Category Archives: Eric Hall

Monday 28th November 2022 – I’VE HAD A FEW …

…lovely interactions with some friends today, and isn’t that nice?

Ingrid phoned me this afternoon and we had a lovely chat that went on for about an hour or so where we discussed our problems. And “our” problems too because Ingrid has several of her own that at time make mine pale into insignificance.

And not just Ingrid either. Lots of other people have a lot more problems than I have right now and I do ought to stop moaning about them.

None of the foregoing stopped me bending Alison’s ear when she put in an apearance a little later. She came to see me later in the day too and we had an interesting chat as well. There’s quite a lot going on right now what with one thing and another.

But she’d been on a mission to Germany last week and she brought me another pile of vegan chocolate. That should keep me going for quite a while and I’m grateful.

Liz had messaged me at one point or another during the early evening so we had a lengthy chat as well and discussed a few of the issues that are arising out of my stay in here and which are of considerable interest following my visit to the operating theatre with my virus on Sunday morning.

It was nice to discuss them with several sympathetic ears and I appreciate their patience and forebearance.

Someone else whoe ear was much less sympathetic but who nevertheless had to listen to my spiel without much of an option was the doctor who’s on patrol in this ward this week.

She got the “what’s next on the list of excuses?” speech and her answer was to fob me off with the thing about “you need to speak to the doctor concerned” to which my repiy was a rather curt “if they don’t ever come to see me, how can I speak to them?”.

Once again, there was no answer to that – not that I was expecting any.

So last night having been to bed at some ridiculous time, I was awake this morning at 04:28. And having had a trip across the room to the bathroom I just lay there counting the minutes until the alarm went off at 06:30.

The highlight of the morning was the visit of the doctor. She was the only member of the medical staff (apart from the nurses of course) who came to see me throughout the whole day. Had it not been for Liz, Alison and Ingrid, it would have been an awful day.

Compounded by the fact that my two little students and my Iranian refugee are now working elsewhere on this floor. I seem to have been entrusted into the care of a retired Bulgarian weightlifter. I wonder why.

On the subject of Ingrid though, we both remarked that the only difference between this and a prison is that this door here is open. And that’s a sad state of affairs, isn’t it?

But tomorrow is another day and maybe I’ll be feelng better. My Welsh class might bring me some kind of interest and who knows? The priest might come and see me again.

Things can’t get much lower than they are now.

Sunday 27th November 2022 – SO HAVING GONE …

… off to sleep at some kind of early night I had some kind of dream in which I was having some kind of tug-of-war with something or someone. When I awoke, it was almost midnight and a nurse was pulling at my hand to try to connect my catheter to a small pack of antibiotic fluid.

That could have been quite an interesting moment had I been the kind of person who talks in his sleep.

Half an hour or so later just as I was about to drop off to sleep the nurse came back and disturbed me by uncoupling me and then I settled down again to try to go back to sleep but really that was that as far as sleep was concerned.

In the WORDS OF AL STEWART, “.. all that is left is the clock on the shelf
as it ticks one day into another”
.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, back in the old days when I had fewer preoccupations in my life I had regular visits during the night from three young ladies, one of whom was nicknamed “Zero” after the “girl, she’s almost a woman” IN THE SONG and there are more truths in this song than you would ever realise.

Yes, it was getting to the stage of Warren Zevon and “A RED-HEADED GIRL
IN THE RED SILK DRESS
YA’ KNOW, I’M ASKING HER TO DANCE WITH ME
SHE MIGHT SAY YES”

By 03:00 I had given up everything and had the laptop up and running with the Old-Time Radio going. First up was an episode of Paul Temple, and there’s nothing quite like THE CORONATION SCOT at 03:00 to stir the spirit.

And I settled down later under the bedclothes with the headphones and the computer still going ready for the alarm at 06:30 and wondered how deep asleep I would be right now had the doctor yesterday not decided to wreak her petty revenge on me last night by disobeying standing instructions by telling me about my operation later in the day

regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I have requested no knowledge whatever of any surgical intervention.

At about 05:00 I was shaken awake by a group of nurses wanting to take a blood sample and reminding me of my operation, which I now know is going to be at 07:30.

Apparently the catheter in the back of my hand isn’t the right kind of catheter to take a blood sample. They had to insert a needle somewhere else in my arm to continue the work of trying to transform me into a pin cushion or a junkie or something.

When they finished the sample they dumped a pile of washing stuff in the bathroom and told me to get washed. I don’t know if I replied with an expletive but if I did, I wouldn’t be surprised.

When the alarm went off at 06:30 I grudgingly staggered off towards the bathroom.

At 07:00 a nurse came to see me, one of those who had awoken me at 05:00. She asked me if I was ready for the operation. I ran through the timeline of what had happened during the night and expressed my feelings in no uncertain terms.

She beat a hasty retreat and for once I was left alone.

Only until about 07:15 when a nurse came to weigh me. I made her wait while I went to the bathroom. She retaliated by cleaning my catheter port with a force that doubled me up and connecting me to an antibiotic. So I’m not going for my operation at 07:30.

Anyway at 07:30 regardless of anything else they came to fetch me, antibiotics and all, and wheeled me off down into the basement and I saw parts of the hospital that I never new existed.

Eventually I arrived in some kind of holding area where I waited. And waited. And waited.

At about 08:00 they came to fetch me. And in the operating theatre –
Our Hero – “am I the first patient of the morning?”
Assistant Surgeon – “in this theatre, yes”
OH – “well let’s get going while the knife’s still sharp”.
But as Kenneth Williams and Alfred Hitchcock once famously remarked, “it’s a waste of time telling jokes to foreigners”.

