September 30, 2003

Happy Interlude

Given an afternoon off -- free instead of admitted to hospital! -- Marla and I have this delightful sense of truancy. It's one of those perfect fall days -- sunny, breezeless, brilliant blue sky. We drive to center city, select a small restaurant with outside seating and excellent sandwiches (goat cheese and roast peppers and olives and garlic -- yum!). We're joined by Marla's husband who is also an old friend of mine, and sit outside in the sun having a fine lunch, grinning from the surprise pleasure of it all.

Marla has patients that afternoon, so she takes off, and Larry takes me to Lord and Taylor to look for slippers. Being an excessively well-trained husband, he hangs back slightly while I pore over the selection, agonising over the cream embroidered pair vs the dramatic black embroidered pair, occasionally waving an alternative design, or saying, Mmmmhmmm, at appropriate moments.

Slippers achieved, Larry takes me home, and I get to say hi to EtQ and the cats again. Much luxurious stretching and shedding of fur from all four, much catching up on tummy rubs and walks around the neighbourhood. Trot up between bouts of quadruped indulgence to the little local Muslim store, in hopes of finding something not too frilly for a nightdress. I found the limitations of my usual t-shirt nightwear while in the hospital last time. Each time you roll over and go to leap out of bed, you find the damn thing has rolled up to your waist. Makes it impossible to keep your room door open, and then you lose out on nursegossip, which is not to be borne.

Find a couple of really cute fine cotton Indian shifts, lightly embroidered and very inexpensive, and also a big bright orange and gold and black striped robe, that nurses take to calling my Tiger Dress. It serves fine as a dressing gown, and leaves room for expansion, which I'll need given the upcoming mass doses of steroids.

Finally, I see a few neighbours and friends, catch up on news, get reactions to the new haircut. Even sneak over the road to a friend's house and have a forbidden quarter glass of red wine. I tell you, it was a moderately cheap glass of plonk, but the whole thing tasted ambrosial. There's something about a stolen day and a sneaked glass of wine that is good for the soul.

The whole afternoon set me up wonderfully for going back to the hospital, and acted as a little fuel cell that got me through quite a few of the ensuing days with a feeling of warmth and cheer.

However, 4.00 comes, and still no call from the hospital to let me know a room is available. Since I've been given various dire warnings about the probable brevity of my lifespan if I kept on dragging around as I had, untreated, I'm somewhat anxious about this.

As instructed, I call the unlovely receptionist to enquire. She snarls, "Well, if you insist on a private room, you're just going to have to wait. I can't tell you when one will be available". So all this time she has been thinking I turned down the shared room she'd found because I was narcissistic rather than neutropenic, vain rather than vulnerable to infection. Even though Dr R told her otherwise within my hearing. So she's probably been dragging her feet on the whole thing. Wonderful.

With all the patience I can muster, I explain that I hardly have two white cells to rub together, and that a single room is a medical necesssity. She says she'll get back to me. Within ten minutes, I have a confirmed room, admitted directly via Emergency, and I'm on my way back to 3Center.

Posted by maddy at September 30, 2003 11:46 PM
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