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I had taken my lovely glass of Chardonnay the night before, and although it took me some time to fall asleep, I finally did, and slept deeply for a solid four hours. I woke up at 4 am, but after tossing and turning for a couple of hours, managed to sleep, intermittently for another two. Then I woke up again. First thing I did was call the hospital to find out how my Mom was faring. I was lucky enough to get the same doctor who was on duty when she came in, he gave me a brief report saying that she was the same, still giving them a hard time, but was funny and they were all having fun. I was relieved. So sat up in bed, got into Facebook, had a lovely chat with a friend, posted my article, and browsed through the stories making the rounds. Made comments, received comments and replied to them, then turned on the TV to watch a good political morning program. This whiled away another hour during which I had my medication, my tea and breadsticks for breakfast. By 11 I got up, had my shower and got dressed and out to the living room where most of my pets were waiting for me.
I turned the TV on low, then started working on printing my latest articles. This does take time as several steps need to be taken to convert them into a compatible format for printing, then adding them to the same document where I have all the previous articles, in chronological order, listing them on the index and finally printing and filing them into the pertinent folders. This is quite a task, one that is more donkey work than creative, and is quite soothing in the execution. By the time I finished it was lunchtime. Before having lunch I called the hospital again, and again was lucky to get one of the nurses I had met yesterday. She too gave me a good report, saying that they had her on drips, and things were fine. So following the doctor’s instructions I deliberately prepared lunch and ate two pieces of grilled chicken and one fresh cucumber and one fresh tomato. I felt very full indeed. Then went downstairs and fed the two small dogs, came back upstairs, browsed on FB a bit more, then thought it a good idea to go in for a nap.
I only nap during the day when I am sick, so I thought I wouldn’t sleep, but I did. I must have been really tired. Unfortunately this did not last long. A few minutes after dropping off the mobile rang, rousing me with a start. I snatched it, looked, unknown number, but answered. A female voice asked me if I was Aida, and when I confirmed, she said she was calling from the hospital where my Mom was. I turned cold and my stomach dropped. I could barely ask : is she alright? Yes, she wants to talk to you. She handed her the telephone : Aida, where are you? Come right now and tell those daughters of satan to stop pricking my legs with needles. Her usual latest complaint. I said Ok Mom, give the phone back to the nurse so that I can tell her. A very sarcastic: Hah! Why are you not here? Never mind, take! And the nurse came on. I asked her if she was being given tranquilizers, and she replied in the affirmative, then the nurse asked me when I was coming in for a visit. I managed to tell her that I was not allowed in for another few days, and we hung up.
This whole call that could not have lasted more than a minute and a half demolished all the quiet of the full day. My hands and feet were freezing cold, my stomach tied in knots and a full blown headache in place. Got up, wore something warm, and took myself to the sitting room to try to settle myself again. Before I could do that properly, a friend, who had previously called several times, called. So I picked up. She was very bubbly, very cheerful, playfully berating me that the only way she can find out about my news is to read my articles on Facebook. And how was I and how was my Mom? And can I get away for an hour and come and have lunch, it would be a break for me and a change of scenery, which she was sure would do me good, that she had not had time to read my latest and that she had visitors all day, was exhausted because her domestic help was on vacation and after a nap she thought she would call and see how we are. By the time she had finished, so was I. I could only repeat, several times, please read the article, it would explain everything. Ok, I will do that, but just tell me how is Tante Bella, is she eating or drinking any better? Is your nurse doing a good job? Can you get away at all? I kept repeating, please read the article you’ll get all the answers. You and another friend are the only ones who still insist on calling me for news, I really cannot tell you all. Read the article and you will understand all. I think my exhausted tone did get through to her, for she just hurriedly said, look if you could it would be great if you could arrange for our next Monday’s gathering, it has been quite some time since we’ve last gone out. At that point all I could do was repeat, like a parrot, read the article. She sounded a bit baffled, verging on the offended, but agreed, finally, to read the article. She is one of the kindest people I know, and I know that she loves me dearly, and I am sure that she will feel very badly after reading the article. Sometimes our dearest friends can unwittingly cause us a great deal of discomfort, which is the farthest thing from their intention.
Those two calls have managed to unsettle me a great deal and am now struggling to regain part of the serenity I had achieved this morning. It seems every step forward I take another two backwards. But I’ll keep at it, I’ll get there. My writing is therapeutic, and though this article might embarrass my friend a bit, at least it will give her insight into how to deal with people who are in a fragile state. She is mature enough, and sensitive enough to appreciate that and act accordingly, without there being any hard feelings left.
I hope to God I don’t get any more calls this evening. Spoke too soon. Another call from the hospital, this time saying that my Mom’s hemoglobin is low and she needs blood transfusion. An administrative employee was on the line so I asked to speak to a doctor, who confirmed the request when he came on. Then he put the administrator on again, saying that although it is the family that is supposed to provide the needed blood, yet the hospital can help out but they needed money to do that. I said go ahead and I’ll bring the money in tomorrow morning. Then I called my brother, told him what happened, he said he thought that his wife was there, he’d call her and call me back. I know blood transfusions are unpredictable, I’m worried sick and am getting more and more scattered by the minute. It seems I am not destined to have a break or get any rest. Will have to go in tomorrow. Cannot drive there in the dark. God what do I do? Looks like it’s not the first day of rest but the second day of my meltdown.
Just talked to my sister-in-law who is there and she said that everything is under control, that she told my brother to come in from Gouna! No there is nothing drastic, but that my Mom needs to see him to feel more secure! That I should stay put and that everything is fine and for me to just relax. What a joke! How can I follow doctor’s orders under such circumstances? And how much good will I be to her if I get there and collapse into tears like I am doing now? Oh God, what do I do? Nothing can be done right now. Will have to wait till tomorrow. No. I shall be going in tomorrow.
26 February 2014

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