They actually used a laser on me to remove my infected and damaged catheter port. And now I know what burning human flesh smells like even if, because of the local anaesthetic I couldn’t feel it.

When they had finished (in an operation that had lasted 28:55 according to the stopwatch on the ceiling) I was put in another holding area where they took my blood pressure. and I reckon that 94/67 is pretty low in anyone’s calculations.

It was 10:15 when I arrived back after a lengthy stay in the Recovery Room, and you’ve no idea how much I was looking forward to coffee and breakfast. And as you might expect, it was strawberry jam this morning.

They had taken a sample of blood a little earlier this morning which showed a blood count of 6.6. I wasn’t aware that I had lost so much blood during the operation and I told the little junior doctor so. She asked me if I’d been bleeding anywhere else so I told her the story of the carcinogenic protein and gave her a small lecture on basic volumetrics.

While I was at it, I did ask her about what’s going to happen now that we know that the story about “being too full of virus for an operation”. She replied that “this was a different type of operation” so I took great delight in showing her last night’s blog entry.

She thinks that I need to see one of the doctors who sees me during the week but regular readers of this rubbish will recall that we don’t see them every day.

And as she left, I couldn’t help but say that “well, we both knew that this story about ‘too full of virus to operate on me’ was a load of nonsense, didn’t we?”

All very juvenile and childish of me I’m afraid, but you can imagine how I was feeling.

With breakfast being so late, I wasn’t in much of a mood for lunch especially in the middle of a blood transfusion. But at least that’s over now.

Having had a really bad morning I spent much of the afternoon asleep or else chatting with my friend in Eastern Kent – or is it my Eastern Kentish friend? I can’t remember which is which.

After my rather stressful day it’s time now for me to settle down under the covers ready for the rigours of tomorrow.

It’s strange, isn’t it, that I was worrying about having a very quiet day and it turned into one of the most difficult to date. Tomorrow will have to go some to match the events of today

Saturday 26th November 2022 – I WOKE UP …

… this morning – (cue Blues introduction here) – in a deep dark depression.

And the only thing that has changed during the curse of the day is that it’s gone worse and I have slipped even deeper in.

The only surprise here is not that I’m in a deep dark depression but the fact that it’s taken as long as this.

So having to contend with not only the regular ointment in my eyes but also an uncomfortable catheter in the back of my left hand, I’ll tell you all about it.

It all began to go wrong last night at about 21:30 when a nurse came by to check the catheter port in my chest.

She pulled out the catheter and went to fit a new one. And then she pulled it out because she said that it wasn’t working, fitted another, still couldn’t get it to work. She said that she’d have to go off and see the night nurse.

At some point I must have fallen asleep because I awoke at 03:30 with the headphones still on and the old-time radio on the computer still going, and still no night-nurse.

A couple of hours later I started to worry about the night-nurse knocking off so I pressed my bell.

An orderly came along followed closely, surprise surprise, by the night nurse. She said that she knew nothing whatever about the problem and suggested that maybe the person last night had contacted the specialist catheter unit.

By now it was too late for me to go back to sleep. The alarm was set for 06:30 and it wasn’t long before it went off.

After breakfast the doctor came to see me and it really was the wrong kind of day for that to happen but it was rather too late to worry about that.

She told me nothing that I didn’t already know so I launched into my usual spiel. When I reached the bit about the trapped nerve and my leg she RAN AWAY – actually ran away from me out of the room.

There was nothing lef for it but to turn to my social network to vent the spleen that I don’t have any more. That in itself led to a lengthy discussion and a subsequent chat with Liz which was very nice.

Much of the rest of the morning was spent asleep and then, as I expected, the afternoon simply dragged and dragged aimlessly and endlessly.

Tea was delayed while a nurse took out the catheter in my arm and fited a new one in the back of my hand, leaving me to bleed over my hummus butties. Luckily the cute little 1st-year student nurse was in the store across the corridor so she brought me a beautiful smile and a plaster.

Apparently this afternoon she’s working on the other end of the ward so I told her to ask for a transfer.

Later in the evening the doctor came back She told me that as my catheter port in my chest was redundant they were going to operate on me tomorrow morning to remove it so I must go into famine mode at midnight.

And she cleared off really smartish-like before I had time to tell her that now that we both know that this story about not doing an operation on my while I’m full of virus is total tosh, what’s her excuse now?

We’ll probably not have the answer to that tomorrow but we can at least try to find out.

My betting is that we’ll get a “this is a different kind of operation”.

What’s your bet?

Friday 25th November 2022 – SO HERE I AM …

… stuck in my hospital bed and had it not been for the physiotherapist and several urgent needs for trips to the porcelain horse, I wouldn’t have put my sooty foot outside my bed today.

The nadir of my existence is that they haven’t even been to make my bed today and I haven’t had a wash or anything because no-one has brought me any clean clothes or washing material.

In fact, I seem to have slid downhill from Celia in “As You Like It” and her “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” yesterday to Macbeth’s “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day” in the space of about 18 hours.

It’s all been brought about by the most boring afternoon that I have ever had. Absolutely nothing at all happened this afternoon to relieve the boring monotony of what didn’t go on.

Last night I fell asleep at some time in the early evening and awoke in a panic at some point thinking that it was quite late and I still had on my headphones. However it was only 23:40 so I switched off everything with a big air of disappointment.

At a couple of other times during the night I awoke and ended up at the bathroom but when the alarm did go off at 06:30 I was already wide awake.

