Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Making mortal jumps

November 23, 2016 2 comments
A very young Florence making a 'mortal jump'

A very young Florence about to jump

The Italian ‘fare salti mortali’ (literally: making mortal jumps, or somersaults) means ‘moving heaven and earth’.

We did just that, and some, so we could go to the hospital on Friday morning for Clive to have his catheter checked with a view to possible chemotherapy.

Then this morning the hospital phoned and cancelled – no reason and no new appointment.

I honestly don’t know how many more mortal jumps are in me.


Deaf as a post

November 22, 2016 Leave a comment
Italians make themselves as deaf as this

Italians make themselves as deaf as this

I sometimes wonder if Italians have some vital part of their inner ear removed at birth in a process that leaves them irritated by the sound of another human voice, such that they have to drown it out.

This morning I tried to arrange for Clive’s stoma to be viewed, and was slammed through to a nurse who wanted to know why Clive would already be in the hospital on Friday.

Speaking in Italian as always, three times I started to explain, and three times she interrupted and drowned me in high-pitched gabble, guessing erroneously at reasons.

Finally I was roaring for her to listen and she was screeching to try to get the upper hand in the conversation.

Clive sat back and enjoyed himself – a good cat-fight, he said.

The upshot was that I gave up trying to arrange anything. The timing was all wrong and in any case I have grave doubts anyone would have listened long enough to help.

CT scan

October 13, 2016 Leave a comment
Wild carrot flower head

Wild carrot flower head

The picture is a symbol for the complexity of our day yesterday (to which this post belongs) which involved a 12 hour return trip in a White Cross ambulance to Milan where there is the only CT scanner suitable for Clive in the whole of Italy, apparently.

First thing that happened at the ‘hatch’ where I had to report: sorry, you’ve wasted your journey, your local hospital made a telephone booking for an ULTRASOUND not a CT scan and our CT scanner isn’t big enough. (Clive had already had an ultrasound at our local hospital.)

Luckily a doctor took me to look at the scanner and I said I thought it would be big enough and he agreed to a trial.

It was big enough!

I later saw the email with which our local hospital had booked the appointment – it clearly said CT scan.

There was another big fuss because I’d brought a faxed copy of the ‘electronic prescription’ rather than the original and therefore we couldn’t take any report away with us.

Luckily the same doctor intervened and gave us a provisional written report, but I have to send in the original prescription in order to ask for the disc and then pay €22 for its delivery.

One of the White Cross men overheard other patients being told that the machine which produces the discs was out of order so we couldn’t have had it anyway.

That’s 2 lies, by my reckoning. How do these people get away with it?

Pleasant and unpleasant surprises

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment
A portion of the snakeskin, where I found it

A portion of the snakeskin, where I found it

Cutting back a cotoneaster, I found the skin which a snake had obviously shed by squeezing through a narrow gap.

That was the pleasant surprise. These are grass snakes which eat mice which eat the air filter in our car, and I’m happy to have them around.

Also a snakeskin is a thing of beauty – like fine crochet work.

The unpleasant surprise came when I phoned the pharmacy this morning.

I asked that we be able to pick up next month’s supply of colostomy bags for Clive and was told “No”.

The reason for being denied them is that the district doctor forgot to write the 2 words ‘in deroga’ (which means something like ‘exceptional’) on the paperwork.

It’s by no means certain when this will be resolved.

Moving the goalposts

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment
A soothing view

A soothing view

It’s just as well there are views like this one close to the house. I need something to soothe me after a morning of countless attempted phonecalls and fruitless phonecalls.

All last week it was in the hands of Foligno hospital to find a CT scanner suitable for Clive and they supposedly found somewhere in neighbouring Tuscany.

Today they officially asked me to take over.

The place they’d so-called found hadn’t even been contacted. The radiology department there declared a limit which would have been just acceptable, but when I spoke to them again an hour or so later, their Professor had moved the goalposts and the scan was out of the question.

I honestly don’t know where we go from here.


Being florenced

September 10, 2016 2 comments
Taylor about to be 'florenced'

Taylor about to be ‘florenced’

The dogs are extra boisterous after spending the day in kennels yesterday while Clive had his colonoscopy.

Taylor can hold his own without a doubt, but it’s no joke being ‘florenced’ – the equivalent of two twelve-kilo sacks of dog food running full tilt at you, as Clive puts it.

Her great delight is to go between your legs, or walk sideways just in front of you.

She can certainly be a pain but she’s also a comical, sunny presence.

Full days

August 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Grapes ripe for the picking

Grapes ripe for the picking

One of the worst things about illness is that your time is no longer your own.

Today we went to the hospital and queued with one set of people just for a blood pressure check, then with the same lot of people again to see the anaesthetist who had an office that backed onto the first room.

Each doorway we went through, we had to take the pedals off Clive’s wheelchair, remove the cushion, fold up the chair, and then reassemble.

Each time a form was filled out, which was often, Clive’s name was questioned – Are you sure this is his surname?

Yes, I jolly well am. When I married him I took it on myself!

We spent all morning on this fruitless exercise – 6 hours used up.

The result sometimes is that I end up picking fruit in the dark, which I don’t mind at all.