and-breakfast porch in a sea-side resort chosen for its invigorating air instead I’m being dragged out daily, driven to take tests ….” Painful tests with long waits, gentle reader. Says I: “preferably south-west England.” He: “When is the last time you heard the term ‘convalescence?'” Later in the afternoon he discovered the use of the word was at its height after WW1 (doubtless a screen for PTDs which the unfortunate servicemen most of them have to endure as best they can.) Says I: “Americans conceive of this too as work, you are to work at it.” I reminded him that C.S.Lewis (who said he thought a version of paradise was to be eternally convalescent from some minor disease in a curtained window-seat”) operative term was ‘minor.'”
To make concrete, some terrible times, showing us where the theme in movies of medical people treating patients absurdly (“How are you today” expecting a cheerful “I’m fine,” and if not produced, a puzzled “Why?”) or with cool indifference emerges.
Late Monday night when he should be resting we are at yet another test at another center asked that he allow another IV (yet another) into his arm. We were early but when the time came we were not taken. He had begun literally to keen. I heard him making noises of sharp distress I’ve never heard before. When I asked the man when we would be taken, he shrugged and said there were emergencies next door. That’s Urgent care and it’s only called emergencies. “Maybe another 45 minutes or more and then 40 minutes to endure.” At this the admiral got up and said he’s leaving and we did.
We had paid $100, not that it matters …
Now he has an intermittent catheter; his bladder is not yet doing its job so he is catheretizing himself every 4 hours hours (this is not fun people). It does leave him free of any bags and elastic bands and discomfort the rest of the time; easier to sit, walk, sleep. His prostrate enlarged we are told and the probability that the bladder will start to do its function again soon. Meanwhile I had to buy supplies; this time the woman was not into playing games, admitted openly that Kaiser did not pay the whole of it and she was waiting for reassurance of payment. So I said immediately I’d pay the difference. But the things are not yet here that we need for tomorrow. Fret, fret, fret.
Of course had he been taken to Torquay at the close of the Crimean, or WW1 or WW2 (when the uses of the term convalescent peaked) we would not then have known of his blood clot and he’d have died perhaps. TB sanitoriums are closed because there is no an effective chemical cure. No use to talk of the bladder for before 1980 no one would have dared such an operation as he’s endured. That does not mean we need to be treated this way, used as mere cogs in some machine we have to lock-step into (and make many co-pays for).
What happened to the frightened Clary pussycat is she came into my workroom without my noticing it, and when I left for 3 hours on Tuesday (the next day), she was stuck alone in my room. She doesn’t like it. When we first returned to the house, I didn’t see her and wondered where she was. Then the big sounds of a body being thrust at a door, much scratching and mewing. She wanted out. I opened the door as I realized what happened and she scooted out. For 2 days since she has been wary of slinking into this room.
My exhaustion & lack of time comes from having to drive everywhere, with nothing close to anything else of the Kaiser buildings. I am to suit the convenience of everyone else (he too). It’s worse than a baby. I really did have time to myself because I 1) refused to feed on command; that’s enslaving oneself to a baby; and 2) never breast-fed, so within about a month and one half, with the Admiral always spelling one for one of the bottle feds and buying ready-made to pour I had 6 and more hours between the time the babies ate.
Today was a relative rest. We had good weather. Cool, cloudy, just a little intermittent (the word is on my mind) sun. The admiral and I took two walks about the block. “Really” I said, “it could be Torquay.” Upon getting into the house, I turned the air-conditioning off, finished my Mapping Trollope paper … In the evening Yvette and I worked out another meal for us — bowls of spaghetti with cold chicken from yesterday.
We do have a test tomorrow morning (set up by his anti-coagulant team) but we should be home by noon.