After breakfast the doctor came, bringing with her another junior doctor. And as I hadn’t seen anyone for a couple of days I gave the two of them a blast of what is rapidly becoming my trade-mark speech about the wasted opportunities that are happening, or not happening as the case may be.

She explained a little more about what is happening, such as this blood infection that seems to be coming from my catheter port and how on Monday I might be having another examination.

My point that with a lifespan that expires in 2026 at the latest I can’t afford all these delays. She replied that there wasn’t much that anyone can do about my underlying health condition while everyone is fighting the effects of this virus, but I was of the opinion that I would have expected all four professors from the various departments standing around me discussing my case in order to put an end to this bickering and continued case of “pass the parcel” that is wasting my life away.

In the end she went away. Not that I think that anything will hapen but of you throw enough whatsit at a wherever some of it might stick and make its was back to the professors concerned.

Shortly afterwards the physiotherapist came by. He gave me a few exercises to do while I was in bed and then a few more to do standing up and even walking to the bathroom door and back.

While we were chatting, I mentioned that strengthening my muscles was one thing but it wasn’t solving the underlying problem of mu right lower leg folding up underneath me.

He was completely taken aback by my remarks, almost as if he hadn’t heard them before.

Anyway, I launched into my story,and gave him all of the information yet againbut I wasn’t convinced that he took much notice of what I was telling him

So however all of this pans out, I bet that it won’t be exactly how I would like it to be, viz and to wit, to solve the problem of my leg definitively.

In case regular readers of this rubbish can’t recall the situation, the reason why “I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.” is because I’m too scared to leave. All of these issues about viruses, infections and the like mean absolutely nothing to me in the normal run of things but I don’t think that I’d get 100 yards from here on my feet without falling over.

And then I don’t have the strength to pich myself up.

The rest of the day has been spent falling asleep and being shaken awake by a selection of nurses. It’s really been a most boring afternoon and the next couple of days will be just as bad as the hospital quietens down for the weekend.

So now I’m off to sleep. And having spent most of today trying to fight off waves of sleep, I bet that I won’t be able to fall asleep at all now.

Thursday 24th November 2022 – YOU’VE NO IDEA …

… how much I enjoyed the shower that I had this morning.

It’s the first shower that I’ve had in the four weeks that I’ve been here and it was wonderful to be underneath the hot water instead of rubbing myself with a flannel.

The only issue was that had the cute little student nurse who came to check on me come 5 minutes earlier, she could have scrubbed my back.

Last night I was asleep in bed by 21:00 and I slept all the way right through until .. errr … 00:45 when I had to leave my bed for reasons that any man of my age will yell you.

It took ages to go back to sleep again but when I did I was off on my travels, as my dictaphone will confirm when I find the energy to write them up.

The alarm went off at 06:30 as usual to awaken me but I do have vague memories of all kinds of nurses and the like coming to do something or other to me.

During the early part of the morning I was poked and prodded about by various nurses but eventually a doctor appeared.

She told me thzt there is an infection in my bloodstream that looks as if it’s come from my catheter port in my chest. Consequently it can no longer be used.

M response was to wish good luck to whoever gets the job of finding a vein in which to insert a catheter.

After she went I saw the physiotherapist who gave me a few exercises and I actually lost my balance at one point although the physiotherapist caught me before I hit the ground. He told me as he was leaving that I ought to walk more.

And so when the nurse offered me a shower I declined the wheelchair that she had brought and said that I’d walk there holding onto my portable patient thing. I had to stop for breath several times but I made it in the end. The nurse showed me the controls and left me to my own devices.

And it was wonderful.

The cute little student nurse who came to check pn me found me trying to tidy everything up so she took my stuff back to my room and then came back to accompany me there.

As on the outward trip I had to stop a few times to catch my breath but it was successful i that I didn’t fall over and I was quite pleased. It was a long way.

A little later the nurse said that she had to fix a catheter in my arm, which was why I suspect that they wanted to me to take a shower first.

The little student was there so I asked her how many catheters she had fitted. “Not many’ was the response so I gave her my arm and told her to get on with it.

The nurse gave her a little talk first and then she went and did it – found a vein and fitted the catheter with her first go. She was ever so impressed and I was ever so relieved. It could have been much worse. I don’t mind the students practising on my but I do have my limits.

Anyway they have now been able to give me antibiotics throughout the day

A doctor came to see me too. She didn’t have much to say so I asked her why they had cancelled the raft of appointments that were booked for yesterday and today. She replied that they were all breathing-test exercises and according to ner I was in no fit state to take them.

Once again I expressed my dismay at what was happening. Here was an ideal opportunity for everyone to work together to find out what’s going on with my breathing but they are just delaying and delaying the issue.

And I don’t have the time for delays, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

So having had a really busy morning, the afternoon was a disappointment. Apart from the nurses coming to give me these antibiotics, nothing happened at all. No-one else came by and I was left to my own devices yet again. I listened to all of a 3.5 hours of a Paul Temple radio programme.

But right now I’ve had enough and I’m going to bed. I expect that I’ll be awoken at some point during the night with a nurse trying to take my blood pressure or something. I may as well sleep while I can.

Wednesday 23rd November 2022 – FREE AT LAST!

This evening while I was trying to eat my evening meal someoe from the cardiac unit turned up and said that she could take out the drain in my heart.

Not exactly the easiest thing to do while I has trying to eat my hummus rolls but nevertheless she did her best.

You’ve no idea how much it hurt but as they said in Macbeth, “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly” and sure enough even with it done quickly, it hurt like hell.

