Thursday, November 8, 2007

The tenth day

Eight days since the transplant, plus one day in the hospital for pre-op tests and the actual day of the transplant. Ten days in hospital (ten days in dry dock), not to mention all the time spent in the Alkmaar hospital these past few years. Being in the world of illness and those who care for the ill has become a major part of my life, a pilgrimage that continues.

One of the night nurses in this ward, a young woman with close-cropped silver blond air wearing bright blue running shoes, dropped in a few minutes ago to say goodbye, adding that of course in the future she will be seeing me again from time to time.

In fact it’s not definite I will be leaving today, but so far the signs seem to point in that direction. There is one more major test, the bladder examination, at 11 this morning. If that goes well, I should be in Alkmaar in time for supper.

There was another round of blood tests yesterday morning -- about a dozen small vials to be filled. What’s not know about my blood cannot be much.

Later in the day a nurse came to talk about living with the factor of a reduced resistance to illness, a consequence of the immuno-suppressive drug regime I will be on for the rest of my life. For example, I’m significantly more at risk of skin cancer and will need to use sun screen every day and have to avoid being in the sun for prolonged periods from the late morning till 3 or 4 in the afternoon -- no sun bathing. She also briefed me on the kidney clinic here, in an adjacent building that houses the AMC’s Polyclinic. In the coming months I will be there quite a lot -- twice a week for the first month or two.

I spent hours yesterday reading Ken Follitt’s fine novel of 13th century England, “The Pillars of the Earth.” It’s the next best thing to traveling into that period by time machine. At the center of the narrative is the construction of a cathedral.

Also I had time to do some searching on the web for texts about the iconographer Archimandrite Zinon (sometimes spelled Zenon) and came upon an excellent essay by Aidan Hart on how traditional iconography has been revived in the past century following a long period of decadence when icons became second rate imitations of third rate western paintings. In Russia, Zinon has been an especially important figure in the recovery process.

Using Google Earth, I searched the south of Amsterdam so that I might have a better grasp of just where the AMC is and see what it looks like from the air. (Double-click to enlarge the image.)

There was a nice visit at supper time with my godson, Silouan.

Then in the evening watching Dennis Potter’s long television film, “Lipstick on Your Collar.”

The sun has just risen, not yet touching the ground but lighting up the upper floors of the nearby building. A new day begins.

(Five hours later: Bladder examination over -- all is well with that part of my anatomy. No more catheter, alleluia. But the doctors have decided to keep me one more night for a final round of tests tomorrow morning. And then I head home, accompanied by Wendy.)

1 comment:

Snarfff said...

Have you read Pillars of the Earth before? I read it, gosh, 20 years ago while travelling in Europe! Oddly enough, I just picked up his newest book, World without End, which takes place in the same cathedral town, only 300 or so years later. I am enjoying the read so far, though it is competing with several other books.

I'm glad to hear of your good progress, though I was sorry to hear of the break-in Nancy's first night home. Can there be some greater purpose at hand? The timing is just so off kilter... I'm just glad no one was hurt.

I send much love to you and Nancy!