Tuesday, June 05, 2007

HIS Medical Problems

The poor long-suffering Spouse. In a continuation of the My Medical Problems theme, we have often discussed how nothing that happens to him is ever in what I might call a “public” part of his body: not the elbow, nor the big toe, nor the earlobe. It’s always something that involves removing undergarments and revealing intimate body parts.

Such was the case again on Sunday, when he came downstairs and announced, “I seem to have a . . . pimple . . . that’s causing me some discomfort.” Always kind and supportive, ever subtle, I probably hooted loudly and shouted something like, “HA! You mean on your BUTT, right?”

Thus it began.

Now I might back up a bit and point out for those of you who don’t get the blow-by-blow of our ups and downs, the “for better, for worse” aspects of our quotidian life, the minutia of “Can you believe what HE did?,” that our last Really Big Fight involved him not hopping off to the doctor to check out his migraines as fast as I thought he should have. Now since he rarely, if ever, reads my blog, I can confess to you, Dear Reader, that he probably did approach that problem in a reasonable manner. But I thought it was serious and that he had recently had two or three in close succession and that he didn’t make an appointment fast enough to suit me.

It was a doozie of a fight.

So for him to schedule an appointment for today, for TUESDAY, could only mean that he was really not feeling very good.

He was having trouble sitting, for one thing. And if it’s one thing lawyers do, it’s sit.

Plus, it was getting worse.

At first he would only let me feel it, through his sweat pants. It was unmistakable. This morning I paid him a quarter so I could see, and, yes, it merited professional help.

So imagine my surprise when he sends me a text message this morning, telling me he will see the doctor later today. This is one Sad Rabbit.

I had a lunch planned with a diplomat’s wife, a woman I don’t know well, but with whom I was looking forward to becoming better acquainted. I was sitting in the restaurant, waiting for her, when the Spouse texts me again: GOING TO HOSPITAL.

I text back: WHAT? NOW?

To which he replies: YES.

Now no matter how much another person may have vexed me in my life, one thing I could not do was sit there and blithely eat sushi while he went off to a Slovak hospital to have his abscess lanced or worse. So I cancelled the lunch, with promises that the situation was urgent but not serious and all would be revealed soon. Lunch was rescheduled.

Expats who have experienced Eastern European hospitals tend to fall into two categories: those who, for whatever reason, could not get somewhere else in time, and those who, out of some sociological curiosity, choose to subject themselves to the experience with a “It’s Gonna Make a Great Story” and “How Bad Can It Be, Really?” outlook.

I have no lack of confidence in the training of the practitioners here. Further, while some may report brusque bedside manners, my experiences in Bratislava have been generally warm and fuzzy.

It’s the facilities that are so grim. Long unlit hallways. BYO toilet paper, cutlery, meals. Private facilities are much better and closer to Western standards, but even those are not my first choice for treatment.

So I thought he needed moral support.

The Good Dr. Sedlak was avuncular and soothing: old enough for grey hair and a “seen it all” outlook. His English was flawed, but in a way that made his meaning clear and his manner more charming. Upon greeting us, he translated the catch-all Slovak phrase nech sa pači as “You’re welcome,” meaning “I welcome you.” It was nice.

And he even let me come along.

There he asked the poor Spouse a few basic questions about the condition, and then had him lie, face down and pants at his knees, on an examining table. In retrospect, I probably should have urged the Spouse to just strip everything south of the border off, so it wouldn’t get . . . . in any way ruined. But both of us thought the first step was just going to be further examination.

Next thing I know, Dr. S is shaving the skin and shooting the Spouse up with local anesthesia, a painful-looking process as he was digging that needle around, and deeply, and that was one particularly tender place or we wouldn’t have even been there. The nurse, Miss Jane (or maybe Janka) Fuzzy-Wuzzy, leans in closely and asks him, “Are you okay?” I decide then that, fascinating as this all is, and as much as I would, seriously, like to watch all this, the Spouse would be better served if I stood next to his head, held his hand, and tried to remind him to breathe.

So, alas, I can only report that the variety and size of the various instruments was nothing short of remarkable (I swear they had a large crochet hook going at one point), the loss of blood was minimal, and the attention to sterility, laughable. Neither the doctor nor the nurse were wearing gloves. Okay, probably they washed well. I wasn’t paying attention at that point. But what really made me raise an eyebrow was when he asked for the material that would form the drain for the wound for the next two days.

Nurse Janka F-W brings it to him between forceps, I assume to keep it from being traifed up. But then they both set upon it with bare hands, cutting and shaping the piece like it is a barbeque rib at a family reunion, before shoving it into the wound. It’s not a tube, but more akin to a rain-chain. Let’s hope those antibiotics counter anything they may have introduced with it.

So the Spouse regained his dignity and, thanks to the lingering affects of the local, was able to even sit while the doctor wrote out the report and the prescription. But by the time we got to the door of the building, that was a distant memory and the car ride, even in the New Car with the Better Suspension, was clearly painful.

We dosed him with his antibiotics, and set him up in our bed where he languished, bored and in pain, occasionally even sending me pitiful text messages while I cooked his lunch.

I have no doubt it really hurt. I saw them digging. But he seems to be feeling better now. The little fever he started to develop when we got home is down. And he’s even sleeping. But he’s going to be bored, after two days like this. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to work.

Thankfully I have an out: I volunteered to help at the school tomorrow. I get to round up and help process kids after swimming lesson and then amuse the after school club crowd while the teachers and staff are treated to a well-deserved thank-you lunch. I’ll let you know how we both fare.

1 Comments:

Blogger Lisa said...

Dear Amanda,
One of your best entries to date,although I feel bad that I was chuckling while reading about your hub's pain! Send our "Get well soon" wishes to the Spouse.
besos,
Lisa

5:34 PM  

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