So right now I’m free. There are some antibiotic perfusions too but they are on a portatble patient stand, not tied to the foot of the bed like the sac of the drain in my heart.

Anyway, I’m sure that you are wondering how I celebrated my new-found freedom. The answer is that I went for a good ride on the porcelain horse.

You’ve no idea how much of a relief it was to go as well. This chair thing that I managed to negotiate has a considerable amount of drawbacks that only become apparent when you are half asleep and in some other parallel universe at 05:00.

That kind of thing is a recipe for disaster, as events were to prove. For the rest of the day I quietly abstained. I didn’t want another repeat.

It’s quite true to say that i was deep in the arms of Morpheus last night. I ws tucked up in bed early, round abour 21:00 and went straight off to sleep. When I awoke at 03:00 I still had on the headphones and was lisening o the radio. I just about managed to summon up the energy to take off the headphones.

And then there was the 05:00 disaster but we won’t talk about that.

All of my meals were absolute disasters today. Breakfast was interrupted by the Profssor in charge of the Training School telling me that the students would be on the ward this morning.

Regular readers of this rubbish will recall that I’m one of the first to offer myself to a bunch of students in order to be poked and prodded about. Consequently I agreed to be examined and at 10:05 a pair of students appeared at the door.

Third-year students they were, and for the next hour or so they poked me and prodded me, sometimes with the Professor looking in, and eventually the went away quite satisfied with their morning’s examination.

We had quite a laugh though at one point.
Student A “I need to look for your spleen”
Our Hero “I hope that you have good eyes. Last time I saw it, it was in a jar in a hospital in Central France”

While lunch was being served, the assistant dietician appeared. She’d seen my recent blood test results and made the point that there’s still far too much potassium in my blood. She wants me to give up all fruit and salad.

That’s only a temporary measure, she told me. The chief dietician will come to see me at some other point in the near future. Presumably with some even more draconian measures.

This afternoon the physiotherapist stuck his head into the room with an assistant. They ended up by giving me some exercises to do but it’s not easy when I can only move half a dozen paces from the bed if that.

There was the person from Cardiology to disrupt my evening meal at teatime but apart from that there’s not been a whiff of a doctor coming to see me. It seems that since my somewhat … errr … frank discussion with the Priest yesterday (which he has doubtless reported back to the authorities and which was part of my plan) the senior medical staff has gone to ground and are in shelter waiting for the whirlwind to pass by overhead.

Consequently I reckon that I need to be a bit more frank with the Priest next time I see him.

All through the day I’ve been having some lovelly chats with Liz, Rachel and Rosemary. It’s nice to know that I have such wonderful family and friends.

As I have said before … “and on many occasions too” – ed … I don’t have many friends but those I do have are the best in the world.

Tuesday 22nd November 2022 – I WAS WRONG …

… about having a good night last night. All kinds of things were going off.

But never mind that – something much more important and unusual happened this morning.

In fact, a priest came to see me.

The timing makes me think that it’s to do with my request for euthanasia but he never mentioned the subject. He listed to all of my complaint. He even made me ages late for my Welsh class but I wasn’t all that bothered because I enjoyed his visit, strange as it it to day it.

However the antics of last night were hilarious.

Having an urgent need to visit the bathroom and tied to the bed by the sac of fluid frm my pericardium, I asked for a bottle.

Sitting in bed trying to use a bottle was psychologically impossible so after a while I changed position and sat on the edge of the bed to try again

Just then a nurse came in and asked how I was doing My reply of “nothing yet” brought forth a lecture about the dangers of a full bladder

She measured it and found that it was indeed full so she went to find another nurse who subjected me to yet another lecture on the subject of full bladders and insisted on fitting a catheter. Naturally we had quite a stand-off on this point and the argument raged for quite a while.

At some point a third nurse joined in the fun. and with three nurses now watching me, however was I supposed to use the bottle under these circumstances?

In the end I chased them and their catheters away and once they had gone it took about 10 minutes to make use of the bottle.

The upshot of all of this is that they brought me a “toilet chair” that I can use in comfort and taunt whoever it is who is interested in my “output”.

So with the priest making me late for my Welsh lesson I joined in the class somewhat later. And I wasn’t there for long before an endless stream of nurses kept on interrupting me. In the end I logged out.

This afternoon I went for a couple of tests and examinations. The last one of this bunch was an echograph performd by a doctor with an assistant who looked as if she was about 12.

After he finished with his examination with the echograph I asked the little girl if she’d like a go and so with a big smile and with help from me and from the echpographis she used the echograph to examine my heart

The net result is that here is no more water around the heart for now – just a bit of sediment that causes no problem

After the echographist went to make his report, I had a chat with his little assistant. I asked her how long she’d been a student and she replied “2 days!”.

She’s actually a schoolgirl on a work placement and she was ever so pleased because I was the first patient she’s ever examined. But as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, I’m all in favour of letting the students practise on me.

They have to learn somehow.

So right now I’m off to bed. I’ve finished my notes, had a good chat with Alison and Rosemarie and have everything prepared just where I need it.

And I’ve had a fever too – a temperature of 38.7°C. They’ve packed me in bed with a few ice-packs and it’s down now to 37.9°C

After falling asleep yesterday evening and having all kinds of issues during the night, I want a peaceful evening and a good sleep. I wonder how someone might come along and disrupt me again.

It goes without saying that they won’t let me have any peace and quiet. This crew in the ward this week are nothing like the kind souls of last week.

Monday 21st November 2022 – I’VE JUST HAD …

… surgical intervention on my heart this afternoon

That’s not all either. As I suggested on Sunday, Monday was a busy day as far as examinations go. I can’t remember how many I went on. I kno< that for one of my visits I was waiting 45 minutes to be seen.

