Wednesday 12th June 2024 – I’M CLEARLY NOT …

… as ill as I think I am. That’s obvious.

Bu more of that in a moment.

As seems to be usual these days, they leave me pretty much alone after tea. There might be the odd diabetes test here and there and a nurse might stick her head in the door to give me my anti-coagulant injection and to make sure that I’ve not absconded, but that seems to be that.

At some point I drag myself off to bed and it’s becoming later and later. Last night it was midnight when I finally slid underneath the covers but it doesn’t make much difference because the bed’s uncomfortable and what with the Autoroute out at the back here and the amount of noise in the building, most of which seems to be just outside my door, and the odd Air-Sea Rescue helicopter here and there, I don’t have much sleep.

Nevertheless, I was away with the fairies soon enough but the nursing staff coming here at 06:30 when you are fast asleep, coming like a tornado making enough racket to awaken the dead, and taking a blood sample and diabetes test, making you go to the bathroom, all of this kind of thing with so much commotion and then when they leave they say “have a nice day” and close the door. How the hell is it possible to have a nice day after you’ve been awoken like this at this time of morning?

That was probably the first decent sleep that I’ve had since I’ve been here too but at least, out of all of this and the diabetes test in particular I managed to blag a glass of orange juice. And in exchange they departed with a couple of bottles of of Chateau Eric Hall Appelation Controlée 2024

It was a waste of time trying to go back to sleep after all of that so I just lay there watching the clock and hoping that breakfast wasn’t going to be too late.

At least I know that my e-mails over the last two days seems to have worked. After breakfast had been and gone, and while I was busy in the bathroom scrubbing my back (I’m keeping a healthy distance between myself and my ex-Chinese Tong Hitwoman for the moment) there was a knock on the door.

It was the dietician who had come to see me. She presented the usual excuses and apologies which were really meaningless in the grand scheme of things but the fact that she was here was something. We went through the menu and I was able to choose – in only some kind of very limited fashion – what I was going to eat for the next few days.

We agreed at least that if something were to be withdrawn they would double up something in replacement and I could ask the serving staff for as much bread as I liked.

It’s not really suitable or the ideal solution, but it’s the best that I can get and at least it’s an improvement, I hope. It remains to be seen now if I can keep the momentum going for as long as I’m here.

The cute consultant came to see me today. My Creatine is now officially a disaster. Despite receiving treatment it’s now risen to 476. Just a reminder – a healthy person’s is less than 100 and it’s panic stations at 300. Dialysis is definitely on the cards and there might not be time for me to have the system fitted to my arm. I may well have to have a thoracic port of the type that I had at Castle Anthrax.

The good news is that she’s talked to someone in Physiotherapy. They’ll be coming to see me soon and give me a few mobility tests. The results of those tests will decide …

  1. Whether I can go home
  2. Whether I go into Convalescence
  3. Whether I have to stay here

We shall see

Even better, she’s seen the food issue unfold, and so her unit is to write to the Director of the hospital to formally protest the situation. That’s taken me be surprise because much as I would have liked the situation to be escalated to that level, I didn’t expect it.

Her concern, and quite rightly too, is the question of protein. For an official guide that says that an average person needs about 1 gram of protein per kilo of weight per day, I’ve just received protein twice, and tiny portions of a couple of grams each, in 11 days and that’s ridiculous.

However, knowing how these things work in places like this, the Byzantine nature of French administration means that there won’t be any change before the end of the decade at least, far too late to be of any benefit to me.

But sitting on the edge of the bed demurely right next to me on my chair, we were chatting about many things that had only a very indirect connection with my health and well-being It was one of those conversations that you have that seems to go on for ever and I could be thrown out of the hospital for what I was thinking by the time she left. There’s obviously life in the old dog yet. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Later on, one of the nurses came by to bring me my anti-potassium stuff. "I was just speaking to the specialist. She says that you Creatine figure is dreadful "
"I know" I replied "But I’m quite happy with that, as long as it’s she who comes to tell me". I’m clearly not as ill as I think I am

