Athina — Today, there was a Christmas tree waiting, with blinking lights and everything. A surreal note amidst the grimness, but it helps, if you ask me. I took the bed next to the door so that I could look at it during my chemo. I observe the faces of the relatives - especially the sons and daughters - when they stand on the doorway looking at their loved ones receiving their treatment. They seem so worr...
Athens — When it was time for Taxol to come in (that’s the drug that will be making all my hair fall off, and the first of the hardcore chemicals), I put on music. I chose my Pan Am compilation, and boy did it...
Athina — Today, one month and three weeks after my surgery, I choose to write again because today I can write again. The surgery went very well, but my recovery took forever. Today is the first day I am feelin...
When being tough isn't enough against your biggest weakness.
My Monday through Friday, 9-5
Alternative Prayer Book
Hospitals... Never a welcome visit. Mostly anonymous and cold. There's a sort of book-crossing in this room where I'm currently waiting to have news.
A Saturday over-nighter in a hospital, and this bed isn't even mine. It's quiet tonight, a first for the ICU next door, but the sound of footsteps seem to be coming from everywhere, sporadic, quick, quicker and shuffled. Neither of us speak the language, a circumstance not uncommon in our lives, but in here the inability to communicate fully seemed riskier, though not frustrating. You don't need to speak to understand somebody's tears or pain. They all came in suddenly, frequently, and left just the same way, the doctors, nurses, cleaners. It was a cycle that filled up the days and I realized it was how she learnt to keep track of time in this context. She dreaded every third visit from Dr. K because it meant the surly nurse would be on duty right after. She remained sitting up after every first cup of morning local tea, as Dr. M always popped in for a quick check-up. While very few are cold and harsh, most are just quick, polite and exhausted. Our exchanges are ones of necessity. Tonight she tells me we are one hour away from the moment she both dreads and looks forward to. The last shot of the night. She gingerly nudges up the sleeve of her shirt so I can see the mounds of skin on the top of her hand bulging in two places, a mark indicating where the largest of the shots had plunged through and irritated the skin over time. When the nurse comes in, I immediately see what she means. Nurse O is flamboyant, loud, and wordy, just as she is motherly, relaxed, and curious. She looks back and forth and back and forth, as if incredulous that we are mother and daughter, and throws up her hands at the joy of family. She only says one long phrase in English that she keeps repeating, interspersed with a barrage of the dialect explaining what she's administering and what time she'll be back. I guess so because of how she gestures with her fingers and not her hands. I nod as if I understand, and look away when she administers the needle.But it doesn't matter. In seconds, Nurse O is sitting down at the foot of my mother's bed, and somehow, miraculously, my mother is responding back in English, nodding and repeating a date in the near future and a place where they shall meet for coffee, out of uniform and gown. Nurse O responds with a booming laugh and nods, finally extending her arms as she gets up to tend to others, but not before demanding a hug from my mother, repeating over and over that one English phrase I will never stop hearing in her operatic-like voice: 'Nema problema. Eet still beautiful, you, eet all is beautiful.' And out she goes, the vestiges of her laughter lingering in the room.
Spicy beef burrito from a vending machine. I've been at the hospital for 12 hours, probably 12 more ahead.
This is the moon in the chapel at stockholms' southern hospital.