One examination stood out more than the others. The doctor on duty this week, another over-eager and dynamic young student, told me that I have fluid in the pericardium and it needed to drained off.

That was something that filled mr full of trepidation. I’ve no intention of having pipes and tubes put into me, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall, and I made sure that the doctor was aware. Nevertheless at some point later on they came to collect me.

When I arrived I told them about how the talk of operations and how the idea of tubes and pipes made me have the shakes. so what we did was a compromise. They gave me a pill to relax mr, and I kept my eyes closed

They were wrong about the relaxation. I felt every prick with the hypodermic needke.

All in all they took out 0.46 litres – almost a pint – from the pericardium around the heart.

It’s not clear yet whether ths water is part of the pneumonia or whether it’s part of the preceding problem which has occupied my thoughts for the last 18 months or so but it looks as if things might be moving.

They have however left a catheter in my stomach connected to a small drainage bag to continue the drainage

Anyway, that’s for tomorrow. Right now I’m off to bed looking forward to a good night’s sleep. I deserve it after everything I’ve gone through today.

Sunday 20th November 2022 – I’VE HAD ANOTHER …

… relapse today.

This morning I awoke with a pain in my chest and it’s gradually gone from bad to worse during the course of the day.

When I explained the problem to the nurses when they were doing their rounds, my little student nurse came back with an ECG machine and took a scan of my chest.

However as the day wore on the pain became worse and worse the doctor who came to see me in the evening gave me a good going-over and sent me for an x-ray. As yet I don’t have the results.

Another thing is that I’m also off my food. I ate my soya dessert and drank my coffee this evening but that was that.

Despite going to bed early last night I was wide-awake at 03:06 and even thought I went for the usual stroll down the corridor, I couldn’t go back to sleep again and I lay awake tossing and turning for quite a while.

Eventually I must have gone back to sleep because the alarm awoke me and there was also something on the dictaphone.

The nurses came round on a few occasions to bring me my medication and take my blood pressure etc. At one point my little student nurse took my blood pressure and found that it was 98 over 67.

“That’s really low” she said. “Normally when I take your blood pressure it’s much higher than this.”

“Not ‘arf” I thought to myself. I might be old and bits of me might not be working but none of that affects my blood pressure, especially when a pretty young girl leans all over me to wire me up to all kinds of machines. It’s usually like the “blood pressure” scene from CARRY ON DOCTOR.

For most of the rest of the day I’ve been curled up under the bedclothes. With no-one coming by, no tests or examinations, there hasn’t been anything else going on so I may as well take it extremely easy.

There’s a lot going on tomorrow and I need to be ready for it. That is, if my chest doesn’t get any worse.

Saturday 19th November 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about it being a quiet day today because almost nothing has happened today.

It was quiet through the night as well. I hardly remember anything at all. There was a moment when I went for a walk down the corridor for the usual reasons that any man of my age will know, and that’s about that.

Another thing of note was that it wa a very slow morning. I didn’t stir at all after that until the alarm went off. And even so, it still didn’t galvanise me into action.

What did get me going was the arrival of all of the nurses with the medication and all of the measuring devices:

The doctor put in an appearance too before breakfast and asked me how I was. I told her that it was too early to say and I haven’t even had a coffee. Strangely though, she didn’t sit on the edge of the bed next to me like she normally does That’s rather sad.

THere were three meals today and I had to ba shaken awake to eat them; The soya yoghurt for breakfast was there as was the soya dessert for the evening meal. There was a kiwi as well with my evening meal but in accordance with our agreement I exchewed it

The nurses had to awaken me for a few other tasks I’m definitely having my money’s worth of sleep right now.

There was football on the internet this evening too Penybony v TNS.

There’s no doubt that TNS are a mile better than anyone else in this league and play the ball around amongst themselves far better than the rest of the league and that was evident today.

However the team from Bridgend defended resolutely and while they never ever looked like scoring they kept TNS away from the goal and it ended 0-0.

In the middle of the second half the student nurse came to give me my medication so I let her listen to the language of my grandmother.

So that’s it really. A peaceful day and i’m likely to have the same tomorrow. So that calls for an early night. I have to build up my strength.

Friday 18th November 2022 – SCHRODINGER’S PATIENT …

… is still in his hospital bed and is likely to be here for the weekend as well. It seems that wiser counsels have prevailed at last.

And Schrödinger’s patient? That’s a patient who is simultaneously too ill to go for a 2-minute bicycle ride and a 6-minute walk but at the same time is well enough to be signed out of the hospital, travel 700 kms and then come back 700 kms 2 weeks later.

Last night I was in bed quite early and slept right the way through until all of 02:45. After a trip down the corridor I went back to bed and it took an age for me to go off to sleep. And once I fell asleep that was that until the alarm went off at 06:30. I must have slept right the way through the early morning racket.

After breakfast they came to collect me with a wheelchair. They took me down into the dasement of the hospital where eventually a young girl came to see me. She had on a beautiful dress under her housecoat and I told her how much I liked it.

She had my scan from yesterday and talked to me about it. There’s a trapped nerve that seems to be causing a lot of problems and she seems to think that physiotherapy might solve the problem.

Having had a year’s worth of ineffective physiotherapy I expressed my doubts but she did her best to reassure me that there are some special exercises that she can prescribe that a skilled physiotherapist could follow, and that I need to go to a specialist, not one of these mainstream butiques of the kind that I’ve been visiting.