At this point I transcribed the dictaphone notes from last night. I was actually surprised that there were some. Then I was asleep dreaming about a gangster who had some kind of involvement with the hospital. One of his sons was a weak, spineless cowering type who would wriggle out of anything on any occasion. HIs other son was quite a lot tougher than him but was still the last one of very quick at passing the buck where anything went wrong. It was always a very bad thing to become involved with these two youngsters because sooner or later they would drop you in the soup and you’d end up having to carry the can for what it was that they were doing. This dream seemed so life-like. I suddenly realised that what had happened was that I’d awoken. Two nurses outside the door were discussing a surgeon and somehow I’d tied all this in with this surgeon to represent the fact that he had two unruly children. I hope that he doesn’t have any unruly children and I hope he’s not the surgeon who’s coming to deal with me.

But don’t ask me if it really was a discussion taking place outside my door. I have absolutely no recollection whatever of this dream. But it seems that hospital life is having some kind of unsettling effect on me. I can’t think of any other meaning or interpretation.

After lunch, which failed to live up to expectations and was just more (but not more, if you know what I mean) of the same – the dietician presumably wasn’t quick enough to talk to the computer – I’ve been a busy bee.

Firstly, I’ve been revising my homepage. My homepage is simply a list of the most common web pages that I visit, written in *.html coding so I can just click on a name and it takes me directly to the site.

When I wrote it, it was quite comprehensive but times have changed. There were several dead links there, several had changed address and there were several more that I’ve been using in more recent times that were never added in so I thought that it was due for a rewrite

The second thing is that a whole shed-load of papers have been released into the public domain and which address the issue of “Low Moral Fibre” in Bomber Command aircrew in World War II

“Low Moral Fibre” was a serious issue as the Bomber campaign intensified and more and more was being asked of aircrew. The first signs of it were dealt with ruthlessly, even down in a few well-recorded incidents of public humiliation, for fear that any panic would spread throughout the Command

So much so that everyone who lost his nerve was punished equally, whether he was a novice who refused to take to the air at all or an experienced hero with 60 missions over enemy territory and a string of medals under his belt.

But as Leonard Cheshire said, station commanders were airmen, not psychiatrists. Their job was to produce results about the obliteration of enemy targets so naturally they were much more interested in keeping as many people as possible up in the air as often as possible and had no time for anything else, including the careful handling of individual waverers.

There were the usual interruptions. A couple of nurses (I notice that the younger ones come here in pairs now – they clearly don’t think that I’m as ill as I’m supposed to be either) came to check up on me and to ask if I needed anything.

When I mentioned “coffee” one of them sailed off to see what she coull find but came back empty handed.

A couple of hours later another nurse, the one from earlier thin morning, came by to take my blood pressure.
"And the diabetes test?"
So she gave me the diabetes test
"0.87. That’s near enough" and slipped me an illicit glass of orange juice and an apple purée.

For tea, the dietician had caught up with the computer and I had a double-helping of rice and oven-baked tomatoes. No protein again, but at least my stomach is full, for about the first time ever since I’ve been in this wretched place.

Things here though are definitely looking up. From going from situations where there were bevies of beautiful nurses wrestling with my lethal weapon and it not being able to salute them, I’m now inviting hospital consultants into my lair and my evil clutches are beginning to flex their muscles again. I must be getting better and there’s definitely something going on in this place that I don’t quite understand and I wish that I did. I wonder if it’s something that they’ve put in the orange juice.

No physiotherapist, so I’ve no idea when this promised review is going to take place, but I’ve had a good on-line chat with my faithful cleaner who knows all about these Convalescent places due to several of her clients having passed that way.

She reckons that there are a couple in Granville, and if I’m incarcerated there she’ll bring me some food parcels. She confirmed my worst fears about the TRICATEL food in these places.

But this morning after breakfast had finally arrived and been disposed of, we’d had a touch of excitement.

That was when I’d just stepped into the bathroom when door opened and a voice asked "Monsieur Hall, when was the last time you produced any solids?"
"Yesterday evening" I replied.
"Yesterday evening?"
"That’s right" I replied from the depths of the bathroom. "But if you come back in 5 minutes you’ll have a different answer"

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