Back here the physiotherapist came to see me. We did a few of the exervises that we have done before but we didn’t do some others. Instead he had me doing one or two others so maybe word has already filtered down.

However on leaving, he said “see you Monday” and that at least is optimistic.

After lunch the dietician came to see me. She asked “why are you ordering bananas and kiwis? You have a very high potassium content and these aren’t doing you any good.”
“Well” I replied, “as long as these are the only options for a vegan dessert on some days, I don’t have a lot of options”.

We discussed my diet at great length. I told her that the food was boring and monotonous but being on a vegan diet I can’t expect too much. At least it’s nutritious and filling. And I made sure to tell her of the two slices of courgette that I had for a main meal in hospital in Riom.

In the end we agreed that if she put soya desserts and soya yoghurts on the menu, I’d refrain from ordering kiwis and bananas. That sounded like a good deal to me.

While we were chatting, the doctor poked her head in and when she saw what was happening she withdrew. I expected to see her shortly afterwards but she didn’t appear and I dozed for most of the afternoon, being shalen awake by a variety of nurses.

The doctor came back later in the evening. And I was right in that wiser counsels have prevailed and I can stay here until at least Monday. They are trying to find a room for me in a half-way house but that’s unlikely. If they fail, a xocial worker will come to see me on Monday.

Another visitor that I’ll have on Monday is an euhanasist. It seems that at least ONE of my complaints is being taken seriously. Maybe this will be the catalyst that will start things moving, although I have said this before in other circumstances

The bad news is that this doctor is moving on to a new ward next week. That’s a shame because I happen to quite like her as a person. It’s just a shame that she’s had to be the one who has borne the brunt of my moaning.

It’s just a shame that no-one of the hierarchy of the hospital has been to see me while I’ve been here. I bet that, having been made aware of my discontent they are keeping well away.

However she did say that she would look in on me at some point over the weekend as she’s the on-call doctor. That will be nice.

So now I’m off to bed. I’ve had a chat with Liz and Alison on-line, and one of the trainee nurses said that she would look in on me later. I seem to ba “flavour of the month” right now.

So if I’m having a nurse come to see melater, I’ll have to try hard not to fall asleep. I’ll have to be careful if I curl up under the bedclothes with my headphones.

Thursday 17th November 2022 – IT LOOKS AS IF …

… this idea of kicking me out of the hospital on Friday is gathering momentum. And so we’ve had a day of arguments and disputes today.

Anyway, all of that is for the future. Last night I was curled up in bed at 21:00 fast asleep, and wide-awake again at about 00:00.

And I DO mean “wide-awake” because it took me hours and hours to go back to sleep. I was in such a state that I could easily have done a pile of work during the period that I was awake, so it was last night..

As usual the rattling of all of the stuff that they push around on trolleys early in the morning awoke me before the alarm went off. And then we had the endless procession of nurses coming in here doing their stuff.

One of the things that needed doing was changing my catheter in my chest. As well as the trained nurse, there are two young student nurses here and they are really cute. I asked them if they had changed a catheter before and thy replied “no” – so I told them to do mine. It will be good practice for them.

And so the more senior one changed the catheter while the junior one watched closely and the trained nurse supervised. It all passed off very well and these nurses can change my catheter again whenever they like – not that they’ll have much chance with me being kicked out tomorrow.

That was the nurses. The issues with the doctor didn’t go quite so comfortably.

At some point in the morning a professor from one of the departments concerned in my health came by. She told me that because of the way things are, they are going to cancel my appointment for a lung examination this afternoon. It’ll take place in two weeks time instead.

As you might expect, I went totally berserk. I made this person read my letter to the hospital from last August and made sure that she understood it. And I expressed all of my concerns, as I have done ad nauseam.

The net result was that it didn’t sway her one little bit. And so I played my trump card. I told her that if I had to come back in two weeks time (and I explained all of my difficulties of travelling) I wanted to see an euthanasist because I’m totally fed up and can’t go on any more like this.

That was met with a stony silence.

Later on, at lunchtime, the physiotherapist came to see me. He gave me a few exercises to perform and then tried to make me walk. We managed 30 steps before I had to stop for breath.

At that point I asked him if he was happy that they were throwing me out tomorrow and he looked appalled

Despite having said that my appointment this afternoon they came to fetch me and took me downstairs.

Having waited for a while a doctor came out and repeated what the doctor had said to me this morning. And so I repeated what I’d told the doctor this morning, including the bit about euthanasia. He tried to discuss and debate the position but I wasn’t having any of it.

Back in my room the regular doctor came to see me. She told me that the scan yesterday revealed a trapped nerve in my back, one that corresponds with my right leg. There was then a pregnant pause while I waited for her to tell me what their plan was to deal with it.

However there was no response and i’m still none-the-wiser. i’m not even better-informed.

We discussed the situation in general and once again I expressed my dismay at the way things have unfolded. I told her that the physiotherapist was concerned about my mobility and she looked surprised. She told me that she would check with the physiotherapist but I doubt whether it will change her opinion any.

While I was at it, I gave her my little speech about if i’m having to come back in 2 weeks I want to see an euthanasist etc etc. That shook her a little but she didn’t seem all that bothered in the end.

It looks to me as if I’m leaving here regardless tomorrow.

Something strange happened later on. Alison came to see me and while we were chatting the doctor saw us. She came in and interrogated Alison about who she was and why she was here. That was what I call extremely bizarre.

As regular readers of this rubbish will recall, Alison and I used to work together at that extremely bizarre American company, but that’s by the way.

One thing at least that might help a little is that I seem to have shamed them into giving me a blood transfusion. Being let loose to go into the great wide world with a blood count of only 7.8 when the critical level is 8.0 is not a good idea at all and this will explain why I’ve been feeling so bad just recently.

it’s a very far cry from when they let me go for 6 months or so with a blood count approaching 10.0. Whatever the situatio is, this Iqymune or whatever they call it isn”t the answer to my problems.

Sure enough, they turned up with some blood later in the evening, and this is the first transfusion that I’ve had for several years..

So now it’s all gone, i’m going to finish listening to this Paul Temple episode that’s currently being broadcast and then I’m going to bed. I need to gather up all of my strength if they really are going to expel me tomorrow.

Wednesday 16th November 2022 – THE DOCTOR CAME …

… to see me this morning.

She brought with her the news that they are throwing me out on Friday; as I suspected.

Consequently I showed her the letter that I’d written to the hospital back in early August, which I’d already prepared on my laptop in anticipation.

She read it with a considerable air of consternation.

Naturally, I reminded her that she had seen a few days ago the four-line message that passed for an answer. I asked her if she was satisfied that the answer that she had read was a full and complete reply to the points that I’d made. And she admitted that it wasn’t.

And so I went on the offensive. And believe me, it it’s “offensive” you want, then in the words of the late, great Bob Doney, “I’m your man!”.

What I wanted to know was whether she would have been satisfied about being passed from pillar to post and sent round in ever-decreasing circles over the last 18 months. She replied that of course she wouldn’t.

And then I reminded her that I’ve been in hospital for almost 3 weeks. Does she not think that this would have been a golden opportunity for the four services interested in my case, the usology, haematology, pnemonology and cardiology, to co-ordinate their efforts and examine me together to find out where the problem with my breathing lies? She agreed that ot would.

So ultimately I asked her how she would feel if she had been pushed around like I had been and asked to carry out all of these tests time after time wit, predictably, the same results.

She replied that maybe they had reached the limit of what they were capable of doing. I asked her that if she had taken her car into a garage to repair a fault and the mechanic had said that he had reached the limit of what he was capable of doing, whould she not take her vehicle to another garage to see if another mechanc could find the fault?

She agreed that she would so I reminded her of the chaos that had led to my coming here to Leuven. And that was just four months. The current chaos has lasted for 18 months and so I reminded her of the part of my leter than had said that if “I am ill and your medical staff does not have the ability to treat me” then I need to be told so that “I can find another hospital where the staff is capable of dealing with the issue and I don’t care if that hospital is in Valparaiso or Vladivostok”

Of course, there was absolutely no answer to that.

The discussion went on for much longer than that and I do have to say that I was probably on my best form for many, many years. And I felt sorry for her having to listen to my well-co-ordinated and well-thought-out rant because none of this is any to do with her really.

But I bet that my rant will be all in vain regardless and I’ll still find myself out on my ear on Friday.

That’s a shame because I’m just about becoming accustomed to life here. I actually managed to sleeo right the way through to the alarm without any difficulty whatsoever with just the odd stroll down the corridor here and there during the night.

Once I was awake and I’d been organised by all of the nurses the morning was quite quiet as I expected. Just the doctor coming to see me and all of the nurses bringing me my medication. And occasionally being awoken by nurses here and there after I’d fallen asleep.

The afternoon should have been quite quiet nad that’s how it started. But it all changed when the physiotherapist came to help me walk.

“We need to work on your walking so that you can move about more easily” he said

“You’ll have to get a move on” I replied. “They are throwing me out on Friday”. And that bought a gasp of astonishment from him as well.

They also told me that I had to go for a MRI scan of my back.

It should have been at 17:45 but they came for me at 17:15 right in the middle of my evening meal and I was dragged away on a wheelchair.

They were quite quick enough with the scan although I was 15 minutes under the machine. And when I returned to my room they had swept away my meal tray.

The missing food didn’t bother me all that much but the missing coffee certainly did. However the porter who brought me back went off to negotiate with the nursing staff and a pot of coffee miraculously appeared.

So now I’ve finished what I need to do and I’m going to sleep. This news about me being turfed out on Friday is depressing. It’s a lost opportunity to see what’s wrong with my breathing or to try to improve my general health and I have a feeling that there will never be another opportunity quite like this.

It’s probably the first step on the road towards the inevitable end but I’m going to go out with a bang. As Neil Young once said, “it’s better to burn out than to fade away”.

But how do I get to be able to walk if no-one is able to help me?

Tuesday 15th November 2022 – I WAS RIGHT …

… about them planning to heave me out in the near future.

The doctor came to see me this morning and gave me an examination and I went through my usual spiel about the hospital going round and round in circles and I was pretty sure that she understood.

However she came back a short while later with her professor who had a chat with me. She explained that there were at least two viruses in my body and there are still traces of pneumonia in my body.

However she did yell me that despite everything, they were still planning on letting me go. Apparently they were worried that I’d catch Covid if I remained in the hospital;

And so I asked whether she was worried about me catching Covif during the 1400km round trip to the hospital and back to the various appointments that (I hoped) was sure to follow.

Now that took her completely by surprise and totally deflated her. Apparently she was totally unaware that I lived in France. Making the most of her bewilderment I mentioned that when patients were temporrily discharged from the hospital a room was made available at St Pieter’s Hospital. However they have demolished that, as regular readers of this rubbish will recall.

There’s always Pellemberg, where I’ve stayed before, out in the wilds of the back of beyond, so I made sure that she was aware that I knew all about it.

However I have a feeling that I’m going to be out on my ear in a few days time regardless of anything else, a golden opportunity will be missed, and I’ll spend the rest of what’s left of my life travelling to and from Granville to Leuven and going round and round in circles when I get here

And isn’t that a depressing thought?

There was something quite important that happened on Monday that I forgot to mention last night

During the night of Sunday and Monday I must have had a dream at some point early on about a doctor wanting a urine sample for me the next time that I went from the bathroom. Consequently when I awoke at some point to go to the bathroom I rang for help

When the nurse came I babbled something icoherently about giving a sample, even though my body was desperately trying to process when it might have been that the doctor had come to see me.

Anyway, the story ended with the hurse helping me totally unnecessarily to the bathroom nd no sample being taken.

It was really, really confusing.

Last night was much more quiet. No-one came to see me and apart from the odd trip or two to the bathroom nothing happened at all. Mind you there was some stuff on the dictaphone so something must have been going on during the night. I’ll find out later.

When the alarm went off at 06:30 I was already awake. There’s that much racket here in the early morning that after about 05:30 it’s almost impossible to sleep if you’re as light a sleeper as I am.

We had all of the usual routine but a physiotherapist came to see me and ran me through a few exercises. My legs are much weaker than you’d expect and it’s going to be ludicrous if they let me out into the wild blue younder.

As well as the doctor and her professor I had a Welsh lesson too. Surpisingly that passed OK and in fact I was quite pleased about how it went.

And that makes a big change, doesn’t it?

The rest of the day has been spent dealing with nurses, falling asleep, all kinds of stuff like that. And eating my rather boring meals. They are good, well-prepared and filling but they are all the same and afer nearly 3 weeks I would die for something different.

Anyway it’s early now and I’m told that a nurse will come by later on at some point but even so I’m going to settle down under the bedclothes and listen to the old-time radio.

Tomorrow there are no appointments so it shoud be a quiet day. There’s something happening on Thursday and then several appontments a week later.So if they throw me out after my Thursday appointment I’ll have to kick my heels around Leuven for a week.

This is all turning into something of a farce, except that it really is no laughing matter.

Monday 14th November 2022 – I’VE HAD A …

… very busy day today. So much so that I’ve spent much of the day asleep.

Last night was quite busy too. Although I’d had a reasonably early night for a change, I stayed with the headphones on and listened to all 3.5 hours of a Paul Temple adventure, tucked up under the bedclothes with my headphones on. Consequently it was a very sleepy me at some time after 00:00 when I finally switched off everything.

During the night I awoke two or three times and there’s plenty of stuff on the dictaphone too, but there’s nothing that I remember. Very regrettably I didn’t end up back in school or in Wrenbury that I remember and that’s depressing. That was a very peaceful and pleasant experience the other night.

No breakfast for me this morning. I’m having a special kind of CT scan and so I need to be à jeune this scan was timed to be at 09:15 so at 08:45 they came to fetch me.

Somewhat later than planned, they made a start on me.

Firstly they gave me a very, very slow injection of some kind of radioactive sugar solution. They couldn’t use my catheter port because it’s been in for several days so that had to inject into a vein. Good luck with that!

Once they had finally managed to place an external catheter into the bloodstream, I then had to drink three extremely large beakers of water, and that necessitated the odd trip or two to the bathroom.

It took a while for everything to work, and eventually they wheeled me off into where this scan was taking place. It’s just like any other one of these “Stargate” time-travelling machines except that today I was strapped in and the scan took about 15 minutes before it was completed.

There was a long wait before they came to take me back to my room. it was 11:25 when I returned and long past my breakfast time. I wrote that off as a lost cause.

The doctor turned up almost immediately. She told me that the results of the scan won’t be known for a couple of days. She gave me a good going-over and while she was at it I took the opportunity to bend her ear about the feeling that I have tht they are going to turf me out once the virus has disappeared and miss ou on a golden opportunity to deal with my other health issues.

Judging by her stammered response I could see that I’d caught her on a touchy spot and my suspicions may well be correct. And if that’s the case I shall go berserk. I’ve had it up to here with them passing the parcel over this breathing issue and the latest developments with my right leg that nearly saw me underneath a train on the Berri-UQAM metro station in Montreal the other week.

These things really need to be sorted out and the quicker the better. Nearly 3 weeks of inaction in a hospital bed is the perfect opportunity and they are going to miss it. And then we’ll waste more of what is left of my precious couple of years left going round and round and, presumably, disappearing up my own exhaust pipe like the famous Oozelum Bird.

Of course, my lunch wasn’t ready so they had to scramble around to find it and as a result that was quite late too. And I’d barely finished before someone else came along to whisk me off for another test.

This one was to check on the amount of water still in my lungs and around the heart. This pneumonia still hasn’t gone despite the antibiotics.

It took a while to complete the scan but at least they found that I had a heart. That’s good news, because it shows that I’m not a Conservative. What was not so good was that the technician had to call a doctor in to see the scans that he’d taken.

By the time that I returned here it was 15:35 and I’d not had a coffee for almost 22 hours. Luckily a little student nurse came in to give me some medication and so I prevailed upon her to hunt down a mug of coffee for me. These student nurses really are sweet and I want to take them all home with me.

The rest of the day has been spent half-asleep being shaken awake by a variety of nurses waking me up for this and that. But not “the other” though. That kind of thing is a distant memory.

So having done everything that I was supposed to do and having finished my notes somewhat early, I’m going to close everything down except the Old-Time Radio on the laptop and curl up uner the covers for a quiet evening.

But I’m sure that something will come along and disturb the peace.

It usually does.